This pink elephant was originally begun as an homage to one of my favorite elephants of all time: the polka dot elephant from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer animated movie. Since I was a child that sad little elephant has haunted me. My childish mind couldn’t comprehend why he had been banished to the Land of Misfit Toys, I would cry to my Mother that I wanted him even if no one else did. When I was putting away my Christmas ornaments this January, including my polka dot elephant ornament and stuffed toy the idea for this portrait was born.
Of course few paintings progress as planned and I soon realized as I painted that the polka dots were not going to work: they made him look as if he had measles which, of course, was not my intent. The half finished painting sat there for weeks in my studio staring out at me. At some point I realized that every time I passed by, the jingle from Crispy Critters would run through my mind. For those of you that do not remember Crispy Critters, it was a popular cereal in the 1960s that was 90% sugar and that came in the shape of animals: monkeys,Tigers, lions etc. At one point pink marshmallow elephants were added and I was beside myself. According to my sister, I was already inexplicably obsessed with elephants and every time the commercial came on TV with the special Pink Elephant jingle, I went nuts. (Unfortunately I cannot find that particular jingle on YouTube so you'll have to take my word for it).
All these years later that annoying jingle became the key to solving the problem of this painting and I went forward making the elephant a nice shade of salmon pink which, it turns out, worked perfectly with the deep olive green ground I had already painted. The portrait pretty much finished itself from there.
So even though in color, he resembles the pink elephants of Crispy Critters, to me he remains a poignant reminder of that neglected polka dot elephant on the Island of Misfit Toys that no one wanted.
Prints, notecards, brooches and ornaments featuring the Pink Elephant are available in my shop Curious Portraits.