What inspires you to paint an animal? Especially one who isn’t native to your place on the planet? Where does that inspiration come from?
Regarding this painting, the image of the Koala arose from creating a background first. This painting was definitely intuitive. I believe that when we are tuned in, things show themselves to us or want to be seen by us. That is what I would say about this Koala Bear. He literally showed himself to me, arising from the background and wanting to be seen and painted.
As an artist, it is my responsibility to respond to what is asked of me. Yes, in this case, to paint a Koala Bear. In one sense then, this little koala bear image floating out in the larger world beyond my art studio becomes an ambassador for all Koala Bears. Whoever happens upon this painting is reminded that we share the planet with many other amazing creatures.
If I were to paint this again, with what I’ve learned since, I’d define the image of the Koala Bear by employing light and dark values. This would give emphasis where it is needed. I’d also probably paint over some of the background.
Regardless, I like imagining him in his Australian forest, likely in a Gum Tree. As seems to be the case with many of our planet’s precious animals, the Koala Bear is considered to be vulnerable to extinction. This is supposed to be one step above endangered. Yikes! The threats to their survival comes from habitat destruction, bushfires, dog attacks and accidents on the road.
I wonder how many animals have to go extinct in our lifetime before we change our ways of harvesting and using resources. When do we begin to value, through our actions, all of our relations and the earth herself?