Polar Bear Profile
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24” x 36”, acrylic, 1976
“The polar bear is one of the largest and most powerful carnivores in the world. Some say he is more impressive than the grizzly bear and can be just as devastating. However, his white coat seems to make him less threatening. It can be easily seen why his white coat would be good camouflage in winter, even though it is as dark as night most of the time. However, in summer, one might think that white fur would show up against the rocky tundra landscape. This is true, but the polar bear does not do much hunting inland, and even in summer the coast and bays of the Arctic are full of pack ice. This is his habitat, and seals are his usual quarry. The white coat is perfect concealment for stalking a basking seal.
“My main interest in doing this painting was in exploring the fur of the polar bear, which is not really white, but a glowing cream colour. One of the most exciting aspects of nature to me is the fact that the surface texture of rocks, plants or animals has infinite, yet logical, variety. “Even the surface of one animal has very different sections with different shapes, forms and textures, all caused by the physics, chemistry and biology of that particular area. Moving across the bear from muzzle to head to flank is an adventure for the eyes. It is like flying over a complex landscape. The pale, uniform colour of the polar bear allows me to concentrate on the form in this landscape without the confusing variable of pattern and colour. I want one to be able to feel the fur in one's imagination. I certainly would not want to try it in real life.”