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Mammoths at Long Beach

Mammoths at Venice Beach, Stephanie Burns

When I first went to LA in 1982, my father booked us into a hotel next to the La Brea Tar Pits. I remember looking out the window and being amazed that there were mammoths in what looked like a swamp below. Since then I have been very intrigued by the idea of Los Angeles in the Pleistocene age and how it changed from a forest teaming with wildlife, into the desert it is today. I began to imagine what their world must have looked like since then. When I was out on the pier at Long Beach and looked back at the land with the few palm trees I could see dotted among the apartment buildings I thought that the height of the buildings was probably the same as the forest that was once their and in my minds eye I would see the forest and the Mammoths on the beach.

The Columbian Mammoth is the only species of mammoth found in LA and was excavated in 1914. The more common American Mastodon also lived in Los Angeles during the Pleistocene age. Mastodons differ from mammoths by their smaller size and lower crowned ridged teeth. Mastodons in Rancho La Brea tend to be smaller than those found in other areas. There are the remains of 15 individuals and at least one baby in the Museum and excavations continue today.

Many scientists believe that these great creatures became extinct from over hunting, but there are 3 million bones in the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and none of them are human.

Mammoths at Long Beach has been brewing in my imagination for over 30 years. I hope you like the painting and that it does justice to these great creatures and the world they lived in up until 10,000 years ago.

Mammoths at Long Beach by Stephanie Burns
Mammoths at Long Beach by Stephanie Burns 2016
Oil on canvas
36 x 48 in
© Stephanie Burns

If you would like to receive the free link to the upcoming TV program where I paint Long Beach on “Colour In Your Life” or you are interested in buying this painting, fill out the form below and I will get back to you.