I have a menagerie of animals parading though my head nearly all the time lately. I'll just start by saying that.
But the bears hadn't arrived until I drove home from teaching in Bend the week before last. I'll also just put that out there.
The Santiam highway which connects the Central Oregon high desert with the North Central Willamette Valley by way of the Cascade Mountain range is one of the most familiar and beloved drives of mine. After teaching a workshop at A6, I drove home in the bright afternoon of the first day in March along that highway.
For the record, I didn't see any bears, but I was absolutely enchanted by the way the hills fold into the valley in the spring air. How the mountainsides layer upon themselves and present as deep green near the earth, then bright green where the sun hits, then steely blue where they hang out way above and beyond in the wispy altitude.
And that is how and why I needed to start on this print immediately, as soon as I could get back into my studio, why I needed to carve these hills and this bear waking up to spring.