Monday, June 19, 2006

A Gorilla in pastels.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to spend time with gorillas in the wild. I've been face to face with many of the worlds most magnificent animals, from tigers to polar bears but there is something completely unforgettable about an encounter with a gorilla in it's natural habitat.

It took me about four hours trekking through the jungles of Zaire before I caught my first glimpse of these noble creatures. I was just thinking to myself how the jungle had come to resemble an overgrown English garden, and I almost felt I was back there when suddenly my eyes fell upon a huge silverback sitting peacefully amoungst the foliage only a yard or two ahead of me. All illusions of England vanished that instant and I silently and self consciously sat down before him.

That is how it feels when you disturb a gorilla in his home. It's different with lions, or bears, you look at them the way you would look at a cat or a dog, but with a gorilla it's almost like you are staring at your neighbour. You know he is regarding you with almost human curiosity, there is real sentience in his eyes and it's a humbling experience.

I spent several days with the gorillas and had some amazing experiences including being knocked flat on my back, being hit on the head with half eaten fruit that the youngsters throw at you from the treetops and watching in awe as a silverback snapped a two inch thick piece of fresh bamboo with a simple flick of his wrist. I tried to snap a similar piece by jumping up and down on it and couldn't!

I've painted only three gorilla pictures so far, and as they all sold quickly I think it's high time I painted some more...

I've included a picture of my Gorilla in pastels and will be adding pictures of how I did this painting in the next few days.


At 7:58 am , Anonymous Jason said...

Hi Eric,

This blog is sooo informative!

But more than that it's great because everyone gets to know the real you!

I have never met an artist more compassionate about wildlife, conservation and fellow artists than yourself.

Thanks for helping me learn the art of wildlife painting over the years :-) It's a privilege for me to be guided by one of the worlds best in the field :-)



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