‘ It starts out as fun - meerkats’
Pastel on Colourfix paper
Size: 53 X 45 cm
You know lately I have become super aware of just how much many Western artists have become divorced from the real world.....and by that I mean from the natural world which is all around us.
Several very angry and affronted animal 'artists' have been telling me I am talking out of my behind when I say the only way to make genuine and real art of the natural world is to get out into it and get connected...... through the heart and through genuine first-hand experience. I have even had a few tell me that watching TV documentaries is better than going into nature and shows us much more than nature itself does!!......... siiiiiiiigh
Then there are those who say,
"Oh but I cannot afford to do what you do and go into nature....I am too busy (or too poor)."
And to that I say then stick to what you know and have around you, until you can experience the real thing. How can I get these people to comprehend the quantum difference between watching an elephant on TV and being charged by a fire-breathing, 7 tonne bull elephant in Africa?
If they think painting meerkats from the zoo or from a TV experience (or even from good photos purchased or 'borrowed' from some wildlife photographer via the interweb) is anything like meeting wild meerkats in the Kalahari and carrying that experience home to pour into your artwork ........well frankly I feel very sorry for these people.........because it is NOTHING like it. Apart from the experience itself unless you have experienced critters in 3 dimensions you truly do not understand them. And until you have seen for yourself the differences between wild and captive critters you will never 'get' it.
OK....now that I have laid down a challenge I am sure I will cop abuse from all sorts of artists (although I would prefer they didn't bother rudely telling me how wrong I am).... But I am here to tell everyone there is simply no comparison between captive meerkats and wild, free-living meerkats who are as close to Usain Bolt as a mongoose can be and totally unlike the fat little Buddhas we see in zoos.
These little treasures are a mum and two fairly well-grown pups in the Kalahari. The pups had been vigorously wrestling until (it got a bit rough) culminating in the bigger one on the right giving his little sibling a hiding while mum looked on from the burrow. After a minute apart and presumably after a bit of deep thinking....the bully returned to his sibling and gently put his arms around him for a long and sincere hug which lasted a minute or more. The beaten-up sibling was very thankful and hugged him back in gratitude for what was clearly an apology. All of this time mum just looked at me as though thinking the same as my mum who used to say, "Kids....It starts out as fun and ends in tears!".