bison, plein air painting

We love to hear from the Plein Air Today community! The following is part of a series that spotlights an artist who loves painting outdoors. Today’s feature is on Albert Oleschuk.

A few years ago the Society of Western Canadian Artists (SWCA) had a paint-out at Elk Island Park. The park is about 75 square miles, and they raise an average of 400 Plains Bison, or buffalo, there at a time.

I was with another SWCA member in a Toyota van. We had a problem when we couldn’t find any buffalo, so we got help from a ranger and had to drive to another section of the park to where they were grazing. We pulled up close and I jumped out to get some photographs before we started painting.

Suddenly there was a loud grunting sound – there were two bulls going at it head-to-head! The Ranger said that they were in heat, but it was the wrong time of the season. All of a sudden the herd came running toward us. I heard, “Get in! Get in! We got to get outta here now!” The herd ran right past the van – within a foot of it. Holy smoke! We were gone also instantly; no time for anything. We got down the trail and the Ranger said he’d never seen that happen before this time of year. That was the highlight of our paint-out for the day.

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