Artwork / 2020 / Building a Beaver World

yin and yang of beaver ecosystems, painted in acrylic by Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
Building a Beaver World
acrylic on canvas
18 inches in diameter


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This painting is meant to celebrate the Chinese year of the rat, which falls mostly in 2020, because, every year, I paint a version of the Chinese zodiac animal. For example, for 2019 it wasn’t just a pig but a fairy pig, and for 2014 it was a Pegasus instead of a horse.

The year of the rat became the rodent became the beaver, because this maligned creature is extraordinary. Beavers are responsible for much of the success of the United States. For thousands of years, these animals flourished in North America, laying down incredibly fertile soil with their pond-building, and we have destroyed millenia of this richness with farming practices that don’t focus on the future, but instead on immediate yield. We would do well to figure out how to build a beaver world.

You can watch the making of Building a Beaver World.

painting of a beaver lodge
detail image
painting of a beaver
detail image