Click here to watch the time-lapse video of my 30 minute pastel in preparing for the 2015 Bucking Horse Sale’s “Quick Draw” event.
This bull is a favorite from my time on the range, and he was a successful subject at this years Quick Draw event at the Miles City, Montana Bucking Horse Sale. This event raises funds for the Waterworks Art Museum and its artists. It’s a very popular event featuring around 20 some local artists, and the Quick Draw is the most favorite event of many of the attendees. The Bucking Horse Sale draws people from around the world and is known as one of the last classic western events to be held in our country.
This pastel is of a purebred bison and I’ve looked forward to depicting him in my artwork for some time now. I met this bull in 2009 when our family moved to a bison ranch south of Dillon, Montana. It was one of the oldest and largest bulls on the ranch, weighing well over 2,000 pounds. Due to his old age, he was well acquainted with the ranch. And, because he knew every gate and corner on the prairie, he served as a perfect babysitter for the newly arriving yearlings on the ranch.
When I knew him, his life was somewhat uneventful, so I thought. He peacefully roamed the prairie, crowded daily by hundreds of the more insecure steers who held strongly to their herding instincts. On one occasion, my colleague Jaron and I, introduced a younger up-and-coming “babysitting bull” into this herd. From the second the new bull stepped off the trailer, that old bull didn’t blink before thundering 200 yards across the pasture directly into the intruder’s horns. A battle ensued instantly with dust kicked every which way as the beasts tried to turn their opponent, exposing their vulnerable ribs for a decisive and sometimes deadly blow. As we left the pasture for the pecking order to work itself out, there was no mistaking that the ol’ babsitter hadn’t lost a step from his glory days.
The following day, the new bull stood soberly grazing a very respectful distance away from the old bull. Shortly thereafter, I took some reference photos of the old bull to capture the look of a timeless resilience and strength, which I felt in his presence. He is one of the many inspiring creatures reared by this prairie that we too are living on, and I am sure not to soon forget it.