Kelli Barker Body Art and Make Up and Lin Barrie Art in a collaboration, beating Covid!!
The inspiration behind this collaboration between myself and Kelli, for a photoshoot with Daxion Photography started with my acrylic painting called “Energy”…
My original acrylic painting celebrates colour and movement, mark-making …it celebrates the positive energy we can generate in our everyday human interactions…..to overcome the negative fears of Covid na disease that the whole world has faced in this year of 2020….
Here I start painting Kelli in the same style as my “energy” paintings…
the challenge of painting on a 3D surface pleases me…
Furthering the theme, this series of photos portrays gestures of friendship in these challenging times…. our Zimbabwean Tsonga tradition of greeting, “hand on heart”, versus the western style “handshake”…
here are my initial charcoal sketches…
The Hlengwe people of south east zimbabwe (northern Tsonga region towards the Limpopo River) use hand clapping as a form of friendship greeting and thanks…plus a gesture of Hand on Heart…. The hand on heart greeting is called Kusheweta.
and so Kelli’s pose, here professionally photographed by Daxion Photography, reflects the Hand on Heart gesture to convey social connection, trust and friendship in these difficult “covid” times…
Hand on Heart, eyes wide open to the possibilities of human friendship and trust….
The stunning black and white version of the Daxion photographs…
The trust implicit in shut eyes is palpable….
my favourite image….
For some of my art prints on canvas please go to my blog Hand Energy, Colour, Inkjet print on canvas, limited edition, 12 x 12 inches Hand Energy, Mono, Inkjet print on canvas, limited edition, 12 x 12 inches Hands Laid On, Inkjet print on canvas, limited edition, 12 x 12 inches Refrain, Inkjet print on canvas, limited edition, 12 x 12 inches Speak No Evil, Mono, Inkjet print on canvas, limited edition, 12 x 12 inches Think Before You Speak, Colour, Inkjet print on canvas, limited edition, 12 x 12 inches Original painting “Energy” Original Painting “Autumn”
The end of the long dry winter season in the lowveld brings drifts of russet leaves between dark stark trunks…
I know this is the season to watch out for deep red eyes between the tree trunks,
Huge dinner plate ears turned inquiringly my way……
amidst drifts of gold and red fallen mopani leaves…
Leaves which are just the colour of my Wild dog’s eyes…
As I drive looking for wild dog dens, deep red mopani leaves nestle in fossilized elephant footprints at pans long dried…
Sunrise and sunset bring glowing colour through the mysterious dark trunks of mopani forest…
My painting is called Mopani Winter Woodland, acrylic on loose canvas, 80 x 180 cm, …
An ideal play ground for Painted wolves, aka African wild dogs to leap and wrestle before heading out to hunt with their family, as in my paintings below…
I can’t get enough of this winter season, the shapes of the leaves reminding g me of butterflies fallen to earth…
my photographic and painted art tries in some small way to capture the essence of “butterfly”…
the feeling of a swarm of fluttering butterflies, bringing to mind the migrations of Monarch butterflies that drift across whole continents ….
Russet mopani leaves are an integral part of our lowveld skies,
gracing South East Zimbabwe with their glowing silhouettes against winter blue skies, enhancing game drives from Chilo Gorge safari Lodge into the magnificent Gonarezhou National Park and traversing the Save Valley Conservancy….
and all the while enhancing the seasonal winter promise of coming across the tell tale eyes of an African wild dog, peering through the camouflaging leaves…
Musings on the languid, lithe and lovely beast that we call ‘Lion’ …
Panthera leo, creature of fable and bible, myth and immediate powerful reality.
My immediate and powerful reality.
Here below is my sketch in honour of the great artist Rembrandt, who acutely and empathetically observed and sketched lions in captivity:
I live with lions, have tracked lions, been growled at by unseen lions, sketched and painted many lions. Their powerful presence is part of my psyche, part of the ‘wild’ in me that celebrates every moment of being a part of the great web of bio-diversity that surrounds us.
Here is a gorgeous male, one of two we spent hours with in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park….
Lions..constant inspiration and fascinating in their social family ties…
They hunt warthogs below our Senuko bush house, Tsavene, in broad daylight and their reverberating roars punctuate our sleep on most nights.
They impact fiercely on my beloved African wild dog packs, killing adults and pups when they can. And yet I have to accept that this is the way of the wild, the beast with the velvet glove….
Their footprints mingle with ours on walks and safari drives in the Gonarezhou, after nights spent tucked snugly listening to them, safe in the Mahove Tented Camp run by Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge.
And if we are lucky, we spot them in dense cover, peering at us….
Sometimes at dinner on the high deck of Chilo Gorge Lodge, overlooking the Save River, the roars of lions and yodels of hyenas on the opposite river bank nearly drown out the guests awed conversation!
How lucky am I… living in the wilderness areas of Gonarezhou and Save Valley Conservancy in South Eastern Zimbabwe
Let your mind go- Do yourself a favor and read The Rise of The Vaesons – an African Fantasy/eco-tale by Zimbabwean author P.J.Odendaal, featuring Lions, Wild dogs, and a host of fantastic African creatures..
In celebration of World Lion Day on August 10th, Panthera are proud to share the story of the lion ‘Shy’ and his quest for a safe and lasting home in the vast landscape of Kafue National Park, Zambia. Panthera, Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Willdife and the Zambian Carnivore Program, together with partners, are transforming this park into a stronghold for lions like Shy along with leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs.
Panthera Lion Program Director Paul Funston recommends the new book “The Last Lions of Africa” by Anthony Ham. He says, “With the world’s attention on the upcoming #WorldLionDay August 10, this timely book examines the main challenges and threats to #lion populations through the lens of stories from different parts of the lion’s range. It was my privilege to help the author with some of the research and it is my honor to have this photograph of the magnificent Humba that I took in Hwange selected for the cover. The answers to the threats lion face are diverse and a key thought process deeply engaged in this excellent new narrative.”
The book includes in-depth and previously unpublished information from places like #HwangeNationalPark and includes updates on the descendants of the famous Cecil. For more information: https://bit.ly/2PmFr11
I am the child that wakes scared in the night, seeing a robber’s shadow always in the same position, his hooked nose defined by the handle of my half open bedroom door.
I am the child that hovers in delicious, terrible fear on the edge of my bed in the dark, knowing that there be monsters below, waiting until I can wait no longer to make the leap outwards over the parquet floor blocks as far as I can, away from that stygian hole under my mattress. Upon landing I dash to the dimly lit passage and bathroom, not daring to look at the darkness behind!
And now I am out and about in that very darkness, nervous but on a secret mission with my father and dog. He does not say why but we amble to our favourite place, the Mukuvisi Woodlands, for a late, very late, afternoon walk. A full moon rises orange behind entwined Msasa tree trunks.
I know these trees.
We run and climb and play hide and seek with our dogs through these trees.
We spot birds nests, orchids and frogs on our ramblings through these trees.
But now it is dark.…..
We come into the open, in what my father calls ‘the amphitheater’, to sit on pale beige sand still warm from the rays of the late sun, surrounded by dusk and an audience of whispering Msasa trees. We are peering upwards. I look at my dad and I am whispering as well, “Why?”..
An impossible moth shape drifts in front of the moon and over my head as the dog and I crouch low on the sand next to my father.
Bigger than any moth feasible, a fantastical beast floats its shadow over me, trailing two impossibly long white pennants that flutter against the African night sky. Only the presence of my father and my dog leaning against me enable me to look up in wonder and not fear.
It is not a huge alien moth but an exquisite fantastical bird that we have come to witness as it dances aloft like an oriental kite flown by a masterful string puller. Soon it is joined by another, their long pennants fluttering as they dip and swoop in aerial display. My father knows these birds. “Pennant-winged nightjars”, he says.
We crouch in wonder for many minutes, and I can feel my father grinning. What a gift he has given me. What a gift the dark has given me, and I wander home to my suburban supper in a daze; to an ordinary life under lights, macaroni cheese, and my second favourite T.V. series, Batman.
Am I to embrace the dark after all? My fascination with Batman the night avenger might indicate so…and now I am entranced with the promise of creatures of the night so elegant and so compelling that they exceed my wildest eight year old imaginations and fill me with awe.
When I awake in bed later that night, as I know I have to, the shadows of my bedroom seem more filled with promise than with fear. I pull my curtains open and the sinking moon smiles back at me.
Out there, somewhere in the dark, the pennant wings dance and fly.
A surreal avian memory, a bird which was a moth which was an oriental flying kite, which was a fantastical part of the African night sky, has remained one of the clearest, most resonating images of my young life. A hunter of insects by night, with seasonal display pennants that turn it into a fairytale creature of the moon…
I think it has helped to form my fascination with synergies, linkages between elements of landscape, people and animals, such as the flow of water which becomes fish, the texture of baobab skin which so closely resembles that of elephants’ limbs, the shapes of monumental rock outcrops which take human or animal forms, plants which echo human parts, animal totems and people….
Whether we are humans living in sprawling cities or traditional villages, or dung beetles rolling our food stores; whether we are monumental baobab trees thousands of years old or whales birthing our young in cold currents; each of us has a vital role to play as strands of the greater web of life. Diversity and linkages between people, plants, animals and their environment are insurance for the future of our earth.
Biology became a passion for me during my school years. Plans to enter the world of medicine or science were superseded only by the decision to pursue the lonely path of an artistic career.
From my memories and my constant field sketches I create artworks on canvas with a treasured old palette knife inherited from my father with which I create expressive strokes.
I relish every visit to the magical miombo/msasa Mukuvisi woodlands in Harare, my childhood haunt.
“Fallen Tree”, acrylic on loose canvas, 85 x 200 cm is my painting of the incredible mopani winter woodland in the lowveld of Zimbabwe at this time of year, russet red leaves, filtered light at dawn and dusk and always, as I drive slowly through the landscape of the Save Valley Conservancy, the promise of wild dog dens…
Near the den of the Mbungu Pack, in deep woodland, monitored by the African Wildlife Conservation Fund, (AWCF), I know that at any moment I could spot the dogs…
Deep red leaves and golden lion’s mane grass frame my search…
There they are!… the wild dogs lie and doze, waiting for the cool of evening to begin a hunt
Dogs in Mopani 1, acrylic on loose canvas, 70 x 105 cm
…camouflaged like the patterns of persian carpets in the rust red mopani leaves…
Where do coats begin and leaves end?… a glorious medley of colour….truly a painters delight, and I love the alternative common name for these gorgeous tricolor hunters, Painted Wolves…. or Painted Dogs…
Mopani camouflage, acrylic on canvas, 88 x 88 cm
My painting “Pep Rally” (acrylic/oil bar on canvas, 130 x 100 cm) is typical of the interaction between young wild dogs just before they go hunting.
Exuberant and social, they bolster each others confidence, rearing up and playing..
Pep Rally I, acrylic on loose canvas, 90 x 88 cm
galloping and twisting sinuously in the growing pale light of the rising moon…
Painted Wolf Pep Rally, acrylic on loose canvas, 53 x 97 cm…
The hunters soon disappear into the mopani dusk with white tails flashing, as a full moon rises……
they vanish into the surrounding woodland, hunting food for the alpha female who waits patiently at the den with her pups ..
Originally posted on Global Health Diaries: As each nation mobilizes its communities to combat COVID-19, a virus that knows no borders, the global community unites in solidarity. Our new series, titled “In the World With COVID-19,” features reflective perspectives on…
In all my travels and wandering there is one constant, one inspiration… The all encompassing sky above me…….
I’ve looked at clouds
From both sides now…...
From Up and Down…..
And still somehow
It’s clouds illusions I recall.….
I really don’t know clouds,
Sunrise, sunset, starry skies and full rising moons, the landscapes of the Save River below Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, Gonarezhou National Park and the horizons around my Tsavene Bush house in the Save Valley Conservancy are prime inspiration.
But the world is my oyster, clouds are my starting point and my point of departure, because without clouds, big skies, moody moons and sunsets just could not be the same!
From my homeland Zimbabwe, but also from the aqua and cerise skies of Thailand, the roseate skies of Florida, the warm and spicy skies of the Mediterranean and from the looming skies of wet season Kalahari, I draw amazement and inspiration.
So, this little A3 size abstract is from my “Serendipity” series…
As is this…
This is my wallpaper, Night Sky….(see the Clouds of Magellan)?! created in collaboration with Robin Sprong Wallpaper.
I have linked some of my large abstract paintings with similar sky photographs that I have taken on the banks of the Save River, below Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, on the edge of Gonarezhou, and at my bush house in the Save Valley Conservancy– browse on!
Big Sky with clouds of mysterious hue, on the sands of the Save River….
Kgalagadi Pan , acrylic on stretched canvas, 3 x 2 feet
and my painting, Sunset Impression, acrylic on loose canvas, 102 x 78 cm
After the Storm, acrylic on stretched canvas, 2 x 3 feet
Big Sky, acrylic on loose canvas, 101 x 178 cm
Bushveld Dawn, acrylic on loose canvas, 88 x 90 cm
Copper Dawn, acrylic on loose canvas, 90 x 88 cm
New Dawn diptych 2, and 1, acrylic on canvas, 2 x 2 feet – how I imagine waking up on the Algarve….Portugal!
Plum Horizon, flying high, up or down, clouds from both sides!?!
Skyscape, acrylic on stretched canvas, 2 x 3 feet
inspiration is never ending….
Strange new dawn, acrylic on loose canvas, 85 x 180 cm
Covering your wall with something powerful, something soft, something you, is always fun, and if they are abstract (landscape, wind, water and sky related), they are truly timeless, I think….whether you are traveling to Boutique hotels, Spas, Bush camps or City lodges, wallpaper rocks!
What a dreamy colour- Classic Blue is the Pantone Colour of the year for 2020…night skies, meditation and dreams abound! and it is a colour I love painting with, as you can see from the following moodboards, pairings of my artworks and roomscapes….and what fun to take the same Pantone Classic Blue room and place my various paintings within that, as such different feelings emerge!