For the Book – The Mammoth Hunters

Here is one of the paintings that I am working on for the book, from my bucket list.

It had been a long hot day hunting elephants in Botswana and we were heading back to camp. The dusty road that we were on was like a tunnel through the dense low bush. No one was expecting anything interesting to happen with only a couple miles to go, but when we went past the spot where a bull elephant had just crossed the road everything changed. We didn’t see his tracks in the fading light, but we sure smelled him. The scent of a musth bull was overwhelming. Instantly everyone piled out and the chase was on. There were five of us and we were moving fast with a bushman tracker named Tee in the lead and me with my camera bringing up the rear. When Tee nearly reared ended the bull, he made a quick U-turn and came back past us with the elephant close behind. From my vantage point I looked up just in time to see the bull stop a bit over ten yards away! He towered over us with his trunk raised against a glorious African sky. Yeah, I know–the mammoth, the snow, the boreal forest, the Stone Age hunters are all made up, but how could I not paint that experience?

Mike’s big announcement

Last January I met with Chuck Wechsler and he asked me if I would like to work with him and publish a book about my art. I immediately and enthusiastically agreed! Chuck is the editor of Sporting Classics magazine and asked me the same question over 10 years ago. I turned him down then, thinking that I was not ready to do a book. I felt like I was too young and still had too many “bucket list” paintings that I wanted to do before I did a book. A book like we are planning will be the capstone of my painting career, and I wanted to do it at the right time and with the highest quality possible. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am taking it very seriously. It will dominate my life for the next year or more.

My friendship with Chuck Wechsler goes back more than 40 years, when he was the editor of the Minnesota Volunteer magazine published by the MN DNR. Chuck also ran the Minnesota Wildlife Heritage Foundation Art Show back in the day. Nowadays with Sporting Classics, he publishes a high-quality hunting and fishing magazine. They also publish a lot of great books about hunting and fishing and many more about artists, both living and dead. At this point we are planning to publish the book in a little over a year and plan to have it hit the market just before Christmas 2021. Chuck has been through this process many times before, but it is all new to me. In the weeks and months ahead, I will be posting on my website where we are in the process. I will also be posting new images and the storylines of the paintings that will be in the book. If you want to receive updates, please click the Follow button and enter your email address.

Here are some of the Sporting Classics books that I have in my library at this time. I have also given quite a few away as gifts to friends in the past. To see more of what Sporting Classics has to offer, go to www.sportingclassics.com