I have a big commission from a local judge of a herd of bison. I'm going to show you this painting as I work on it from beginning to end. These first two photos are me in the field researching bison. This is ongoing - I have photos in my files that I took 25 years ago. I'm always out sketching, photographing and studying nature and then when I decide to do a painting I go back into my files and sketchbooks to find materials to use as reference in my paintings.
The first photo was taken during one of my workshops at Wolf Park - www.wolfpark.org. This wonderful place is the only research facility that has socialized wolves. As part of the enrichment of the wolves the biologist periodically put them out with a healthy herd of bison. Because the wolves are well feed, and the bison are strong, there is no killing that goes on, but just interesting interactions between the two species. I'm in the white shirt and you can see in this photo all I'm doing is watching and studying.
I have had lots of research on bison through the years - Yellowstone, Bison National Refuge etc. But I am lucky in that I have three sources of bison close to me. One is a private ranch north of our town, then we also have the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve which is owned by the Nature Conservancy about 20 minutes from us. This is stocked with bison from the private ranch mentioned earlier.
Then we also have Woolaroc - www.Woolaroc.com - which is a wonderful museum and wildlife refuge 20 minutes away. James and I got special permission to go out with one of the ranch hands to photograph longhorns one day - and as you can see and added bonus were some of the bison.