This Rocky Mountain Goat is descending down to a mineral spring rich in sulphur. The exact location of the spring is obscured in a veil of mist below him. He is using a route travelled by his ancestors for hundreds of generations which will lead him to the exact source of the mineral rich water.
The minerals and salts found in “licks” and “springs” are important to mountain goats. The majority of licks and springs are situated lower in elevation than the goat’s normal high elevation habitat. This lone billy goat’s descent is careful and calculated. He will often pause for long periods to simply watch the terrain below for signs of danger.
I love when features within a landscape emulate the animals that live within in it - either in form or function. In this case, the soft rounded shapes of the thick cushions of moss covering the rock are echoed in the shapes of the goat’s heavily furred body. The moss also inhabits every usable nook and cranny of the vertical habitat around it. I particularly enjoy working on canvases with long exaggerated dimensions. In this case, the narrow vertical view helps accentuate the nature of the goat’s habitat. The top heavy feel of this painting (heavy colours atop light ones) creates an imbalance which amplifies the tension created by the goat’s cautious descent into the fog shrouded sulphur spring. Painting white animals in nature is an exciting challenge. In this case it actually took thirteen different colours to create a “white” mountain goat.