Cheek To Cheek by Carl Brenders

CHEEK TO CHEEK

The ancestor of our domestic dogs, the wolf, is a fascinating animal. In many places in the U.S. and Canada, wolf lovers have created wolf sanctuaries. The animals can live there in semi-freedom and can do their thing. Those are the ideal places to do fieldwork, since seeing wolves in the wild is a very difficult thing. The necessary patience and time would keep me away from my studio too long. Several acres of land is enough for wolves to behave in a natural way, and their social behavior is easy to observe from the fence. One day of patience gets you a lot of information. For hours, nothing special happens, but suddenly a member of the pack does something that the alpha male doesn’t agree with. That’s the moment the camera can record interesting images. Everything happens fast; the impressions settle in your mind, and the camera has recorded fur texture and anatomy. Sketching is impossible. Action scenes go too fast. In the studio, one can manipulate the images into a nice composition and the painting comes through.

When I do a painting like this, I like to feel as a member of the wolf pack. Painting close-ups gives me that special feeling.

In this painting, I wanted to show the intense relationship between the alpha pair of the pack. It reminds me of a feeling that I know so well: the “cheek to cheek” feeling.

— Carl Brenders