Brightly lit tree trunks and saturated shadows attracted me to this view. After about an hour, a couple of white-tailed deer wandered into the scene and proceeded to watch me paint for long enough that I figured they deserved to be in the picture.
This is the first of four field paintings from my first visit to the remarkable Catoosa Savanna on the Cumberland Plateau. In the 90s, visionaries in the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency realized a rich native grassland was just waiting to be reawakened here, so after a pine beetle infestation and timber salvage operation they implemented a robust prescribed fire regime. Prairie plants, barely hanging on in the shade of the recent forest, exploded. On my visit, the call of “bob white” seemed fairly constant. Congratulations to the TWRA for (re)creating a magnificent place.