Thursday, March 15, 2007

New stuff

I've added a new feature to this page - a listing of exhibitions and events I shall participate in this year - you'll find it under 'Welcome to my chit-chat'. This will obviously be updated as and when I enter or am accepted to the various exhibitions/shows/events.

Also... I've started a new painting..... although tis not the cheetahs. But fear not, that piece HAS been planned and is waiting in the wings for a suitable sized canvas to be acquired, so it will get done.

The new piece I have started is of two wildebeeste calves still in their brownish-yellow colouring, which they lose after the age of 2-2½ months.
Funny what you learn whilst researching a painting. I knew for example that there are two species of wildebeeste - the blue (aka brindled) Connochaetes taurinus and the black (aka white-tailed) Connochaetes gnou. And on my different trips I had noticed that the wildebeeste I saw in southern Africa were much darker in colour to those I saw in East Africa; was this merely coat colour affected by the soil and dust on the body of the animal or something more? Before drawing up my animals, I got out my text books and found that there are four or five subspecies (depending on which scientific reference you look to) of the blue wildebeeste. The ranges of the subspecies must therefore be taken into account when portraying the animals in a specific location. The ones I saw in Amboseli are the Eastern white-bearded Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus. White-bearded wildebeeste (Western -C t mearnsi and Eastern - C t albojubatus) have a body colour that is paler than the other subspecies and amongst other subtle differences in colouration their 'beards' are, obviously, noticably white or pale grey instead of the dark grey or black of the other suspecies.
As a wildlife artist these facts are vital when portraying the animals, for example if I had not been to both southern and eastern Africa I would not have noticed the colour difference and therefore would have continued to assume that there was only the two species and that in in the blue wildebeeste one was very much like another. It may not have occured to me, then, to research much deeper than pictorial reference gathering. I could have painted a wildebeeste in the wrong setting - not the best plan for building your reputation as a wildlife artist upon!

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