Art ~ Writing ~ Life

Steve Campbell's Blog

This is a re-post from my Facebook page, March 1, 2010.

In 1988, black bear weren’t a common sight around Corry, PA. I had caught a glimpse of one during the spring while I was on one of my many field hikes into the swamps in and around Corry. I was sketching a beaver dam when I saw the big bear ramble through less than 50 yards away. I stayed as still as possible for several minutes after it disappeared into the underbrush, then I disappeared in the opposite direction.

The sighting stayed with me throughout the summer; I purposely scanned the woods and waterways for another glimpse of the bear. I planned to photograph it, but we never crossed paths, although it may have been out there, nearby, out of sight, watching me. Swamps have a plethora of hiding places. That’s why deer take refuge in them during hunting season.

From this near encounter came the idea for my next painting.

The hardest thing for me as a painter is getting my signature right.

Although the painting looks done, I wasn’t happy with it. I changed my signature again and got rid of the halo around the front of the bear.

As you can see in the above photo, I glazed the water with Ultramarine Blue. I decided that it looked too “vivid” so I changed it back (see photo below). Now I had a finished painting. Here it is at the gallery, April 1989.

14 thoughts on “Evolution of a Painting

  1. Amy says:

    Great photos, Steve-o! I always like to hear the stories behind your artwork. …Oh! And winter’s coming up; you growing out your beard again? 😀


    1. Steve Campbell says:

      I didn’t always document my paintings, only a few back when I took my 35mm camera practically everywhere I went.
      As for the old gray beard, it ain’t what it used to be nearly 30 years ago… seen here in a photo from last year. I may grow it again.


    2. Lola says:

      Steve, I like it. You should grow it again. 🙂


    3. Amy says:

      Oh, I agree with Lola; definitely. 🙂


  2. chrisbkm says:

    Great post. Cool to see the evolution and hear the story.


    1. Steve Campbell says:

      Thanks Chris. I have another that I may find time to put together.


  3. Lola says:

    You are a true artist the way you turn murky swampland into a beautiful picture. And it was fun to see and read the process. Amazing.


    1. Steve Campbell says:

      Thanks, And not a swamp mosquito appears in my artwork. Well, except the ones that may have been mixed with the paint. Glad you liked.


  4. Lola says:

    Steve, I reblogged this at My Tangerine Days. ~Lola


  5. Lola says:

    Reblogged this on My Tangerine Days and commented:
    I met Steve when I was but a girl, back when I was in Pennsylvania visiting relatives for the summer. My aunt signed me up for a drawing class taught by Steve. His work is amazing, his humble personality endearing. When I lost my father, Steve was a dear friend via the Internet who kept me sane. I’ll always have a place in my heart for this guy.


  6. Hey!! I would like to nominate you for the Super-Sweet blogging award!!
    Here’s the link!!


    1. Steve Campbell says:

      Thank you.
      This comment got by me somehow, so my reply is a bit late.
      Thanks again.


  7. Fantastic post, Steve, I loved seeing the different stages of the painting. Beautifully realistic, especially the way the bear blends in with the brush he’s walking through. FWIW, I think ditching the Vivid Blue was absolutely the right decision. I go back and forth on such matters all the time myself, and I understand completely.

    Bit of a shock to see you with a beard. Well, after spending all that time in the wilderness scouting locations, I suppose it was inevitable… 😛

    I enjoyed Lola’s tribute to you as well. Well done, sir! 🙂


    1. Steve Campbell says:

      Thanks, Mark. I write the same way, sometimes taking hours to write one sentence. My wife insists I’m a perfectionist. Funny, I don’t feel perfect. 😀
      The beard was always a winter thing. Sometimes it doesn’t seem right when my face is bare and the countryside is swallowed with snow.


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