• Kathy Winkler Studio

Painting Grizzly Bears – Part 1


I have not painted bears in quite some time, but the craving to do so has finally moved the idea to the forefront of my schedule. A number of years ago, we visited Bear Country near Rapid City, SD where I had to opportunity to photograph a grizzly relaxing in his pond. Separately we visited another “zoo” with bears and I took more pictures.


The blocked-in canvases illustrated in this video represent a couple of those photos. As you can see, I have blocked in the profile of both bears, starting with dark washes of acrylic colors of burnt umber, black and a little purple. I’ll leave some of the black as I bring up layers of hair to lighter shades of browns. In some places, I will capture the highlights of water where the hair is matted and shiny.


I plan to show the bear on the right with a pensive look as he is biting at his nails. He will also be wet and there will be water dripping lightly onto the shiny beige rock where he is resting. I am thinking about painting the water in the background a light blue to contrast with the bear’s luxurious coat showing a mixture of browns, a little purple, and maybe a bit of rust and tan to complete his look. Sounds good to me so far, but I’ll probably just let the painting fall out from my fingers and be surprised.


The bear on the left is a Bear Country bear. I hope to make him intimidating and powerful looking as he swims towards the viewer. I am going to paint the water a light blue on the right side of him. I also plan on painting bubbles in strategic places to give the painting some motion.


I will be bringing you along in future videos as I capture what I envision for these two great bears.