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Bench in Nature web.jpg

#28 Face-to-face

Face-to-face (710mm x 810mm acrylic on canvas)

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Nature encounters take many forms, some require patience and planning, such as watching the family of otters down in the reserve leaving their holt and moving along the shoreline, or spending time with the owls that we have come to know well in their darkening glade. Other encounters are unexpected gifts, the klipspringers at the ‘Hoek-van-Bobbejaan’, brief sightings of the caracals or the zebra foal, and sudden appearances of paradise flycatchers and black eagles, special moments that become treasured memories.

But when it comes to the squirrels, no stealth, planning or surprises are needed, for a visit to the Company Gardens in the centre of Cape Town would be incomplete without these mischievous little mammals scampering past you and making their excited presence felt, stopping awhile to check if you are of a generous disposition, and if not, moving on to the next potential carrier of good tidings! But try something different and the response is interesting, such as an inquisitive artist bending down to their level to gain a new perspective, for they then seem to lose their composure, the look of an uncertain challenge appears in their eyes, their tails go up, and they soon dart off to the nearest tree to gain the advantage of height.

I composed this painting to fully maximize on the strength of the light, for I wanted to explore the wispy fur of the tail, a challenge which required strong side-light on a dark background, features which added to the sense of drama and of a face-to-face encounter.

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