Bev Doolittle Artwork
Everyone wants attractive wall décor, but may have different ideas of what qualifies as artwork. Family photos, children's artwork, or collectible memorabilia might adorn your walls. I've certainly displayed my share of all of these, and still do. But only one artist consistently reaches into my soul to cast light on the deepest shadows of spirit hidden inside - Bev Doolittle.
I've seen hundreds of beautiful art prints in my life. There have been plenty I'd have enjoyed having. But the moment I saw The Art of Bev Doolittle in a B. Dalton bookstore back in 1995, I was hooked! Since then, I've acquired a number of Doolittle prints, and in the process I've learned I'm not the only one who treasures them. Their values seem to keep going up, Up, UP!
There are still some great bargains to be found, thank heavens, or I'd have to abandon my hobby. On this page, you'll see examples of her work, learn a bit about the artist, and discover how to begin a collection of her artwork if you love it the way I do - no matter what your price range might be to get started.
Are you familiar with Bev Doolittle's art?
What kind of artwork subject do you enjoy most?
Bev Doolittle on Camouflage and Nature
Although her work uses camouflage techniques, Doolittle says she does this to "slow down the storytelling," adding that her "messages about the wildnerness and Native peoples are never hidden."
Although she uses layers of imagery, it's true. As a viewer looks at her work, they instantly key in to its meaning. In "The Forest Has Eyes," shown above, the viewer understands that the cowboy is being watched by the spirits of the land's earliest inhabitants. (This print is behind glass and did not reproduce as well as I'd hoped.)
How many faces are in the piece? I've discovered new ones that I hadn't noticed before. So far, my count is up to eleven.
Doolittle Then and Now
Her earliest works didn't incorporate camouflage techniques. In "Broken Silence" (1977), the viewer almost hears the blue jay's indignant cries as it berates the buck for his silent passage through the snow, but will not find hidden spirits or animals peering from the trees in the background.
The Doolittles, Bev and her husband Jay, had quit lucrative ad agency jobs in Los Angeles four years earlier to set out in a second hand Chevy with a camper. They headed for national parks, where they painted watercolors and sometimes sold them on the spot. In her book, The Art of Bev Doolittle, she says, "Back then, I would do two or three paintings a day. Now I do two or three a year."
Two major turning points shaped her career. At a campsite, Jay found a couple of Indian arrowheads, and his wife's interest in the native inhabitants was added to her existing passion for the outdoors and animals. Then, in 1979, the Greenwich Workshop started offering Doolittle's works, offering "Pintos" for just $65. A decade later, the price was about $10,000!
"That's when the magic began for me," she said in her biography. By the mid-1980s, most of her artworks had begun to use camouflage to connect wildlife and nature with the human ancestors who'd once occupied the land.
Legal Mumbo Jumbo about Copyright
All photos on this page are photographs taken by me, of artworks I own or from the book "The Art of Bev Doolittle."
I'm not legally allowed to cut and paste images from other websites, which means you're stuck seeing the limits of my photo capabilities - and they ain't much! I don't have graphic editing software now that the latest version of Windows zapped my ability to use the software that would have enabled me to show you much better quality images. I can't tell you how much I regret having to say that in an article on artwork, of all things, but such is life.
To get an accurate view of these and many other works by Bev Doolittle - ones that didn't get cut off because a hack like me tried to resize them and make them work here, please visit one of her actual gallery pages.
Doolittle Artwork Brings the Outdoors In
As an animal lover who is ever-humbled by the power of nature and time, I find Doolittle's art irresistible, but they have another benefit that struck me only after I started collecting: They bring the great outdoors that I love deeply into my own living room.
I've often found myself studying the prints I've acquired, not because I'll find something new in them (although that does still happen!) but because they have a way of helping me find peace when I'm stressed, hope when I'm unhappy about something. I could never say that about the Led Zeppelin posters or framed unicorns I nailed to walls as a twenty-something!
How do they do that? Heck if I know! There's just something that reaches out and grabs me. I've learned that others who visit my home have felt the same kind of connection with the prints that I do.
What Do You Think?
Do these works create a similar feeling of connection for you?
Always consider whether a print is signed and has a certificate of authenticity before purchasing!
Values and Cautions
I have a few prints that aren't signed and numbered, and a few that are. I located my copy of "Two Indian Horses" complete with the framing shown above for about $460 in 1999. Today, it has about tripled in value.
My other two signed and numbered prints were purchased for less, and also have had huge increases in price. I keep my eyes out for art galleries where I can get them and watch E-Bay and Amazon, but I will only buy signed and numbered pieces that come with a certificate of authenticity from the Greenwich Workshop or Artifacts Gallery, the two places she has authorized to offer her work for initial sale.
Doolittle's original pieces, if you can find them for sale, run many thousands of dollars. One is available through Artifacts Gallery at the time of this writing, but I'm not aware of any others that have been offered in the last several years.
Calendars, memento boxes, and other book titles also feature reproductions of her work.