- Russian Brown Bear
- (scroll down for description)
- 48" x 72", acrylic on canvas, 2009
- If the bald eagle is the symbol for America and the beaver is the symbol for Canada, I have always thought of the bear as the symbol for Russia. Actually, the Eurasian brown bear is the same species as the American grizzly bear. However, this species comes in many different races or subspecies ranging from almost black to blond. The Kodiak of Alaska and Kamchatka bears can be up to 1500 lbs. In Russia these animals may still be found in the Ural Mountains and throughout the Taiga.
All through history large predators have been considered serious competitors and threats to humans. Of course, because of our weapons we have usually won the disputes. Therefore for at least a century bears have been eliminated from most of their ancient range.
I have always greatly admired and respected these animals with their handsome sense of power. I have seen them many times in the wilds of North America. In Alaska, I experienced a mock attack by a "spoiled" bear at Salmon River.
In this painting, I made the animal almost bigger than the canvas, bringing it too close for comfort. The bear seems to be walking out of the mist of a salmon river and turns to notice the viewer at the last moment. It will either attack or pass on by. That lingers as the mystery.