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Icon – Alaskan Brown Bear: The Story Behind the Painting

By November 7, 2023Adventures
Icon - Alaskan Brown Bear Print

I slowly pushed my boat up the small serpentine creek in Western Alaska with my friend and mentor, Eldridge Hardie, in the bow. As quietly as possible, I’d poke the front of the boat around the inside of the next bend, and then wait as we looked ahead for rising fish. Usually, our patience was rewarded. If nothing fed on top, El would begin prospecting, casting his dry fly to likely spots. The fishing had been good, with a lot of big arctic grayling from the deep corner pools, and a few nice rainbows from the faster runs.

We were a mile or so up the creek, just below a high bank when I heard a couple of cloven animals running through the brush. I expected to see a cow moose and her calf cross the stream, hopefully above or below us, and not over the steep bank to our immediate left.

The moose chose not to cross, however, and angled away from the river. A minute or two later another animal followed, but the cadence was different, and the hair on the back of my neck stiffened.

The big brown bear crested the bank, looking for the dinner that had just escaped its pursuit. From our angle, down on the water, it looked huge. When I banged on the side of the boat and yelled to let it know we were human, the bear stood to its full height and looked enormous!

In a few seconds, which seemed much longer, the bear realized that we weren’t a couple of moose and ambled off in the direction of his prey.

“Let’s take a break for lunch,” I suggested.

“Do you think he’s left?” asked El.

“Let’s hope so!” I replied.

Icon – Alaskan Brown Bear  •  36 x 30 inches  •  Oil on Canvas
– Also available as a fine art print –


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