The Return

40 x 50 cm,    oil on canvas,    2010       

A group of five female emperor penguins are portrayed returning to their rookery across re-frozen sea ice during the brief twilight hours of a late Antarctic winter's day, graced by the silvery light of  late July moon which has just begun to wane.  Each may have journeyed a great distance since leaving their single egg in the care of their mate.  He will have incubated the egg for nine weeks, through the depths of the polar winter,  resting it on his feet but protected and kept warm within a fold of skin.  The returning hen birds have been at sea, feeding and have built up their weight once again and each bird carries a crop of food for the chick which will have hatched a few days before they return to their rookery.

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