Bison; Buffalo of the Plains
told to us by high plains artist Lesley Schatz of Canada
We lived close enough to the Sweetgrass Hills in Montana for my Dad to use them to predict the weather. They also provided a huge expanse for a fertile imagination to grow wild and free. Every coulee in our area of the prairies was a mystery for me to enjoy. Every living creature scraping a living through the dust, the mud, the blizzards and the blue skied “I can see for miles” warm spring days instilled my respect. I loved the prairies and still do. The few miles from our place in Canada across the border to the States held for me lands filled with outlaws, buffalo and ancient peoples all filling my childhood imagination with the magic that only wide open spaces can.
Years pass, too fast it seems and I look back on my wonderful chance of living near the sacred spaces and the privilege of being allowed to roam untethered. That freedom allowed me to study the lives of the ancient herds and try to celebrate their existence in paint.
The photos of works in this album are from 2017 to the big blue portrait that I just finished today of Full Moon Boy, December 18, 2021.
I had a dream many years ago about painting a huge herd of plains Bison and could hear their grunts and snorts as they moved… smelled their dust and sweat and actually felt the colours in their thick skins and heavy hides. That dream would not leave me and haunted me till my children were all grown up and I was alone. Then I could finally start. And I did.
The plains need Bison to maintain its ecological health and the world needs bison to fulfill an older deeper meaning than we can comprehend. I see a future for them and hope I live long enough to be part of their return. Then my dream will be worth it and not just painted on canvas from a distant long ago dream but in actuality recreating the ancient paths along the Frenchman River from the hills above and beyond.