Prairie chickens for Lance Schmidt. This painting is a couple years old, titled: Playing Chicken- Golden Eagle and Prairie Chickens.
To capture the adventure and excitement of the hunt is to know the sportsman. To join forces in preserving and protecting habitat is to understand the conservationist.
To identify the songs of the wind and relish calloused hands is to appreciate the farmer. To see this combination in a painting is to view the art of Michael Sieve. Sieve's talents and expertise are undeniable. To date, over 100 of his original artworks have been chosen for print in limited edition form. His original paintings can be found in collections throughout the world and have been featured in some of America's finest wildlife and nature publications. Additionally, Michael Sieve has appeared as a featured or guest artist at most major art shows in the United States.
Prairie chickens for Lance Schmidt. This painting is a couple years old, titled: Playing Chicken- Golden Eagle and Prairie Chickens.
Here is the Hungarian Partridge painting, just finished this week. This painting was done with the book in mind, it’s my first and probably the only time I will paint these birds even though I hunted them when I was growing up. Now it’s on to other subjects, I’m working on a lynx and a trout fishing scene. I’ll post them as soon as there is something worth posting.
Earlier this week I finished the Mammoth painting. This is a painting that was on my bucket list for many years, and yet when I started it I quickly realized that I was not prepared to do what I planned to do. There were many changes from the start to the finish, and I’m left with a painting that I’m only somewhat satisfied with. It’s a good idea, but is definitely not as good as the painting that is still floating around in my head. Time to move on. Next week I’ll post another painting, that one will be of a painting that I am very happy with. Until then...stay healthy!
Here is the latest update on the mammoth hunters painting. As you can see there have been major changes in the last week or so. Most obviously, the hunters are gone...replaced by wolves and their kill. The wolves are an extinct species called Dire Wolves. They’re defending a dead Irish Elk from the mammoths that have simply stumbled upon them. Irish Elk are a super impressive member of the deer family, also now extinct. There are many specimens of them, often preserved in peat bogs across Northern Europe and Asia, and many now hang in the historic halls and castles of Europe. I’ve seen several in museums and they are simply incredible. Look them up! You’ll see what I mean!
This painting has changed dramatically because it just wasn’t working, as least to me. I have always been willing to make major changes and to compose a painting on the go, and this is just another example. It’s an inefficient process I know, but it works for me. The next posting will be of the finished painting, perhaps in a week or so. Stay tuned and stay healthy!
This is a small painting of a snowy owl, started over a year ago at one of the sports shows and just now finished. These little ‘minis’ are just fill-in between my more serious larger works, but they’re fun to do and also a good way to explore ideas without a big time commitment. No title yet...
Here is another painting that I am working on. These are Hungarian Partridges an upland gamebird of the western prairies. I’ll do a longer post on my website describing this painting when I finish it. I’m also still working on the mammoth painting and will post that on my website when I finish that one also.
I spent yesterday cleaning up some of the mistakes that I was slowly making in this painting. Mostly I was concerned that there were too many trees, this kind of mammoth lived in more open grasslands. The steppes. I also tried to add another mammoth or maybe more but couldn’t get it to work. Problems like this are typical for me, nothing unusual. More soon.
Also: I got my 2020 Iowa NR archery license!😊 It takes 5 years now and costs nearly a thousand dollars but is the best deer hunt in the country. Wish our DNR could see that!
Mammoth painting update...now you can see where this painting is going.
For the book- a painting in progress.
I just posted this painting (in progress) on my website. The story that inspired this painting is posted there as well. I’ll post an update tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Tomorrow I will be updating and sharing one of the paintings that I am working on for the book...stay tuned!
I few days ago I made reference to a big announcement that I would soon make, and so here it is: in a year or so there will be a book published about my art. It will be the capstone of my life’s work and will be what I work on more than anything else until then. If you want to follow along in the process I will be posting regular updates on my website (michaelsieveart.com). Click “About” on my page, then click onto my website address and you’re there. Hope you enjoy the journey that I take you on.
The life and art of Michael Sieve
Here are two recent paintings, finished last week. These paintings were done by request from Chuck Wechsler, the editor of Sporting Classics magazine, and a longtime friend. These paintings will appear in a book being published by that magazine and illustrate an incident that will be a chapter in this new book. A couple months ago John Seery-Lester was to have done a painting of this encounter for the book, but unfortunately John passed away before he could do the painting. Chuck called and asked if I could fill in on short notice, and I agreed knowing that Seery-Lester was a great artist and it would be very hard to live up to the standards that he had set. I did two variations on the same theme, and I could only do my best and hope one of these two paintings would be good enough. Chuck picked the standing bear and so that one will be a part of the new Sporting Classics book. It’s called ‘Directors Cut’ and will be a series of short stories about wildlife experiences by various outdoor writers. Should be an interesting book! Look it up by searching ‘Sporting Classics books.’ They have been publishing some great hunting and art books for many years, I have many of them in my library and enjoy all of them.
In the next couple days I will be posting photos of the paintings that I am currently working on, and I will also be sharing some really great news as well. Stay tuned and stay safe...
Here is another post about the time that I spent this spring while social distancing. This post is a brief summary of our spring turkey hunt.
After a couple groups of hunters decided not to come and stay here, or to hunt this year in the earlier seasons, I hunted the third season. The first week of May. On the first morning out missed a 10 yard shot at a nice old gobbler. I didn’t want to ruin any meat and so I tried a head shot on a moving bird and sorry to say, I shot high and missed. Close but clean. That’s not the first time I’ve done that. Lucky turkey, I sure hope he’s over his headache by now!
Next up was Hannah. She got a nice bird about noon on her second day. Three toms came to her decoys and she got the job done. Congratulations Hannah!
Chris Knutson and Mike Rosman hunted the last season on Memorial Day weekend. Mike got an old long-spurred tom early on and spent the rest of his time here fishing trout and looking for morel mushrooms. We had a great time eating and visiting around the campfire until late that night. The next day Chris missed his turkey! He shot right over it!! I can’t believe he did that!!! I’ll never understand how something like that could happen!!!! How is that even possible?????
Anyway I hunted the last weekend and got one on the second last day. Nothing fancy this time... I aimed right in the middle of his body and actually hit where I was aiming. Unlucky bird.😰
More things that I do while socially distancing...
Every year in the early spring I like to improve the land here where I live, and one of the best ways that I have found to do that is by tree planting. Over the years I have planted many different trees for many different reasons, but here I want to write a bit about one small example of what I do. The first photo is one that I posted earlier this year of Hannah and I with willow cuttings that we simply shoved into the ground, they will grow from there on their own. At this point in the year I can report that they are doing great, mostly leafed out and putting down roots I’m sure. The pots and cuttings are from dogwoods and from a couple different kinds of willow. I stick these shoots into pots and put them under the drip line of our house or the pole barn and let the morning dew water them for me. I’ll plant them in the fall. I’ve probably got over 200 pots with at least 5 shoots in each pot. Most will live and will grow well all summer. These will be planted along the trout stream in late November. This stream was a cow pasture when I got the farm, with mostly box elder trees in it, and looking kind of bad. I am slowly converting it to willow, dogwood and other native species. Wildlife of all sorts are responding in a very positive way, especially warblers, vireos and other migrating springtime birds. Also along the creek we have muskrats, beaver, mink and more and have even seen otter and bobcat. And there are trout in the creek of course. It can be quite a show. If you’re going to take, it’s only right to give back as well!
More times of quarantine activities...
I spent a lot of time on the tractor this spring. The trail in this photo is almost two miles long and runs north along the creek, then along the edge of the woods, and then along the creek again before ending up back home. With the blade on the tractor I made it wider and smoother and also made it level on the sidehill below the woods. You can see where I cut into the hill and pushed the dirt to the downhill side of the trail. Juli and I walk this trail every day and lately Juli has been walking it twice a day, early morning and late afternoon, with the dogs of course. We enjoy the wildlife and the changes of the seasons and it’s good exercise as well.
The second photo is of the more typical and ongoing farm work that I do. This spring I was required to either mow or burn a 10 acre prairie as part of a government CRP conservation program. This mowing is done to suppress unwanted plants and encourage more desirable ones. It’s a fairly high grade prairie with lots of native grasses and flowers and supports a lot of wildlife, so I am happy to do it. In the past I have chosen to burn, but because of the corona virus there were burning bans in place here at the time. Burning is more fun and definitely appeals to the pyromaniac in me, but can be more stressful and dangerous as well.
I also planted five food plots for wildlife this spring. These plots were disced, dragged, and planted into clover and brassicas. In the past I have favored corn because of its high wildlife value, but it’s expensive and requires a lot of fertilizer and chemicals. Because the last few years have been very wet, and because of too many deer coming to it early in the year to feed, it hasn’t paid to plant corn. We will see how this goes. I will also say this about my farming activities, it’s a good thing that I can paint well, cause I’m a pretty lousy farmer!
Stay tuned and stay healthy...more tomorrow.
So here are some of the things that have kept me busy this spring, since the corona virus forced us all to stay close to home. Early on I spent a lot of time looking for deer sheds, scouting for deer hunting places and just walking the woods. I’m not a good shed hunter but I did find a few. I also built a bunch of new bluebird houses and fixed some old ones. I use the shed antlers and old deer skulls that I find in the woods to decorate them. They look nice and make great painting reference photos if I ever need them. I just need to paint more songbirds. As of today there are quite a few nesting bluebirds with many chicks getting ready to fly. Also there are some nesting wrens and swallows, and possibly other birds that I don’t know about. English sparrows show up occasionally, and try to take over the bluebirds territorys, but always at great risk!!! They come from a neighboring feedlot and I am very intolerant of them, as are almost all serious birders.
In the next few days I will write a bit about life under quarantine, but today I want to post a couple photos in the days after we knew about the corona virus but before we were all asked to stay home. The first photo is of the annual deer party at our gallery. This was a couple weeks before quarantine and I posted more about it right after the party, a couple months ago. We have only had a couple people in the gallery or in our home since then.
The next photo was taken at the Minnesota Safari Club show in Minneapolis. In that photo are Chris Knutson from Art Barbarians Art Gallery, and also wildlife artists Brian Jarvi, Josh Spies, myself and Jim Hautman. The last event before shut-down. A fun show and good for the art business. And last are a couple pictures of my grandkids Riley and Scarlett. I haven’t seen them since February.🙁
Tomorrow I’ll post more positive images, until then...stay healthy and stay strong.
Early this year I finished a painting that I called ‘Days of Plenty-1775’.
This painting, a commission, was of a Native American buffalo hunt after the arrival of horses but before the arrival of firearms. This must have been a great time for the plains Indians.
I am very happy with the way that this painting turned out, but it certainly is not a new idea. This theme has been painted many times over the years by many fine artists including Russell, Remington, Clymer, McCarthy and many more. Nothing new here! But the painting that I followed it up with is very different. That painting, that I am now showing here for the first time is called ‘Days of Waste-1875’. That painting shows the slaughter and the waste of the great herds that once roamed the american west at the hands of the hide hunters and others, and as far as I know, this is an idea that has not been painted before. If anyone knows of any artist who has painted this, please let me know.
In addition to being a new idea, it’s also a great conservation message painting. In the future I will write much more about that, but for now let me just say that it was the slaughter of the bison herds and their near extinction that moved some of the greatest conservation leaders in history to take action to protect our wildlife and our public lands. Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, John Muir, and later Aldo Leopold and many others, after seeing this destruction, decided the to lead the modern conservation movement and to develop the ‘North American Model of Wildlife Management’. This is the wildlife management model that is the most successful management plan on earth and will hopefully carry us into the future. Out of the destruction of the bison herds and the loss of other kinds of wildlife on the western plains came a movement we should all be proud of and should be thankful for. A plan we should work to defend and protect into the future. But enough of that for now, I’ll write much about this later. But for now here’s another idea to think about with me. What would this scene look like today? What would the next 100 years do to the wildlife in this painting? Days of???-1975. Any ideas anyone? I’ll be listening.
Today is the 50th anniversary of earth day. Here I am with Hannah and a bunch of willow cuttings that Hannah and Nate helped me gather and plant, trying to restore a mile a trout stream. If you hunt like I do, and as Hannah and Nate do as well, then it’s important to do what you can to give back as well as take. Besides that, it will make you feel good!
A few weeks ago I wrote and sent a letter to the editor to our local newspaper, they ran it as a commentary and also shared it with several other newspapers in this area. Here’s what I wrote:
How to beat the threat of a pandemic.
In these dark days of the corona virus it’s important to believe that we will get through this and life will go on. But it’s also important to learn lessons so that we might be better prepared for threats like this in the future, as there almost certainly will be.
With that in mind, it seems to me that there are three things that a country and a people would need to do to successfully fight the kind of pandemic that we are facing today. Those three things are:
First: We must have a leader that we can trust. A leader who does not lie to us and who is willing to clearly and honestly tell us the truth even when we don’t want to hear it.
Second: That leader must listen to the scientists and be guided by the best scientific and medical advice and expertise available at the time.
And third: the people must accept and follow the advice and direction of their leader, and do what needs to be done to stop the spread of the pandemic in order to decrease the threat that they face.
When we see people who continue to gather and go to places against the advice and recommendations of our leaders they are a threat to all of us, and they deserve our criticism. When our leaders reject science and expertise in favor of their personal beliefs, opinions and selfish interests, or in order to secure votes in the next election, then they too deserve our criticism. And if we elect leaders who are willing to lie to us, and if we knew that they were like that when we elected them, then we must accept responsibility ourselves and live with the consequences of our decisions, and try to do better next time.
The difficulties that we are facing because of the corona virus will naturally pass over time, and we will move on. Nature will see to that. As for our actions, thankfully we live in a democracy, and we have free choice. If we’re not happy with our leaders and the way they are handling this crisis, then the solution is the ballot box. Until then...stay healthy!
22388 Daley Creek Dr
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