One of the elk who decided to critique Jeff Allenâs painting
West Thumb Geyser Basin, by Jeff Allen, oil, 8 x 16 in.
âThe effects of cystic fibrosis allowed bacterial infection to scar my son Jasonâs lungs, thus decreasing oxygen flow into his blood,â Jeff Allen says. âBefore he underwent a double lung transplant surgery, I ask him where he wanted to go when it was all over and he felt better. âYellowstone.â was his answer, so we made that trip from September 4-7, 2012 and camped in a tent every night.â
Jeff says with joy, âBefore the surgery, Jason could not walk 30 feet without problems, but during our recent trip to Yellowstone we were able to hike in the mountains without any problems. In the mornings, he would fish while I would plein air paint. On the second morning of painting I was working on the West Thumb Geyser Basin when two elk decided to make their way down to my location. The female elk wandered down the hill behind me while I was painting, and then shortly afterwards the bull came down. He got about 20 feet away, so I stopped painting, walked around the truck, and opened the passenger side door just in case I needed an exit. He stopped within 15 feet of my easel, looked at the painting, and bugled. Then he proceeded to get on with his pursuit of the female elk. I went back to finishing the painting. It was a wonderful trip. The days were warm and pleasant. In the evening hours we could hear the elk bugling all night long. Some evenings we could hear the wolfs howling along with the elk. When the howling and the bugling were at the same time, it felt a little eerie. Life was good in every possible respect.
âJason recovered from the surgery better than we expected and he is currently working a regular job, something he couldnât do before the transplant. Next year he would like to go to college. He can now participate in activities a healthy 29-year-old can do, and I feel as though I got my son back.â For more information on the Iowa artist, visit his page on Facebook.