June 4, 2012
Yellowstone Moran: Painting the American West by Lita Judge
Never heard of Yellowstone Moran? Or Tom Moran? Not to worry, you’ll know who he is by the time you’ve finished this picture book.
Moran was the artist who painted twelve diverse locals that would go on to become national parks and monuments, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Yosemite.
When he began the trek to Yellowstone, Moran was a dyed in the wool green horn. It was all he could do to get on his horse and he ended up riding seated on a pillow. Moran had been painting illustrations of the Wild West for a magazine piece but he wanted to see these places himself. In fact, the wanted to paint places that few people had ever seen.
He may have started out inexperienced, but he braved wild rivers, dizzying climbs and the dangers of steam vents to paint breathtaking vistas. Check out this image that he painted of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
What amazed me was that he did these images in watercolor. Sure, its quicker to work with but I kept waiting for his paintings to be ruined in a storm or for him to kerplunk into one of the rivers.
This isn’t the story of Moran’s entire life or career. Instead, this tells of the adventure that earned him fame as well as the respect of the men who were tough enough to explore the American West, with or without a paint brush in their hand.
Readers young and old will be hooked by this inspirational story of one man’s drive to do something above and beyond anything he had ever done before. Share it with a young reader in your life.