Path of the Bighorn Project.
While living in Palm Springs, in 2003, I was selected to paint one of the life-sized rams for the Bighorn Institute. This is a conservancy program to preserve habitat for our indigenous Peninsular Bighorn sheep. The range of this bighorn sheep is the Santa Rosa Mountains in California and extends into Mexico. My ram, titled “Palm Springs Night,” is located outside the lobby of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (1 Tramway Road).
The Bighorn Institute was spearheaded by the later writer, Sydney Sheldon, and his wife, Alexandria. Through their contacts, a number of stars and celebrities also painted rams. The Sheldons concluded the initial program by publishing a book of all the painted rams. I am included in that book, THE PATH OF THE BIGHORN.
The how of the process: paperwork and full color designs had to be submitted by interested artists. A committee selected the designs. A life-sized fiberglass form of the sheep was delivered to the studio site. It was pre-primed and ready to finish. The sheep form was 6′ -6″ (@ 180cm) tall. It took me 3 weeks of daily painting to finish. The design was inspected, then 3 coats of an ultra-violet protective urethane was applied. The hollow base could be opened by removing a plug. When at the installation site, the plug was removed and the base filled with sand.
Each ram was sponsored with a fee going to the ram maker and the artist; and the larger donation made to the Bighorn Institute.