One of my favorite artist and one of the most important artist of the 20th Century is Carl Rungius. I recently attended a show in Jackson, WY at the National Museum Of Wildlife Art where many of his pieces were are on display. (They boast the largest Runguis collection in the U.S.) Wow! I loved it and hoping to someday soon travel to see the largest Rungius collection in the world at the Glenbow Museum in Canada.
Rungius spent much of his life painting wildlife, and so many of his real life studies were derived from North American wildlife that he would seek in the western wilderness. Not only did he paint animals with incredible anatomical accuracy but because of his love for the wilderness he painted their habitat and mannerisms like no other. He spent much of his time in a studio in Banff that he call “The Paintbox”.
One of the things that set Rungius apart from other wildlife artist was his first hand knowledge of the encounter between man and animal. Which is true of all of us as artist. The greatest learning of all is to paint from real life, regardless of the subject. As a landscape artist my greatest lessons come from painting En Plein Air. I try to get out at least once a week.
Seeing and experiencing Runguis work up close and personal was powerful. It reminded me that to continue to pursue excellence as an artist is to continue to experience the environments I want to paint first hand. There is no faking it!
I know that many artist will not be able to travel to see Runguis paintings firsthand, the next best thing is a book I’ve added to my collection: Carl Rungius :Artist and Sportsman