Bev Doolittle’s nature paintings gained popularity for several reasons: they are fine art, they focus on interesting topics for folks who love the West, and viewers enjoy finding the hidden picture in her work. I am sure there are other reasons art lovers like her work, but those are a good start and lead me to my next point. Mother Nature shares some of Bev Doolittle’s talent and artistic illusions.
A good friend and early riser came out to walk with me Saturday morning. I love to share the beauty of Kansas mornings in our neighborhood, so I was thrilled to have her see Round Mound in early morning pastels and then follow the horizon line past Ogallah to the Cargill Elevators. The 15 mile view of fields and prairie in between is art at its best.
At the beginning of our walk, we identified grasses, wildflowers, and tried to figure out where a good -size calf had escaped his pasture and his anxious mother. Meadow lark trills and a pheasant crowing set up a nice backbeat to our rambles, and we were feeling richly blessed by a normal Saturday morning.
That is how I always feel when I look at a Bev Doolittle piece, too—seeing the surface view is pretty darn pleasant even before I find her hidden treasure in each painting. You can see where this perfect morning story is going. It got even better. As we neared the section line road, I pointed out a large plot of silver leaf nightshade, which led to us wondering how it ended up growing so prolifically at an abandoned farmstead. That led to me pointing out the Osage orange trees leading up the still identifiable drive, which led me to point out a lone Osage orange growing along the fence line, which next led to me seeing the V of two little ears sticking up in the tall grass.
A white tail doe had hidden her fawn in the shade of that Osage orange tree while she browsed to take care of her own nutritional needs. We looked around for the doe and a possible twin but didn’t see anything except the tree, grasses, and that field of lavender wildflowers—oh and a perfect cloud- filled blue sky. The baby lay there still as could be even though I know it could hear us talking. Its momma had instructed it well. Those live freeze models in store windows could take lessons from how well that little spotted fawn held a frozen pose.
On our way back down the lane, I looked again for the fawn and could not see it anywhere. We stopped for a few minutes until I finally laid my eyes on the baby. It hadn’t moved an inch. Mother Nature had done such an amazing job disguising hidden treasure in a morning pasture scene I couldn’t find the baby without looking hard for it. In fact, my eyes had gone over it a few times before I finally focused in to see it lying there in the grass.
Bev Doolittle has some amazing training and talent as a painter. However, she doesn’t have anything on Mother Nature, who does a fine job creating her own little hidden paintings within a gorgeous scene.