Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Fascination With Bighorn Sheep

With Bighorn, west of Banff , February 1973 

In September 1972, with some of our meager possessions in storage and the rest in our old Renault, Bill and I drove west (I call it immigrating from Ontario) thinking Kamloops would be our destination because it was halfway between the Rockies and the Pacific coast.  Falling in love with Banff and the mountains saw us cut the journey short.  We have remained in Alberta ever since.

I trust you'll enjoy seeing some of my favourite bighorn paintings ...

My first Bighorn painting   1973 oil   8" x 6"

Coming from the east I was familiar with deer and moose but the bighorn sheep is only a western  herbivore mammal and new to me. I was fascinated by their compact muscular bodies (only about 40 inches at the shoulder) and their wide-set peculiar shaped, rust coloured eyes.

The Ruling Monarch   1985 oil   14" x 18"

The rams are famous for their large, curled horns. These impressive growths can weigh up to 30 pounds.  They are a symbol of status and a weapon used in epic battles fighting for dominance or mating rights when males face each other, rear up on their hind legs, and hurl themselves at each other in charges of some 20 miles (32 kilometers) an hour.  Ewes also have horns, but they are smaller and much less curved.

Baby Bighorn    1986 watercolour   10.5" x 13.5"

On Golden Hill   1988 oil   12" x 16"

It had been a long time since I last painted them, and well, wildlife in general.  But in the past couple of years I've felt the urge again.  Here is my latest effort ...

Wild Thing   2011 oil   9" x 12"


  1. They're all amazing work, Alice, but I LOVE Wild Thing - it looks good enough to eat!

  2. Thanks, Win ... it's taken YEARS but I do think I have loosened up some!