Monday, January 23, 2012

Close up and Personal

For over a century now, thanks to the invention of portable tubes of paint, artists have been packing up their painting gear and heading to the big bright outdoors to paint plein air. Winter, spring, summer, fall…. Daytime and nighttime …… I must admit I am hooked, too. I started painting on location as a little girl with my family. My dad would lead us to the greatest nearby spots to paint and sketch… and I continue to this day with my husband, Howard Friedland, and many artist friends….. I love it! From our back yard to the exotic corners of the world, it is all calling to me to paint. What a thrill to be standing at my portable easel, smelling the air, feeling the breeze ( hopefully not too windy ) and gleefully accepting the challenges of painting plein air.

Howard just finished a painting depicting one such outing. He wrote a great description of that afternoon to include on the back of his painting. I thought you would enjoy his adventure and his painting. Here it is…

Bear Market by Howard Friedland                                                             10 x 12 Oil

Grizzly Encounter
written by Howard Friedland

The bear depicted in my painting “Bear Market” is a Grizzly that I saw
“Close Up and Personal” as they say.

A few years ago, a couple of artist friends and I were painting in Glacier National Park.
We had just set up our easels behind the campground at Many Glacier, a spectacularly beautiful area of the park. We chose a mountain scene that was visible beyond a nearby creek. The other two painters set up along the bank of the creek and I chose a spot about ten feet back.

Soon after we put our first brush strokes on our canvases, I heard my friend Tom English yell out “BEAR! BEAR!”
Just then, I looked up and saw a grizzly bear ambling up the stream in our direction.
Immediately, I pulled my canister of bear spray out of its holder and pointed it toward the bear with my outstretched arm. The other painter with us did the same. At this point the Griz was no more than 20 feet away. My heart was thumping out of my chest! I knew, if he wanted to attack us he could have just leapt and been on us.

He sniffed at us for a while (it seemed like an eternity) and proceeded to continue ambling up the stream, which thankfully turned away from where we were.
It wasn’t until I knew we were out of danger that I realized, rather than whip out his bear spray, Tom whipped out his camera and took several photos of the bear.
What was he thinking?!!!! 

Anyway, Tom was nice enough to share a photo of our encounter with the Grizzly bear.

I decided to paint this painting to remind me of just how close, this Close Up and Personal wild experience was.

Howard Friedland

Here is another painting of Howard’s
Bull Market by Howard Friedland                                                            8.25 x 14.75 oil

NOTE: Howard’s painting “Bear Market” and “Bull Market” are heading to the stellar invitational American Miniatures Show opening February 11 at Settlers West Galleries in Tucson.  In a few weeks you will be able to see all the paintings on line at
 It is always a fantastic show!
See more of Howard Friedland’s paintings at

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