I don’t have great photographs of this series yet, but I wanted to share them and their back story anyway.
As most of you know I paint animals. There is a little more to it than that, but they are without question my main subject and the vehicle for telling my stories. As such I spend a lot of time researching animals, studying photographs of them and exploring their lives. I like animals. I want them to survive.
All the animals in this series are endangered. Each species is sitting on the edge of oblivion with as little control over their fate as the perverbial daisy plucker has over the emotions of their object. In place of “they love me, they love me not” each animal asks, “will we save them or won’t we save them?”
The Javanese rhino and the Sumatran tiger characters are special to me in particular. I grew up with a family friend who, apart from no blood relation, was an uncle as well as a great friend. A creative person himself, he always encouraged my art. He gave me drawing books and hands on lessons in gold leaf and wood staining. When I went to Indonesia (the native home of the Javanese rhino and Sumatran tiger) for the first time at age 9, he gave me my first camera. He also shared his concern for nature and the environment. I don’t consider myself much of a “marcher” but my first and possibly only march was with him to try and save a local river. For years we talked about writing a book about these two particular endangered animals. He would write it and I would illustrate it. Tragically, before we were ever able to make this book he passed away from ALS. This series is the first time I have ever painted these two characters. I hope Greg likes them.