Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fire Dancers at the Dallas Zoo

Fire Dancer
Oil on Linen

My first field trip in grade school was a visit to the Dallas Zoo. I will never forget seeing the hundreds of vividly orange flamingoes and watching them stand on one leg still as statues. It wasn't until I finished this painting for the Dallas Zoo last week that I researched these fascinating birds. Flamingoes are the only birds equipped to feed and live in the caustic environment of a volcanic lake.

Scientists are baffled by their dance, a bowing and bending, a marching back and forth as a group, and then suddenly taking flight en masse. These beautiful birds get their red color from eating spirulina, an algea that contributes to the pigment in their wings. I wonder if the spirulina is the same spirulina we see in health food stores and at our favorite smoothy stations?
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