Nature is inspiration for so much of my artwork, but for about a week I haven’t spent much time outdoors. There has been smoke in the air from forest fires in Washington and in B.C., one as close as Little White outside Kelowna. Today finally there was rain, and it cleared the air. The forest was dark, wet and very beautiful when I walked in from the main entrance just before dinner.
I had not gone far at all before I heard the crack of a piece of wood breaking just off to one side of the path. Deer don’t ever make that sound. I jingled my keys and kept looking to the right as I walked just a little further.
Just off the path, I could clearly see a bear just sitting there quietly watching me. I was very close, and I was a little concerned that she might not be alone. I backed away a few steps, then turned to walk back towards the park entrance. It was quite well disguised among the trees; but clearly sitting up tall with two round, widely spaced, furry ears looking straight at me with what appeared to be calm interest. I was alone so I didn’t stay long for a closer look, but I think it was a yearling or a relatively young female, still quite a good size though, with her head and shoulders above the tall grasses and bushes in her sitting position. I feel honoured to have been so close to this amazing creature, but I don’t think I will be sketching alone in the woods in the evenings for a few days! Apparently there is also a mama black bear with two little cubs in the area.
I did not have a camera, so I do not have a photo. I could probably go back out with a camera tomorrow but I don’t know if that is a good idea. The bears are minding their own business, so better left alone. This one did not seem to threaten my own safety, but usually too much attention from people ends up being bad news for bears. You can’t recreate a moment like that, and I am just grateful that I saw her today.
My outdoor sketching plans are off for this evening, but I will let this bear be inspiration for the colour scheme in a design I am working on. The colour of velvety cinnamon, this beautiful animal belonged there, with the rich siennas and deep greens of the wet forest.
This image shows a yearling with similar fur, ears and face, but the one I saw was seated facing towards me, and possibly a little larger than this. I have posted this image as a record and reminder to help remember and describe the bear I saw. This photo is added here with permission from the photographer Denise Dupras – www.onewomansnature.net