Painting and Sketching in my Garden of Eden; But Winter is Coming…….

As an artist and as a naturalist, skulls skins and bones have always fascinated me.

oil and oil stick sketch on handmade paper

I love drawing the shapes of found natural objects and perhaps this harks back to the fact that I loved Biology as a scholar. The natural world, its balances and ecosystems entrance me…

Vinca Flowers and Buffalo Skull, Life and Death…in my garden

Sabi Stars and old broken Kudu Horns in my Tsavene Bush Garden are a natural pairing!

My painting “Sabi Stars with broken kudu horns”, (Diptych), is acrylic on stretched canvas, each panel being 3 x 2 feet

“Sabi Stars with broken kudu horns”, (Diptych)

Here below is my alpha female wild dog skull- she was killed many years ago by a lion while defending her five-week old pups at the den. I treasure her skull and her memory. (Before you ask, her eight pups survived!….but that is a story for another time…)

Alpha female wild dog skull, acrylic sketch

Porcupines entrance me, and one in particular, Mr Nhungu, visits our bush garden regularly to nibble at the leftover dog food, or more happily chew on the bark of my favourite trees! And so of course, I paint quills……

A Porcupine likes dog food……

Leopards grunt and prowl around our Tsavene bush house, exquisite cats, and so I paint spots… but my paintings are not purely decorative, just as animal skins are not…there is an excessive harvesting of skins for various cultural and decor uses which is not sustainable if we do not become very aware of the finite resource we are abusing…

leopard spots, a finite resource

Life and Death, Predator and Prey, are all the natural cycle of the world we live in, to be celebrated and honoured, not feared… and so my garden inspires me endlessly…

We live to eat, and eat to live and so hunting for food in a sustainable way is part of life, whether we are wild animal or human…

Something killed this warthog, but his memory lives on on my sketch pad…

Warthog Skull

Giant land snails, often caught and killed by fire or drought, leave behind their exoskeletons… pristine empty white shells which are thereafter joyfully found by me like the jewels in the bush that they are. Prey to me and my pencil….!!

Giant African Land Snail shells

So…. my studio is a cornucopia of treasured objects, laid out on a work table that has seen many years of use.

this baboon skull has bite marks through the bone, possibly leopard, maybe lion?

I relish painting these amazing natural shapes and colours…but the flip side of the coin which preys on my mind is un-natural death, excessive hunting or poaching by wire snare, poison or unwitting use of chemicals and plastics, trade in illegal wildlife products…

Very recently, in conjunction with Parks, we recovered the poor head of a female rhino who had been shot at by poachers. She ran, only to die a lonely death in the mopani ….

the head of a poached black rhino

A mono-print..inspired by the old skull of a white rhino that I sketched many years ago, when do a mono-printmaking course at Artists Press in White River…

mono print by Lin Barrie. Rhino Skull

My new diptych, “Winter Woodland and Rhino Skull”. Each canvas panel is 2 x 3 feet. (

Winter is Coming….. as they say in “Game of Thrones”….

Winter is coming…..

Here are bones slowly returning to the earth, from a black rhino poached years ago below our bush house…

Will we soon see only blank space, empty walls with faded memories and old marks, where once were wild rhinos..? A sobering thought- reflected in my photograph “Cable Snare Wire and Rhino Bone…”

Cable Snare Wire and Rhino Bone

The pelvis of this same rhino was a terribly beautiful object, and I have honoured it in paint..

Detail from a larger painting…black rhino pelvis by Lin Barrie

The other-worldly beauty of a vertebra bone, a strange orchid flower or dragon-head shape emerging…. on a lighter note, this could inspire an image for a Game of Thrones dragon….or one of the amazing dragons from the movie “How to Train your Dragon”!!! or indeed, a Star Wars/Darth Vader type creature….

Winter is indeed coming.

Perhaps some of my paintings and photographs will act as a reminder of the fragile beauty with which we are entrusted, and of the mortality that looms if we do not find solutions to the over-use of our worlds resources…

And so I am working towards a solo exhibition…

Living with my life partner Clive Stockil in the lowveld wilderness of Zimbabwe, I document skulls, stones and bones around our house in the Save Valley Conservancy, and I will continue to paint the joy, and sometimes terror, that I find in them.

Disclaimer: With respect to Zimbabwe National Parks rules, no bones, or indeed any objects, must EVER be removed from any National Park. Take only Photographs and leave only Footprints! Any bones I use for sketching and photographing are private collection, and/or with permission – not for any commercial value or sale, and definitely not from any National Parks.

Please read my previous blog for more insight into my bush garden and studio

found objects are a delight

You can find more images of some of my finished artworks  ; 

Lin Barrie Art Page:

About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas. Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
This entry was posted in abstract art, Africa, africa, African child, African flora, African Safari, African wild dogs, african wildlife, aloes, anti poaching, arid areas, art, art collaboration, art exhibition, baboons, beauty, bio diversity, Black rhinos, conservation, conservation news, dogs, dragons, drawing, eco-tourism, edible plant, education, elephants, endangered species, fire, flowers, gardens, gardens and flowers, giant African snail, how to train your dragon, hunting, interior decor, landscape, leopards, Lin Barrie Art, Lin Barrie publication, lions, love, lowveld, movies, orchids, Painted Dogs, painted Dogs, painted wolves, Pangolin, photography, Poaching, poison, predators, prey, reptiles, rhinos, Sabi Stars, safari, Senuko, serenity, sketching, skulls, treasure, Uncategorized, White rhinos, wild dogs, wilderness, wolves, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Parks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Painting and Sketching in my Garden of Eden; But Winter is Coming…….

  1. Pingback: Skulls and Flowers; Life and Death in the Garden of Eden | wineandwilddogs

  2. Lynda Booth says:

    Love the ideas and the bone theme. How ever regular artist with zero access to wildlife bones face a fine of up to $10000.00 bond (zwl) and jail time if they REMOVE BONES from a park!!!
    Not cool.
    Regards Lynda

    • wineandwilddogs says:

      Lynda-of course – we must all respect National Parks rules, no bones or any objects must EVER be removed. So- any bones I use are private collection, and with permission – not for any commercial value or sale, and definitely not from any National Parks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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