Daniel Smith’s paintings of wildlife, be it bear, moose, bison, crow or even otter, capture the complete essence of a species in a single moment, a brief pause in an otherwise very physical existence. Likewise viewing these paintings leaves us stilled, like hikers or mountaineers who round a bend and come unexpectedly upon the beauty and fierce intelligence of the animals who share our earth.
North American cougars are now largely extinct in the Northeast United States but are still prevalent in parts of the West, notably Wyoming which has the largest North American population. A solitary, stalk-and-ambush predator, cougar favor deer, elk, bighorn sheep and the occasional domestic cattle.
Fleeting Sun is unusual for Daniel Smith in that the sunlight is hitting his subject perpendicularly, highlighting the silky, tawny coat against the cool shadows of gathering dusk in the cliffs.