36" x 60", acrylic on canvas, 2004
There is no land predator to compare with the tiger. The colour enhances the charisma of this solitary and secretive animal. Of all the species of tigers, the Siberian is the most powerful. Although Bengal tigers may reach the same length, they are less stocky and weigh less. Its realm is the taiga, the cool temperate coniferous forest which is so like my own Canadian boreal forest that I can do my habitat research close to home. I have visited the true tiger country in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Siberia so that I have a feel for the bits of Canada that would have that ring of authenticity.
The momentum in this painting is achieved by emphasizing the diagonal, and by fading the legs, belly and tail almost into the white of the snow. The undulating power of the line along the spine to the muzzle is the forward, downward thrust.
The thought occurred to me inevitably, that there is a downward momentum to the population of wild tigers worldwide. This is mainly due to the illegal market for tiger parts in China, the results of the deadly myth that these parts have magical, medicinal properties, a dubious homage to the tiger’s powerful charisma.