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I've wanted to produce this painting ever since I returned from my trip to China in 1991, when I spent time with pandas in their natural habitat at the Wolong Nature Reserve.
The great pandas live at high altitudes, between 8,000 and 13,000 feet. Wolong is the largest of the remaining concentrations of this rare and endangered animal. The Wolong winters - as they are throughout the panda's range - can be brutal. The panda overcomes this extremely cold climate with its rounded ears, which help conserve heat, and its thick, oily coat, which keeps it warm. In winter, the panda's coat is also a more effective means of camouflage, with its silhouette broken by the black markings against the white snow. As the winter progresses, the panda will move down to lower elevations in search of food and, more importantly, water, which they need in quantities to make up for the body fluid lost in the digestion of bamboo.
In my painting, a panda has been caught in whiteout blizzard conditions. The concept provided me with some interesting design elements. In portraying this black and white animal (pandas are actually more cream colored) in a white setting, I wanted the viewer to get a feeling for the size of the panda (five feet long and up to 300 lbs.) without including other elements as points of reference. To achieve this, I had a part of the panda going off the painting to create the illusion of size.
- John Seerey-Lester
This Piece has been Signed by John Seerey-Lester