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The original of this work was created in ink on Scratchboard.
The Inspiration behind this Piece:
Presently living in Bighorn Sheep country, I love following the seasons and watching life continually unfolding around me. Late spring and early summer are the days of innocence, where nimble lambs cavort back and forth across wildflower strewn alpine slopes, leaping from boulder to boulder, and trying out dominance tactics on each other that will determine future herd rank. All this fun is carried out under the cautious and watchful gaze of their mothers and Aunties, always alert for potential dangers.
As summer draws to a close, the bachelors begin to gather for the fall rut or mating season. Each male begins sizing up his competition. Preliminaries include body language posturing and showing off one’s armaments- the thick curved horns that denote rank and age, turning heads this way and that to make sure “the other guy” gets a good look, and hopefully gives up. If intimidating display doesn’t do the trick, the next step is pushing, blocking, and good swift front leg kicks under your opponent’s belly! If too evenly matched, and previous efforts to avoid major confrontation have proven ineffective, tensions escalate into full-blown war. Two rams will back off a distance from each other, then charge full speed at each other, rearing up at the last moment to come crashing horns together, each trying to force the other back. It has been estimated that these blows have 60X more force than is needed to rack our own skulls! Sometimes these epic battles for dominance can last many hours, but the stakes are high – the right to breed and father as many offspring as possible when the rut moves into full swing.
In this piece, these two rams are still in the sizing-each-other-up phase, trying to decide whether to back down or advance into phase 2!
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