New Sheriff in Town
Oil on Braced Baltic Birch 24” x 48” x 2” Framed: 39” x 63” x 4"
A tired general store and post office packed with antiquated amenities and trinkets lays prone to moth and rust. All signs of life have vanished from the Old Wild West. Amidst the dust and blowing tumbleweed, enter stage left the ostentatious Double-Wattled Cassowary taking his place as the self-appointed new sheriff in town.
Visiting a ghost town in St. Elmo, Colorado, I imagined a Cassowary roaming through it and decided to create this painting. I later discovered that a Cassowary had actually escaped from the nearby Denver Zoo in 2011, and was found roaming outside. This anecdote added credibility to my hypothetical composition, even though this bird, related to the Emu, is native to northeastern Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. Standing six feet tall and weighing 120 pounds, its bony helmet-like casque, powerful legs, and blade-like claws have been known to cause human death when threatened. While working on this painting my Indonesian neighbor came over one day and recounted stories of how those “aggressive b****es” were their guard dogs! Although they are the most dangerous bird species in the world, there’s still another species that trumps all… and that is homo sapiens. Due to habitat loss and hunting pressure this prehistoric-looking beauty may indeed go the way of the dinosaur.