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Pure Hearted Devotion by Lee Teter

In "Pure Hearted Devotion" a late 18th century hunter rests with his canine companions after bagging the weeks meal for his family. In his world there was no choice. It was either hunt or starve. This was not a trophy or a measure of manhood; it was survival. The hunter is not celebrating though he is very pleased with success. Instead he is tenderly contemplating the dogs who participated in the chase and will partake of the benefits of the bear?s death. The young man who modeled for the painting was perfect for this picture because he is the real life companion of the dogs in the picture and because together they have fought for their lives. The dog in the foreground of the painting still wears scars from the fight. The young man, with his brother and their dogs, were camped in the mountains herding cows for the summer. The camp attracted a pack of wolves who visited with the specific intention of killing the dogs. The wolf population had been increasing and had become very territorial. Wolves had been killing dogs tied in their yards at ranches and homes in the surrounding area. It is apparently part of their instinct to get rid of the ?competition?. When the wolves attacked the young man?s camp, dogs were killed and others severely wounded in the fight. Perhaps none of the dogs would have survived if their human friend hadn?t stood in the midst of the fight and fired a gun to frighten the wolves away. He would not have been able to stand among the wolves if his dogs hadn?t defended his life at the risk of their own. It took courage for all involved because wolves are large and very deadly fighters. The wolves had to see dirt fly in front of them (kicked up from shots fired into the ground) before they quit attacking. After a careful and patient evaluation the wolves broke off the fight and nonchalantly ambled into the pines. The young man did not hurt any of the wolves. He did not hate the wolves. He was angry but anger is not hate. The next thing needing done was patching up the dogs. A dog belonging to the cowboy?s father had to have its entrails returned to its belly and stitched into place. Those killed were buried. This young fellow knows what ?wild? is really like. The affection you see on his face is real. The reasons for the affection are entirely like the reasons boys loved their dogs in the 18th century. Like the boys who became men on the 18th century frontier this boy accepted the fight as part of life. He did not write an adventure story or embellish the tale. He had not felt like he was in a fight for life. He just did what he had to do. So did his dogs. They just did what they had to do one night . . . together. I admire pure hearted devotion found in an imperfect world; affection that spites the imperfection of its surroundings by its very existence. Love can?t be real in the absence of truth. Without truth love is merely emotion. Affection cannot exist outside reality. I paint these things because they were and are reality. Real people, real dogs and real feelings. We share these things with people who lived before us. I paint dead bears because bears died on the frontier. Dogs still die fighting wolves. People from the past have loved in spite of imperfections of our past. If people who lived before us had failed to love because of violence or death this world would not be fit to live in. Our generation must learn valuable things from history. Not names and dates and places associated with an event that supposedly changed the world but about people who changed the world without anyone ever noticing. That is why I paint pictures like this one. If I painted pictures of roses I would paint the thorns. Those who see good things in spite of bad things will understand my art. Those who love in spite of bad things will change the world.
  • Giclee Limited Edition Print on Archival Paper
This piece can be purchased as...

  $395.00 - Limited Edition Giclee on Paper



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