Wednesday, March 9, 2011

change in plans

It appears the excitement I may have generated yesterday by telling you about Guillermo delToro making a film of 'At the Mountains of Madness' was premature in the extreme. Today the whole plan was shelved when Universal Studios decided not to risk spending $150 million.. a veritable drop in the bucket now that we're used to hearing about trillion dollar deficits. Ah well, maybe another time.

While looking through my old pictures I found this one (I apologize for the picture quality but I scanned an old snapshot and upsized it.). It was called 'polar bear spring' and was probably painted in the mid 70's. At the time I had no idea that polar bears might eventually be trying to make their way through field of daisies come spring rather than virtually endless miles of ice flows. Maybe I should paint another one where they're back in the snow.


  1. Oh, I like this piece a lot. The colours are perhaps a wee bit more subdued than your later work but it still looks like a Susan watercolour! Just out of curiosity, what sizes are your works usually?

  2. This is beautiful with the daisies but I do hope you paint them back into the snow and ice. 60-Minutes last weekend did a promo piece on a marvelous film about polar bears that is to be on Animal Planet this week. Seeing your painting reminded me of it. I sure hope I haven't already missed it...

    Am unaware of the book you wrote about yesterday (but loved Pans Lab.) - but I so loathe Tom Cruise that I would not have seen it! Still, I am sorry you are disappointed...

  3. You know it is extraordinary how I can feel that the painting is not a new one even though it feels completely timeless and archetypal, it feels nice to know that I can identify which period your work is from.:-)

  4. Wow. Prescient. Yes, please, put them back in the snow and ice.

  5. I just hope that 150 million goes to something worthwhile, such as one of those ever-more-rare Michael Bay blow-em-ups.

    Have you considered that you might be our century's Nostradamus?

  6. Shame about the Mountains of Madness. Perhaps Tom Cruise could play Xenu in a new Scientology blockbuster (Remember Battlefield Earth!)

    Please paint Polar Bears on snow, it will do more to reverse warming than most political leaers will (especially a lot south of the Canadian border!)

  7. Maybe paint on balancing on a small chunk of ice lost in the ocean.

  8. marja-leena - Back then I was trying hard to emulate Edmund Dulac's subdued palette (if not his drawing skill). I still love his work. Most of my paintings have been in the 9x12 or 14x16 range. When I'm working on new ideas 5x7's involve less time commitment.

    lydia - I found this one last night after reading your nostalgic poem. We recently re-watched the BBC, David Attenborough series 'Life on Earth' which has, among other stunning sections, a couple of long pieces about polar bears.

    All of us around here were rooting for Tom Cruise to be eaten early in the film.

    belette - I was using much more muted colors in those days and layering watercolor like oils. I've gone on to try and develop a lighter touch :-) I'm glad you recognize the difference as well as the similarity. xxx

    lisa - If that's what it would take I'd spend the rest of my life with tubes of white paint :-)

    randal - Low common denominator still being displayed in an entertainment world controlled by the disposable income of teenagers.

    jams - That part would certainly suit him.

    I've just ordered a couple of tanks of white paint :-)

    mrmacrum - It's all so damn angry making, isn't it?

  9. I quite like the polar bears in daisies..but I like things placed where they would normally not be..just quirky enough for me!

  10. kay - Odd juxtapositions have always been a good enough reason for me to draw and paint. I'm glad you like them.

  11. That's beautiful, Susan, as well as prescient. You've been producing lovely work for quite a while, eh? :)

  12. When I saw an iconic picture of a polar bear balancing upon a small fragment of snow/ice and surrounded by the ocean I thought it was heartbreakingly sad. Do most people give two fucks about animals at all, except their personal pets of course, or even worry about destroying their environment? Probably not I'm thinking.

    I'm sorry I'm so down and out lately. Maybe when spring flowers start blooming I'll cheer up and write happy things instead of sad.

  13. I love this one, and confirmed that I had already collected it in my Susan folder. I like things out of their usual context, too, like fish in the sky, etc. But while it's great fun in art, I do hate to hear about it in nature. Moose in kiddie pools in the summer - polar bears without ice - sea turtles hatching and heading for parking lots due to the lights... Nothing playful about any of those (moose in kiddie pools included). But in paintings the connectedness of everything (and of everyone) seems to be one of your themes, and it works well in this piece.

  14. ok... and just saying... but I looked and looked at the picture and allz I gotzta say is DON'T PLAY WITH POLAR BEARS! See, I had one in the backyard and it was really really making it difficult to take out the garbage, ok, so I tried to play with it, see, like, throw the ball, have the bear go fetch. Well, I just have to say.... it didn't turn out well at all! After I was able to walk again... I vowed never to play with Polar Bears again. the little black bears are much nicer.

  15. cr - I'm glad to know you liked it. Yes, I've been playing with illustration for a very long time ;-)

    liberality - I've seen those pictures and video too. It is disheartening. I hope you'll be feeling better soon.

    steve - I knew you collected it before but it struck me as still being relevant after re-watching the BBC 'Life on Earth' series. I heard just this morning that scientists have finally figured out sperm whales have names they know one another by. That's after only 3% of them are left from a century ago. It's hard to imagine how they feel. Interconnectedness has long been my theme and it's good to know you've been noticing. I always appreciate how you see my work.

    okjimm - Just how big and dangerous they are is what makes them so interesting. There's only one animal on earth that's dangerous to all the rest.

  16. hello there, just popping by for a short comment-sigh-love your painting but yes, maybe if we all....

    so tho i love juxtaposition, in this case, i am so sad my grandchildren may never really even understand what a grand creature is the polar bear, that i forgo that for what's their better home... i am afraid it's probably too late.... xxxxoooo

  17. Susan, sorry to go off topic, but might you be going to see this weekend's extraordinary tides (50 feet plus!) at Minas Basin? I think it's only about an hour from you, and it's going to be a rather special natural event!

  18. i've seen polar bears at the san diego zoo. they are beautiful albeit imposing creatures. i would never attempt to pet one.
    but that's what makes your paintings so special. they have a gentleness about them. they perhaps, dare i say, show the world as it should be. they are magical.

    btw- i love your newly designed webpage. it's tight!

  19. linda - I'm glad you came by. Did you ever hear the Buddhist theory about Dakinis each having an animal species to protect? I may have had that idea in the back of my mind even then. I'm a strong believer in other worlds :-)

    cr - Thanks for the tip. The Bay of Fundy tides are always spectacular and I think we're more likely to be out that way once there's a bit more green by the roadsides.

    sera - It probably requires a magic touch to be able to pet a polar bear and I'll bet you have that :-) I still wonder if there isn't an unseen world close to ours where things are better than we usually see.

    Glad you like the new look even though I didn't change much. Have you checked out 'Adventure's Ink' lately? I finally wrote the new story I promised.

  20. Wow. What an amazing collection of fascinating and wonderful vignettes. Thank you! This is a gift!