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Great Bear

'Great Bear'

Oil on canvas

40" x 30" x 1.75"


A dream about a bear and the number 87 played a very important part in finding love and ultimately coming to America.

Not knowing what it meant at the time, I did some research into the significance of it.

One of the facts I came across, was that longitude coordinate for Chicago is -87.

Another was that the "great bear" or Ursa Major constellation, that lies in the northern sky, has 87 stars within it. Other sources suggest otherwise, but for the sake of my story I stand by this.

The stars Dubhe and Merak are used as the celestial pointer towards the place of the current North Pole star (Polaris). The reason Polaris is so important is because the axis of the earth is pointed almost directly at it. During the course of the night, Polaris does not rise or set, but remains in very nearly the same spot above the northern horizon year-round while the other stars circle around it. Presently it appears close to the North Celestial Pole and therefore serves as our North Star.

Because of its axis Ursa Major, is visible in the northern hemisphere all year long. It is one of the best-known constellations and is famous for containing an asterism known as the Big Dipper. The grouping of bright stars is one of the most recognizable shapes in the night sky and can easily be found even in light polluted cities. The shape of the bear can clearly be seen under dark skies, with the handle of the dipper making up the bears' tail.

During the Civil War, the Big Dipper was used by the Underground Railroad which helped slaves escape from the South before the Civil War. There were songs that spread among the slave population which included references to the "Drinking Gourd". The song said to follow it to get to a better life.

Little did I know back then, that it was all a reference to a better life, (from) my True North .


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