Each year that I have taught at the North Cascades Institute I've seen black bears, often a sow and her cubs. She lives near the Environmental Learning Center, and all of my encounters with her have been memorable. This time I was driving up to the parking lot and my dear and lifelong friend and hiking companion Gerry Fuller was in the passenger seat and was quick enough to get a wonderful photo of the mother, surrounded by goldenrod and oxeye daisies. One cub was with her, the other was on the other side of the road so we moved along to give them the chance to reunite. To paint this I used masking fluid for some of the daisies and goldenrod, so that I could quickly paint the background forest and the dark fur of the bears. Having the fine photo was very important, as it's pretty difficult to get any kind of a good sketch of a big mammal moving. This fall I'm hoping to get to the Woodland Park Zoo with my sketching class, where we'll view the grizzlies and mountain goat at the Northern Trail habitat.