This is the fourth time I’ve gotten into Art of the Animal, a prestigious national juried show held each year by the Bennington Center for the Arts in Vermont, and the second time with Mongolian subjects.
I just received notice that my painting “Thompson’s Gazelle” has been accepted for “Art and the Animal Kingdom XIII” at the Bennington Center for the Arts. This is the third year in a row that I have gotten into this show, plus twice into their “American Artists Abroad” exhibition. John Seerey-Lester, who I have studied with a number of times over the past ten years and who knows African wildlife very well, to say the least, was the guest juror, so that makes this one quite special. You can see the painting on my Feb. 26 post.
So, here’s one example of the kind of reference I got at the San Francisco Zoo this past weekend. Just about filled a 1Gb memory card with the antics of these two sisters, who were orphaned up in Montana and have found a home in San Francisco. They played up a storm in the water for about ten minutes. I wasn’t sure what would happen shooting through the thick glass, but other than a slight cool cast, they’re not bad. Upon review, as expected, no one of the photos I took is quite what I’m envisioning, but parts of them are excellent.
The gorillas were very active, as were the penguins. Got some kangaroos in mid-hop. Big cats pretty much flaked out. It was amazing to look at the enclosure walls closest to the public and realize that Tatiana, the Siberian tiger, was able to go straight up and over one. Now there’s more concrete wall, glass and heavy cyclone fencing secured with cables. Signs everywhere with shushing lips and others with the prohibition about teasing or harassing the animals and a phone number to call to report any such activity. Quite a few times, I heard parents quieting down their children. In general, it seemed quieter and more polite even on a busy weekend, which made the zoo a pleasanter place to be, really. Nicer for the animals too.