Limited Edition Fine Art Prints

The Chase

Giclée on Canvas    
18” x 12”   |  39” x 26” |  54” x 36”

No, penguins do not live with polar bears! But who knows, maybe they chased them out of Antarctica and banished them to the North Pole? This painting was another idea suggested by a colleague and although this might not have been his original vision, I find the whole idea great fun. I found separate photos and videos of bears and penguins swimming and it can be a very dynamic scene with everyone dodging and darting around but essentially going in the same direction. At the zoo, I could observe both species swimming in separate pools not 500 feet from each other. In the wild they live as much as 10,000 miles apart. - Robert Bissell

Infinity

Giclée on Canvas    
12” x 16”   |  30” x 40” |  42” x 56”

The idea for this painting came from a landscape I painted some years ago, which was a similar view out to sea. The ocean horizon was something I was lucky enough to see as a child from my bedroom window. Contemplating the bottomless ocean and an infinite sky confirm the presence of a mystery and awe that pervades our lives. It is my hope that as the viewer observes the bears observing, she will be pulled into that same space of awe and wonder. - Robert Bissell

Drifters

Giclée on Canvas    
15” x 20”   |  30” x 40” |  36” x 48”

A friend had sent me a photo of a bear lying on a log in a forest like the one you see here. That same day I was driving along the Russian River in northern California, where folks like to drift down the river on rafts or rubber tubes. So I put those images together and decided to paint the scene as Monet might have done. I hope all those elements have come together to present a scene of wonder and relaxation. - Robert Bissell

The Wellspring

Giclée on Canvas    
14” x 21”   |  30” x 45” |  40” x 60” |  48” x 72”

In my reading about rain forests and in my limited experience with jungles, it can seem as if all life begins in these primal settings. It is possible to believe that the health and life of our entire planet depends on these environments. Rampant growth and lush vegetation that can overwhelm compel us to seek meaning and the origin of life. The forest of Ndoki in the Central African Republic has more wildlife per square mile than anywhere else on the planet and remains largely unchanged by human beings.


It also contains herds of bush elephants. It was a photo of a small elephant in Ndoki that allowed the idea of this painting to develop. A "wellspring" is similarly defined as a source of ideas and a source of life. Perhaps they really are the same thing? - Robert Bissell

The Portrait

Giclée on Canvas    
15.5” x 21”   |  30” x 40” |  40” x 54”

I have executed a few paintings of groups of bears looking directly at the viewer, usually from behind a thicket of trees or bushes. Here, I wanted to pose these bears in a more open setting and in particular with an old birch tree stump which I had found in a painting by Giovanni-Battista Camuccini at the National Gallery in London. The contrast between the intense look of the bears, the massive decomposing tree and the fresh green grasses is what I find interesting. I hope this will allow the viewer a contemplation on the diversity of life and the passing of time. - Robert Bissell

The Arising

Giclée on Canvas    
10.5” x 18”   |  21” x 36” |  28” x 48”

This whimsical piece came about after a number of intersecting thoughts occurred to me, which accounts for the multiple meanings in the title of this piece.

 

When I was 14 years old I read John Wyndham's sci-fi novel called The Day of the Triffids, essentially a tale about how large, predatory and mobile plants are able to take over the world. For some reason I imagined these plants as sunflowers and I have always found them to be somewhat daunting and creepy. In Oregon, I once grew dozens of the giant variety to be 8 feet high and would have great fun chasing and losing the dogs amongst them. Also, like many people, I would imagine the flowers tracking the sun across the sky during the day, and I wondered what on earth would happen if 2 suns were to appear in the sky. What would happen to the sun-loving flowers? Which way would they turn? Maybe a rabbit sitting on a log would have the answer?

 

(By the way, it is a misconception that sunflowers track the sun (heliotropism), they mostly face and position themselves to the east. Also, the supposed discovery of Planet X, or another sun appearing in our solar system is a story going around online but probably not true and may be related to recent movies on the subject.) - Robert Bissell

Moonlighters

Giclée on Canvas    
15” x 21”   |  30” x 42” |  40” x 56”

At certain times of the year I am able to observe the full moon close to the horizon on the Pacific, just north of San Francisco. I can imagine being out on the water and at a low angle it seems as if the moon is actually sinking into the ocean. That was the idea I wanted to get into this painting. Edward Lear's poem The Owl and the Pussycat was also on my mind when planning this work, so there is owl placed above the occupants of the "boat" for good measure! - Robert Bissell

Peace In The Realm

Giclée on Canvas    
30" X 52"   |  42" X 72"

Based on an iconic painting called Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand that depicted William Bryant, the poet and Thomas Cole, the painter together in a similar landscape. I have replaced the human figures with bears and placed many more bears in this scene that I wanted to appear idyllic but majestic in scope. The idea of creating a monumental landscape is what appealed to me and being able to bring the viewer closer by situating a number of smaller vignettes of animals and nature. - Robert Bissell

The Release

Giclée on Canvas    
18" X 22"   |  20" X 24"

Butterflies and bears are a common theme in my work. The idea of looking up for guidance and the contrast of the lightness of butterflies with the weight of the bears is what interests me. As a child, the untouched summer meadow, full of life and vibrancy is what I remember as being as close to paradise as I could possibly imagine. At those times, all troubles and worries would fall away and a kind of release was felt. - Robert Bissell

AM2

Giclée on Canvas    
14" X 19"   |  30" X 42"   |   32" X 44" |   40" X 54"

While hiking in the mountains I came across the log in the painting. The letters AM were carved into it, which is pretty unusual in the wilderness. I pondered while having a rest on the log—was it someone’s initials, time of day, or a reference to essential state of being? Fortunately, for the bear in the painting, he can just be. - Robert Bissell

Hero II

Giclée on Canvas    
32” X 40” | 50” X 60”

The Vision

Giclée on Canvas    
28 " X 23"

The inspiration for this painting came after I viewed some paintings by Hiro Yokose in New York. His work seems ephemeral and mysterious to me, with suggestions of swirling clouds and misty visions, usually with a central defining light source that we try to look past for some meaning. My protagonist here looks even more skyward and in contrast to the fleeting atmosphere is firmly grounded to the earth.

- Robert Bissell

The Enchantment

Giclée on Canvas    
54" X 37"   |   34" X 24"   |   17" X 12"

To those of you who know my work, animals with butterflies surrounding them is a recurrent theme in my imagery. Due to the overwhelming interest I received for this particular painting, I have decided to create a Fine Art Print Edition, so that as many people as possible can enjoy the image. The setting for his painting was based on Claude Monet’s Woman with a Parasol, which which shows Madame Monet with her son Jean, atop a hill on a blustery day. I found the life and light in this painting the best inspiration for my own version. The bears here look skyward, joined by hundreds of swirling butterflies, enticing all of us to share in an uplifting and wondrous moment. - Robert Bissell

The Decision

Giclée on Canvas    
18" X 30"

As a youngster I was always concerned that decisions were being made for me without my involvement. Any sensitive, yet proud, rabbit knows these decisions could mean the difference between darkness and light. Either way, until the decision was made there was trepidation about what was going on amongst the elders. In this painting the youngster might be headed for the storm, but we’re not certain that he hasn’t been called back to go in the opposite direction and off to that clear blue and beautiful horizon. - Robert Bissell

The Kingdom

Panoramic Giclée on Canvas    
14.5" X 72"

This work was in development for nearly two years. The intention was to create a heroic painting that presented many narratives within a larger context. As in The Lord of The Rings, we see our heroes embarking on a series of journeys by individuals and groups that all essentially advance a much larger endeavor. This epic structure, along with the symbols and motifs in Tolkein's story were much of the inspiration in developing The Kingdom. A great river of life extends across the painting, uniting the participants as it flows toward the setting sun. Majestic trees provide anchor points along the many paths where the story unfolds. The title describes not so much a physical place but a realm where we all, as Kings and Queens reside and in which our adventures are part of the great journey called life. - Robert Bissell

Lazy River

Giclée on Canvas    
30” X 22”

The Swimmer

Giclée on Canvas    
34" X 25" | 36” X 27”

Bear and salmon feature prominently in many Northwestern Native American legends as powerful beings that provide life force to all people. This is well illustrated every spring when bears fish for salmon by standing in the rivers and near waterfalls to catch them as they jump upstream. Less well known is that they occasionally go underwater to find weak or dead salmon (the healthy fish can swim away faster than the bear). It occurred to me that the bear might find herself in a world of mystery and wonder immersed in the water on a sunny spring day, much as we are when we go diving into this different world. - Robert Bissell

The Golden Bear

Giclée on Canvas
36" X 25"   |   16" X 12"

I had wanted to do this painting before the original Embrace painting. This is actually how the painting was first conceived, so in a sense it is a "prequel" to The Embrace. The setting is from a painting by Asher B Durand, one of the foremost Hudson River Romantics, and a master at landscape. My interpretation is that the wanderer in the forest is recreated in gold after encountering the butterflies near the creek. - Robert Bissell

The Oracle

Giclée on Canvas    
34" x 34"   |   16" X 16"

The journey we take in our lives is always touched by another who can help show us the way or offer advice. Although we gain our knowledge from a number of sources, there are usually one or two that are particularly meaningful in our quest for guidance. The most profound of these "old souls" are those that have traveled far themselves and are wise beyond their years. It seems to me that bears significantly present to us as old souls, whereas rabbits are generally seen as young learners, still maturing on their journey. - Robert Bissell

The Exiles

Giclée on Canvas    
36" x 33"   |   16.5" X 15"

In this painting the rabbits are viewed from a low viewpoint because I wanted to portray them as proud and important animals, despite the implication that they are stranded in the middle of the ocean. They challenge us to consider our human role in the natural world as they search for a way out of an imposed exile and back to a land, and freedom, of their own. - Robert Bissell

The Flight

Giclée on Canvas    
18" x 24"

The frogs here are watching the flight of dragonflies as it winds its way across the lake. The dragonflies dance and bob overhead but are smart enough to not get so close that they become food. - Robert Bissell

The Kiss

Giclée on Canvas    
SOLD OUT

After being in this country for 25 years, it seemed appropriate to celebrate by doing a painting that did not forget my roots. There were always rabbits of some sort around in England and they became firmly fixed in my imagination from a very early age. I always think that rabbits are like creativity in all their fecundity and when I came to the United States, I realized that there is no end to the things we can do and create. For me, The Kiss painting is like a greeting, or a coming together and I wanted the painting to be a reflection of my coming from England and reaching up with curiosity to embrace the new world around me. In that way I find myself at another beginning which, of course, is what creativity is all about. - Robert Bissell

Metamorphosis

Giclée on Canvas    
40" X 60"   |   30" X 42"   |   14.5" X 20"
SOLD OUT

Nowhere is the mother and child bond so evident as it is with elephant society. From the time they are born, young elephants are nurtured and cared for by the mother, aunts and grandmothers until they are serveral years old. The idea of a young elephant maturing into an adult and separating from his family is behind this painting. I wanted him moving towards the bright eastern sun at mid-morning, a time when things become clear and present in the world. - Robert Bissell

Bathers at Dusk

Giclée on Canvas    
32" X 44"   |   28'' X 38.5"   |   14.5" X 20"
SOLD OUT

This is based on Seurat's painting of Bathers at Asnieres, I wanted to capture a time of day in the late afternoon, when things get quiet and still. - Robert Bissell

Pastors at the Gate

Panoramic Giclée on Canvas    
14'' X 72"
SOLD OUT

The origin of the word "pastor" is someone who looks after the land and community. Saint Augustine's description of a pastor's job is as follows:

Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low-spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, litigants pacified, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved. - Robert Bissell

The Embrace

Giclée on Canvas    
SOLD OUT

Sometimes the beginning of a painting is not one clear idea, but a collection of loosely connected thoughts, coming together in their own time. This piece began with my thinking about the Staff of Asclepius, the symbol of a snake spiraled on a rod representing healing arts and ideals. Combining delicate butterflies with bears seemed an interesting way to express a sense of unification and oneness. Ideas around an upward-gaze often signifying spiritual searching or beatification also informed this image. - Robert Bissell

The Guru

Giclée on Canvas    
46" X 44"   |   34" X 32"   |   16" X 15"
SOLD OUT

Some Tai Chi followers believe that the butterfly is of special significance as it represents a "letting go." The butterflies' metamorphosis is something we all need to go through to shed our attachments and become a complete being. I decided to present a bear as a figure of strength and wisdom in this setting. The butterflies are his gift to those who take the time to ask for guidance on their path. - Robert Bissell

The Embrace II

Giclée on Canvas    
SOLD OUT

Sometimes the beginning of a painting is not one clear idea, but a collection of loosely connected thoughts, coming together in their own time. This piece began with my thinking about the Staff of Asclepius, the symbol of a snake spiraled on a rod representing healing arts and ideals. Combining delicate butterflies with bears seemed an interesting way to express a sense of unification and oneness. Ideas around an upward-gaze often signifying spiritual searching or beatification also informed this image. - Robert Bissell

The Exchange

Giclée on Canvas    
38" X 36"   |   36" X 34"   |   16" X 15"
SOLD OUT

The idea of bringing my two favorite animals together in one painting had been in my head for some time. I wanted to play with the size and power of the bear and the curious, upstart nature of a rabbit. Without too much menace, I hoped to explore the masculine and feminine, strength and sensitivity - either amongst others or within an individual. Whether or not these things were accomplished is for the viewer to decide, but people very often identify with one or the other of the animals in this piece. - Robert Bissell

The Emergence

Giclée on Canvas    
40" X 30"   |   36" X 26"   |   16" X 12"
SOLD OUT

Monarch butterflies intrigue me. I visited the place near San Francisco where they congregate before migration to Mexico, and noticed lots of rabbits around at the same time. The idea for the painting started to form. One of my favorite Hudson River painters, Asher B. Durand, had a way of showing nature that I interpret as a creative force—dark and decayed becoming light and new. This approach informed the piece, which is about coming forth, opening up and going down the path. - Robert Bissell

The Rapture

Giclée on Canvas    
28" X 43"   |   11" X 17"
SOLD OUT

This painting was created after I read a piece by Thomas Hardy, who lived near where I grew up in England, and whom my own father had admired. There was one line in particular that drove some images in my mind “…in the summertime my father used to like lying on the meadow bank by the river and have all the grassyhoppers jump all over him.” The actors changed, but the shared pleasure in nature remained. - Robert Bissell

Ursa Minor

Giclée on Canvas    
22" X 28"
SOLD OUT

A full moon rising with two bears silhouetted. On December 12th, 2009 the moon was the closest to earth it has ever been. Also, the Winnebago bear clan have a tradition of honoring the full moon as a time of the little bear, when the she-bears have their young. These two things inspired this painting - Robert Bissell

The Reflection

Giclée on Canvas    
32" X 42.5"   |   15" X 20"
SOLD OUT

A good friend of mine is a fly-fisherman. While I don't fish, I have spent time with him on trips. It struck me as I was taking in the scenery and looking into the water for fish - much the same way as the bear in the painting—that even in a vast landscape our point of attention can become very focused and reliant on the smallest of details. The original painting was a large piece (48" X 64") meant to capture both the vastness of a mountain landscape and the intimacy of a particular moment. - Robert Bissell

Lepus

Giclée on Canvas    
42" X 28"
SOLD OUT

This large portrait of a hare standing erect was one of a series of paintings based on 18th century French and English portraits by Boucher and Gainsborough. Designed to make their subjects appear larger than life and removed from the common, they’ve always struck me as ostentatious. I wondered how it would feel if the style were applied to animals that stand on two legs—looking directly down at us, challenging our place and way of thinking. - Robert Bissell

The Dilemma

Giclée on Canvas    
SOLD OUT

Walking the dog in the hills above my home we came to a fork in the trail. We’d not been this way before so I hesitated—which trail would he choose? I let him make the decision of where we should go but this did not last long. Because—and if you have dogs you know this—he prefers follow my lead rather than decide himself, every fork in the trail led to confusion about who was leading whom. Amusingly, this reminded me of the famous Berra quote "…when you come to the fork in the road—take it." The painting of rabbits and their dilemma about which sunset to follow was done shortly after. - Robert Bissell

The Dance

Giclée on Canvas    
SOLD OUT

Originally inspired by the painting Ophelia by Millais. The rather dark original idea of a bear, passing away, floating downriver transformed. The bear seems to enjoy floating in the lake with the dragonflys dancing all around. Still, is she simply enjoying the moment, or ending a journey? - Robert Bissell

The Perfect World

Giclée on Canvas
SOLD OUT

Aviators

Giclée on Canvas    
32" X 44"
SOLD OUT

I found bear prints while camping with my dog atop Snow Mountain in Northern California. This is surprising at 7800 feet with so little vegetation. Morning came with contrails creating a mesh around the sky. Standing on the rocks, Laddie and I could see forever in all directions. Soon, I was sketching bears looking towards the ends of the earth, curious about all these streaks of white changing the view of the vast landscape—somehow more enclosed and defined by the contrails. - Robert Bissell

AM

Giclée on Canvas    
32'' X 44"
SOLD OUT

While hiking in the mountains I came across the log in the painting. The letters AM were carved into it, which is pretty unusual in the wilderness. I pondered while having a rest on the log—was it someone’s initials, time of day, or a reference to essential state of being? Fortunately, for the bear in the painting, he can just be. - Robert Bissell

Invaders

Giclée on Canvas    
20'' X 27"
EDITION RETIRED

How quickly and easily we can be threatened by nature, and even overpowered by seemingly innocuous elements in our environment. In this painting I tried to make the underlying threat fun with color and the idea that both bees and flowers were on the march. - Robert Bissell

Rhapsody

Giclée on Canvas    
25" X 38"   |   11" X 17"
EDITION RETIRED

This painting and The Rapture was created after I read a piece by Thomas Hardy, who lived near where I grew up in England, and whom my own father had admired. There was one line in particular that drove some images in my mind:

…in the summertime my father used to like lying on the meadow bank by the river and have all the grassyhoppers jump all over him.

The actors changed, but the shared pleasure in nature remained. - Robert Bissell

The Diver

Giclée on Canvas    
16" X 15"   |   24" X 22.5"   |   25" X 24.5"
EDITION RETIRED

This painting was the result of a study of mine into the ways in which the physical properties of various types of matter can be transformed. In this case the melting or “fusion” from a state of solid to one of liquid. The bear here is presumed to become one and “melt” with the water he is entering. I hope viewers will find this a fun metaphor for the “leap of faith” we must take, in order to transform ourselves and be one with the world around us. - Robert Bissell

Guides

Giclée on Canvas    
32" X 45"
EDITION RETIRED

Guardians of, and guides through the natural world, they challenge us to consider our place and roles in a higher order. Reminds me of the quote by Claude Levi-Strauss, from his book Totemism that says, "Animals are good for thinking." - Robert Bissell

The Dancers

Giclée on Canvas    
28 " X 23"   |   18" X 15"
EDITION RETIRED

Joy often reveals itself to us spontaneously. It was at such a time that I felt the desire to jump up and dance for joy. No particular reason, just that joy was there and it wanted expression. This is the inspiration for this painting. I first saw dancing bears at a circus in Odessa, Georgia, (that time part of the USSR). Although they had obviously been trained, the sense I got from them was that even though they may be not in a place they felt at home, they were for a period of time, at least, able to allow the energy of the fun and dance to come through them. We all joined in and laughed like crazy, at first at the sight of them but then just because we wanted to! It reminds me that even in difficult times there can be room to jump, skip and dance down our own path. - Robert Bissell

The Runaround

Giclée on Canvas    
38" X 52"
EDITION RETIRED

I remember as a kid always being totally enthralled and delighted by the sight of the dogs chasing some poor hare round and around, in and out of the hedgerows in England. Sometimes that hare would just stop, catch its breath and listen for where the dogs were, figuring his next move. I dont think the hares were ever really concerned and they were so fast the dogs never could catch them. One way to look at it was that it was just great fun for everybody and of course, the hare was the one who always had the last laugh. - Robert Bissell

The Dream

Giclée on Canvas    
18" X 36"   |   22" X 44"
EDITION RETIRED

Recently I have embarked on a series of paintings that explore the idea of scale and gigantism. I find the questions that arise in creating the images to be interesting and more complex than might be imagined. Giants have shown up in mythology, folklore and modern literature as either quite bad beings or as "gentle giants". Same goes for small beings, although to a lesser extent. Either way they are generally depicted as being of a different nature. Pictorially I realized that when combining different sized bears I was not always sure whether I was depicting normal sized bears with dwarf sized bears or normal sized bears with giant bears. This aspect I have decided to exploit so that we, as viewers are also unsure. This painting depicts a bear apparently waking up but I leave it to the viewer to decide who is having the dream. - Robert Bissell

The Lookouts

Giclée on Canvas    
24" X 48"   |   13.5" X 27"
EDITION RETIRED

This image was taken form The Pastors at the Gate, shown on this page, and the idea that those who nurture and look after the countryside challenge all of us to do the same, should we seek to enter. - Robert Bissell