The North American Bison once roamed the plains, and up into Canada, in the millions. They were nearly exterminated by the Buffalo hunters in the mid to late 1800s, and only a few survived. Fortunately conservation efforts mean there are a few moderate sized, protected herds. The plains Indians, the most numerous and warlike who were nomadic, in particular relied on the Buffalo for almost all their needs and this loss brought them to the edge of starvation, and was the key factor in their eventual subjugation. Not all Indians relied on the Buffalo to such an extent, such as the even more warlike Apaches, however other tribes would venture onto the plains to hunt them, although this was dangerous given the hostility of the plains tribes to intruders.
Male Bison - 16" x 12" Strathmore Aqua Cold Press 140lb.
As readers of this blog will know I like animal subjects and continue to look for interesting subjects. My approach here was to do the drawing first, as well as I'm able. This involves much rubbing out and study before I get it completed to my satisfaction. Not perfect but then I don''t aim for a very realistic to super-realistic image. Studying the subject the only areas of real detail were the eyes, mouth and horns so they were painted as carefully as I'm able. The rest was completed over two or three days after leaving time for reflection at each stage. The final few touches were done today trying to avoid over working. I'm quite happy with the result.
Colours used were Ultramarine Blue full strength or mixed with Translucent Brown in various combinations, more blue, more brown. Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Cerulean Blue, Turquoise (Lukas PB16), Quinacridone Gold (Daniel Smith PO49), Quinacridone Burnt Orange (Daniel Smith PO48) and a little Raw Umber and Gold Ochre (W & N PY43). Various brushes, all round sables, apart from a Rosemary comber, from size 14 to 4.
You may note the paper is the highly acclaimed Strathmore Aqua. Claims that this is the 'best' watercolour paper are a little over the top. I like it a lot but -in my opinion - Waterford High White is just as good. The prices per sheet are similar, at leat in the UK.