For years, wildlife artist William Alther had painted in his spare time, taking brush to canvas on a limited basis. Finally, in 2004, confident that he had refined his skills to a satisfactory level, he decided the time had come to make the transition from his day job with the zoology department of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and begin earning his living as a professional artist.
It was a good decision. Within 15 years, galleries in Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming were carrying Alther’s evocative wildlife imagery, and his work was regularly juried into prestigious national exhibitions, including the Northwest Rendezvous Artists Show, the Lee Yawkey Woodson Birds in Art competition, and the Western Visions Show and Sale, where he earned the 2018 Red Smith Artists’ Choice Award for his rendition of a grizzly bear.
Alther seems to have come full circle. Growing up in Midland, Texas, he took advantage of the opportunities to observe and paint local wildlife. As a boy, however, he never imagined that his passion for portraying wild animals in their natural environment eventually would evolve into a full-time career.
“I had the chance to go to Churchill, Manitoba, a couple years ago to watch and photograph polar bears for 10 days. It can be tricky, even for seasoned experts, to read their intentions as they approach.”
“Some paintings require an epic struggle to pull them off. Conversely, a few are effortless fun. This simple little piece was one of the latter. It would be nice if those happened more often.”