Fewer creatures stop us in our tracks the way that a skunk does. The unique defense mechanisms that skunks have against predators fill us with fear and derision. The telltale odor of a skunk places the species in a unique category of the most obnoxious animal know to mankind.
If you keep your distance and observe these creatures going about their business, however, you will discover that they are fascinating animals.
Skunks have beautiful black and white fur that looks soft and luxurious (I have never dared to touch one, so I don’t really know what their fur feels like). Each one has a slightly different pattern. Some are more black than white, while others have greater areas of white that almost obscure their black areas of color.
They move across a lawn with a bouncy/wavy sort of motion. The movement is both graceful and playful, with a sort of comedic style to it. They typically are solitary creatures as they move about quietly in the twilight hours.
They appear happy-go-lucky to me. I think of Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” when I see them bouncing along through the urban landscape. It is ironic that a creature so reviled by mankind seems completely oblivious to our derision, and thoroughly enjoys itself as it moves along its path.
As I shared in a previous post, I have spent a lot of time in the last year and a half observing wildlife creatures in my city of Canton, OH as I delivered newspapers in the early morning hours of the day. The animals that I have observed have inspired me, and I am articulating that inspiration in a series of paintings. I have seen many skunks in my travels. I have also, ahem, smelled their presence many times when I did not see them. A skunk painting (see above) had to be a central part of the series.
You can view the entire Urban Wildlife Series in an exhibit at the Johnson Center at Malone University from October 28 – December 7, 2019. You can also watch my painting progress in social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I hope my paintings inspire you to look at these animals in new ways as the animals have inspired me to do.
Hum the tune to “Happy” the next time you see a skunk, and I guarantee you will never look at them the same way again.
Life is an Adventure!