Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marya-Anna Musk Ox - a new Small Friend

I encountered a live Musk Ox a The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage in 2003, the year that the Iditerod started in Fairbanks because there was no snow in Anchorage. It was a hulking, sulking animal with matted hair and the worst animal odor I have ever encountered. Its hair is a kind of wool called qiviut which is prized by weavers and knitters, and can cost $80 an ounce. Despite the odor, the Musk Ox was a good subject to sketch, because it never moved.

You can imagine my surprise to meet Mary-Anna Musk Ox in my studio.  Although she weighs several hundred pounds, she looks terrific and smells quite wonderful.  Although she lives in the mountains outside of Anchorage during the winter, she moves to the city each summer to be near her favorite hair salon, whose staff takes a Mary-Anna Marathon Weekend to give her a color-cut-and-perm. 

She will be around for two more days while I put the finishing touches on her portrait.  Mary-Anna will represent the letter "M" in the Small Friends Alphabet.

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