I have to say that I am not often drawn to contemporary wildlife art. I find that too often artists will allow the inherent assumed appeal of the subject to outweigh considerations of the painting as a painting; and works are frequently a bit lacking in the characteristics that I find appealing in paintings.
There are of course notable and delightful exceptions to this, one of which is the simultaneously bold and sensitively realized work of Dustin Van Wechel.
Van Wechel is a painter based in Colorado, who transitioned from a career in the advertising industry to establish himself as a full time painter.
His work combines texture, atmosphere and a subdued palette to present dramatic scenes of wild animals in the context of landscapes that could often stand on their own as just landscapes.
He has a sensitivity to light that feels like that of a dedicated landscape painter, combined with a feeling for the motion and form of the animals that gives them a liveliness and gravity that I don’t often see in wildlife painting. I particularly like his portrayals of bison and crows.
His website portfolio is divided into current and archived paintings, and drawings. There are additional portfolios listed below for Trailside Galleries and an article with images from Southwest Art.