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Painting African wildlife

I have never been to the African continent but I would like to go someday to check out the wildlife. I have read about the vast herds of animals running free across the African plain and of course I've watched TV shows about it but for now I'm confined to using zoo animals as my subjects pairing them with actual photos from Africa so I can come up with a good representation of what they look like running in the wild.

Zoo animals work for reference photos as far as certain details of anatomy, but relying on zoo animals totally misses the mark. You have to spend time in the wild observing wild behavior to get the true essence of how animals act. They are always on the move in search of food or prey because no one is there to feed them and they are always cautious of other animals that mean them harm. I have a lot of experience with North American animals which gives me a good instinct of how African animals might act in nature.

I always use a lot of earthy tones when painting African wildlife to convey the heat of the warmer climate. Usually when I paint wildlife I don't like them sitting still like they are posing for a portrait. I like to paint them in action or as if you walked through the woods and spotted them just before they run away because they realize you just spotted them. Maybe I'll get to Africa someday and after I do I'm sure I'll have a better understanding of their habits and habitat.

The Giraffe painting is called "On the Move" and the elephant painting is called "Out of the Dust". Both original paintings are still for sale and prints are available for each.


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