The winter Timpanogos, wisped by clouds, create the dramatic backdrop for Clark Bronson’s watercolor illustration of a mountain lion atop a beautifully rendered sinewy twist of dead pine, freshly dusted in snow. His gaze is both focused and relaxed, regal and ready. The cougar’s rich coloration: cream, honey, chestnut, and black stands out against the snow-covered landscape even as it blends with it. Bronson has masterfully taken the palette of his subject and echoed it in the bark and shadows of the tree branch; the rocks and horizontal striations of the Timpanogos. The sky, though, is a contrast. It’s a color on the opposite side of the color wheel from the golden fur, a pale aqua that works to amplify and offset the colors of the cat as well as the landscape from which he springs.
Born in 1939 and raised in Kamas, Utah, Clark Bronson became one of the country’s most renowned wildlife artists. Bronson’s love of wildlife began early— his father was a game warden, and growing up in Summit County gave him plentiful exposure to the natural world. He started landing illustration contracts for Utah Fish and Game Magazine while still a teenager. Throughout the 1960s his work was in high demand, winning national awards and acclaim. He was the illustrator for two best-selling books: Album of North American Wild Animals and Album of North American Birds. At age 30 Bronson turned his focus to bronze sculpture. His work was collected by Winthrop Rockefeller and former President George H.W. Bush, among many others. You can also find a Clark Bronson bronze elk in the Summit County Courthouse.