Artist Mark Richards has long been fascinated by the majesty
of bears. The avid outdoorsman and photographer has witnessed
hundreds of black bears over the years, but he’s kept his distance,
instead focusing on the landscapes where they live. Richards’
photo-stenciled piece “Cheakamus Lake Trail” depicts one of
the last undisturbed old-growth forests in the Sea to Sky area.
Western hemlocks, Douglas firs, red cedars and Sitka spruce are
all on display with wonderful light filtering in along the lake. It’s
quite common to see black bears in this area.
“With my new telephoto lens, this might be the year I capture
an image of a bear that would be a worthy addition to my
collection,” Richards says.
But again, the bear chooses us. Painter Sharon Smith has lived
among Whistler’s black bears for a quarter of a century, which
is evident in her observation about how bears are a barometer
for Whistler’s balance or imbalance between nature and
development. The graduate of the Academy of Art College in
San Francisco provides a unique perspective through her oil and
acrylic portraits, granting onlookers the rare opportunity to look
a bear directly in the eye.
North Star – Jon Fathom – Fathom Stone Art Gallery
Undercover-Bear Cub – Sharon Smith – Mountain Galleries
A Watchful Gaze – Sharon Smith – Mountain Galleries
“It’s about when you see a bear, and the bear really sees you,”
Smith says, speaking of her works entitled “A Watchful Gaze”
and “Undercover – Bear Cub,” which are currently on display at
Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. “What
are you two thinking about each other?”
The idea behind the paintings is a beautiful one. Two thoughts
are of equal importance in a shared space. The bear has found the
artist, and the artwork in turn finds us, leaving us with a final
question. The bear has chosen us: What will we do with this