11.000 x 14.000 x 0.750 inches
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Tribute To Bismarck The Ambassador
Painting - Oil On Canvas
My family loves to go to the zoo. My 24 year-old daughter's favorite zoo animals are the seals and sea lions. We saw Bismarck in a show last March, 2012. He moved through the water so gracefully. At first I didn't even realize he was missing his back flippers. I learned during the show that this young male had been rescued off the coast of California. Wow... he had really overcome his disability. I was planning to do a painting of something at the zoo this time for the 2012 Denver Plein Air Arts Fest, but I just hadn't made it to the zoo yet. Then, I read about Bismarck, and how he passed away on August 22, during a surgery intended to help him. I sat and sobbed at my computer and couldn't get it off my mind. I read how he had really become an ambassador for disabled people visiting the zoo. I guess that's why it struck such a chord with me. I imagined how sad all the people would be, especially the children. I remembered seeing a statue of sea lions at the zoo from when we saw Bismarck perform last March. So, I went to the zoo and did this painting as a tribute to him. I know that plein air is more about the light and shadows in what we see outside, but I infused this painting with light and shadow to represent what this magnificent animal had overcome. Even though I did the painting from a statue, one of the staff who works by Northern Shores at the zoo stopped by and told me that Bismarck and the other sea lions always sunned themselves in the afternoons on their rock, and that my painting captured that. A little later on, a lady who had on a zoo-keeper's outfit came up to talk with me about the painting just as I was finishing up. She said that she recognized "Biz" from "all the way back there" and she just had to stop and talk with me about it. She got tears in her eyes, which made me get choked up again. I had to get a grip on myself several times while painting--this was and is quite an emotional painting for me. I have now donated this piece to the Denver Zoo, and it is part of their collection. I will also donate half of any proceeds I make from this piece to the Denver Zoo.
August 31st, 2012
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