DOUBLE DARE

On a trip through Yellowstone National Park, I witnessed a wonderful scene of a mother black bear with two cubs. Mother was eating berries, and the kids were playing as most kids do. They found all kinds of interesting things to play with. I was not close enough to see what those things were. Unfortunately. I didn’t have my camera with me. What a frustration this was! When I was back with my camera, the bears had moved away, plus a park ranger arrived and kept people away from the bears. No way to explain that I was a wildlife artist and wanted to paint this — no exceptions! When so many people come so close to a mother bear with cubs, the rangers get very nervous. Accidents with bears are no publicity for the park.

This all happened on the road, where I left my camera in the car. A line of stopped cars means there is some animal to see. I thought it was another elk or a moose, and I already have hundreds of elk and moose photographs.

The scene was so exceptional and the impression so strong that I wanted to transmit it into a painting as soon as possible.

Bears with cubs are extremely dangerous. Watching them from the road is the safest way. Such an encounter on a hiking trip in the field could lead to a dramatic end.

It is fun to do fieldwork with young bears in game farms where they are familiar with people and are ready to perform.

— Carl Brenders