Ed­ward Aldrich

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Into the fray

Ed­ward Aldrich’s wildlife paint­ings do more than simply trans­fer photo to can­vas. While su­perbly pho­to­re­al­is­tic, his an­i­mals are also deeply ex­pres­sive, their per­son­al­i­ties per­me­at­ing the two-di­men­sional space and con­nect­ing with view­ers on a hu­man level. The artist trav­els to var­i­ous lo­ca­tions to ob­serve the wildlife he paints, some­times go­ing into the wild and some­times to cap­tive en­vi­ron­ments like sanctuarie­s, tak­ing ref­er­ence pho­tos and of­ten get­ting what some might feel is too close for com­fort to the an­i­mals them­selves.

Oddly enough, he ex­plains, it’s ac­tu­ally in these cap­tive en­vi­ron­ments that he’s able to dive more deeply into the per­son­al­i­ties of the an­i­mals and form a con­nec­tion with them. “It’s such a mirac­u­lous thing, and I want to try to im­bue the paint­ings with that emo­tion,” he says. This is a cor­ner­stone of his art­work.

When work­ing on a piece, he finds him­self fo­cus­ing in­tently on the tex­tures of the fur or the glassi­ness in a beast’s eyes. “I look for how I can more ac­cu­rately de­pict these won­der­ful nu­ances in the face and the body…the more ac­cu­rate I am in de­pict­ing my feel­ing of the an­i­mals, hope­fully that ex­pres­sion will come through.”

Moun­tain Trails Gallery in Jack­son Hole, Wyoming, hosts an ex­hi­bi­tion for the wildlife artist this June show­cas­ing a new body of work. This se­ries of paint­ings, in par­tic­u­lar, evokes a sense of in­ten­sity, and in some cases, dan­ger. Aldrich fre­quently works with preda­tors, look­ing to cap­ture a mo­ment of height­ened emo­tion. “I choose the images that show that in­ten­sity in the an­i­mals,” he says. It’s about making a con­nec­tion with the viewer. “I think that’s what peo­ple re­late to...see­ing their power and mag­nif­i­cence. So I try to bring that to the fore­front.”

The Colorado-based artist says he’s been re­flect­ing re­cently on the four el­e­ments he strives to cap­ture in his work: personalit­y, tex­ture, color and mood. When asked how he achieves a cer­tain mood in his work, he ex­plains, “To me, it’s the over­all feel of a piece. So if you’ve got a foggy set­ting in your paint­ing, there’s a cer­tain mood to that. Un­ri­valed—that’s what I call a mood piece. The bi­son is front and cen­ter and it’s

ob­vi­ously about that an­i­mal...and it’s not just any an­i­mal, it’s an amaz­ing, old craggy look­ing bi­son.” He con­tin­ues, “It’s kind of a misty al­most dusty back­ground that goes off into dark­ness. If it were a sunny day with moun­tains in the back­ground, it’d be a completely dif­fer­ent piece. I wanted this to have a dif­fer­ent mood than just a bright sunny day.” In­stead, the piece cre­ates a feel­ing of mys­tique.

In Fall­ing Snow, a black wolf is set against an omi­nous, foggy snow scene. “It had a lit­tle eeri­ness to it. It def­i­nitely had power,” he says of the photo that in­spired the piece. Aldrich was able to ven­ture into a pen with a group of wolves at a wolf sanc­tu­ary and work with them for a while to pre­pare. Al­though the weather was clear that day, he de­cided to de­pict the preda­tor stand­ing in snow to create a more sub­dued, mys­te­ri­ous tone. “I wanted to cap­ture that wolf essence, and that fall­ing snow brought a lit­tle some­thing to it that gave it some en­ergy and made it in­ter­est­ing,” he says.

An artist re­cep­tion for Aldrich’s up­com­ing show will be held on Thurs­day, June 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. “It’s just a joy,” he says. “There’s no other way to de­scribe it. It’s some­thing I hope I don’t take for granted in the num­ber of ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve had with these an­i­mals, and I don’t think I will.”

Fall­ing Snow, oil, 38 x 38”

Thun­der, oil, 24 x 36"

Un­ri­valed, oil, 46 x 60”

Wildlife artist Ed­ward Aldrich paint­ing in plein air.

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