Yeah, I am definitely drawing that!


“The Stand”

Marabou Stork

Graphite on 300# Arches watercolor paper, mounted to 1/2" maple panel and varnished

11 x 6 inches


These are such odd birds, and some would say ugly; I find them disturbingly beautiful. With its bare head, hunched shoulders, and skinny bare legs, the Marabou Stork is often referred to as the Undertaker. Not only for the way it looks but also for its vital role in the ecosystem. They eat carrion and clean the land of dead animals.


Although I will stop to photograph these birds anytime when I am in Africa; my 2016 safari-inspired this particular scene. I was in the Serengeti and up and about before sunrise, in the Land Cruiser slowly driving and scanning the early morning terrain for movement. The sun was starting to hit the tops of the trees, and up ahead, I noticed a form in the top of a dead tree, a Marabou Stork. We stopped and sat back as the sun illuminated the top of the tree and brought the Undertaker into full view. That scene, for some odd reason, brought to my mind the novel by Stephen King, “The Stand.” I was left with a feeling of an unwanted presence judging me and trying to influence me in a direction, not of my wanting.


As we drove off, my last thought was, Yeah, I am definitely drawing that! The question is, was I inspired or influenced by the scene?


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