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Friday, November 11, 2011

Gloria J Zucaro's "Elephant Story"

12"H x 9"W  Original Oil on Board
SOLD

Today's painting was done from life, but not an alive elephant at Cabela's in Hoffman Estates, IL.  I arrived at 7:40AM, twenty minutes ahead of schedule with all my paraphernalia.  Even though what I considered a rush hour time of day, it only took me twenty minutes from my home in Lake Zurich.  So I tilted my seat back and listened to the radio.  It was a cold 30% morning and the sun had a mist around it.  I was trying to decide how I would paint the sky if I were doing Plein air.  But I digress. 
   
None of the other artists had arrived as far as I could see.  I had noticed employees arriving in those twenty minutes.  At eight I went to the front door.  There was a maintenance man there and he told me to go to the staff entrance because the store didn't open until 9AM and the front door was locked.  So I went, it was locked, so I knocked on the window with my sun glasses because no one had come when I knocked with my knuckles!  At last!  A young woman opened it and I told her I was one of the painters who were to go to the second floor.  She called someone on her walkie-talkie(is that what they are called now???) and said" The painters are here for the second floor".  I said "OH! We are not wall painters we are artists here to paint the animals."  So then she called another person who said I should go to the conference room.  After asking where it was I took the elevator up to the second floor. 


 HOW COOL!  A rocky mountain with waterfalls and with life-size bears, deer, coyote, turkey, moose, elk, fox, mountain goats,eagle,etc.,etc.   I put down all my painting stuff and started taking pictures.  At the far end I discovered the safari animals.  Wow!  So neat...Lions, Gazelle,Rhino Elephant,Water Buffalo, and so on.  More picture taking.  All the animals had labels and a couple of facts about them.  By this time a staff member walked by and told me that even though Cabela's is a sportsmen's store, they are also considered a museum and do tours for groups large and small.  He told me there was a tunnel through the mountain with fish tanks holding local types of freshwater fish.  After he left I called one of my artists friends and found out that since the store didn't actually open until 9AM and they hadn't been able to get in, they had gone for coffee and would see me soon.  I decided to go downstairs and see the fish.  As I walked by all the staff members who were getting their morning update, a woman stopped me to inquire who I was.  It turns out they shouldn't have let me in.  But all was explained and I was setting up and ready to paint by the time the other six artists arrived.  I took my time drawing my elephant, painted til lunch, then finished up early afternoon. 

I am so glad to find out about Cabela's as I had missed going there with another group of artists earlier this year.