When the Dust Settles


Grant Hacking

New England artist Grant Hacking was born and raised in South Africa and resided there until the age of twenty-five so he still experiences great pleasure in depicting the diverse animal life native to Africa. Living in this exotic location provided Hacking the opportunity to travel far and wide during the early years of his career researching material for his innovative wildlife compositions. However, a move to the United States in 1990 coupled with his dedication to two growing daughters motivated the artist to begin focusing on more localized subject matter as well. His oeuvre now includes figurative work, architecture, coastal scenes, and landscapes, especially those close to his home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

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Watching the herd though the camera lens I could sense the big bulls were a little irritable. It was late Fall in Yellowstone. Too late for any dramatic bull fights but sometimes you just get lucky. The three biggest bulls started circling and with no warning two broke off and thundered into one another. Their bodies shook and shuddered as they threw their full weight into one another. Dust and dirt flew from their hooves and with some alarm I realized they were quickly covering the ground towards us. My good friend and fellow artist, Greg Wilson had the presence of mind to drag us back and up a small incline. The two buffalo pushed and shoved until they were almost completely obscured by the dust. Then just as suddenly as I started everything was still except for the sound of breathing coming from the dust. As the air cleared the victor stood staring at us, his nostrils glistening in the sunlight.