Saturday, December 17, 2011


While at the studio last evening, I listened to an interesting radio discussion about the origins of some of the icons of the Christmas holiday season. It was a compelling enough program that I decided to stay to hear it all (I don't have a functioning radio in my vehicle, so I'd have missed a bunch of the program while driving home.)
The topic set off a bunch of images in my brain and at some point the little Blue Penguins (also called Fairy Penguins) of New Zealand came to mind. The penguins have been in the news lately because of a tanker spill that threatens their immediate survival. There's been a world-wide call for volunteers to knit or crochet sleeve-less "sweaters" for the rescued penguins. The sweaters cover the penquins body from neck to feet. They look pretty cute waddling around in their recovery cages after they've been all cleaned up as best as possible. The sweaters prevent the birds from preening and ingesting any left over oils, but also keep them warm  until the full insulating quality of their feathers is restored.
I still had some paints out from my previous monotype session and decided to make a few whimsical penguin prints. Here is one from the session plus a couple detail close-ups (click the images to see larger):


And here is a link to a video of the penguins being being cleaned and then shows some pics of them in their sweaters. The video also shows some other kinds of penguins which are very large compared to the Blue Penguin. Notice the size of the sweaters when a woman in the video is holding one; and the tiny sweater covers the whole body of the bird.

The penguins don't look very blue in the video because they have so much oil staining. Here's a video of what their plummage normally looks like:

As for my penguin monotypes, I had fun and am thinking maybe I should pursue this a bit more. Maybe polish the image a bit, try some different poses and see if I should push it to something more realistic or stay with a bit of whimsy.

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