Elk, 30" x 18" Oil on Canvas
On the same trip that inspired "Cherokee Pride," I watched this bull on a rut-crazed mission to tell the world how great he was. And he lived up to his own hype. I watched him leave his harem of cows and walk the length of a narrow valley shrouded in a cool, low-hanging mist. He hit a wallow in the middle of the valley and let out a long, deep bugle as he stepped out, the mist from his bugle wafting up and away into the mountain air. It's remarkable to see how much force these bulls put behind a bugle when you can physically see it leave their mouth and nostrils. What I really loved was the dark, muddy lower half of his body as he left the wallow. Like a whitetail shredding a sapling and getting branches stuck in his antlers or an NFL defensive end with turf stuck in his facemask, there's just something raw, powerful, and primal about an animal in the midst of action that doesn't care one bit what he looks like.