In 2004 Pollyanna travelled to Romania to study and paint in the forest habitat of some of Europe's most endangered wildlife. Pollyanna stayed and worked in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, as well as travelling to the Danube Delta in the south east of Romania to see the bird life for which the area is renowned.
The name Transylvania conjures up images of a mythical wolf-infested land of forests and gothic castles, the surreal backdrop to a spooky horror movie. In reality it is one of the last remaining strongholds of the highly endangered European wolf, an area rich in ancient folk lore, with medieval villages straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. As well as searching for wild wolves, bears and lynx, Pollyanna was able to spend time sketching two semi-tame wolves, rescued from a fur farm as young cubs, and hand reared by charity workers.
Pollyanna began her journey in Transylvania staying with Count Tibor Kalnoky...... on being shown to her room she was a little alarmed to find a string of garlic above the door and wooden crosses above the bed..... but in fact spent a fascinating few days with the Count who is committed to the preservation of the spectacular mountain wilderness, and the wildlife which live within the forests. While here she spent days hiking into the mountains with one of the top ornithologists in the country, and learning about the work of conservation group Milvas.
While in Romania Pollyanna was also pleased to visit schools to talk about her work painting endangered wildlife. She is pictured (above) in the centre of a group of teenagers from Zarnesti who publish an in-school environmental magazine called 'Mujarel'. Pollyanna was extremely impressed by the group's enthusiasm and interest in ecology. The first paintings inspired by this journey were on display during Pollyanna's Summer Exhibition 'The Company of Wolves' held in 2005 in Pollyanna's private gallery in Derbyshire . The exhibition also featured paintings of exotic and endangered animals which share their threatened habitat with wolves including tigers, pandas and polar bears.
Pollyanna's interest in wolves was first aroused after sketching the hauntingly beautiful white arctic wolf while living with the Innuit people in the High Arctic. Travelling by husky dog sledge and camping in tents and igloos at -40ºc, her primary purpose was to paint polar bears, and the story of this amazing journey is documented in her book 'On Top of the World'. However her fascination with the sleek and powerful wolves lead her to embark on a project to study the wolves of the world. A series of journeys have taken her into the wilderness areas of Canada and North America, where she worked with a wildlife vet, helping to hand-rear orphaned baby wolves prior to their re-release into the mountains of Colorado. It is this unique hands-on involvement with her subjects which gives Pollyanna's paintings their unique realism and vitality.