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Winter Splendor

Selected by Pheasants Forever to be included in their National Merchandise Package eight years ago, we decided to move from Ohio to South Dakota so that I could surround myself with the nature that inspires my work. For the most part, we have a lot of the same species of animals as we had in Ohio, only now there’s more of it and it’s right in my backyard… sometimes quite literally. That said, I could count, on one hand, the number of times I saw wild ring-necked pheasants in Ohio. Here in South Dakota, during certain times of the year, seeing pheasants can be an everyday occurrence. In the wintertime, when the snow is deep enough to make feeding difficult for pheasants and the temperatures are well below freezing, I put corn out near our shelterbelt. It doesn’t take long for them to find it and soon the first 2 birds become 4 birds and, so on. I’ve counted as many as 50 at one time feeding on the corn in our yard. Once the birds are really coming, I’ll make trails and move it closer and closer to the house. Within a few days, they’re feeding right outside our window. It’s quite a sight when the snow gets deep enough that they’re eye level with our windows -and even sitting on our windowsill! The kids get a big kick out of it. One year I even put corn on the snowman and we watched as the pheasants jumped up on it to reach the corn. I’ve wanted to do a pheasant painting for quite some time now and I’m pleased to have my first pheasant painting selected by Pheasants Forever for use in their National Merchandise package. ABOUT THE PAINTING South Dakota winters can be harsh, but they are also incredibly beautiful. Having watched so many pheasants on our own property, sneaking through the hoarfrost-covered branches, I knew that was what I wanted to paint. The look of the habitat is truly that of a winter wonderland. The warm color of the pheasants against the blue/gray shadows of the snow makes for an incredible scene. In “Winter Splendor” I wanted to try and capture the complexity of that scene. The beauty of the colors and light are part of it, but I also wanted to show the wariness and attitudes of the birds. I hoped to give the viewer a personal insight into the secluded and secretive life of a wild ring-necked pheasant as they slip through one of their many hidden passages. “Winter Splendor” measures 18X27.5 inches and is completed in oils on Masonite board.

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