Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The man’s foot came out of the truck...

New painting!

"Disquieted Agitation (Lion)" 

Oil on Board on 1/2 in. Maple panel 
15 x 30 

Within 11 seconds everything changed.

In October 2013, I was in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, with a group of artists taking part in an elephant conservation/awareness safari hosted by African Wildlife Trust. We did indeed have a great many opportunities to observe and witness the planet’s largest land mammal. But we also had the fortune to see myriad other species including the king himself, the lion.

Out of my two trips to Tanzania, this particular moment that I have captured here is probably one of my most remarkable. It went from a calm, serene scene, almost boring, to intense agitation in the matter of seconds. I was fortunate enough to capture the changing moment with my camera.

My fellow artist and professional photographer friend, James Gary Hines II, and I were standing up and out of the roof of the Land Cruiser photographing two lions by a baobab tree. Both of us are discussing if we should move onto something new, all the time having our cameras up and ready for the “just-in-case” shot. It was at this moment when a guide from another group, about 50 feet away from us to our left, got out of his vehicle. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the lion slowly rise as the man’s foot came out of the truck. By the time the man’s feet hit the ground, the lion was up and not too happy. Everyone in the vehicles around us were screaming at the guy to get back in his truck which, of course, he did and then the lion lost interest.

Although this was a very intense moment, and things could have gone horribly wrong, I can remember as clear as day James and I putting our cameras down on the roof of the Land Cruiser, turning to each other and saying, “What an idiot! But what a great shot!”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Colobus Monkey goes to Vermont!

I am very pleased and honored to announce that my drawing "Kutokua Na Hatia (Colobus Monkey)" has been selected for the Art of the Animal Kingdom XX exhibition at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington Vermont.

Art of the Animal Kingdom XX

The Bennington
Bennigton, Vermont
June 6 - August 2, 2015

Graphite Pencil on Arches #300 watercolor paper
15 x 6

This years anniversary exhibition of Art of the Animal Kingdom XX will feature approximately 70 pieces by invited artists and will have over 15 pieces by past Special Guest Artists. The special guest artist are Greg Beecham, Carel P. Brest van Kempen, Michael Coleman, Luke Frazier, Nacy Howe, Laney, Terry Issac, Jan Martin McGuire, Rosetta, Sandy Scott, John Seerey-Lester, Dan Smith and Morten Solberg.

In Swahili, “kutokua na hatia” roughly translates to “innocence/free of guilt.”
I spent the last day of my African adventure in Arusha National Park, which boasts many different animals than those I observed in the earlier part of my 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.
Arusha National Park lies on the side of Mount Meru, an active volcano. As we made our way up the edge of the crater wall, we could see Mount Kilimanjaro through the tree canopy. As we came around a bend on the path, we spotted a grouping of colobus monkeys. The dense trees made it tricky to capture reference material. It wasn’t until we were coming back down from the top of the road that I saw a glimpse of white. My guide, Jeremy, very excitedly turned to me and said something in Swahili and pointed up at the monkeys. 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.