Wildlife art has always been popular with art collectors; and African animal paintings are especially popular.
Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards and Elephants have all been shown in paintings over the centuries.
Now even in home decorating, African animal prints are still seen in home décor. African animal coat patterns are seen in towels, sheets, rugs, pillows and even wall paper. The beautiful fur pattern of these wonderful animals is reproduced in fabric for clothing.
The leopard is one of the most popular African Animals and is seen in fine art paintings, home décor, advertising, film, clothing, TV, and even when a baby leopard is born in captivity, the photos can be seen on the web.
Just seeing a pillow with a leopard pattern brings to mind this beautiful animal. Perhaps, we are trying to bring wildness into our life when we use African Animal Art in our home.
My African Adventure Part 1
Visiting Africa has always been a dream of mine. I had been painting African wildlife for many years. I wanted to see the animals in their natural setting. When I finally got to Africa I was not disappointed.
My husband and I started out in Nairobi, Kenya. We decided to drive to all the animal parks and stay in the parks hotels. We also wanted to camp in some parks so we could experience nature firsthand. We had rented a Volkswagen bus so we could sleep in it rather than pitching a tent.
Our first stop was Lake Nukuru. We drove into the park late in the evening. We had been having generator trouble driving from Nairobi to the town Of Lake Nukuru. The roads are very dusty which gives the generators a lot of problems. Our lights on the bus were very weak as the battery was failing. As we were approaching our camp site, we came upon a very large animal in the middle of the narrow road. It was a cape buffalo, the most dangerous animal in Africa. The animal was looking straight into our bus about three feet in front of us. My husband Jim immediately put the bus in reverse and backed up as quickly as possible. The Cape buffalo did the same thing, turning and jumping up the steep bank on the edge of the road. That was an exciting encounter to start our African adventure.
When we finally drove down the road to our camp site, it had gotten dark. We saw that most of the camp sites were already taken. We slowly drove around the camping ground with our lights off to conserve the battery.
Much to our surprise, we found one nice space that was not taken. In the morning, we awoke to find that we had parked one foot from the garbage pit. If we had driven any further, we would have driven into the pit.
When we began to prepare breakfast, I discovered why camping next to a garbage pit has its drawbacks. I felt a sharp pain on my tummy on the skin. I lifted my shirt to discover that I was being attacked by army ants. Jim had to pull the critters off as they had sunk their large chompers into my skin. Those army ants are mean little critters. I won’t be doing a painting of them that’s for certain.
Our next destination was to be the park known as tree tops. We headed that way through the town of Meru. We were still having some problems with the generator as we were on a very dusty road. Pretty soon, we broke down by the side of the road. Since there is no AAA roadside service in Africa, we waited and waited for some kind person to stop and assist us. We did get some advice from a ten year old school boy walking home from school. He said that we should not stay where we were parked as there were highway robbers who were sure to come along once it became dark. They would rob us for certain he said.
So, we started up the bus again and drove a couple more miles to a small village. At the village, our bus was immediately surrounded by the people in the village. They were pointing at our camera and smiling. Then they started waving chickens in front of the bus windows. I did not think that we could get any assistance from them. So, once again, we drove a mile or so more down the road where the bus finally quit for good. I decided to try to flag down a truck I saw coming on the road. This was a military convoy which had many vehicles traveling together. The driver of the first truck patiently listened to my sad tale. He then said the truck behind him would help me. I then flagged down the next truck and the next and the next and so on, only to be told the same thing. So, I realized I would not be getting any assistance from the Kenyan military.
I next flagged down a Toyota land cruiser. This turned out to be a very nice man who was a gem merchant of rubies. He said he would be glad to tow us back to the town of Meru. He tied us to his vehicle using a steel cable. We were so grateful we just hopped back into our car and proceeded to be towed. The road was very dusty with clouds of red dirt covering everything. We could not see ahead of us so we did not notice that our bus was slowing down until we saw the broken cable and the Toyota land cruiser fading into the distance. Our horn didn’t work since the battery was dead. We got out of the car and yelled and waved our hands. The nice man saw us and backed up, retied the cable and we were on our way again.
We got to the town of Meru to the Pig and Whistle motel. It was called the Pig and Whistle because it was right next to the slaughter house which became apparent by the sounds and smells coming from the slaughter house. The motel was decorated in the 1950s and had Nelson Eddie music playing nonstop.
Next day, we called our car rental agency in Nairobi who sent their top mechanic (their only mechanic) to the Pig and Whistle Motel with a new car in place of the broken one. We were amazed to see the mechanic simply blow out the generator with an air compressor, dump oil in the bus, and drive away in the bus.
As we had missed our reservation at tree tops, we proceeded to our next destination which was Masi- Mara. There, we stayed in permanent tents that had solar energy panels for the hot water and electricity. We got up early at 5:00 AM for our first drive through the park. As we were proceeding along in the early morning light, I saw a large object off to the side of the road a few feet from us. We stopped just in time to see a very large elephant right next to our car. She moved slowly across the front of our car while I was quickly taking photos. She paused in front of the car and lightly touched the hood of the car with her trunk as if to say, you can go now.
It was a thrilling moment and I was glad that she did not trample us or ram the car. She seemed very calm and peaceful. She had her ears out and an alert look in her eyes which inspired me to do the painting which you see below.
We had another elephant encounter before we left Africa that was not so peaceful which I will save for my next blog.
I’m very excited to be making my first post on this brand-new blog, so I can share my exciting adventures in the fabulous world of art with all of my friends out there and have the opportunity to make even more new friends. This site is dedicated to you , so please give me lots of feedback, ask questions and let me know what you’d like to hear about. So Welcome to my blog, and here’s to an exciting new adventure!