Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Bear Necessities

Drawing a American Black Bear

Prints, posters and signed fine art reproductions are available 
for purchase in my Etys shop at: 

Black Bear. 11x17" Ballpoint Pen and Ink wash

I've lived on the East Coast of North America all my life, and only once have I seen an American Black Bear in the wild. And unbelievably it was just last month. While driving my daughter back up to college in upstate New York we saw a black bear, sitting on a hill next to the highway, eating and watching the cars go by. In New Jersey, where I live, there are thousands of them, but amazingly they are hard to see. They range across North America, Canada and Mexico and their population is close to 600,000. Two subspecies, the Louisiana black bear and the Florida black bear are threatened. The Florida black bear's population dropped to 300-500 in the 1950's and was just removed for Florida's endangered species list due to land management and a serious recovery effort. Their population has recovered to almost 3,000.

So why draw a bear? Well, two words "Nature" and "Fur". They are such a beautiful animal that lives among us here in America, and to me the image of them just says "Nature". For me, they conjure up an image of leaving urban city life and going into the wilderness. And then there is the other word "Fur". Fur is still a struggle for me to draw, and again I wanted to challenge myself by attempting to draw an animal completely covered in a thick coat of it.

Harrison and Jane hiking in Maine. Notice Jane's shirt

Also, bears have been a popular and humorous topic in our house because my wife has a fear of bears and we constantly poke fun at her about this fear. Whenever a bear appears on TV we all scream, "It's a bear!" We buy her bear t-shirts to wear, bear coffee cups to drink from and advised her to read "A walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. Whenever we go hiking (in Bear Mountain) or mountain climbing everyone asks if she has her bear repellent with her. And after all these years, the only bear she has ever seen was from the comfort of our car last month driving on the highway to Binghamton NY. Her perfect vantage point.

Other family bear shots
Little Bear Restaurant, Bearsville, NY

 Adirondacks, Keen, NY
 Hiking on Vinalhaven Island, Maine
 Little Bear Restaurant, Bearsville, NY
Bear Mountain, NY
Natural History Museum, Washington DC 

Here are some photos taken during my drawing process

Prints, posters and signed fine art reproductions are available 
for purchase in my Etys shop at: 

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