Following on from my previous blog I’ve recently been invited to join “Artists Against Extinction”. Firstly this is one heck of a cause. It gives artists the opportunity to come together under one banner and do something about the current situation regarding poaching or habitat elimination/degradation. As wildlife artists we want to find any opportunities to give back. Artists tend to be passionate people and we direct that passion towards our subject matter, in this case wildlife. I have a few pieces of art up on the site and the sale of each piece gives me chance to support one or more organisation.
Where would we be without the wonderful wild creatures that we draw and paint? Well, if we do nothing we may soon get a chance to find out.
Karen Laurence-Rowe, a wonderful artist from Kenya and winner of the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the year award 2012, put this group and website together and this brings me to my second point. I get the opportunity to be involved with something worthwhile but with people who are heroes to me. Some of the other artists are legendary names in our world. I also have two things in common with Karen. We were both born in Uganda and we both lived in Kenya (though she still lives there).
The link to the website is below. Please browse some of the brilliant art and get to know more about this excellent initiative, and if you wish to purchase something, do so in the knowledge that a large portion of the money will go to a worthwhile cause. Everyone is a winner!
It seems like it’s all bad news these days about elephants. One elephant is slaughtered every 15 minutes for its ivory to serve unscrupulous scum, mainly in the far east like in China and Vietnam. (By the way, those countries themselves have good people fighting the fight but they are sadly outnumbered and out bidded). That’s 35,000 plus elephants gone every year. However, I like to focus on the people who are doing some good and I count many of my wildlife artist friends among that number. Check out this page from Julie Askew and feel free to search out the following artists who do such great work
Anyhow, with this in mind, I have a small scratchboard completed. It’s of an elephant I saw in Chobe National Park in Botswana. I’ve tried to create the high contrast of shiny wet hide on the elephant as it is in a river drinking.
My previous blog was about a march for elephants and rhinos to highlight the old yet growing problem of poaching. Again I reiterate the catch cry “Not on our watch”!!! Let’s make a difference.
On October 4th 2014 people from over 130 cities around the world marched to raise awareness for elephants and rhinos. Some horrifying statistics – over 35,000 elephants and over 1,000 rhinos are slaughtered each year for their ivory and horns. This is a tragic state of affairs. I took part in the Adelaide walk which, despite the topic, was a good natured walk where like minded people got together to do something. When we are asked why elephants and rhinos (and other species) should be protected we try to justify things by placing an economic value on them – such as the revenue they bring in through tourism and the iconic status they give host countries, but how about these three reasons?
They have as much right to be here as us!
They are magnificent!
They are large animals, and that means if we protect them in parks, they need large tracts of land and this in turn protects huge numbers of other species!
We adopted the slogan “Not on our watch” meaning we are going to be part of the change that needs to occur in the mentality of this greedy world.
There were a few hundred of us and here are a few photos from the march in Adelaide.
I’m the guy in the lower left of this photo with my arms crossed. As I said, despite the seriousness of the subject, we had a fun day
We posed by the iconic Adelaide Mall’s Balls
And here I am reflecting in the balls. Talking of balls (and not trying to be too crude), for some reason some very stupid people in some countries think that rhino horn taken in powdered form increases one’s sexual prowess. I could cut my fingernails and sell that to them – it’s basically the same stuff! That way I could live and get rich and the rhinos could also live.
Here I am with Emma Still who has organised art exhibitions which I have supported for a few years, proceeds going to painted dogs in Africa. Emma’s an awesome person!!
And finally, here’s my latest piece of art, a scratchboard of a zebra done at a demo I did for the Pastel Association of South Australia.
I’m delighted to say that I won the Silver award in the Masters category at the third annual International Society of Scratchboard Artists exhibition in Cary, North Carolina. That’s a big win and a nice boost. I only wish I was there to see the whole show. The piece that won this award is my “Grazing” zebra.
In the past I’ve done my emus, called the “Birdy Bunch”
and my kangaroos called the “Kanga Crew”.
Well, now I have my Meerkat Montage which, like the others, is an image made up of nine different scratchboards of meerkats. I’ve really enjoyed creating these as meerkats are such marvellous creatures, and I’ve learnt a lot about how different they are in both personality and looks. First image is how they will look when I’ve framed them and then the individual scratchboards follow.