moose is an intimidating animal. A big bull is huge
- weighing up to half a ton
and standing up to seven-and-a-half
feet tall at the shoulder - but is amazingly
swift and graceful
when moving through thick forestand underbrush.
Very often I have seen moose immersed in a lily-clad lake. The water lily
root is one of the moose's favoritefoods. The big head reaches down,
totally submerges, fills up its semi-prehensile mouth with roots from the
bottom of the muck and brings them up for chewing. A typical sight is the
dripping emergence of a head with antlers festooned with lilies and other
aquatice vegetation. I have been in moose country very often
and usually see their tracks and other signs. I assume that they see
or hear\me first and keep their distance.
One should always treat moose with respect. Most moose that I have seen
have been from a safe distance.I've only had one encounter with a moose,
and that was with a cow and her calf. the cow didn't want me in
the neighborhood and came straight toward me. This was somewhat
disconcerting since I am usually tryingto get close to animals - not the reverse.
I was well aware that the moose's method of attack is to rear up
and slash out with a large cloven hoof. Luckily I backed off, trying to keep trees
between the two of us. The
cow was satisfied and returned to her calf.
In this painting I tried to give the feeling of a powerful bull which is too close
for comfort. I left the scenedeliberately ambiguous as to whether this is a
charge or a bluff or simply the thrashing of antlers to getrid of some
bothersome twigs. There has recently been a light snowfall. Some of the
bits of snow arebeing
scattered. I intentionally kept my technique of painting
open and somewhat loose, partly becausethis style actually increases the
sense of movement and dynamism in the painting and partly because
I was simply having fun with the strokes of paint and liked them that way."
Challenge Bull Moose - Robert Bateman - 1989, 48" x 72", Oil