Bobcats Don’t Have Tails

A plein air painting of a wildcat on a ridge overlooking Andrew Molera State Park and Point Sur on the central coast of California

Artwork Notes:

For this one, I wanted to return to the scene of the first painting, I felt there was something more to see without trying to get the entire scene all the way to that white mountain. And I was right. As soon as I stopped to set up the easel, I looked back on the path I’d just walked up and about 20 yards back there was a wild cat on the path. Not a big one. I knew they saw a lot of bobcats here, so without thinking I assumed that’s what it was. And of course I had to paint it so I watched it closely; thick paws, big head, and a big fat tail. Not very big, but big enough that I was relieved when it showed no interest in me. Recorded as remembered. Then came the puzzle in hindsight… bobcats don’t have tails. At least not usually. Was it a small mountain lion? Did I just make it up in my head? It wasn’t solved until my host explained they often have bobcats come up to their house and one in particular always seemed interested in their cat, not threatening, just curious through the glass. When their cat grew ill and passed away recently this bobcat was there sitting beside the glass, a calm presence. My hosts puzzled over this bobcat too, because it had… wait for it… an unusually long tail. Feline vindication. Feels pretty good. Thought my eyes and mind had failed me for a minute there.

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "Bobcats Don’t Have Tails"
Original Size: 12" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2020

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 02/19/2020
Region: The California Coast > Central California > Monterey
Road Trip: Big Sur 2020

Artwork Logistics:


Miles Hiked: Less than 1 Mile
Access Logitics: Private Property, Posted: No Trespassing
(Painted With Permission)
Botanical Hazards: Some Poison Oak Observed
Biological Hazards: Frequent Mountain Lion Sightings, High Grass- Tick Country!
Weather Logistics: Painted in Full Sun with no Shade


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