Saturday, October 30, 2010

CREATIVELY LINKING HEART and SCIENCE through ART: My Love of Australian Mammals

HALLELUJAH PILGRIMS! HALLELUJAH for ALL LIVING CREATURES, especially monotremes and marsupials! Marsupial moms are resourceful mammals, raising their young from embryos to young juveniles outside their wombs in pouches! Envision the comfort of being tucked inside a warm blanket of maternal flesh and fur with an ample supply of milk for sustenance! HALLELUJAH for the CREATIVITY of this DESIGN!

 HALLELUJAH encourages ALL of you PILGRIMS to enthusiastically participate in the ACT of CREATION by SEEING with your own unique vision. Look deep inside objective reality. Penetrate the “obvious” that your physical eyes see. Perhaps, there is a baby marsupial tucked inside! My ART results from SEEING with my own vision, my “inner” eyes acquired from a lifetime of experiences! Right now, I will turn my spirit seeking radar on marsupials and one monotreme to share with you how I creatively envision them.

Here in the United States, where I live, we have one modest marsupial, the opossum. Unfortunately, most of us become acquainted with this shy pinkish gray animal when we see one dead on the roadside. However, other world citizens are more fortunate. On the continents of South America and Australia, there is an abundance of marsupials ranging in size from a mouse to a kangaroo. My Chiboogamoo, who is sitting across the table from me, explains that the occurrence of marsupials on these two continents is a result of their origination on the super continent of Gondwana more than 100 million years ago! Thank you Chiboogamoo! Praise SCIENCE! Praise intelligent SCIENTISTS!

Chiboogamoo, my faithful guide and companion, stops to figure out where we should go next at one of the nature parks in Tasmania!

And Praise how CREATIVITY and SCIENCE (and artists and scientists) inform each other! Look at these endearing Australian marsupials—a BILBY, TASMANIAN DEVIL, QUOLL, and a monotreme—the PLATYPUS—I have depicted here. In reality, these animals have a “fetching” physical appearance. So it was easy to paint images of them that most viewers respond to favorably—often with murmurs of delight, I might add. They are thrilled to be “engaged” with a marsupial or a monotreme! In addition to experiencing curiosity about the natural history of these critters, viewers also express a connection to me! Why? Because of the way I have folded in my perception and feelings based on my experience, viewers get the opportunity to SEE me—HALLELUJAH—simultaneously with the animal! I AM in the ART!

And I believe that the “me” in the art along with my “subject” has POWER. I believe that it is possible that my VISIONARY ART can link world citizens to SCIENCE—in this instance—to the science of marsupials and monotremes and the precariousness of their longevity. We are powerful actors on this world stage when we merge our HEARTs and HEADs.

Here is what I want you to know about the TASMANIAN DEVIL: The Devil, a curious carnivore, lives on the breathtaking mountainous island of Tasmania, south of the Australian continent.  

During our week-long  trip in Tasmania during a cold April day (it is fall in Australia then) in 2006, my Chiboogamoo and I had the good fortune to observe Tasmanian Devils in close proximity at the East Coast Nature World 7 miles north of Bicheno.

Bone crunching and yowling, the TASMANIAN DEVIL is in terrible danger now from tumors mysteriously occurring on its face. These fatal cancerous facial tumors are demolishing huge populations of the Devil. Up until now, this cat-sized black and white beast has kept Tasmanian roads free of road kill, but now as its populations decline, road kill is left unattended or consumed by other animals like birds, which end up getting hit by oncoming traffic!

The BILBY, a grayish pink floppy-eared marsupial, is nocturnal and omnivorous. This “cute” marsupial has been chosen by Australian environmentalists to replace the iconic Easter Bunny for two reasons. First of all, by getting profiled for a holiday celebration, the BILBY, which like the TASMANIAN DEVIL has waning numbers, might become better known to the public.  A chocolate Bilby and wine--perfect for an Easter celebration in Victoria, Australia!

The PUBLIC has the power to take steps to preserve the BILBY. Second, the Bunny Rabbit represents an ecological hazard to the Australian continent. Rabbits brought by the British have thrived and multiplied, causing extensive damage to vegetation and displacing native animals. Has anyone seen the movie, “Rabbit Proof Fence”? Thousands of kilometers of fences crisscross the continent, attempting but failing to stop the rabbit’s invasion. Embrace the BILBY as the new icon for Easter celebrations! A marsupial is worthy symbol for fertility and the promise of new life!

The QUOLL is a very attractive nighttime carnivore. Yet, most of the QUOLLs that I have seen have been stuffed ones in museums of natural history!  Yes, this spotted marsupial is also endangered! 

Loving animals of all kinds, my Chiboogamoo found them alive and dead in museums and parks. Isn't the Quoll an amazing beast!

Although my Chiboogamoo tells me that animals’ disappearing from this earth is the natural order of things (Extinction has been going on for millions of years.), I take in a big breath and emit a sigh. How many more animals will become extinct in my lifetime? Which extinctions are “natural” and which ones are human made? Yet all is not gloom and doom about QUOLLS. I have seen a family of black and white spotted QUOLLS at a nature center in Tasmania! And they were amazing!

Finally, I will celebrate the PLATYPUS, which is only one of two monotremes living today (The echidna is the other existing monotreme.. A monotreme is an egg-bearing mammal). My Chiboogamoo and I were fortunate enough to see some of these furry duckbilled mammals frolicking in their natural environments in Tasmania. We also tracked a male PLATYPUS along a stream in the Healesville Sanctuary, a nature center, in Victoria, with Murrindindi, an Aboriginal tracker. Murrindindi entertained us with the romantic adventures of the particular PLATYPUS we tracked that day, and its image lingers in my imagination today. The PLATYPUS is threatened because of changes in its environment, but it is not endangered.

HALLELUJAH for these magical animals from Australia and for all living creatures! HALLELUJAH wishes that all of you PILGRIMS will travel your JOURNEYS delighting in both your HEART and HEAD! How beautiful is the MYSTICAL and how thrilling the KNOWN! My Chiboogamoo suggests I conclude this blog by reminding ALL of US of our ancient lineage. Whether we are monotremes, marsupials or placentals, we ALL descended from the same source! We are ALL connected!



  1. Thanks for painting these creatures and passionately delighting in our connectivity. I learned something too...a monotreme is a mammal that lays eggs-a hybrid of sorts prepared to switch gears if need be.

  2. SEESEE, fellow ART PILGRIM, yes! YES! Connectivity to and Passion about all living creatures! I love you! Who knows what road our EVOLUTION will take!