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Low Stretch

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Low Stretch by LR Mark Hall, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram

Body language speaks volumes in the animal world especially during the mating season. For this mature Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram the low stretch body posture is part of his annual courtship “bag of tricks”. Outside of the frame of this painting a ewe has turned the attention of the herd ram. With purpose he makes his way down slope to greet the ewe. I created the surrounding shapes, shadows and dark forms of the shrubs to enhance the sense of linear direction and accentuate the purposeful mission of this ram. 

As with all of my work, the deeper meanings of my artwork are embedded within the relationships that exist between the animal subject and its surrounding habitat. In most cases, I work through the process of a painting thinking of the habitat more as the main subject rather than the animal. The Rocky Mountain Bighorn is blessed with tremendous summer range throughout the high elevation areas of the Rocky Mountains. However, the amount and quality of low elevation winter habitat is the most limiting factor for bighorn sheep in the Rockies as it is for most all the ungulates in British Columbia.

In this painting the surrounding sheep habitat has been covered by winter’s first appreciable snowfall. The snow is folded and draped over the vegetation creating an artistically sculptured landscape.   The deformed and stunted Saskatoon shrubs sticking above the snow indicate countless decades of relentless browsing by deer and elk who share the winter range with the sheep.  Along with Antelope-bitterbrush, the Saskatoon shrubs are not a valuable food source for sheep. Rather it is the tiny forbs and bunchgrass which are now mostly buried beneath the snow that the sheep need.

The ram in this painting has been through many winters and knows the routine. His focus early in the winter is not so much on eating but rather courtship and doing his part to ensure the future of his species. The ability of winter range to sustain wild mountain sheep is at the mercy of Mother Nature’s weather cycles and the stewardship values of people.


Print Details:
Edition Size: 950
18" x 14"Price: $200
14" x 11"Price: $150
12" x 10"Price: $100
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Original Details:
Availablilty: Available for Purchase Dimesions: 20" x 16" Medium: Acrylic on Hardboard Price: $4400 (unframed)