Tag Archives: African wild dog

Painted dog, photo by Alison Nicholls

Start the Weekend with Chittering Dogs!

Start the weekend with chittering painted dogs!

Join me to hear Dr Greg Rasmussen of the Painted Dog Research Trust talk about the unique, endangered and beautiful Painted Dog (African wild dog). Dr Rasmussen will talk about the years he has spent with painted dogs and the challenges facing them, particularly in Zimbabwe.

Painted dog, photo by Alison Nicholls

Painted dog, photo by Alison Nicholls

I recently spent time with Dr Rasmussen in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe, and we were fortunate to see 2 different dog packs, including 1 successfully hunting impala. Sketching painted dogs on a kill is not something you get to do everyday! And then we were able to visit the remains of the kill and watch Dr Rasmussen take bone marrow samples from the legs of the impala. (Obviously these dogs were fairly well-fed, as often there is barely a scrap left after they have finished eating, let alone enough to take bone marrow samples from front and rear legs!)

Sitting around the campfire we listened to spotted hyenas, watched for elephants in the dark next to our tents, and heard more from Dr Rasmussen about life as a painted dog conservationist. It was an experience not to missed. And I urge you not to miss this opportunity to hear him speak about his life and work with painted dogs!

So join me on Saturday (and you’ll also have a chance to win a limited edition field sketch of painted dogs from my last visit to southern Africa)!
Alison

Lecture with Dr G Rasmussen of the Painted Dog Research Trust.
Where: Wolf Conservation Center, South Salem, NY
When: Saturday Feb 20 at 6pm.
Cost: $20 per person ($10 for PDRT, $10 for WCC)
What Else? Registration required. Click here.

Playtime, painted dogs, by Alison Nicholls

Painted Dog Playtime by Alison Nicholls

Playtime is based on my recent sketches and memories of painted dogs in Botswana playing around a tall clump of buffalo grass. So where is the grass, I hear you asking? Well the composition did originally contain the grass, but I removed it because I felt that the obvious playful energy of the 2 dogs was the real essence of the painting. You can see from their raised tails, raised ears and general body language that they are ready to run and chase each other, they are just waiting to see who will make the first move.

Playtime, painted dogs, by Alison Nicholls

Playtime, painted dogs, acrylic 24×30″ by Alison Nicholls

The playful nature of painted dogs (African wild dogs) is just one of the reasons they are so wonderful to watch. They exude a real joy in being part of a pack, having close companions, and in celebrating their successful hunts. My choice of colors – magenta and cyan – reflect the joyful, energetic nature of the piece and the layered washes of color create distance between the 2 dogs (so I was able to remove the grass from the composition!).

Playtime was very loosely based on some of my recent field sketches, including this piece, created in Zimbabwe when I spent time with Dr Greg Rasmussen of the Painted Dog Research Trust in Mana Pools.

Playtime Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Playtime Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Playtime and several more of my new paintings & sketches will be on display in Wildlife Art: Field to Studio, an exhibition at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. The exhibit features work by 7 artists, several of whom are personal friends of mine, and all of whom are Signature members of the Society of Animal Artists. We work in a wide variety of media –  watercolor, acrylic, oil, digital media & sculpture; in a variety of styles – contemporary, whimsical & realistic; and we undertake our field work in different parts of the world – Africa, Mongolia, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, India, Central America & the Long Island Sound. It promises to be an exciting exhibition and at least 5 of the artists will be present for the opening reception and weekend programs for children and adults. My fellow artists and exhibitors are Susan Fox, Sean Murtha, David Rankin, Karryl, Kelly Singleton and Carel Brest van Kempen. The exhibition was curated by Lillian Lum, Alice Sherwood and Claudia Schipper.

Please join me for the Opening Reception or one of the programs associated with the exhibition.

Flinn Gallery Events
Opening Reception: March 31, 6-8pm
Children Sketching Wildlife: April 2 (details tba)
Artists Talks: April 2, 2-3pm.

The Explorers Club Lecture, New York City.
April 4, 6pm. Registration is required.

Until next time…!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredByAfrica.com

Playtime Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

African Field Sketch #10 – Playtime – painted dogs – by Alison Nicholls

I believe that Painted Dogs (African wild dogs) are one of the most difficult sketching subjects in the African bush, because when they are active, they are hyper-active! The better I know an animal, the better my sketches will be, so by the end of my most recent trip to southern Africa, having seen 4 different packs, I was able to capture some of the more entertaining, playful moments. While the dogs were playing, leaping over grass and chasing, I was watching rather than sketching, but I am then able to create sketches of particular moments, from my memory, a few minutes later. That is how this sketch was created.

Playtime Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

These field sketches were created during my Aug/Sept 2015 African trip. All my field sketches, are created in Africa directly from life, or sketched back at camp purely from my memory of sightings. They are completely finished in Africa and I use no photos or video reference at any time in their creation. It is always tempting to add finishing touches back in the studio, but I avoid this to ensure that my field sketches really are field sketches. 

This Original Field Sketch is watercolor and pencil on watercolor paper, 11×14″ and priced at US$300. Limited Edition Giclées are also available, priced at US$120 each. Only 10 copies are available, printed using archival inks on watercolor paper, 11×14″, all signed and numbered by me.

A donation will be made to African conservation from every sale.

Until Nov 22, I will be sharing 1 of my new African field sketches every day. The new sketches are shown to my newsletter readers a full day before they are shown here. Click here to Join my Mailing List and see the sketches as soon as they are released, or see them here 1 day later.

Wherever and whenever you see them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Tomorrow’s sketch is of carmine bee-eaters!
Until then…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Crashed Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls 2015

African Wildlife Sketch 7 – Crashed (painted dogs)

These painted dog pups (African wild dogs) were sketched in Botswana. They were nearly 4 months old, beautifully colored (not actually purple!) and full of life. Everywhere I looked were pups running, leaping fallen logs, falling off logs, chasing each other and then cautiously approaching the vehicle in a crowd of long legs and huge ears. Soon after, they all collapsed in heaps under bushes and trees. That’s when I was able to create this sketch. I added the watercolor back at camp, which is where my artistic license crept in with the coloring!  

Crashed Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls 2015

Crashed field sketch. Painted dogs (African wild dogs) in watercolor by Alison Nicholls

All my field sketches, are created in Africa directly from life, or sketched back at camp purely from my memory of sightings. They are completely finished in Africa and I use no photos or video reference at any time in their creation. It is always tempting to add finishing touches back in the studio, but I avoid this to ensure that my field sketches really are field sketches. 

This Original Field Sketch is watercolor and pencil on watercolor paper, 11×14″, and priced at US$300. Limited Edition Giclées are also available, priced at US$120 each. Only 10 copies are available, printed using archival inks on watercolor paper, 11×14″, all signed and numbered by me.

A donation will be made to African conservation from every sale.

Until Nov 22, I will be sharing 1 of my new African field sketches every day. The new sketches are shown to my newsletter readers a full day before they are shown here. Click here to Join my Mailing List and see the sketches as soon as they are released, or see them here 1 day later.

Wherever and whenever you see them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Tomorrow’s sketch is of another sleeping predator – a male lion.
Until then…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Dog Pack at Rest Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2015

African Field Sketch #3: Painted Dog Pack At Rest by Alison Nicholls

Painted dogs (African wild dogs) are one of the most intriguing of species, and one of the most difficult sketch subjects in the African bush. During the day they tend to lie in the shade, and they have such a lean build that when they lie flat out, they look pretty flat! Once they have finished napping, the pack becomes alive with activity – stretching, yawning, greeting each other, playing, then they are off on a hunt and virtually impossible to keep up with. However, during my September trip to southern Africa, I was lucky enough to see 4 different painted dog packs and spend considerable amounts of time with them. This sketch was created after the pack had hunted, killed and eaten an impala. As they rested for a moment nearby, I got to work! 

Dog Pack at Rest Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2015

Dog Pack at Rest Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2015

All my field sketches, are created in Africa directly from life, or sketched back at camp purely from my memory of sightings. They are completely finished in Africa and I use no photos or video reference at any time in their creation. It is always tempting to add finishing touches back in the studio, but I avoid this to ensure that my field sketches really are field sketches. 

This Original Field Sketch is sold, and this painted dog pack is currently trotting off to their new home in North Carolina! However, Limited Edition Giclées are also available, priced at US$120 each. Only 10 copies are available, printed using archival inks on watercolor paper, 11×14″, all signed and numbered by me.

A donation will be made to African conservation from every sale.

Until Nov 22, I will be sharing 1 of my new African field sketches every day. The new sketches are shown to my newsletter readers a full day before they are shown here. Click here to Join my Mailing List and see the sketches as soon as they are released, or see them here 1 day later.

Wherever and whenever you see them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Tomorrow’s sketch is of a pod of hippos.
Until then…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

African Field Sketches by Alison Nicholls ©2015

Want To See My New African Field Sketches?

All my new field sketches have now been scanned and I am ready to show them to you! 

I will be releasing them on my blog and on social media, one every day, for 3 weeks, starting on November 2nd.
Why November 2nd?
Because before I put them online here, I will be showing them to my newsletter readers – starting on November 1st. So they get to see them a day in advance.

If you also want to see them on the day they are released, use this link to Join My Mailing List. Or, you can wait to see them here. But some of them may be sold by the time they are posted here…

African Field Sketches by Alison Nicholls ©2015

African Field Sketches by Alison Nicholls ©2015

Shown above is a montage of a few of the new pieces you will soon see in detail. All my field sketches, are created in Africa directly from life, or sketched back at camp purely from my memory of sightings. They are completely finished in Africa and I use no photos or video reference at any time in their creation. It is always tempting to add finishing touches back in the studio, but I avoid this to ensure that my field sketches really are field sketches. 

Remember, if you want to see them on the day they are released, you can Join My Mailing List. Or, you can wait to see them here, a day later. Wherever and whenever you see them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Until November 1st…(or 2nd)!
Take care
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Painted Dogs (African wild dogs) photo by Nigel Nicholls © 2012

Painted Dogs Hunting Through Our Campsite!

For this #WishIHadAPhotoWednesday, I thought I’d go back to one warm evening in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. I was with my husband and my parents; we had set up camp, with our guides from Gunn’s Camp, on the edge of a large island. We had arrived by mokoro (dug-out canoe), seeing delta life from a lower angle than usual, as our guides poled us through the clear waters, past lilies and papyrus. Night was falling fast and the fire was alight, throwing shadows onto our 3 small dome tents. We were getting settled in for the evening (most likely with a sundowner in hand) when suddenly it seemed that our small camp came alive with activity for a brief second. 3 shapes leapt between the tents. It was almost too dark to see them, but the smaller 2 at the back had distinct white tips to their tails – African wild dogs chasing an impala! Before we had time to react, they were gone.

Painted Dogs (African wild dogs) photo by Nigel Nicholls © 2012

Painted Dogs (African wild dogs) photo by Nigel Nicholls © 2012

I’ll always remember the silence of the hunt. There were just the sounds of a few fleeting footfalls. There were no cries or calls of any kind. We listened, to hear what might have happened to the impala. Did she escape?
But the darkness closed around us, leaving us guessing, and grinning at our amazing experience.

Until next time…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Painted Dogs in watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Painted Dog Doodles!

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

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…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Leaoprd in Magenta, painting by Alison Nicholls

Dogs & Cats Leaving Home!

Last month I was fortunate to have work accepted into the annual exhibitions of 2 organizations – the Society of Animal Artists and Artists For Conservation. Being a Signature member of both of these organizations is an achievement I am proud of. They give me access to a vast fellowship of artists, who work in every medium imaginable, and whose subject matter covers every continent, and the oceans and seas that divide them.

Moonrise by Alison Nicholls © 2014

Moonrise, acrylic on canvas 12×16″ by Alison Nicholls © 2014

The 55th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists will be on display from August 28 – October 25, 2015, at The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, New York. Look out for my painting of African wild dogs, Moonrise, if you are able to visit the exhibition. A donation will be made to the Painted Dog Research Trust from the sale of this painting.

Leopard in Magenta, painting by Alison Nicholls

Leopard Dreaming, acrylic on canvas 20×16″ by Alison Nicholls ©2015

The Artists For Conservation Annual Exhibition will be in Vancouver, Canada. From Sept 10 – 12, 2015, it can be seen at the Fairmont Waterfront and from Sept 19 – 30 at Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. At this exhibition, look out for my acrylic titled Leopard Dreaming. A donation will be made to Panthera from the sale of this painting.

Selections of artwork from both the SAA and AFC exhibitions will be part of touring exhibits, so you may have a chance to see them in various states of the US. If my pieces are selected for the tours, I will post the details. I have my fingers crossed..!

Until next time…
Take care
Alison

Learn more about:
Artists For Conservation
The Society of Animal Artists
Painted Dog Research Trust
Panthera

Painted dog, photo by Alison Nicholls

Shocking and Senseless…

Some of you may have heard the terrible news from Zimbabwe, about the murder of Greg Gibbard from Painted Dog Conservation. I have not commented until now because I didn’t know what to say.

Painted Dog Photo © Alison Nicholls

My thoughts go out to Greg’s family and friends, to everyone at PDC, and to the conservation community at large.

If you are wondering what you can do to help, think about supporting PDC in their moment of need. Greg would appreciate that.

Painted Dog Conservation

Alison

Elephant!, acrylic 20x30" by Alison Nicholls

Elephant!, acrylic 20×30″ by Alison Nicholls

My body of African conservation-themed art is steadily growing, and you can see and hear about it by joining me at The Explorers Club for my upcoming lecture. I’ll be showing a newly completed piece based on the Living Walls being used by the African People & Wildlife Fund in Tanzania, along with art featuring human-elephant conflict, East African pastoralists, and African wild dogs in Zimbabwe. I will talk about how I take a conservation or research issue and turn it into a completed painting, then how I use the paintings to raise awareness of the issues and money for conservation organizations.

So come and be part of the Conservation Conversation!

The Explorers Club
September 29. Reception 6pm. Lecture 7pm.
Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 212 628 8383.

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Nicholls Wildlife Art

Moonrise by Alison Nicholls © 2014

Moonrise (African wild dogs) by Alison Nicholls © 2014

Here is my latest piece of art depicting Painted Dogs or African wild dogs. To me it seems perfectly natural to use pinks, purples and blues to paint these fascinating and most social of predators. Why? Because these colors evoke evening, dusk and on this occasion, even moonlight.

Moonrise was painted using only 2 colors, manganese blue and quinacridone magenta. Both are beautiful in their own right but when layered one on top of the other, as I’ve done here, they also create wonderful atmospheric purples. I could probably paint for months on end using just these 2 colors, but variety is the spice of life so I’ll probably pick something different next time. When did I last paint dogs in green, I wonder..?

Moonrise is priced at US$560 and 30% of the sale price will be donated to the Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe. It is also available as a limited edition giclée, 11×14″ on watercolor paper, priced at $120, with a 20% donation to PDRT. Please contact me for details.

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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African Wild Dogs Find Good Home in India - by Artist Alison Nicholls

On The Edge, acrylic 24×30″ by Alison Nicholls

Recently I showed you On The Edge, my painting based on the doctoral thesis of Dr Esther van der Meer. Her thesis examines why Painted Dogs (African wild dogs) are choosing to move out of the relative safety of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and live instead in the buffer zone around the park where they have frequent fatal encounters with people. Read further details here.

I received a wonderful response to this painting and I’m very pleased to tell you that it now has a new home with a collector in India who has an interest in Africa and conservation. I donate a percentage from every sale towards conservation, so the Painted Dog Conservation project will be receiving US$1225 to help make the buffer zone around Hwange National Park safer for Painted Dogs!

On The Edge is also available as a limited edition reproduction. Please contact me for details.
A donation is made towards conservation in Africa from every sale.

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation

Visit my Website
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Nicholls Wildlife Art