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Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Long gap in my posting progress - don't really know why, but I do sometimes feel I'm the only one looking at this blog: and as I probably am, I'll just say Hallo to myself, and offer a cheery wave!

Robert, I think you're just lovely.  A little inclined to talk to yourself, perhaps, but other than that you're just a little bundle of charm and talent, all wrapped into a peculiarly appealing exterior.

Right then, having got that out of my system, I am going to show a painting of an old friend of mine, as best I can remember him.   We first met when I was around 8, that is some 58 years ago.  He used to charge his bars in annoyance - appalling really: Bristol Zoo, where he lived and where I stayed from time to time in my distant youth since my Uncle Vic was a keeper there, confined this animal from the American  plains (he was I think an American rather than European Bison, or Wisent) in a concrete compound with thick iron bars.  Poor old Ferdinand was kept there alone, and must have been quietly mad after so many years of false imprisonment.

But he rather liked me, for reasons I do not understand, and permitted me to gaze at him and approach him, without throwing a tantrum.  I always felt sorry for him, and in this very small oil study I've released him from his bars and liberated him from his confinement.  This is just a study, I don't know if I'll ever work it up into a bigger painting - bisons have rather complicated anatomies, every one different from the other depending partly on age, but always massive.  Ferdinand was seriously massive, because he must have been fairly elderly when I got to know him, and didn't get to run in the open pasture lands, as he would naturally have done.

I hope no Zoo anywhere in the world would treat an animal like this again, but it was commonplace over half a century ago.