I'm really excited about doing this piece as I'm going to attempt a looser approach with it. I did a small study that was quite loose (for me) and liked the feel of it, so I am going to go for it with this one too. To help me keep loose I have prepared a 20" x 30" canvas (more space than I'm used to, to fill) and all my reference pictures that I am going to have on hand will be out of focus shots I have taken of bull elephants!
I saw these two particular bulls whilst in the Okavango Delta one evening as we drove down past the airstrip. They were hanging out together and I thought it would make a nice change to have a "buddy" pic of two bull elephants rather than a pair of rivals clashing/sparring. I know the latter is greatly dramatic but I kinda like showing the quieter side of elephant life.
Bull elephants have buddy groups and, when they are not in musth, they hang out with each other. So they are not the solitary animals that they were once thought to be. They are very social and the big older bulls act as teachers and role models for the younger bulls, who will often form an attachment to them, passing on their vast stored knowledge of resources and the land they roam just as the matriarchs do in the female society.
I am hoping Dr Kate Evans, whom I stayed with at their research camp in the Delta, can remember or recognise these two fellas as I'd really like to name them in the title. The finished painting (should it turn out well) will go towards the body of work I shall exhibit as a result of that trip to raise funds and awareness for the Elephants For Africa Trust.