|quick pencil sketches|
Hello All, my next painting is going to be a tribute to an brave little elephant that lost his battle recently called Ganesh Vijay, Twycross Zoo.
Noorjahan (mother) nicknamed 'leggy blonde' who lives at the Leicestershire Zoo, was inseminated from a bull elephant based at Whipsnade Wildlife park in Bedfordshire. The procedure was done artificially as moving elephants between zoos for mating can be bad for herd dynamics. Ganesh was one of Twycross' family of five elephants. He was only the third elephant born at the zoo, and the first to be conceived by artificial insemination. When he was born Ganesh suffered from epileptic fits. He needed five weeks of care from zoo staff and his mother, Noorjahan. He survived the rocky start, and when he was 10 weeks old he was blessed by a Hindu priest, who prayed for him to have good health and a long life. Expert elephant vets were called in after his most recent illness, but he sadly died despite their efforts. He is missed greatly by everybody at the zoo and of course by his mother. When elephants die in the wild they don't just suddenly vanish - herd members spend time with them and they accept they have died. It is an important part of the grieving process.
My partner and I went to the zoo for an anniversary treat this March. It was a rather cold day and I think that was somewhat reflected in the mood of the animals - most were indoors asleep! My absolute highlight of the day was to see the elephants, I spent a long time just watching Ganesh. He was a little tinker :) he played around at the waters edge dipping his trunk in and throwing water around. He then edged backwards up the sand hill and started dislodging one of the huge rocks and pushed it down the bank. All of a sudden he made a screeching noise and all the elephants came running over to him! The most heart-warming thing I have seen between herd interaction, just beautiful, he then walked by his mothers side as she flung sand over her back.
I took a few reference photos, not a huge amount but I definately have enough to create a painting to capture his cheeky fun personality. I've decided to create a slight background wash to complement the colourtones within his skin, which will be in contrast with the realism of Ganesh. These photos are are some sample colour washes exploring which colours will work the best and techniques employed. They are all mostly working wet into wet encouraging water stains and pigment interaction. This is new territory for me so I'm a little nervous as I want to do him justice. I've also included a couple of quick drawings over the top of a couple with some loose line sketching.