When Vernon Anderson was a kid, he remembered reading books that were “biographies” of animals — deer, moose, bears, and the like.
Decades later, he sought out those books, but to no avail. So he decided to write and illustrate one of his own children’s books.
At age 80.
He taught himself to paint. Taught himself to write. The book, “A year in the Life of a Grizzly” is remarkably well done.
Anderson grew up roaming the countryside around Lewistown, but spent most of his adult life in Bainbridge, Washington in the rental business — storage units and the like. He took a couple of art classes in high school and went to college to study photography. He was a photographer during a stint in the Navy, but he never really got into art seriously until after he retired.
He started out like many amateur artists at the time — watching landscape painter Bob Ross on Public Television and studying Ross’s books. When he moved back to Columbia Falls a dozen or so years ago, he got more serious about his craft and more recently took some lessons from renowned Hungry Horse artist Nick Oberling.
“He got me straightened out and showed me what to do,” Anderson said. “He got me going on painting.”
The 50-page self-published book features colored pencil drawings and Anderson’s paintings. It traces the life to two grizzly bear cubs in Glacier National Park as they wander the landscape with their mother from the St. Mary Valley to the Avalanche Basin.
The book is well-researched and featured interesting facets of just not the animals, but the plants, reptiles, fish and other creatures they meet along the way.
Anderson’s paintings from the book are currently on display at Montana Coffee Traders through the month and the books is available at local bookstores.
It’s available online at: https://www.meadowlakebookandart.us