Work in progress
In Rocky Mountain National Park, at the upper end of Moraine Park, there is an area where runoff from the mountains collects, dries out, and leaves behind salts carried from higher up. Here, in the afternoon, bighorn sheep ewes and their lambs come racing down to the salt lick. The reasons for their urgency are probably twofold: a desire for a tasty and healthy treat, and feelings of vulnerability at these lower elevations. Visitors to the park can observe them quietly at very close range as they seem accustomed to people, plus their desire for the salt outweighs whatever fear they may feel for humans. As with all my oil paintings, I transfer a fairly rough sketch to the canvass or board and proceed to paint from back (i.e., top) to front (bottom). A dynamic is enhanced by the slope of the terrain and angles of the dead trunks and branches. After establishing background and animals, details in shadowing and textures were added to enhance the realism and depth to complete the painting. The final product can be seen on this website's Mammals portion of Galleries.