Commonly and inaccurately called 'buffalo,' the American Bison is a member of the bovine family. Once symbolic of the Great Plains, these formidable beasts are vegetarians, grazing mostly on plains grasses, shrubs, herbs and twigs. Standing up to 6.5 feet tall and weighing up to a ton, bison are still relatively quick and agile. They can run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour!
Bison were critical to the survival of the Indian societies during the 19th century. Over 50 million were killed for their lean meat and thick fur, which is so well insulated that snow can settle on its back without melting. The bison population has rebounded and today over 200,000 live on preserves and ranches where they are raised for their delicious meat. It has been indicated that bison may one day replace the cow industry.
Denny Karchner pays tribute to this noble mammal in his piece titled Honoring the Dead - A Paint Study of Life and Death. Karchner brilliantly captures the somber pride of a bison returning to the bones of a 'fallen' relative to pay respects. This oil depicts the essence of the reverence we share with our fellow beings...