White on White: Arctic Wolf’s Coat Looks Better on Him

whiteonwhiteMy latest watercolor painting was inspired by an arctic wolf whom I photographed at Lakota Wolf Sanctuary many years ago. While the arctic wolf is not “on the brink,” as are many wolves in the  US, they are still threatened by humans. Climate change and industrialization both affect their habitat, and hunters pursue them for their beautiful coats…which personally, I think look much better on the wolf!

Remember, wolves are essential to the environment. They help maintain the balance by keeping grazing herd populations under control, which in turn allows vegetation to grow, helping to minimize erosion, and on and on.

And, they are spectacular!

Why Is the Big Wolf Bad?

I grew up reading stories about the big bad wolf terrorizing sweet little pigs and eating grandma, and yet, I never developed a fear of them. The fact is, I also grew up with large, fuzzy dogs who gave me a love for all things canine…includng the big bad wolf. I wonder, though, where the hatred so many people have for wolves comes from. Why is the bad wolf a central figure in so many tales? Why do we hunt them to near extinction? We love our dogs, but hate their closest relative…why? I am always inspired by their grace, their love, their beauty. They need to be cherished…they need to be saved!

"Shadow Dancer" Watercolor on paper, 9" x 11" 2014

“Shadow Dancer” Watercolor on paper, 9″ x 11″ 2014

Watercolor Painting of a Wolf Stopping to Drink

Watercolor Painting of a Wolf Stopping to Drink

Waterstop, 9″ x 12″, watercolor on paper, 2013
Sold as a benefit for MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue

A Color Palette Inspired by My Daughter

I was inspired by my daughter’s use of color in Foo Foo Dane. So, today I committed to really expand my use of color. I picked two images from my “comfort zone,” a wolf and an owl, and filled my palette with color! I painted the background and the bright, broad colors of the wolf first. While that was drying, I worked on the owl. I finished them up together, moving back and forth between them. I like the slightly surreal feeling of both. I’m not completely happy with the finer details of the wolf and the owl’s eyes feel a bit flat (I’ve added more yellow since this photo…it’s drying now) but overall, I think my experiment was a success.

"Athena Paints the Night" watercolor on paper, 9" x 12", 2013

“Athena Paints the Night” watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″, 2013

"Fire Wolf" watercolor on paper, 9" x 12", 2013

“Fire Wolf” watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″, 2013

What Big Eyes You Have 28:365

Day 28 of my one a day resolution: “What big eyes you have, Grandma!” Those famous words uttered by Little Red Riding Hood would make you think that a wolf’s eyes are somehow absurdly large. I think the truth is that they are unusually enticing. Or is the word haunting? Nothing communicates the essence of the wolf as concisely as the eyes. They can be gentle and docile, sharp and penetrating, curious and playful, or intense and calculating. The eyes are where you can see the wolf’s intelligence and get a small glimpse into his soul. When I paint or draw a wolf, I try to capture the flame that flickers within the eyes. Sometimes it takes only a splash of color and sometimes, acute attention to detail. But always, it’s all in the eyes.

Pastels drawing of a wolf

Quick Soft-Pencil Sketch of a Howling Wolf 3:365

One a Day 3:365

One a day resolution day 3: I did a quick sketch of a wolf. It feels a little stiff. I’m not sure all of the proportions are quite right. I was experimenting with gesturing in detail without getting tight. For the most part I think if I cropped it differently, eliminating some of the back, I would be happier with the overall composition. I do like the softness of the mouth and chest.