It was especially gratifying and encouraging that not only did the accomplished jurors, Sue Powell, Regan Hayward and Jill Price, accept my polar bear painting into the show, but that they so clearly understood its message.
The effect of climate change, particularly vanishing sea ice is central to all my art work. In this polar bear portrait, a solitary bear is adorned in honour and celebration with a flower crown composed of the flowers of the Canadian provinces and territories, as well the nation’s symbol, the maple leaf. The polar bear is one of the world’s most loved animals, but it is Canada, that is home to 60 - 80% of the polar bear population. This magnificent, highly intelligent bear is significantly intertwined with the Canadian identity, and yet, its status in Canada, is vulnerable.
Canadian Flower Crown, although a recent creation, was one I had in the works in my head for a few years.
(See more polar bear art here)
I was often surrounded by beautiful flowers, especially magnificent flower crowns, as my daughter was a floral designer. Keeping her company I would doodle, and flower-crowned polar bears made their way on the page.
But it wasn’t until I started to create my work for my 2018 Dark Water solo exhibit, that a flower crown polar bear insisted it appear on canvas. It became a mental block to my creating new paintings that were to be of polar bears in dark water. The only way to solve this, was to paint it, so I could get on with the show!
Canadian Flower Crown took more research and planning than most of my paintings. I had learn what the flowers of each province and territory are, their size, and their proportion in relation to a polar bear’s head. It would be so easy for this bear to be “cute” or “pretty” in a flower crown.
By showing its very large teeth, this polar bear remains the powerful animal it is.