Finally got the last lick of paint applied late Sunday afternoon last week. The vegetation took a while to think out and lay on, but I'm happy with it now. I really wanted to get those lovely little spindly spikes topped with delicate purple pink flowers. I don't know the name of this plant, but I like the offset of its delicacy with the strength and bulk of the two bulls.
After contacting Dr Kate Evans of Elephants For Africa, (the charity for whom I am doing all these Botswana paintings to show in an exhibition to raise funds and awareness for their work) she was able to positively identify the lighter coloured bull as 'Napolean'. She first met him in 2002 during her field research in the Okavango Delta and named him so, as part of his left tusk was then broken. When we saw him in 2011 he sported two good tusks again. These two guys were strolling very regally through the low scrub alongside the airstrip near the camp I stayed at. We were on our way to an evening meal out in the bush and were transporting the food, so we could not stop and watch them for long. The light was very low, it was gone 6pm and the sun had already reached the horizon, just before the finality of sunset. My camera was set to the maximum to get as much light in as possible (1600 ISO) but even so the photos were poor, blurred and held no detail. This made them perfect reference for my attempt at a looser style of painting.. I could use them and not be drawn in by detail... It has taken me a while to get this one done, I think I started the initial slapping on of paint back in May last year, but it has been put to one side on more than one occasion, first when I could not paint for 4 months due to a frozen shoulder problem and several times since as I have got on with other smaller pieces. I'm not sure what to call this piece yet but I want to have Napolean as part of the title. I shall have a little think on this.
I have already planned my next two projects.. one a sunset with silhouetted ducks and the other a more challenging piece of a triptych of zebras and lechwe. But before them I need to do some work towards a demo evening I am doing at the beginning of May to an art group in Thornbury, near Bristol.