48" x 62" unframed
55" x 69" framed
© SHELLEY HESSE 2015
This is the second large scale watercolor and gouache that I have done of a White Alligator. The colors are warmer and brighter in this piece, but the background is cooler with blues and greys mixed with greens. This alligator is resting in sunshine rather than shade and almost has a twinkle in her eye.
The leucistic white alligator is the rarest of all alligators. They are primarily only found in the southeastern United States. Like all other alligators, they live in freshwater swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, and small bodies of water. Yet what truly sets them apart is their glowing white skin which may actually be burned by the sun. Leucism is a rare condition not to be confused with albinism. They are quite beautiful and are known in this part of the country as the "Swamp Ghost". We are fortunate to have some at our Audubon Zoo. One of them named Spots lived to be 28 years old. A few months before he died last year, I visited several times, took endless photos and was able to capture him in my imagination surrounded by magenta and lavender grasses and with pale brown eyes rather than blue. In the shade they looked more brown than blue, but they say that anyone who stares into the blue eyes of a white alligator will be blessed with good luck for the coming year and that prosperity will surely follow. Such wonderful news for all of us who fell in love with Spots.
“Zoo animals are ambassadors for their cousins in the wild.”