Inspiration for “Game Over” begins with the image of a large, healthy cardinal (Kentucky state bird) singing in glory, love, and joy at the top of a blooming tulip poplar tree (Kentucky state tree). Despite warnings from a gray squirrel (Kentucky state wild game) on another branch, a wildcat, disguised by a refreshing spring breeze, stealthily ascends the majestic tree. Careful and patient, the hungry cat makes a leap of wild abandon and snags the bird in mid air. The athletic ability is so admirable, the risk so great, and the death so instantaneous; the game of life is awe inspiring. Instinctively, the cat falls though the branches in grace and confidence of being the master of his own domain. Catching himself, the victor runs down the tree and jumps off in a flowing angle of exit, keeping his prize. It’s the very nature of a wildcat to rip and tear into its prey. It is gloriously ratifying. The taste of victory!
In art, the best inspiration is the real experience. The scene and painting was based on two very close personal encounters in the wild with Lynx rufus. Each impressed the artist with the wildcat’s power, speed, and control.
Likewise, the Wildcats have been more victorious that any men’s college basketball program in history. Kentucky has earned worldwide respect for its long tradition of excellence. Kentucky’s most notable rivalry is the University of Louisville and the game is always exciting. Whoever the competition – Cardinals, Hoosiers, Blue Devils, and all the others – winning the National Championship is what counts. That’s when we can say it’s Game Over!