I have painted animals that are not in the wild, but in captivity. I usually bring a sketchbook to a zoo. In the 80s when my parents wintered in Florida (on the old people’s side, Pinellas Park, near St. Pete’s) I would use my school break to spend a week down there, and at least once per visit, I would go to Busch Gardens in Tampa and sketch all day.
The most complete sketches are of alligators (they don’t move much) but I have favourite sketches that may not even be recognizable to most, yet I know they represented a challenge of drawing most are not aware of. Capture the single most important line of all FIRST. and so on. It’s poetic to even try.
I worked briefly at an exotic pet store, Animal World in Point St-Charles, in the early 80s (ugh, more later) and received a lot of zoo guides from my boss. (He was a middleman shipping animals between zoos around the world as well.)
Germany, at one point in time, had the most private zoological collections (per capita? per area?) in Europe. One particularly well photographed zoo guide included several photos of African animals romping in the snow. I found the black and white disappearing into the snow very spiritual. (But zebras shouldn’t be in the snow in the first place.)
The striped hyaena (as opposed to the spotted hyaena) is known to puff up its fur when startled or afraid. The pose made me think of a circus tent freak show, so I painted the background accordingly. I imagine circus music playing.
My sad lion is too well-coiffed to be wild, and the blue floor is meant to represent cement.
There is one class of animals that I cannot stand to see in captivity. That is Class: Aves, the modern dinosaur, and I do mean birds. Although I have no sentimental attachment, I feel that by their very essence as birds, that captivity is an abomination for virtually all species.
I have no problem eating poultry or fowl, however I try to stay away from mass produced (fast-food/frozen) meals with chicken or turkey. I worked in customs brokerage and had to read all the names of the machinery utilized in “poultry processing”, and you don’t want to know.