“Harmattan King” …. against the wind – like so much of our wildlife!
With the steady destruction of the worlds wildlife species I think the depiction of these wonderful beasts has almost become a personal obligation! How tragic is it going to be, when one day, one of my grandchildren looks at a painting I have done of an elephant or an African lion and says to me “Granny – whats that?” With the danger of this being so very real, I now no longer sit in my studio daubing with complacency… I complete every painting almost as a matter of urgency!
I need to record it – before it is lost to this world forever!
Living in Africa all my life has naturally influenced me towards the painting of the extraordinary variety of wildlife and vistas that this continent offers. As the daughter of road engineer in the late 50’s through to the 70’s, I grew up in wooden pre-fab houses often miles from anywhere with only the sounds of the African night to lull me to sleep. Now, many decades later – I often relive those early years as I paint in my Nairobi studio longing for the next bush trip when I can get out with my sketchbook and camera and add to my already huge collection of wildlife reference for my art.
Shaba landscape from the sketchbook
My greatest pleasure is to sit at my easel outside in the shade of a tree and record nature whether it be a landscape or the beasts within it. Much is done from behind the wheel of my car especially when it’s the wildlife I am focusing on, as the full human form sends them scattering in a heartbeat.
I was never classically trained as an artist – everything I do is self taught – and I still have much to learn – and as frustrating as it is at the time, it is often those lucky mistakes that have influenced my style. I feel I am on a cusp of a change – move the atmospheric quality of my style into something more textured – every day is exciting.
The future? Keep working – keep trying to help conservation in my small way – either by raising awareness of the plight of our animals or the occasional donation of work to help a project that I feel close to.
Africa is changing so very fast – the explosion of the human population is making a huge impact on this land… David Attenborough is right, the human race is like a virus destroying the very host that gives us life…. and when I am old I shall look back on my work and remember how it used to be.
This painting “Northern Ranger” is up for auction to raise funds for the anti-poaching units of the Northern Rangelands Trust. !00% of the money raised will go to the cause.
To see more from Karen, check out her website: http://www.karenlaurence-rowe.com/
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. Her books are available on Amazon and Kindle, or can be ordered from most leading book stores and libraries. For more about Catherine Broughton, to include her entertaining blogs and sketches, go to http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk
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