Begin the Journey

Painting Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park

Published on October 12, 2009 under National Parks Posts
Painting Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park

“Yellowstone Bison” By Stefan Baumann

September 20, 2009

Our journey continued north into Yellowstone as we followed an old logging route.  We carefully towed our trailer through the forest, knowing that we risked the chance of breaking down in a very remote part of the country. The standing trees were so thick that it seemed impossible to find a space wide enough for the trailer to squeeze through. We finally reached the southern point of Yellowstone Lake, and found the West thumb of the Geyser Basin. There we discovered a herd of American bison grazing nearby, lingering as if they wanted me to paint them during our stay.  I captured the oldest male in the herd on my canvas.

Painting wildlife on location can be tricky. Wild animals are usually very poor models because they are unwilling to hold still for extended lengths of time.  If you paint animals that linger as cows, horses, or bison do, it is possible to compose and sketch your initial painting and capture the basic outline and essence of the animal on location.The finer details of the animal will come into focus once you begin painting.  Look very carefully as you are painting your sketch and you will find that all the detail information you need is right in front of your eyes, even though the animal’s pose may change.  Start by painting the animal’s eyes, and paint outwards to the head and then the body.If you enjoy painting wildlife and want to paint extraordinary studies of wild animals, it is important to learn how to paint them accurately by drawing them frequently.  Great portrait painters draw the human face and figure every day to hone their skill.The painters of domestic or wild animals must do the same if they want to excel.  However, if you only want to paint an occasional cow, you can be successful just by drawing what you see.


Plein air and alla prima artist Stefan Baumann, host of  the PBS painting series “The Grand View: America’s National Parks through the Eyes of an Artist” and author of “The Grand View: Observations Of Art and Nature,” travels in his vintage travel trailer painting America’s western landscape. Baumann paints outdoors with oils and canvas capturing stunning vistas, wildlife, western landscapes, National Parks and still life, thrilling art collectors throughout the world.  He has many international collectors acquiring his paintings as investments. His painting style is called Romantic Realism with Luminism and he the extraordinary way he captures the effect of light is a truly an American Style used to paint the Western Landscape.  He can be seen painting in Yellowstone, Yosemite and in the Grand Canyon. Baumann’s “how to paint” DVDs filmed on location in the National Parks are the very best on the market.

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