Tag Archives: Deer

Ratfish – My 48-North Page for May, 2014

2014-5-Ratfish

This is my sketchbook page for 48-North magazine for May. Almost forgot to post it while it was still relevant. I caught one of these crazy-looking fish a few years ago (while I was still fishing), and hauling this over the gunwale made me wonder why I continued to sit there with a pole in my hands. They’re pretty crazy-looking critters. Below is the story that went with it.

“Have you ever seen a ratfish? Odds are you haven’t, and yet these odd-looking creatures make up fully 70% of all the fish mass in the Puget Sound main basin. Their family name, Chimera, was a mythological monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body and serpent’s tail – pretty close if you toss in a rabbit’s nose with two incisor teeth. Where are they? Rats like it deep, looking for clams and worms on the bottom at 250 feet, which probably accounts for their covert lives, but when I caught one once off a dock in Port Ludlow, I thought I’d hooked a space alien. And I’m here to witness that they bite – just like a rabbit does with those incisors.”

 

“Why are there so many? No one knows for certain, but I’d imagine an unhealthy ecosystem might be a place to start looking, because nature needs diversity, not one species that takes over. I used to think of rats as strange and ugly, but as a painter, I now see they are truly beautiful, with glowing green cat’s eyes, copper orange and blue shades of glimmering white spotted skin and that rabbit nose. Gliding along on bat wings, they’re not speeders like salmon, and yet the ratfish has been around for 300 million years – a true survivor – and as we eat our way down the food chain, the rat will eventually come be on our plates beside cockroaches and algae.”

2014-5-fawns

And I just had to add this of our deer. Our 2014 crop of black-tailed fawns are all over our meadow – two singles and one set of twins. Four fawns, three moms and all jockeying for position, attention and learning how to live together. It’s quite a visual feast.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web.  And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Meadow Fawns

 

Another of my recent “Meadow Herd”, this one was painted from a reference photo from a year ago – but both are still here. This week we’ve seen several females vanish from the backyard-bunch. I’m thinking they’ve found a quiet place to birth the next batch of fawns, and hopefully we’ll see the results soon. One was looking like a definite candidate for twins. The two in the painting are still in the meadow, grown but not willing to take on the big guys for space at the food dish. In fact, there’s a big buck with infant antlers that actively chases them away, snapping like a dog at their hind legs. Yesterday, another buck with budding antlers was eating from the dish while I held it, and that was maybe too close for my comfort zone. A big animal, and I kept remembering a story from Yosemite a few years ago where a buck actually killed someone. While they’re fun to have around, they ARE wild animals.

 

 

And here’s one of the twins a year later, taken just yesterday. Just growing out of its winter coat, he’s looking a tad shabby. Yes, that’s a backyard swing. It hangs on a big horizontal branch of a big-leaf maple that’s 30-feet up. Quite a swing-g-g-g-g-g.

 

This ORIGINAL painting is varnished acrylic on linen canvas, 11″ x 14″ and $140 unframed.
A custom wood frame makes it a total of $170 and shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone or if you take the frame. This is the original painting, NOT a print. I can email you a photo of the frame if you’d like.
Email us for details.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Old Buck

“Old Buck” is the fourth of my “Meadow Herd” paintings. This old guy has been here the longest of all our current dozen Columbian black-tailed deer. In fact, as I write this he’s here right below the back deck. This was painted from a reference photo I took last summer when he had his  horn-hat on, since currently there are only little knobs showing where this year’s antlers will be. I took the photo when he was all excited about a female prospect (who denied him and ran off into the forest seeming either laughing or in a panic to get away, or so it seemed) and I thought he had this look of pure softness, like he was pleading with her for acceptance. I’ve practiced this pose myself, by the way, but rarely need to resort to it!

These deer, Columbian black-tailed, are a subspecies of the more common western mule deer, and are smaller by far – but you’d never know it standing next to one. When a male puts his mule-shaped Roman nose out, he becomes a fairly daunting creature. That ‘look’ doesn’t happen until they’re a couple of years old, and when it does you can really see the genetic closeness to the ‘mulies’.

This ORIGINAL painting is varnished acrylic on linen canvas, 8″ x 10″ and $120 unframed.

The custom wood frame makes it a total of $140 and shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone or if you take the frame. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

More Paintings of Our Black-tails

Last week I posted a painting of one of our backyard Columbian Black-tailed Deer. Remember: Apple Please? This week I’m showing two more. (Sorry, but the little fawn above was taken quickly and isn’t available.)  A year ago we had two does that birthed three fawns. There was another mom that showed up occasionally with twins too, and one afternoon they were all here at once: three moms with FIVE fawns! It was crowded, but everyone seemed to get along Okay – but what do we know. The more I watch them, the more I see the social life of these guys seems very complex.

 

This painting is of the dominant doe that’s been here for years – the mother of the fawn above.  She has this look! See the way she just pierces you with that blank stare? She’s checks out the house, circles around it to find out where we are – which room we’re in, then comes right up to one of our big windows where she gives us the ‘stink eye’ for a handout. No movement, no blinking, no acting coy or cute, she just stares until you give in. Cats do this, we know (boy, do we know), but a 160 lb deer doing it is something else again. And Nancy gives in pretty quickly: “okay, okay, meet me at the back door” and it’s as if the deer understands completely. Back door it is!

This ORIGINAL painting is acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″ and $140 unframed.

I have a nice gold frame on it for an upcoming  gallery show, which makes it a total of $160 and shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone or if you want to take the frame. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details.

 

Thanks to everyone who have been buying my new Virginia Eifert Kindle books. Amazon doesn’t give me a list of buyers, but lots of people are rediscovering her work – including me. Three up, seventeen to go.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

An Apple Please!

“Meadow Herd #2 – Second-year Buck”
8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas. 

I’m currently working on a painting series of our “Meadow Herd” of 12 Columbian black-tailed deer – that’s right – 12! This one is of the sweet but persistent velvet-antlered buck that was birthed two years ago. He’s still here, along with a total of 11 others that seem to never stray far from the house. The other morning 9 were in the meadow at once. When we moved into the ‘Lodge’ back in the 90’s, hunting was still allowed in the ‘neighborhood’. The deer were here, too, but always moving, passing through, edgy. Early mornings, we’d sometimes hear gunshots down in the estuary and figure it was probably out-of-work ex-logger-types in a desperate situation and in need of protein for their families. Now there are no shooting zones here and in Port Townsend, and the deer are everywhere, calm, friendly, stopping traffic, creating gawking tourists who, at first, think they are mechanical yard ornaments (well, maybe they are).
Oh, and then there’s Nancy, happily feeding them apples, pears, buckets of oats mixed with molasses – right out the back door of the barn! The local feed store-guy told her that he sells dozens of 40 lb bags of the stuff each WEEK  to Port Townsend deer-feeders, and she’s one of them. What, you say? You’re FEEDING them? But she doesn’t see any difference between the chickadee feeder and a deer bowl – and I get models for paintings. (The photo below was taken a couple of days ago from the office window.)

 

It takes patience to live with wildlife on the Olympic Peninsula. We sometimes forget that this isn’t just a normal American suburban place – we forget that wildlife is more plentiful here than people. I mean, there are only 9,000 people living in Port Townsend – but there are over 5,000 elk on the peninsula.

 

We have bats in the shingles (I washed the roof and 7 flew off of just one pitch) and we hear them come and go each night. Squirrels continually prob any weak spot to get into the attic or crawlspace. I’ve counted almost 90 different species of birds and critters either on the ground or flying over the property. If you count the deer, snakes, chipmunks, weasels, bobcats, raccoon and the rest, I’m sure I see many more critters than people in my daily life – and for a life-long painter of nature, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure the roses get eaten, the bulbs are chewed on, the flowers chomped down to nubs, but we also have 200-lb. deer going nose-to-nose with our freaked-out cat on the inside of the window. It takes Nancy’s breath away when a full-blown bucks just stands there as she brings him a bucket of oats – as he snorts at her from 24″ away. It’s a very high Quality-of-Life thing that I can’t imagine NOT having.

And so, this ORIGINAL painting of “Meadow Herd #2 – Second-year Buck” is an acrylic on canvas, 8″ x 10″ and $125 unframed. The custom wood frame makes it a total of $145 and shipping for either adds just a bit more depending on your zone. This is the original painting, NOT a print. And I’ll bet that one of you starts a collection of these – especially if you’re from Port Townsend. I have four finished with a fifth almost there.
Email us for details – and I can send you a photo of the frame.

 

Thanks for reading this week.

Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. We now have three of her books available as Amazon Kindle books.