The Grizzly Effect
31″ x 22″ original acrylic painting
Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing this original painting.
This painting represents the first in a series of new artwork I’ll be creating based on my recent 2016 wildlife expedition to the Katmai Coast in Alaska.
While stationed on one of the tidal flats, I had the immense pleasure of observing the coastal brown bears relentlessly marching up and down the rivulets of the glacial streams — both in front of and behind me — as they searched for salmon. They use their eyesight to spot the salmon (in this case, chum salmon) and when they do, they lunge on it, pinning it to the river bed with their massive hook-like claws. Then, they plunge their heads underwater to grab the salmon securely in their jaws, followed by a burst to the water’s surface — their heads drenched and water pouring off everything. It was very exciting to witness this over and over again, and this is the exact moment I’ve tried to capture in this painting.
When the salmon are plentiful, the bears usually eat just the most prime parts of the fish — the head, the roe, the skin and tail — leaving the rest for the bald eagles and seagulls. When the salmon are more scarce like this year, however, the bears consume every little bit of the salmon to ensure they get the vital fats and protein they need to thrive.
Many people are curious as to what the difference is between Alaska’s brown bears and grizzly bears. According to biologists, the difference is their diet. If bears have salmon in their diet, they’re brown bears. If they don’t, they’re grizzly bears. Interesting!
I chose the name for this painting “The Grizzly Effect” because I thought it described well both the look of the bear in this moment of feeding frenzy and the look of the fish with the glistening water on it in the sun.