Bev Doolittle

The work of an ad illustrator proved unfulfilling to Bev. She thrived on being able to conceptualize an idea, and see it through to completion. Her job did not allow for this, and she felt that the work was not her own. At the beginning of Grand Canyon1973, Jay and Bev left the agency. They decided to take to the road as traveling artists, and set out in an old pick-up truck with camper, head off to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Sequoia National Park. Perched atop the camper, she painted the Grand Canyon, and other sights, in a style very different from the way she paints today. Bev would paint two to three pieces a day, often selling them on the spot to people they met during their travels. She would never try to duplicate the paintings she sold, but instead she would take the idea behind the painting, and play with it, developing it in her own special way. While walking through Sequoia National Park in 1975, Bev studied the large trees in Broken Silenceawe, noting the hallowed caves they often form near the base. She considered how a white man would have felt in those surroundings, enveloped by the silence of the forest. Doolittle took these concepts and feelings, and painted Broken Silence. When asked about the painting, Bev said, "A sequoia forest is deep and quiet. Here the silence has been disturbed, the deer alerted, by the flight-racket of the Steller's jay." Years later, Bev Doolittle would be asked by the Christmas Day, Give or Take a WeekGreenwich Workshop to develop a christmas print for them. Her thoughts immediately returned to the sequoia forest, and she painted Christmas Day, Give or Take a Week. Nestled within the trunk of the tree, a mountain has found shelter from the environment. A warm fire blazes as he prepares his meal beside a small christmas tree that he has adorned with small objects that he has with him. Among the giant trees, the mountain man is oblivious to the exact date, unsure of the day or even the week. After returning from their year long trip as traveling artists, Bev and Jay had to find new marketing options for their work. They signed up for their first outdoor art fair as professional artists, and found success in areas such as Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake, Mammoth Mountain and Palm Desert. The entered a large three day festival in Austin, Texas, and were ready to leave when they didn't sell a single painting during the preview. The following day though, they sold almost every painting they brought with them, including an item that she had priced at $2,000! Bev turned back to their big trip, for inspiration in her paintings, often Bugged Bearadding imagined items to sketches and photographs she had taken during the trip. Bev would study the items to make sure that it would be possible for it to exist in the environment she was creating. An example of this is Bugged Bear, which she would paint later, in 1980. Bev researched the floors andWhoo!bugs that she added into the painting, to determine if they would all exist within the same landscape. Doolittle repeated this style, of a whimsical animal caught in an unusual predicament, in another painting the same year, titled Whoo!. Again, Bev was careful in selecting the tree, the owl and the beaver, learning what type of each species would exist in the same environment, then putting them together to canvas.

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