Friday, 29 April 2011

NEW Asian Elephant painting

quick pencil sketches

watercolour washes

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.

10 comments:

April Jarocka said...

What a lovely but sad story. It makes your painting more meaningful! Good luck with it:-)

Andrew said...

elephants are my favorite animals and i especially love asian elephant, so i like seeing elephant art work.

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

thankyou April/Andrew, he is a little treasure, elephants are amazing creatures, Jules

maria elena ferrari said...

very beatiful paint!!

hmuxo said...

Very sad story but your painting will be such a beautiful tribute to this wonderful animal. I look forward to the painting.. great sketches!

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

thankyou Maria/Hilda :) when I finally have time to start this precious boy I hope I can do him justice, Jules

RLT Art said...

Such a sad story, but it really makes your painting extra meaningful and such a wonderful tribute to Ganesh.
I adore these sample compositions/ideas. They are so free and peaceful.
I look forward to seeing how this painting progresses :D

Amanda Brett said...

you're a truly skilled watercolourist Julie, just superb. i've added you to my favourite artist links on my blog! hope this is ok with you! best wishes Amanda Brett

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

thankyou so much Amanda :) you're very kind to do so, I look forward to seeing future artworks :) Jules

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

I'm sorry for the delay Rebecca - your comment has only just reappeared after a fault with blogger, it is very sad as he was a very special little boy, thankyou for you kind words, Jules

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