Normally I sketch in pencil then add watercolor, so I try to make sure I’m happy with my pencil sketches before I start painting. For the 3 small 5×5″ pieces below, I abandoned my pencil completely and went straight in with the watercolor, using a long haired rigger (or liner) brush.
Painted Dogs in watercolor by Alison Nicholls
The lengthy hairs on this kind of brush mean you don’t have complete control over the paint, so you have to be ready to accept mistakes as part of your work. I’m thinking it will be a great way to sketch when I’m in the bush, so I’ll be teaching this method on the 2015 Africa Geographic Art Safari, along with all my usual techniques.
Its amazing what can happen on a sunny day when you are sitting outside mucking around with a new paintbrush!
For those artists out there – there is1 place remaining on this year’s Art Safari. Come join me in the South African bush!
Until next time…
Why is it that when you go into the African bush with people who haven’t been there before, you always see amazing things, and your visitors go home thinking these thing happen every day. This has happened to me so many times I’ve lost count. One example was a visit from a brown hyena in the Kalahari.
- Brown Hyena, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa © Nigel Nicholls 2013
We were camping, with 2 visiting friends, in Khutse Game Reserve, at the well known campsite with the lovely camelthorn acacia. It was dark and we had abandoned our chairs near the embers of the fire and we were getting ready to go to bed. We heard something in the bushes on the edge of camp, got our torch (flashlight) and saw eyes. We decided it was a brown hyena but assured our friends that it wouldn’t come any closer until we were in our tents. Wrong!
It casually walked out of the bushes, straight up to our circle of chairs and started sniffing around the fire. If you’ve seen a brown hyena close up, you’ll know they are a very strange looking beast – something like a cross between a spotted hyena and a very long-haired German Shepherd (of the American variety, with the sloping hindquarters). I had seen brown hyenas before but never one so bold and never this close. After a few moments watching it, we decided we should scare it away – to ensure it had some fear of humans and didn’t become some kind of bizarre campsite scavenger (with jaws you don’t want anywhere near your campsite!). We thought this would be fairly easy – just a few shouts required, surely? Wrong again. The hyena completely ignored us. Eventually, after more unimpressive noise-making attempts, we beeped the car horn and the hyena casually wandered off without a look back. And yes, you guessed it, during the entire encounter the 4 of us completely forgot to try and take a photo!
Do you have a #WishIHadAPhotoWednesday story?
Until next time…