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Green Anole's Garden

 Green Anole's Garden. Oil on canvas. 2013. 18x36. Sold.

I've always had enormous love for the little green lizards that are very common where I live. Green Anoles, sometimes called chameleons by the layperson. Everyone who lives here knows about them -- they're as ubiquitous as squirrels. They run around gardens, fences, backyard plants, changing color from green to brown, the males bobbing their heads and stretching out their red throat flaps. I was enchanted with them as a child: one of my favorite things to do was look for them in the neighbor's garden, trying to find as many as I could among the plants. Just to say hello, just to see how they were doing. In many ways, I felt the garden belonged to them, as much as it belonged to my neighbor.
I've never stopped being delighted by them. By the strangely knowing looks in their eyes. Their intriguing behavior. Their hunting techniques. I saw one eating a dragonfly almost his own size. And one time, when I was sitting out in the backyard, I looked to my right, and saw a green anole on the plant right beside me. She didn't seem to mind my presence, and I was able to watch her very closely. I was also able to take photographs. Ever since I took the photos, I've wanted to use one as a reference for a painting. I finally did get around to it, and this is the result.

This painting most definitely shows how I saw Green Anoles in my childhood. The magic and delight of discovery. The joy of wild life. Colorful, free, and wondrous. Combined with the sharper focus of more recent encounters. The intrigue of a single bold individual.