The Last Polar Bear

Tamsin Rosewell, 2015

Ink on Canvas

This is a painting of a really lovely song by O’Hooley and Tidow called The Last Polar Bear. I was torn between doing a study in white and creating a full-blast of colour from the Northern Lights. In the end  I went for the icy expanse, but with icy blues rather than stripped out white; the song is a very sweet, landscape of gentle colours all blending in. I like to hide things in my paintings; in the top left hand corner is a Petrel in flight, which is a reference to another song by O’Hooley and Tidow, called The Flight of the Petrel, which is a powerful environmental warning. The arctic and the environmental warning seemed to belong together. While I was doing the painting news came through that one of Lord Franklin’s ships, The HMS Erebus, had been found beneath the ice in the arctic; it was one of two ships lost as he tried to find the rumoured North-West Passage. The loss of both Lord Franklin and his ships is the subject of several folk songs, so (while I was in the arctic) I thought I’d pop an ice-bound ship into the landscape too.

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