I painted this little raccoon in October. October makes me think of gothic imagery. (Dark forests, full moons, and forest creatures with shiny eyes.)
Raccoons are clever little puzzle solvers with very nimble little hands. (Unfortunately, this is why they make such skilled thieves, especially when it comes to food.)
I decided to name this little guy Simon, after Simon Templar, the fictional gentleman thief.
I used to think of raccoons as just another adorable forest critter. But not everyone finds raccoons cute. Although I have had no personal experience with this, I do understand that they can be quite a nuisance, and even dangerous. And it was only recently that I learned that raccoons are sometimes called “trash pandas,” a name that is not especially flattering, nor is it meant to be. After learning this, I considered abandoning this painting altogether and not sharing it, or even completing it. But, recently I had the marvelous opportunity to see Jane Goodall speak in person, and it reinforced my understanding that all animals have a place in the world. We just need to find a way to share it with them as best as we can. So I took another look at this baby raccoon’s liquid eyes and decided to finish the painting, and share him. I still think he’s cute, and I really do love his eyes, which is what inspired me to paint him in the first place.