Whilst on a recent trip to Africa, I had the opportunity to go ‘walking with lions’. The company involved is trying to rehabilitate lions back into the wild. They’ve been decimated in recent years by human encroachment, a feline form of aids and the sickest of all, their ‘medicinal’ benefits. In 1980, not all that long ago, the African Lion population across the continent was reputed to number 230,000. Today it is in the region of 20,000 – less than 10% remaining. So it’s quite laudable that some not for profit organisations are trying to do something about the situation. I walked along with two ten month old females and was able to get plenty of reference material for my paintings and scratchboards.
What is scratchboard? You take a piece of card or board and spread a fine layer of white clay (kaolin) across it and then spray that with ink, generally black but it can be white which would mean you need to then colour it yourself. In this case, I’ve used one made by Ampersand. They are possibly the finest manufacturers of scratchboard materials in the world and they use boards made from MDF. This is perfect for me as they are so well finished, I don’t frame behind glass or mounts, but actually on top of the mount, slightly raised, which gives a unique look.
I’ve used a combination of scratching tools including a scalpel, a fibreglass brush and a brass brush and these can be seen below
And here’s the lion