If you have seen my page about my Elephant Project, then you are pretty much up to speed on what I am doing these days.  I am painting elephants and more elephants.  The process of sticking to one subject has been really helpful in pushing me to newer approaches to painting.  My last picture which is not posted here started with a layer of Gesso applied with a knife to give the base painting a rough texture that would help with the elephant skin.   I did a dry brush watercolour of a baby elephant with his mom using 300 pound paper to bring out texture.  And then, another painting with a bull getting water at a waterhole is quite smooth as my focus is on the landscape as well as the elephant.

Of course, I am fully aware as I puddle onward with my paintings, that elephants are dying every 15 minutes and rhinos also.  I need to paint faster; I need to paint more.  I could paint some rhinos but at the moment, I am very caught up in the emotions and intelligence of elephants.  They may both be at risk and both are huge and amazing animals, but I am not drawn to the rhinos in quite the same way.  I bet if I got to know one at the Sheldrick sanctuary, I would fall in love with rhinos, too.  

It is quite overwhelming at times.  I find that I am dreaming about saving elephants and that I feel totally inadequate.  I am not Leonard de Caprio or David Beckham or the Royal Family and cannot hurl huge amounts of money into this cause, but I feel that I am "lighting my own small candle" against the darkness and maybe I am helping bring awareness about this issue to the people around me.  I am sure that they are sometimes fed up with seeing elephant photos on my Facebook page!  I do try to limit my pictures - the question is how to spread the message and yet not dwell on the terror so much as to frighten people away.  Even when I mention how the elephants die, my listeners put up their hands and make it clear that they don't want to know.  And yet, it continues and is more terrifying every day.  If only people realized that this is not only a defeat for the elephants, but it is a very telling story about our humankind!  And it is also lining the pockets of the worst terrorist organizations in Africa and the Middle East - how can we ignore it?

I have painted a few other things during this time, as well because I do need a break.  I have sent a couple of cards showing Welsh Poppies today, I painted a long and skinny sunset for my son which he has yet to see and I painted the picture below.  It is called "Cat Goes to Italy" but my personal name for it is "Buggy Goes to Italy"  Buggy was our cat who earned her nickname with her ever-present meow.  I am thinking of a series of Cat pictures and could put Buggy in a window in many other cities in the world.  But first, Cat Goes to Italy has to sell so that I have some encouragement. Give me a shout, if you are interested or have some comments to make.  

Happy Painting
Cat Goes to Italy, Watercolour on Paper, 17 inches x 24 inches


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