In the course of painting these animals and researching their behavior, I observed elements which I developed into a “coat of arms.” These elements extended across the whole gamut of these varied creatures:
- Purity: each is purely a member of a particular species, a dedicated killer.
- Bravery: each will fight to the death.
- Trustworthiness: each can be trusted to kill you if given half a chance.
- Nobility: each is totally impressive as to size, speed, viciousness and unstoppability.
This “coat of arms” is present in each painting. It evolved from being incorporated within the animal to standing alone as a separate symbol. I call this symbol a Cabochon — a convex-cut unfaceted gem. It is divided into four the four animal virtues and assigned the appropriate colors:
Another symbol I included for each animal was a golden box — 23 carat gold leaf- which has various purposes in each painting. I first intended the box to be a kind of weight to anchor the animal into a particular scene. The viewer may interpret the box in any way he/she feels appropriate — a seat, a container for various objects, or in the case of the stub-tailed cat, a receptacle for the bones of his victims.
Written by Max Yoder in 2003