Graphite Drawing, 5 x 8
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
~Norman Vincent Peale
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!
This sketch is currently available in the Artist Ambassadors Against Poaching “Art to save Elephants” silent auction that is being held of the AAAP FaceBook page. The silent auction runs from Thursday December 12, 2013, 9am CST – Sunday December 15, 2013, 12pm CST. Please click here to visit the page and place a bid, ALL proceeds from this auction go to African Wildlife Trust and their efforts to help save the African Elephants just like the one that i drew in this sketch. Bid often and bid high!
"And I recognized, we both-the Captain's wife and I-recognized my cousin: it couldn't have been anyone else, he was playing his last game with the moon, one of his tricks, with the Moon on the tip of his pole as if he were juggling with her."
"It must have been made of bamboo, of many, many bamboo poles stuck one into the other, and to raise it they had to go slowly because-thin as it was-if they let it sway too much it might break."
Way to much time has gone by since my last posting and much has happened since then, too much to even try to write about. So I'll share what I currently have on the easel and actually it is the first painting that I have worked on in almost 7 months. The drawing book kept me covered in Graphite dust since the beginning of the year.
This is the latest painting in progress on the esael and it's of a Lilac-breasted Roller perched in a Baobab tree. It is a commission from my africa trip in 2012, the collector asked for one bird and that was the LBR and me being a newbie at traveling to africa I was worried that I wouldn't see one. Apparently they are everywhere and after the first day I had enough refernece to probably paint several paintings.
The composition has been completly drawn in and the canvas is tonned ready for color that you can is mixed and ready to go in the foreground on the pallette.
I was returning a dish to a neighbors house that was across the street from my mother-in-laws house and as I was talking to her I noticed a drawing on a tabletop easel in her foyer. Proudly set up to be the first thing you see as you come into the house. I of course did a double take at the drawing and the neighbor noticed and said as she looked at it, “She was so proud of you and always talked about her son-in-law the artist.”Having a family member own so many of my pieces of art has never meant so much to me as right now because I know I never expressed the proper amount of gratitude to her for being such a strong supporter of my art.
"That always seemed to be the most critical test that a child was confronted with - loss of parents, loss of direction, loss of love. Can you live without a mother and a father?"
“Some would call this an ugly bird,” Robert said of his selected piece. “I see a majestic bird, a bird perched on its throne, a king looking out upon its vast lands. Although it’s not a kingdom that many would want to reign over, its kingdom is that of the custodian. They maintain order by keeping things clean.
During his 2012 visit to Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, Africa, Robert took a game drive near Silale Swamp. “We drove that day through two heavy rains and had just broken through the rain front and were coming down the backside of a hill near the swamp when I saw a large bird perched in a dead acacia tree,” he said.
“At this point in the day, it’s quiet. There aren’t many animals out, and trees are sparse around the swamp. But there was this Ruppell’s Vulture just perched elegantly in the upper branches of the barren tree. The backend of the rain clouds gave the sky a light even tone that stretched across the backdrop of the vulture and its throne. It just seemed like such a powerful setting for what can be perceived as such an unwanted position, king or custodian.”This drawing will also be featured in Robert’s upcoming instructional book, “Draw Realistic Animals: Wildlife, Pets & More,” published by North Light Books and slated for release in June 2014.
Inspired by his 2012 African safari, “Kutokua Na Hatia,” in Swahili, roughly translates to “innocence/free of guilt.” Robert spent the last day of his travels in Arusha National Park, which boasts many different animals than those he observed in the earlier part of his trip in Tarangire. The park’s habitat is almost jungle-like.“I entered the park knowing that it served as home to black-and-white colobus monkeys, and I will admit I was really hoping that I would have the chance to see them,” he said.Arusha National Park lies on the side of Mount Meru, an active volcano. As Robert and his guide made their way up the edge of the crater wall, they could see Mount Kilimanjaro through the tree canopy and just around a bend in the path, they spotted a grouping of colobus monkeys. The dense trees made it tricky for Robert to capture reference material but on his way down from the crater, he caught a glimpse of white.“My guide, Jeremy, very excitedly turned to me and said something in Swahili and pointed up at the monkeys,” Robert said. “Even though I had been in the country for more than a week at this point and I felt like I was getting a grasp on the language, I had no idea what he said but I looked up and saw this little innocent face looking down at us. Baby colobus monkeys, I learned, are born with pure white fur but don't stay that way for long so I was extremely fortunate to have seen this little guy.”
I had to travel halfway around the world to find "margin" and realize that I was missing it.
On November 7, 2012, I was on a game drive in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, Africa, with my friend and fellow artist James Gary Hines, a photographer, when we crossed paths with two female lions. What a wonderful sight! These were the first lions that I had seen in the wild. We were driving on the outlying area, the margin, of Silale Swamp, which doesn't look like a swamp at all, when we saw one lion off to our left and another on our right. The one on the right was sitting up looking at the other lion, and you could sense that she wanted to cross the road and go to her mother or sister down in the tall grasses under an umbrella acacia tree.
With my camera ready, I sat back and waited for her to cross the road. What an amazing sight; she strolled out across the dirt road and into the tall grasses, and with every step, I could see every muscle flex as she glided into the tall grass. I was amazed by how well she blended into the grass, the lightness of her fur blending into the stalks. This is what I wanted to capture in my drawing, how, moving ever so silently in the grass, the lion became part of her environment.
When I returned from Africa, friends would ask, "So, how was it?" I had the hardest time explaining how great my trip to Africa was. I couldn't put exactly what I experienced besides the obvious into words. What I found out later was that I experienced "margin," the parts of the day that nothing else is planned for (we used to call this spare time). I had time to visit with friends, linger over dinner, look off into the distance with nothing else more important on my mind other than taking in the scene before me. I drew this piece to remind me that margin in your life is important, and that we should guard that precious time with friends and family, long dinner conversations and those moments of taking in the landscapes in front of us.