Saturday, September 05, 2009

Thank You Fanny Wherever You Are!

It's such a lovely thing to be sought and found periodically....because of the fruits of ones' higher and best self. Mostly we live our lives well enough and sometimes we have memories of things we've done that, if given the chance, we'd do over differently, better, we decide. Other things, when we remember them, or they revisit us, we're pleased we did what we did, that we listened to that inner voice of goodness and inspiration and we feel we did something good.
  That's how I feel about a piece of art that became a poster and a sign for the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. It has come to have a life of its' own.
  Years ago the Woodland Park Zoo built an expanded Alaska habitat and the Taiga Viewing Shelter,  A pond comes halfway up a glass wall so the view of kicking and swimming otters and bears as they play and fish in the water is wonderful.
 An old Brown Bear  walked back and forth, back and forth, wearing down a bare path in the grass. I could see that the worn patch was getting larger and larger, that the bear was widening her pacing by a few steps, a little more everyday. This bear's name was Fanny and she had spent her whole life living in a concrete grotto. The path that she was pacing, back and forth was exactly the amount of room that she had in the grotto. It was amazing to imagine that this was the first time her bear feet had felt the grass and the earth beneath them. I was so moved and happy for her, and so grateful to the Zoo for giving her a better life; a pond, otters, fish, trees and room to walk more than a few feet in any direction. I called the Zoo and offered to donate a painting. This idea took on a life of its' turns out there was going to be an International Zoo Conference and it was decided that the painting, that would be printed as a poster would be done and printed in time for the Conference and the attendees from zoos all over the world would receive one and it would be sold at the Zoo Shop , as well. The Printer decided to donate the printing as well and a sign company donated the sign made from the painting. It still hangs at the entrance to the Zoo:
Time passed, the Zoo Shop sold all the posters and I sold the original painting and sent most of the posters I'd been given to clients and perspective clients, The Printer somehow misplaced the scans of the art and several years later,  went out of business. Fanny had long since passed away and the project was a sweet memory. I've created another four images for the Zoo since, Mammals, Reptiles, Bugs and Birds.
    Once in a while, every couple of months, someone finds me, I receive an email from someone whose child or grandchild loves that sign and they ask, "do you have a poster you could part with?"
My stack of posters is dwindling, there are perhaps only 10 left and then there are no more.
    Tomorrow I am meeting someone to give them a poster for their grandson.......this makes me so happy, that this beautiful bear with the sunshine on her fur inspired an idea that became a painting that became a sign that years later still captivates the hearts of small children and inspires loving adults to seek me out and surprise their sons and grandsons, daughters and grand daughters.
     All the creatures in the posters were residents of the Zoo and, of course, Fanny is there front and center!
Soon I'll post some sketches for a wonderfully fun and silly Animal ABC I'm working on. I love drawing and painting animals, The animals in this upcoming alphabet are doing things the animals above never dreamed of  like sailing, making origami and painting.
Either way, it's all great fun and I'm just so tickled that I get to do this! Thank you!
 Lastly,  for something totally different, see the new Day of the Dead Cupcake at The Occasional Cupcake!

1 comment:

Paula Pertile said...

Oh, what a wonderful and inspiring story!