A well-known, widely collected painter of consummate skill, Bill is a brother of Carl Clark, one of the finest jewelers of all time, once again proving that genes really do count! This magnificent painting is truly awesome, in several ways. The size, of course, is immediately majestic, but this painting stops us in our tracks with its astonishing play of light, depth, realistic detail, and immediacy.
Both bold and delicate, the painting evokes the glorious beauty of nature and the wilderness, as well as the daunting, impressive power of the bear. Nature’s beauty is shown in the delicacy of the towering evergreens, floating in and out of the mist, and also the ethereal quality of the light. Sunbeams filter through the high clouds, outlining the bear and spotlighting the downed buck. Bears are highly respected for their power and hunting skill, which is honored here.
In contrast to the insubstantial fog swirling around the ghostly trees, and the mountains behind them, elements in the foreground are rendered in clear-cut, solid forms and sun-warmed color. The bear is a transitional figure between the pale neutrals of the background and the fresh, earthy foreground. Backlit by the sun, which is dissipating the mist, the bear is silvery, except for his massive face and paw. Meticulous detail gives everything a very lifelike texture: the fallen tree, the rocks, twigs, and lovely green plant life at the bottom of the painting; the bear’s thick pelt, the buck’s antlers, and the animal’s furry body, itself.
The transition from pale, pale off whites and greys at the top, to vibrant greens and tawny browns, at the bottom of the picture, is a gorgeous piece of painting. Dixon gives us the sense of solid ground at the bottom and the evanescent mist and sky at the top, without any feeling of imbalance. And the composition is equally well worked-out.
Notice how the antlers carry the dark and lighter greys up toward the tall tree on the right, which continues to draw the eye up to the horizontal clouds at the very top, where the sunbeams filtering through bring us down, once more. The vertical shape of the canvas is interrupted by horizontal lines at the top – clouds and jagged mountain range – and by the slanted tree trunk, the rock beneath it, the body of the deer, and the row of grasses, at the bottom.
Our eye is brought up from the bottom by the various sunlit twigs and little branches that reach upward, echoing the form of the antlers. The trees are feathered, like the fur of the bear, the ruff of the deer, and the grass; this also creates a general unity in the composition. There is also a wonderful sense of depth, so that we feel as if we are almost face to face with the bear, and the forest behind stretches off into the far distance.
Painting so masterful, and so realistic, that you can almost feel the damp of the morning (or evening), and experience the hush of the forest. The bear looks ready to defend his kill, or maybe he is merely curious. This phenomenal work celebrates nature and honors the bear. second only to man in hunting ability.