Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Elephant charge

This is a painting I did when I was 19,in Kasane,a small town on the edge of the Chobe River .Our family stayed just 10 km outside Kasane in Lesoma Valley but know to many as Elephant Valley due to its abundance of these animals.At the end of the dry season only a few muddy waterholes remained where all types of wild animals would come to drink.During our 4 year stay which started off with our family living in some old army tents,in the middle of the bush we experienced a piece of the real Africa,without the frills.Maybe,one day I write a book about all those stories or I might even get around to blogging about it.

Anyway since I love wild animals I would often go for long walks into the bush in hope that I would be able to see something special.To me this could mean many things ,I used to collect animal sculls ,insects,rocks,reptiles,interesting pieces of twisted wood. Sometimes if fortunate I would find something new like bits of broken elephant ivory chipped off during a fight between two bull elephants ,or the drag marks of some dead animal that a leopard had dragged up and left in a tree.

During one of these walks I came across a bull elephant which was not too far away from our tented camp.He was drinking at a very muddy waterhole,and after drinking he started to throw mud onto his back .Moving slowly I inched forward ,through the sparse shrubbery in an effort to get closer for a photo .At that time I had a old film camera without much of a lens ,so in order for a good picture I had to get closer.However on my way towards him he sensed the movement,and immediately stopped drinking,his head held high he paused ,then stared at the very area I was standing .Then moving purposefully towards me,he made short run, flapped his ears, and with a loud and angry scream , suddenly stopped 50 meters away from me Before the dust could even settle he hurriedly disappeared into the bush.
All the while I was standing dead still,my heart beating like a jack hammer with my hands still glued to the camera.Elephants especially bull elephants are fairly docile and relaxed creatures.They can however if suddenly frightened,and if, feeling threatened charge and even kill someone.

The painting that resulted from that experienced,( One of many ) was a composition based on the photos I took then ,so although there are two elephants in the painting its actually the same elephant
Posted by Picasa


Meowlissa said...

Amazing. Just amazing work! Makes me love elephants that much more.

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

goodness me! what an incredible (if frightening!) experience, please do write a book I would certainly be first in queue to buy it! Elephants are magnificent - you capture them soooo well, take care, Jules