Gary Geraths likes to travel light when he’s plein air painting, and that means no easel. He sits down and starts. That puts him next to many other species.

Lead Image: “Beavertail and Brush, San Antonio Cyn,” by Gary Geraths, 2015, gouache, 6 x 4 in.

“I was out yesterday bushwhacking through the undergrowth in the foothills below Mt. Baldy, looking for areas of trees and undergrowth with different shapes, edges, values, and contrasts,” says Geraths. “I found a nice place with a bit of clearance but with a big thicket behind me. I was working on my second painting when off in the distance a fire engine was heading somewhere, siren wailing away. I heard a rustling behind me and turned around and saw a mother coyote and then her three cubs emerge from their hidden den and start counter-baying at the fire truck. The mom stood at attention with a constant howling and the cubs ran around with broken yelps and screeches. They saw me sitting but frankly couldn’t care less. In fact, one of the cubs wanted to nurse, but mom was having none of it. After a couple of minutes they grew tired of watching the dopey painter, sniffed around a bit, gave another yelp, and took off weaving through the brush.”

Geraths reports that he has seen many critters from his low vantage point, painting on the ground, including bear, bison, bighorn sheep, deer, and elk.


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