Animal Artist ~ Diane Young

Every Picture tells a story – paintings of realistic and stylised animals


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Bulldogs or Retrievers; Red Squirrels or Grey?

Dogs – Cuteness for Attention?

Bulldog lovers may love their breed but put a bulldog alongside a long eared spaniel or a doe-eyed retriever and the cute looks of the latter two will generally speaking attract more attention than Mr Saggy face. Assuming all things are equal this reaction to looks is just not fair, poor old Mr Bulldog he really is just as nice on the inside, after all beauty (or one’s saggy face) is just skin deep.  But if you like attention cuteness is a useful attribute.

Bulldog cute?

Bulldog good looking?

Saggy face.

Squirrels – Cuteness for Survival?

Last night I saw a nature programme about Britain and a topic they covered was about our native Red Squirrel.  The Red Squirrel is under threat as a species since a few Grey Squirrels were imported here in the 19th century from North America and were released by gentry of the time to the wild.  The Grey has now eradicated most of the Red’s population down to small areas of Great Britain mainly because of a disease carried by the Greys that the Red cannot survive. The narrator of this nature program was vehemently against the Greys describing them as many do here as tree rats,  because they are the cause of what could be the total eradication of the Red Squirrel from Great Britain.  The Red Squirrel has all the attributes of cuteness.  His ears are fluffy, his tail is especially bushy, he is very colourful and characterful; straight out of children’s picture books from the 1960’s.  My concern was raised about how we determine the criteria of  favouring one species over another.  Since the Grey would have to be completely eradicated in order for the Red to survive ultimately without human intervention, the only other action that could be taken would be a constant monitoring of areas where there are surviving Reds, culling of Greys as and when necessary. If no action is taken then the Red’s will just disappear from our country altogether.

Will Mouse Share?

Should the grey be penalised because it is successful at surviving here? Should evolution be allowed to run its own path even though humans have accidentally swayed the natural route of development for a species.  Perhaps we should strive to put things back to how they naturally had been as implied by the programme, on the other hand it is concerning that the criteria by which one species is allowed to survive may actually be subjective with the mention of romantic notions of childhood, the species’ good looks and above all a good dose of cuteness.

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Badgers Cull

Badgers and TB

Badgers have had a lot of bad press recently and if you read the literature online you will find no scientific evidence to support a cull action against Badgers.  It is not known if Badgers are responsible for the rise in TB in cattle, and it is not known whether a cull would have the desired effect of ultimately reducing TB in cattle.

Gloucestershire

A pilot cull starting around now by Natural England. This week our local newspaper announced that farmers were pulling out of the cull and so it was no longer viable.

Let us hope that all the hypothetical talk about Badgers being responsible for TB in cattle has not made the public fall out of favour with them at all.

Badgers are elusive, nocturnal and related to the weasel family. They have been a protected species since 1992 not because they are rare but because they have been vulnerable to human persecution for hundreds of years.
I saw several in a friend’s garden one time, tempted in by peanut butter, it was a lovely sight.  Here is my ACEO for today: Happy Badger!
ACEO happy Badger


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A Painting for a Wedding – The Owl and the Pussy Cat

I had an enquiry a few days ago from a lady in California who had been searching for a wedding present for a friend and had come across the painting of mine of the Owl and The Pussy Cat Dancing.

Owl and Pussy Cat by Diane YoungThis is the second time for me that this image had been associated with weddings, strangely I had never gave it a thought when I designed the scene last year.  It all seems obvious now, after all there is love, a ring and a wedding described in Edward Lear’s narrative.

I came across articles about some couples’ desire to have the poem read out at their weddings but in some instances were concerned about the word “pussy” and the number of times this word would be read out and whether nudges, winks, snorts and sniggers might be set off amongst the wedding party.

Those that went ahead with the Owl and Pussycat “theme” at their wedding would have small pots of honey and quince and gold wrapped chocolate coins and so on amongst the decorations of the day.  Perhaps they would drive off in a pea green boat.  If you had a real sense of humour I fancy a cat tail from out of the wedding dress and maybe a few feathers for the groom would not go amiss!

And sadly as does happen with some enquiries even though they appear to be a dead cert, the lady interested in my painting backed out even though I kept her informed daily of the making of a mount, sorting out packing and postage costs and so on.  Apparently the recipient of the gift had changed her mind, and she signed off the email by  thanking me for understanding 😦

Oh, and then suddenly I found out a print had sold off Etsy!  So there you go that teaches me a lesson about the way I market my work in terms of originals and prints!