Odd noises on the back porch woke my husband and I from slumber the other night but, too tired to investigate, we decided not to get up. The next morning, our visitor was all too clear—a swath of destruction lay scattered across the yard and a six-inch paw print marked the back steps. I figured black bears would wait until the snow melted and weather warmed before venturing out. But alas, we are all very much awake.

Tips and Techniques– Don’t be afraid to be bold in your sketchbook. Zooming in on a subject can add a sense of drama. Had I made a tiny sketch of a bear, it would have been less effective and less fun. If you typically do tiny (safe) sketches, try going bigger and bolder in the future.

58 Comments on “Woke

  1. Jean, I really enjoyed your “WOKE” bear this morning. You always seem to capture the moment artfully. it appears your hand injury has healed …your work and posts are appreciated. Thank you for the sharing.

    • Beware Cindy. I’m sure they use the stream corridor as a travel path and visit the yards and farm fields all along it. We had a few visits last year, too. They were around until about June.

      • Double yikes. I know my neighbors, Silkworths, have had them very close to their porch too. Eyes peeled!

  2. Fabulous job on the bear! Glad he visited your yard so that we got treated to another great post.

  3. Oh my!! What a gorgeous naughty bear!!
    Chuckling sympathetically over my morning coffee…

  4. Oh does this ever being back memories, and we kept the nearly totally destroyed bird feeder as a forever reminder. Bear are there, no matter how hard you stare ….. into the forest! This is an incredible bear and his size on the journal pages must represent the volume of night time noises you heard. They aren’t shy about announcing their presence. Wonderful, brilliant bear, Jean. And an excellent reminder to zoom in, even in small sketchbooks. Thanks!

  5. What a great sketch of the bear!
    And you are so right about making a larger sketch on a page and how it makes a difference!
    I did that without realizing it with a sketch of my old cat Callie. I didn’t realize how effective doing that is until seeing your bear.
    I hope your bear didn’t do too much damage and that it stays off of your porch from now on.
    I wonder if it was after bird seed.

    • PS – I’m on my phone and just now saw the rest of your page sketches. Of course, hungry bear- trash and bird seed were his late night snack. So sorry. Hope you can figure out a way to protect your bird feeders from being bear bait in the future.

    • Hi Dorothy- Thank goodness we didn’t have the bird seed barrel on the porch. They are definitely after that and they seemed to enjoy the compost, too…though I can’t imagine how hungry you’d have to be to eat anything in our pile.

  6. Oh, the bears are indeed awake and hungry! The large bear head is very effective alongside the meandering trail map of destruction. I do wonder how often eyes are watching us as we walk through the woods!

  7. Great sketch Jean. You’ve captured his head so well and your darks are so luscious! Hopefully, he/she moves on.

  8. I love this post. What a wonderful rendering of the bear!! And you didn’t even have to be there.
    Plus the use of “woke” the way it was meant to be. How clever.
    I saw a bear two weeks ago at Schodack Island State Park on my way in for my morning walk.
    Came home and took down the bird feeders.
    In all my years walking in the forest, I have never run into one. But when I lived in Earlton, I was walking around my yard ignoring the “squirrel” in the bushes and out came a black bear! He and I ran for our lives in different directions!! HA!

  9. Sorry this happened, Jean. Here in Texas, raccoons do a lot of damage to feeders. I do love your painting of the bear.

    • Thanks Peggy– Raccoons are out and about too, as are opossums and skunks. Mostly, I don’t want to know what’s out there at night, but we do occasionally see all of these nosing around our yard.

  10. Fantastic pages – the bear closeup illuminates the story. Bears maraud here in Redmond, Washington and raccoons (we think) invade my hummingbird feeders if I neglect to bring them in at night.

  11. This is fantastic. What colours did you use for his fur? He is gorgeous!!

    • Hi Mary- Colors for the bear: raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber (eye), ultramarine, ivory black, alizarin crimson. The blue/red/black combination lends variety to the fur, giving it some purple tones.

      • Thanks for sharing Jean. I love the rich variations – wish I could see it on paper. Pure magic!!

  12. Gorgeous, gorgeous bear!! Oh yes, ours are on the move too, here in Roberts Creek BC – if the skunk cabbage is up, so are the bears!! I love them so much….

      • Now the hard part begins again – protecting them. Here in the Creek we try so hard to avoid them being killed – No compost, no garbage out except on garbage day, no bird feeders (the birds are fine from now on) — humans are the problem, not the beautiful creatures. I can hardly wait to see how the mother and last years cubs are doing — soon they will be through my yard!!!

  13. What a beautiful bear!! Love the close up, and the colors are just gorgeous. So much variation in the darks, great texture, and that lovely nose and warm brown eye! This page goes way up there in the favorites (though there are many, lol). The look of intent with the nose leading the way adds energy, and the title and path of destruction bring wry humor. I’m sorry for the added labor to deal with this, but I sure do appreciate the creativity it led to 🙂

    • Thanks Cathy! This page was the best outcome of the visit. Colors for the bear: raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber (eye), ultramarine, ivory black, alizarin crimson. The blue/red/black combination lends variety to the fur, giving it some purple tones and ultramarine granulation. I did several layers to build up the colors.

      • that begs one more question: do you use the original formulation of alizarin, or one of the newer “permanent” ones? The old one is such an unbeatable red, but that fugitive aspect throws a wrench in things…

      • I use a permanent alizarin crimson. For sketchbook work, you might be able to get away with the original, since it won’t be exposed to light.

      • Thanks for your responses, Jean, and the inspiration

  14. Your journal spreads are always wonderful, but this bear! He/she is just glorious! And I love how you depicted the “trail of destruction” too. Looking at the beautiful way you painted the bear brings a question to mind….do you just find an image on the internet to draw/paint from in a situation like this? Thank you for always sharing your work with us! I still am wishing for a book replicating your journal spreads some day. 🙂

    • Thanks Diane! For this type of subject where I can’t paint from life, yes, I seek out a free photo sharing site and look for one or more images to use as reference. Different views can be helpful, since lighting effects the colors so much and you may need more information than a single photo provides.

  15. Wow. I thought the squirrels and white-collar doves were a problem. I’ve got a better perspective now. And such a lovely sketch!

  16. Yikes!!! I find these big guys rather terrifying….but it sure makes for a GREAT journal page!!! Stunning!

  17. Bad boy! Or girl! What an exciting sketch you’ve made though, with such a captivating facial expression and then all the destruction illustrated. Brilliant!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: