Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bear Stories

The Bears Have Returned

Sometime after my mother died in 2012 my sisters witnessed the first bear on the  mountain where they live since the 1960s. Development, logging and hunting had just about wiped them out. The closest thing we came to spotting one  was a Newfoundland dog, who surprisingly has the exact same shine to its black coat as a very healthy black bear and looks at a distance about the same size.
"In the Tall Grass"
5 by 7 inches

In the last three years bear populations have been increasing like crazy in urban areas. People like green spaces and even though areas like Alexandria, Virginia and Fairfax County have been fully developed for years, the bears, deer and even beavers have made a comeback in the green spaces. Of course that causes traffic issues and endangers both the animals and the people. So authorities periodically have hunts to relocate troublesome bears to the mountains of Virginia. The thinking is that they  will not be able to return to their former home.

Trouble is the relocation is also causing problems. Bears need space. Bears need a food source. And putting a bear in the wild after it has learned to eat at McDonald's is about the same as putting a person out in the wild to learn to eat garden grown foods, drink fresh water etc. The bears have developed a taste for the good life and they bring that habit with them to the country and the parks.

Thus there seems to be a growing abundance of black bears who not only have no fear of humans, love McDonald's french fries.. but they also have a taste for bird seed and seed feed for livestock.   Thus the problem. And thus the inspiration for the little watercolor series I am doing of relocated bears.

The anecdotes  that inspired the series are from my friend.  She and her husband have property bordering Passage Creek. Passage creek is a main tributary of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. My best guess is the bears over crowding in The George Washington National Forrest is driving the bears to follow the creek out of the Forrest and into farmed and rural developments to find new food and territories.

I don't usually use bears for my subject matter so I am in the middle of  learning process. It is always fun to try new things.  The bear series will be offered  soon so keep watching my Every Day Art shop in Etsy: LindaLMartin.etsy.com  or email me at info@llmartin.com

“In The Tall Grass”
by Linda L Martin
Original Watercolor  5 by 7 inches

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Linda L Martin © 2016
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Questions about portraits please email me info@llmartin.com

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