George Bumann is an artist and naturalist working in what is arguably the best studio in the world—Yellowstone National Park.

Bumann, who lives just outside of Yellowstone, is primarily a sculptor. His subject matter is the wildlife that call the park home: bison, coyotes, wolves, bears, deer, elk and birds. His philosophy? There’s always more to learn.

“My job as an artist is to divine truths about the natural world as a way to find our place within it,” Bumann writes. “Hence, I become a student of nuances in animal behavior in order to convey an emotional landscape, and connect the human world to the animal world.”

Sounds like a pretty awesome reason to wander around in the park all day. But then, George is more apt to stay put.

“To me, a really rewarding day is to go sit out on a hill in the middle of the park and just stay there the entire day,” he says. “When you choose to take time and spend it that way – watching, listening, smelling, even – the park unfolds like an onion. There are layers that come to the surface that you would never realize by driving through in an automobile.”

On a typical day he wakes with the dawn, packs his truck with spotting scopes, food, clay and sculpting stands, and heads into the park in search of the perfect spot.
“By forcing yourself to stay in one place and be there, you see more magic than you’d ever realize,” he says.

Other things can happen too. Like the time an elk wandered over and bit a hunk out of a sculpture he was working on.

Bumann is a close and careful observer. He invests himself in the landscape and rewards us, his audience, with poetic insights — “the hunger-sharp hip bones of the winter weary cows” — and sculpted works that seek to capture what he calls “the overlooked magic in the everyday things of life.”

Bumann loves spending time in Yellowstone during the winter. “The margin between life and death is thin” in the colder months, he says. And “the contrast between hunter and hunted, between survival and not, is stark.”

What is it that draws Bumann to Wyoming?

“Wildness. The complete breadth and width of nature at its full glory,” he says. “Wildness brings with it the ability to find yourself. Wild nature offers us something we can’t find anywhere else.”

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