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Bambi’s First Year

When I set myself the goal of creating the twelve epic paintings for the Disney Dreams Collection, I knew it would be a vast undertaking. After all, each painting in the series presents a vision of the entire movie in one image – what I like to call a “narrative panorama.” In my Bambi painting, I wanted to present a broad look at the events of Bambi’s young life, along with the suggestion of his destiny as the newly crowned prince of the forest.

To suggest the moment of Bambi’s empowerment, I positioned him on a rocky precipice overlooking the terrain of his kingdom and the four seasons of his first year. Below him is an image of his own self at a younger age, representing the “spring” of his life. Surrounding the young Bambi we see the animals of the unspoiled forest – Thumper the rabbit, Flower the skunk, plus Mole and Otter, and at the left, Bambi’s first love Faline and her protective mother. These gentle animals are reminders that even a price depends upon the loving care of friends and family.

If you look closely, even Bambi’s self-sacrificing mother can be seen, as though emerging through the mists of memory, as a half hidden image upon the distant mountain. Truly, a mother’s love, like the spirit of the mighty mountains, will guide a son forever.

The lighting and rains at the left of the composition create a visual transition to the second season of Bambi’s life as “summer.” Further back, below the majestic mountain in the distance, we see a suggestion of Bambi’s “winter” world, a whimsical season in the movie featuring the playful antics of Bambi and friends in a frozen wonderland. Bambi’s “autumn” is the season of his maturity. At the right of my composition we see the fall colors ablaze above the young adult Bambi, as the wisest and mightiest creature of the forest – the old stag – looks on approvingly through a rising mist in the afternoon light.

The central theme of Bambi is the cycle of the seasons and the ongoing flow of life. Waterfalls and rivulets abound in the Bambi movie, suggesting the unstoppable life force, and in my painting we see these cascades just beyond a misty rainbow. Truly, water flows through the world like life itself – a timeless reminder that despite the passing seasons, nature thrives and a new generation is born.

I believe Bambi’s First Year is the most breathtaking subject in my Disney Dreams Collection to date. I attempted to capture the sublime beauty of the forest, combined with the wonderful charm of the forest animals and their playful everyday activities. I hope as you look at Bambi cresting the ridge of his domain, you too will feel empowered to live your best life and to count on a season of new beginnings, even when the challenges of life confront you. Truly for Bambi, and for us, life goes on.

  • Thomas Kinkade has hidden five N’s in Bambi’s First Year, representing the fifth painting in his Disney Dreams Collection and as a loving tribute to his wife Nanette. This is the second painting to be released in 2010, as well as the second release in the Epic Eight masterpieces scheduled for 2010.
  • As with Thom’s other images in the Disney Dreams Collection, he has hidden characters from the previous paintings in Bambi’s First Year. Can you find a turtle from Snow White, Cleo the goldfish from Pinocchio, Tinker Bell from Peter Pan, and Jac the mouse from Cinderella?
  • The central theme of Bambi is the cycle of life, and is represented in Bambi’s First Year by the flow of water. We see rain, which causes snow on the mountains and rivers on the hillsides, which eventually join with other rivers and cascade over thunderous waterfalls. The element of waterfalls is an effective symbol of the on-going life force of nature.
  • The rainbow at the lower center of the composition suggests that Bambi, as he is perched on the ridge, is perhaps viewing vision of his early life as seen through the reflective light of memory. The detail and flowers in Bambi’s First Year suggest the innocence and resplendent beauty of spring.
  • Thom has pictured Bambi three times in this image, representing Bambi’s participation in various seasons. The “spring” world of Bambi as a young deer is seen on the lower left, the “summer” world of storms and lightening which transitions to the “winter” world of the high mountains, and Bambi as the playful participant in the joy of snowfall. To the right is “autumn” world, the moment of Bambi’s eventual empowerment. Make note of the great stag in the distant, silhouetted against the rising mist of an autumn forest. Bambi looks over the scenes of his first year and like the butterfly above him, has emerged from the chrysalis of youth into the empowerment of a young adult.
  • Bambi’s First Year features the suggestion of the face of Bambi’s mother. Thom intends this element to suggest that the mother is in essence the guiding spirit to Bambi’s life – or in the visual terms of the painting, the “spirit of wilderness,” and as such resides on the towering mountain that is always in view.
  • As with all of Thom’s Disney Dreams Collection, his intention with Bambi’s First Year is to create a panoramic image that suggests the element of the Bambi story and to expand the world in which the characters live to new epic proportions. The mood and drama of this paining is the best one in the collection so far.
Title Bambi's First Year
Published March 2010
Collection Disney Dreams V

Image Sizes

12" x 18"
18" x 27"
24" x 36"
28" x 42"
40" x 60"

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