MILLERSBURG – Since 2011, Millersburg native artist Dana Bellis has been illustrating for PA Game News Magazine. From the beginning, Dana chose to use family members as models for most of the illustration work for the publication.
The October 2012 PA Game News issue, his first cover, featured his uncle Larry Bellis, cousin David Bellis and David’s son, Colt as the subjects in the painting entitled “Through the Generations.” It was painted to represent three generations of PA Game News readers and, as Dana notes, “it actually did!”
In 2014, Dana painted his first “throwback” cover titled, “Days Gone By,” requested by the magazine to recreate a hunting scene from 1964. Now, the artist has produced his sixth Game News cover, entitled “Deer Camp Memories” to be published in the December 2016 issue.
For this latest piece, Dana was approached by the magazine’s Senior Associate Editor and asked to create a 1966 deer camp theme similar to his popular December 2014 cover. He was told by the editor, the editorial staff and readers really enjoyed that cover and the magazine was hoping for something with a similar nostalgic feel.
Immediately his wheels started turning and he began to think about the composition and the memories he had as a young hunter at deer camp. Dana thought it would be fun to use his father-in- law, Ken Miller, and his dad Jim, brothers, Glenn, Barry and Darryl in the scene. They had often talked about their camp in Potter County and shared stories about buck season.
Bellis asked them to “model” and they were happy to oblige, as they were very familiar with the magazine.
In the spring the group assembled for their photo shoot on Darryl’s farm outside of Sacramento. In preparation for the shoot, they scoured their closets and friends’ closets so authentic 1960’s style Woolrich hunting clothing could be used in the scene. Not having an old pickup required for the composition, they all stood around a John Deere side by side that Darryl had on the farm. The artist painted in the old Ford pickup and deer. Numerous digital photos were taken in different positions to provide Bellis many options for the piece.
To set the scene, an old 4” x 6” photo of the Miller family Potter County camp was referenced (with some liberties) for the painting background. A rough sketch was produced and submitted to PA Game News Magazine for approval.
Dana began the original acrylic painting in June and finished in late September 2016. Between sixty to seventy hours was spent on the piece to ensure the likeness of all his in-laws and capturing the right color, detail, atmosphere and composition.
Dana offers limited edition, signed and numbered prints of this cover art and other published pieces at danabellisart.com or by calling 717-554- 4747.