For several decades as a professional artist, painting the marine life of Florida, Mark Johnson developed a pretty good eye for detail. Now the man in the open, whose website offers “realistic images created mainly by memory and imagination,” is about to embark on a new, lavish job: an alligator with rows of perfect white teeth pressed against the thigh of a man walking his dog.
It will be a self-portrait. On a morning walk with the golden retriever Rex on a canal near his home in Port St. Lucy, Johnson was attacked by an 8-foot 6-inch alligator, which threw itself from the water, rushed at him and landed on his feet, causing a deep wound. which required 60 stitches.
Johnson said he freed himself by hitting his index finger in the eyes of the giant reptile, which was released and sank back into the canal.
“I already have a canvas to paint,” Johnson, 61, said in an interview with the patch.com community website.
“This image will be in my mind for the rest of my life. At the moment I see him, I see my legs, I see the gator, I see the position. He had green eyes. The teeth were pearly white, without stains or anything like that.
“He knew he had his prey.” He wanted me to roll to start dismembering. He began to press very well over my knee, and my shoe protruded at the base of his jaw. “
After Johnson was released, he said he limped home with blood dripping from stab wounds to his legs to reunite with Rex, who had carried out an order to flee when the alligator attacked.
Johnson’s wife took him to a hospital, where doctors sutured his thigh and injured finger when he pierced the creature’s eye.
“It’s important for people to understand how dangerous alligators are,” Johnson told tcpalm.com. “If I were a small child or a pet, I wouldn’t have a chance.”
Rangers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Committee captured and removed the alligator. According to government documents, 283 major alligator attacks on humans have taken place in Florida since the recordings began in 1948. Twenty-five have been fatal.