Porcupine (910mm x 610mm acrylic on stretched canvas)
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We watched as the porcupine slowly moved through the low scrub not far from us, inquisitively stopping, listening, sniffing the earth and reading the scent on the wind before heading off again, following one of the myriad of pathways that criss-cross this ancient Karoo landscape, along routes joining burrows to favoured feeding areas, pathways etched through time by the mongoose, the genet, and many other lives that make their home here. A place of whispering grasses where the cool of the night warms to another day – this is why the porcupine had come this way, for the first light of the sun had begun to show across the eastern horizon and it was returning to its burrow to wait out the sunlit hours before venturing out again across this silent land.
This painting, with its long quills and delicate hairs once again forced me to extend my technical abilities, an ever present reality which has become very much a part of the 52 Artworks journey. Every painting has taught me something new, knowing which brush to choose, the preferred consistency of paint, or a new way to use the mahl stick to reduce hand shake and enable fluid strokes; different skills explored in order to capture the hair on the face of a fox, the reflections in the eye of the francolin or the fur of the squirrel’s tail, all challenges which have added another dimension to this year-long creative adventure.
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