Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Seal artist

Some artists suffer for their work. Maggie, an 11-year-old sea lion at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, gets to eat dead fish for hers.

A zoo trainer, Kesha Phares, has been teaching the animal to paint since last year. "It's, in a way, enriching," Phares told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for Wednesday's editions.

"Sea lions are very smart animals, and painting keeps their minds active."

It took three months to get the animal to hold a paint brush and touch the bristles to paper, Phares told the paper.

Phares picks the paint colours - sea lions are colourblind - and puts paint on the brush. The paintings are done one stroke at a time, with Maggie getting a fish after each stroke.

If the animal can be said to have a style, Maggie's is that she tends to put more paint on the right side of the canvas than the left.

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