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Points Up, a Contemporary Wildlife Painting.

Points Up, a modern painting of a Shiras Moose

Points Up. 36x48 acrylic and oil on canvas $4000

I find that moose are an interesting subject to paint. Moose have also become very popular for many of my collectors and art patrons. I really liked the composition of this painting with the points of the antlers being up and looking like a crown.


I really enjoyed the colors in this piece. I tried to make the colors to be compelling and interesting, from the hot warm tones to the cool shadow tones and the white shapes.

I use warm colors often in my work. I find that the warm colors seem inviting and have a power to themselves.

I believe my use of warm colors stems from a science class that I had in Junior High. We studied light in the class. I was fascinated by light. We learned that light had different wavelengths. Light also exhibited particle properties with photons. Light had so much power and color it was really fun to have the subject of light opened up to my mind.

With the discovery of the different wavelengths of light I found that there was a spectrum of light. The light spectrum went from one end of red to the other end of purple. I also learned that there were wavelengths of light that were beyond the human visual spectrum. Just really cool stuff.

We also studied that what humans perceive as light is reflected light from a source. So, when you see a color the rest of the colors of our visual spectrum is absorbed by the object. So in actuality when you see the color yellow you are actually seeing the reflected light in the yellow part of the spectrum.

Our sun has a warmer tone to the light it emits. Some stars are bluer in color and some stars are more yellow or reddish in color. Stars vary in the color of light that they emit. Due to the fact that our sun is a warmer or yellow-orange light emitter, I often will paint in the warmer tones because our natural light tends to be in that part of the spectrum.

What kind of Moose is it?

Some people think that a moose is a moose is a moose. Meaning that there is just one kind of moose spread out all over the place from Alaska to Utah to Maine. This is not the actual fact. There are many different kinds of moose around.

A great website describing all the moose varieties found in North America is here.

There are 4 main varieties of Moose in North America, the Eastern Moose, the North Western Moose, the Shiras Moose, and the Alaskan Moose. These are the main varieties of moose that I focus on to paint. It would be fun to paint some European varieties sometime. There are about 4 different varieties of moose on the European continent.

This particular moose was one that I observed in Utah hiking in the Wasatch Mountain range. The variety of moose in Utah is the Shiras moose. Shiras moose are becoming more populated in the intermountain west.

Why paint moose in this modern way?

I choose to paint in a modern expressive style. I find that this suits me and my focus in art. I enjoy the subject matter of nature, wildlife, and rural life. I find these subjects to be thought provoking. In my artwork I use subjects such as moose in a symbolic way.

I like the idea of a moose thriving in the wild. Facing conditions of challenge with a sense of normalcy and ease. Strength and honesty come to mind as well. With a contemporary expressive style, I can emphasize these ideas and feelings.

I believe that my modern take on painting gives a traditional subject new life and energy. I feel that the expressive nature of my work adds a new and different voice to the art world, a voice of authenticity, interest, and a unique energy.

Media and process used in creating this painting.

I began this painting as I do most of my paintings with a highly textured gesso ground on canvas. I get the texture from an old brush and apply thick gesso in random strokes. I find the random high texture a good variable to add spontaneity and interest to my work.

I used acrylic washes and created an abstract color field of burnt sienna, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, and cadmium red. I enjoy the use of cadmium colors. The cadmium colors have a rich brilliance that is great to work with.

I let the acrylic paint drip and wander all over the surface. I enjoy allowing the paint to just mix and do whatever it wants without any control.

Once the abstracted beginning is dry, I begin to add my more controlled paint to the mix. I wanted to paint a profile of a Shiras moose. I had taken some photos of this moose and had some great reference to work from.

I blocked in and drew the moose with acrylic paint. After the acrylic paint dried, I covered the entire surface of the painting with a medium that would help oil paint adhere to the acrylic paint. You can use oil paint on top of acrylic paint, but not the other way around. Acrylic on top of oil paint will create some strange pockets of water that can grow mold and lessens any archival properties of the painting.

I finished the painting in oil paint. I have found oil paint to be a great medium to work with. It maintains color and value when you work with it. Acrylic paint can shift in color and value as it dries. I also like the luminosity of oil paint. Oil paint allows the light to reflect differently than acrylic paint, water color, or pastel.

Meaning of the painting.

As always, I invite anyone to bring their own interpretation or meaning to the painting. I hesitate to tell any meaning or interpretation of the piece. I will elaborate a little, but please feel free to bring your own ideas along.

I view the moose as a strength in the midst of a vibrant autumn. Lots of things going on with rich color and textures of the fall. I see a calm quiet mindset. I feel strength in the moose with oncoming of winter. A quiet strength in his eye.

The points of his antlers are up. It feels like a crown of royalty to me. The moose is one of a commanding presence and strength.

If that interpretation gets a little too much for anyone, it’s a pretty fun painting with great color. Don’t stress the deep meaning, just give the painting a chance and you might find it interesting to look at.

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This painting is available. It is 36x48 inches acrylic and oil on gallery wrapped canvas, $4000.00. Just contact me through my website, or email me at