Travels in North America

In 1997 Pollyanna made a major expedition into the wild west states of North America, following a shorter preliminary study trip in 1995, and previous journeys through Canada.

From the blistering heat of the deserts of Arizona -20ºC in the barren lands above the tree line of Colorado's rocky mountains, Pollyanna experienced all the extremes of the North American climate and landscape during her journeys to study the native wildlife.

Starting amid the spectacular beauty of the Big Sur region of the Californian coast Pollyanna visited the world's only rescue and rehabilitation centre. Taking the rash step of hiring a kayak in strong winds, Pollyanna was able to study these appealing animals in their natural marine habitat as they swam in the kelp beds of the pacific ocean.

Moving into Arizona, Pollyanna and Anna-Louise set out in search of the elusive puma - only to become lost in vastness of the Sonoran desert, with their four wheel drive rapidly running out of fuel. Having survived this experience, future forays into the inhospitable desert environment were made on horseback. With only six riding lessons back in the UK to prepare them for this journey, Pollyanna and Anna-Louise found themselves a little unprepared for the seven hour treks made in unfamiliar western saddles - but the suffering was rewarded with sightings of desert coyotes, roadrunners and jack rabbits.

In New Mexico, the horse riding continued - though a 35,0002 mile ranch, home to one of the last remaining herds of north American buffalo - and accommodation on this leg of the journey consisted of traditional native American teepees.

Driving through Colorado, Pollyanna found herself somewhat behind schedule - an unexpected snowstorm trapped them in rocky mountain lodge for several days - but while in this remote region, Pollyanna was thrilled with a sighting of a lynx, one of the most secretive of the North American wild cats.

Returning to civilization, Pollyanna stayed with a wildlife vet near Boulder in Colorado, and had the opportunity to sketch many of the animals in his care, including a grizzly bear, a black bear cub, an American badger - as well as to assist in the rearing of three orphaned wolf cubs. It was near Boulder she finally tracked down the object if her quest - the elusive puma.

A third trip in 1998 prior to the exhibition "Wild West" took Pollyanna to Montana and Idaho -Big Sky Country - and the marvels of Yellowstone. While on this expedition, Pollyanna experienced the excitement of white water rafting, and still regrets not photographing a very clear yeti footprint in the mud banks of the River of no return. The yeti has yet to feature in an exhibition.

In January 2007 Pollyanna took the opportunity to visit New England in the winter, to hike in the snowbound mountains. While there, she was pleased to have the opportunity to visit the North American Wolf Foundation, to sketch the wolves in their sanctuary, and learn more about their work. Wolves once roamed free in 48 states in the US, but have been systematically slaughtered to the verge of extinction. The Foundation is committed to teaching people that wolf can co-exist with man, and fights to protect the remaining wild population. Many visitors to Pollyanna’s 2007 Summer Exhibition ‘Wonderful World’ signed a petition in support of their latest campaign, to collect a million signatures to end the government-sanctioned killing of wolves in Alaska. Paintings inspired by Pollyanna’s visit to the Foundation were also included in the exhibition.