When I saw @shaka's template photo this week, my mind conjured experiences I'd had long ago. Readers of my blog will notice this is a habit of mine. But art is personal,so I follow that thought stream.
The Template Photo by @shaka for LMAC #151
The mountain path in the template could have been one on which I walked many times, as a child. Some years ago I tried to recreate the scene as I remembered it: sinister and beautiful, the way untamed nature can be.
My Memory of That Place
When I first started on the collage this week I made a still picture. You can see by comparing the still (below)to the picture (above) that the memory I approximate in each case is consistent. Is it real? I don't know. Maybe my siblings remember that place differently.
More than anything else I remember the beauty of the place. Also, the quiet, the tranquility. And yet, there was danger: a cliff. And vines that we swung on. When I swung on those vines I was no bigger than the child in my collage.
How to express the danger in my LMAC picture? A bear would do it, I thought, and it had to be a menacing bear. Why was the bear menacing? That's where the cubs came in. Protecting the cubs made my bear ferocious.
The answer to that question is, yes! Bears are apex predators. This means that, not only do they prey on other animals, but there are few animals that prey on them. As a matter of fact, the only animal that preys on brown bears is a human. Black bears suffer more predators: humans, mountain lions , wolves , coyotes, bobcats, grizzly bears, and other black bears. The most vulnerable of black bears, of course, are the cubs.
Let's look at the Kodiak bear, which, according to the Alaska.gov website, is the largest bear in the world. A male can weigh 1,500 pounds and stand 10' tall. This spectacular animal has been isolated from other bears for 12,000 years on the Kodiak Archipelago.
Kodiak Brown Bear, Alaska
Credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa. CC 3.0 license
If that is a Kodiak in my collage, it will likely have two or three cubs.. Kodiak mothers are devoted to their offspring. Their cubs stay with them for three years. Despite this doting parent, 25% of the cubs will not make it through their third year. A major threat to the cubs' survival is male cannibalism.
Kodiak Bear and Cubs
U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Public domain.
The female Kodiak is about 30% lighter than the male. While she may have as many as four cubs of her own, it is not uncommon for her to adopt cubs from other litters.
Kodiak Bear Cubs Playing
Credit: Steve Hillebrand from U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Public domain..
Is the Kodiak ferocious? While a grizzly has been described as being among the most lethal animals in the wild, Kodiaks are not as aggressive. Over the last 75 years, only one human life has been lost because of a Kodiak attack (although there have been injuries). Grizzlies, on the other hand, killed 24 people in just 15 years (2000 to 2015). Grizzlies hunt large mammals. Kodiaks eat mostly plants, including, berries, and even grass.
However, a Kodiak bear can be aggressive when cubs are present or if the bear is surprised. The website Wild Explained suggests, "Don’t approach them, don’t try to feed them, and you’ll live to tell the tale".
Grizzly Bear, Yellowstone National Park, USA
Credit: Yellowstone National Park: CC 2.0 license
I'm pretty sure the bear in my collage is a Kodiak. She just wants to lead her cubs through the forest without getting hurt :)
As is always the case when I create a collage for LMAC, I dipped into resources at the LMAC Image Library, LIL.
The wonderful bear I owe to @seckorama
The forest in the valley is a picture I had contributed top LIL a while ago.
I also borrowed from public domain sources:
You can see that I used GIMP paint application to add plants and greenery in the forest. I also enhanced the color on some of the figures to make them stand out. And I tried to insert a stream. I really like streams :)
Here are a few of the many, many steps (and missteps) on the way to my finished collage
Here's a gif I discarded:
Here's one still version I ran through a lunapic filter. It was too fuzzy so I didn't use it.
LIL and the LMAC Collage Contest
Everyone on Hive is invited to join in the fun of making a collage. I've been doing it almost since the first week. There are prizes, but I don't compete. Making a collage is fun and a creative experience. Round 151 has concluded and you can view the amazing winning collages here. Tomorrow we begin a new round. Check out the new template photo when it is published on the LMAC community blog.
LIL, the LMAC Image Gallery, is an outgrowth of collage creation. Anyone on Hive may contribute to the library and everyone on Hive may borrow. Procedures are outlined here.
I hope you enjoyed my brief introduction to the Kodiak bear. This is about as close as I want to get to one! I wish all my readers a peaceful day.