Tag Archives: conservation

Murals at APW

Murals in Tanzania

Painting on a wall while standing on a wobbly plank balanced between 2 wobbly supports, is something many artists will have done I’m guessing.

Alison Nicholls in Loibor Siret

Drawing out the initial mural design                                                African People & Wildlife

I was visiting African People & Wildlife, near Tarangire National Park, learning about the organization and their successful work with communities to allow people and wildlife to co-exist on the Maasai Steppe. Part of my visit involved art-related activities and on this occasion I was drawing out the design for a mural at the Loibor Siret primary school, so that the students could paint it. We were designing as we went along but it worked out well.

Mural design at APW

Mural design                                           photo: Deirdre Leowinata / AfricanPeople&Wildlife

Some of the paint literally slipped off the wall as we painted it on, so we have nothing red in the finished mural. And the brushes lost so many hairs that the lions took on a far more realistic look than I could have possibly hoped for!

Murals at APW

photo: Deirdre Leowinata / AfricanPeople&Wildlife

But many enthusiastic and capable hands made the whole experience great, and sometimes the trials are what the best memories are made of. I’m going back in June and this time the designs are being drawn up by the students, winners will be decided in advance, and with a bit of luck, 3 schools will end up with colorful murals designed and painted by members of the school community. However, this time I’m bringing brushes with me, and we’ll buy a different kind of paint. Live and learn!

Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Elephants in Brown by Alison Nicholls

Endangered Species Day Donations

Today is Endangered Species Day.  This is not a day we should need on our calendars, but unfortunately it comes around every year, with more and more species falling into the ‘endangered’ bracket.

Restful Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls

Restful Field Sketch – 8×10″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$200. A donation of US$70 will be made to Cheetah Conservation Botswana from this sale.

 

We hear about the plight of charismatic species like lions, cheetahs and painted dogs, but habitat loss, the bushmeat trade, the pet trade and human-wildlife conflict are pushing a huge percentage of our Earth’s species towards ‘endangered’ status. It is downright depressing.

Lioness and Cubs Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2016

Lioness & Cubs Field Sketch – 11×14″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$300. A donation of US$105 will be made to African People & Wildlife in Tanzania from this sale.

So what can we do?
A lot.

Dog Pack Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls 2015

Painted Dogs in the Morning Field Sketch – 11×14″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$300. A donation of US$105 will be made to Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe from this sale.

Get involved, particularly in your own local area. Make sure your local politicians know how important the environment is to you. Stand against destructive development projects and stand up for sustainable long-term solutions. Protect invaluable wetlands, forests, plains and wild places, not just because they are beautiful and provide necessary habitat for numerous species, but because they provide us with recreation and employment opportunities, and because they are essential to our own well-being.

Elephants in Brown Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2016

Elephants in Brown Field Sketch – 11×14″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$300. A donation of US$105 will be made to African People & Wildlife in Tanzania from this sale.

It is not eliteist to stand up for our stunning planet and its inhabitants. It is absolutely necessary.

Cheetah Trio Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls

Cheetah Trio Field Sketch – 11×14″ limited edition reproduction, printed on watercolor paper, unframed, 25 copies only, US$120 each. A donation of US$36 will be made to Cheetah Conservation Botswana from this sale.

And if donating to African conservation organizations is important to you, you can take a look at some of my work and know that for today, and throughout the weekend, I will be making large donations from any sale. I will also be offering free shipping within the continental US and half-price shipping elsewhere in the world.
Lets make Endangered Species Day unnecessary.
Thank you.
Alison

Alison Nicholls
alison@artinspiredbyafrica.com

Racing Extinction - Discovery Channel Global Premiere, December 2, 9pm EST.

Tigers, Manta Rays and Racing Extinction!

I have not seen a wild tiger 1. I have not been swimming in the ocean with sharks or manta rays. Although I have not seen these species in their wild habitats, I know that each one fills a unique niche and that the planet will be a poorer place without them.

Racing Extinction - Discovery Channel Global Premiere, December 2, 9pm EST.

Racing Extinction – Discovery Channel Global Premiere, December 2, 9pm EST.

If you are reading this, clicking like, adding a comment or agreeing with my sentiments, then you may already know about the global premiere of Racing Extinction on the Discovery channel tomorrow, Wednesday December 2, showing at various times (9pm EST). If you are planning to watch it, that’s fantastic! But here is the problem – if you are already planning to watch it, then it is likely that nothing in this film will come as a surprise, because you probably already know about the industrial-scale removal and destruction of wildlife and plants underway across the planet, with countless species being decimated for our consumption, either as food, trinkets or products of some other kind.

The problem is, how do we get people who don’t know or care about these issues to watch this film (and others like it)? My plan had been to watch Racing Extinction with friends. I told several that I had already seen the film at a screening at The Explorers Club, so their 1st questions was “How bad is it? Is it graphic?” I can’t lie. Yes, parts of the film are graphic, but that is because what we are doing to other species on this planet is graphic. So several friends said they would not be able to watch it. How many other people, who might start to watch the film, will turn off as soon as they see something too graphic? I have seen many wildlife-related images and videos that haunt me. There are some I could mention right now that I think about probably every few weeks. I will remember them forever. They make me wince and want to turn away and think of something else. But turning away doesn’t help to solve the problem.

So here is my challenge to you, if you find it hard to watch films like this – try to watch the whole film (it ends with some suggestions about what you can do). Because only by seeing the graphic nature of what we, the human race, are doing, will we truly try to alter our behavior. When you feel that terrible pang of guilt, maybe you will stop eating so much meat, decide not to buy that teak furniture for your patio, avoid products containing microbeads2, use the dishwasher and dryer less, decide not to own exotic species as pets, or stop using harmful chemical products and excessive amounts of water on your lawn. That pang of guilt might make you think about your behavior and, ultimately, change. And change is what is desperately needed.

So watch Racing Extinction, preferably with a friend, then #StartWith1Thing !

1 Although I have been growled at by a tiger in Bardia, Nepal, while sitting on an elephant, in grass taller than the elephant, with my feet pulled up around my chest. But that’s a whole different story!
2 Microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in many personal care products. They pass through our water supply and eventually out into the ocean, where many creatures ingest them, accidentally mistaking them for food particles. Visit beatthemicrobead.org to download a free app to help you identify products containing microbeads.

Alison Nicholls sketching a cheetah

Upstaged by a Cheetah!

On Sunday night I was sketching a live cheetah in Poughkeepsie, New York, at a benefit for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The cheetah in question came from the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and is a hand-reared ‘ambassador’ cheetah, who is used to traveling (with her Labrador companion!) to events to help raise funds for the conservation of her wild counterparts.

Alison Nicholls sketching a cheetah

Alison Nicholls sketching an ambassador cheetah

Dr Laurie Marker, founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, was the guest of honor. While Dr Marker was speaking about cheetah conservation in Namibia and around the world, the cheetah was doing all she could to upstage her, by purring unbelievably loudly. And while that was happening, I was sketching. Here I am, later in the evening, with Laurie and 1 of my sketches.

Artist Alison Nicholls with Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund

Artist Alison Nicholls and her sketch, with Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund

Cheetah watercolor sketch by Alison Nicholls

And here is the sketch.  Cheetah watercolor sketch by Alison Nicholls

Paola Bari had organized the event and on display were a number of artworks on ostrich eggs, including 1 by yours truly. It was a wonderful evening, although quite strange for me because less than a month ago I was sketching a pair of cheetah brothers in northern Botswana catching an impala!

Find out more about the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
See my Ostrich Egg Artwork.

Until next time…take care
Alison

www.ArtInspiredByAfrica.com

Alison Nicholls with Dr Laly Lichtenfeld and Charles Trout of the African People & Wildlife Fund

10 Successful Years for the African People & Wildlife Fund!

2015 is the 10th Anniversary of the African People & Wildlife Fund. On April 25, I attended APW’s Annual Benefit, along with several pieces of my artwork. 1 small original and several limited edition giclées were sold, and APW received nearly US$700 in donations from these sales.

The benefit was a beautiful evening and a great chance to catch up with APW’s current work on the Maasai Steppe in Tanzania, helping rural people manage their natural resources for the mutual benefit of both people and wildlife.

Alison Nicholls with Dr Laly Lichtenfeld and Charles Trout of the African People & Wildlife Fund

Charles Trout, Alison Nicholls and Dr Laly Lichtenfeld at the 2015 APW Annual Benefit.

See more of my work with APW in my newly published book:
An Artist Visits the African People & Wildlife Fund.

Learn more about the African People & Wildlife Fund.

Until next time…
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

 

Children in Tanzania, field sketch by Alison Nicholls

Send a Scholar to School!

I haven’t run any marathons recently. Not even a half marathon. I haven’t done any long sponsored walks, although I really should be paid for the amount of time I spend walking my German Shepherd dog. I have not even entered any sponsored hot-dog eating competitions. (My dog’s ears just perked up. You can be paid to eat hot-dogs, wow, humans are Amazing!) What this all means is that I have not asked you to sponsor me to do anything.

Children in Tanzania, field sketch by Alison Nicholls

Children in Tanzania, field sketch by Alison Nicholls

So yes, you guessed it, I am about to appeal for your money. But not for me.  Instead I want you to consider a donation, of any amount, to help send a scholar to school. In Tanzania!

The scholars I refer to are Noloholo Environmental Scholars. The African People & Wildlife Fund in northern Tanzania created this scholarship program, to allow children from the Maasai Steppe the opportunity to go to a good boarding school in Arusha for their secondary education. Most of these children would have very little opportunity to continue their education beyond Grade 6 (end of primary school) if they did not receive the scholarship. During their vacations from boarding school they mentor other students who want to follow in their footsteps – and there are many who want to follow in their footsteps. As you can imagine, this program is changing lives. Some of these children may be future conservationists, but whatever they choose to do, they will be raising living standards and expectations not only for themselves and their families but for their communities as a whole.

So please take the time to look at this link and see if you can help with a donation of any amount.

Noloholo Scholarship Fund
Asante sana! (thank you very much in Kiswahili)

Until next time…
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
Donating to African conservation from every sale.

Patterns in the Ice

Patterns in the Ice

My German Shepherd dog needs quite a bit of exercise, so I am often found walking the neighborhood, even in the coldest weather. These walks are also when I plan my next piece of art (or my next blog post). So there I am, wandering through the snowy New York winter, thinking of an African scene, when I spotted a gorgeous ice pattern beneath my feet. The lines in the ice reminded me of the washes of color I add to my canvas, one on top of another. They also reminded me that spring is still some way off!

Patterns in the Ice

Patterns in the Ice

(If you are wondering, I’m still working on my leopard piece and will show it to you soon when it is complete. Hopefully before spring!).
Until next time…
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
I make a donation to African conservation from every sale.

Leopard acrylic by Alison Nicholls

The Leopard…continued…by Alison Nicholls

I was hoping I would have finished my leopard acrylic today but its not quite ready yet. But even so, I thought I’d show you the update. In my last post I showed the initial studio drawing and a watercolor. Now I have drawn the leopard the actual size I plan to paint him (below).

Leopard drawing by Alison Nicholls

Leopard drawing by Alison Nicholls

Then I’ve started with several washes of color – naples yellow then ultramarine blue. This is a night scene so I don’t want the leopard to be too obvious, I want him dozing a little after a meal, camoflaged among tree branches and leaves.

Leopard acrylic by Alison Nicholls

Leopard acrylic by Alison Nicholls

Next time I hope to show you the finished piece!
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
I make a donation to African conservation from every sale.

Free Shipping within the US to celebrate my new website. Plus half-price international shipping!

Celebrating Art Inspired by Africa Website!

Free Shipping within the US to celebrate my new website. Plus half-price international shipping!

Free Shipping within the US to celebrate my new website. Plus half-price international shipping!

If you haven’t already visited my new website, here’s a good reason to do so – to celebrate the launch, I am offering Free Shipping within the US and half-price shipping to international destinations, for the entire month of February!

Are you still here?
Oh yes, sorry, here’s the link!

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Until next time…
Alison

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New website www.artinspiredbyafrica.com by Alison Nicholls

New Year – New Website!

New website www.artinspiredbyafrica.com by Alison Nicholls

My new website – www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com – can be viewed on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

I hope you are having a wonderful start to 2015. I thought this would be the ideal time to unveil my brand new website, which you can view from your computer, tablet or smartphone!

I wanted to create a website with clean, simple lines, to best display my colorful African acrylics and watercolor field sketches. Kim Bruce of Artbiz helped me achieve this, and it has been a pleasure working with her. I hope you agree that the result was worth the effort. Take a look and you’ll see my Paintings, Sketches and Limited Editions, plus Art Safaris (there are just 2 places remaining on this year’s safari) and completely new pages for The Artist and my Conservation Sketching Expeditions. There is a new shopping cart with shipping options and you’ll find my Blog on the website too. I’m thrilled with the new design and hope you will be too – so take a look and let me know!

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Uploading all my images and text took a fair amount of time and by the time I finished I was seeing my website in my sleep, which makes it difficult to spot errors. So, in case you need more encouragement to visit my new site, I’m offering a free gift to whoever finds the best (or worst) error in my new website, or whoever makes the best suggestion for improvement. A couple of exceptions should be noted – giving my work away for free will not be considered a valid suggestion, and US spellings do not count as errors!!!

Finally I’d like to thank Dale Simmons of Ezpics, who worked with me on my previous website for over 10 years. He was great to work with, and I’ll be keeping in touch for more chats about conservation and life in Montana. Thanks Dale!

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Until next time…
Alison

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Shimmer & Shukas by Alison Nicholls

Art Challenge Day 5 – People and Conservation

Shimmer and Shukas Field Sketch, watercolor 11x14" by Alison Nicholls

Shimmer and Shukas Field Sketch, watercolor 11×14″ by Alison Nicholls

The Herd, acrylic on canvas 24x20" by Alison Nicholls

The Herd, acrylic on canvas 24×20″ by Alison Nicholls

Living Walls, acrylic on canvas 29x29" by Alison Nicholls

Living Walls, acrylic on canvas 29×29″ by Alison Nicholls

Although I had painted landscapes and wildlife, I never thought I was interested in painting or sketching people. But as I got to know Botswana better, I did try my hand at a couple of pieces. However, I was never comfortable sketching people without their permission and was too shy to ask. As with so many things in life, it was only after I left Africa that I realized what a chance I had been missing all those years. But luckily for me, it was also at this time that I became familiar with the African People & Wildlife Fund in Tanzania and arranged with Dr Laly Lichtenfeld to spend time at the project sketching. While I was there I learned about APW’s work with the local communities and saw firsthand some of the complex conservation issues facing both people and wildlife. I knew I wanted to include these issues in my work and began composing some conservation-themed paintings which show issues like human-wildlife conflict.

My visits to APW grew out of my visit to the Painted Dog Conservation project back in 2007, but with APW I moved into the realm of painting people. Frankly, when I first visited, I had absolutely no idea how much I was going to enjoy this! The conservation of wildlife and habitat depends on the decisions that will be made by people who share the land with wildlife. If their lives are made easier by the elimination of wildlife then it will be difficult for wildlife to survive and roam freely. The work of conservation organizations can help to provide workable solutions, but it is the people who will make the ultimate decisions – which is why I am pleased to finally incorporate both the people and wildlife of Africa in my art.

These days I make a donation to African conservation from the sale of every original painting, original field sketch and limited edition giclée and I aim to use my work to explain complex conservation issues and highlight solutions which are being used in the field.

Thank you for following my week of Art Challenge posts, I hope it gave you an insight into my artistic journey. Life as an artist has its ups and downs but I never want to do anything else. Its been a wild adventure so far. Long may it continue!
Alison

Learn more about the African People & Wildlife Fund.
Learn more about Painted Dog Conservation.

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Towards Evening, watercolor on paper by Alison Nicholls

Art Challenge Day 4 – A New Medium!

Towards Evening, watercolor on paper 8x10" by Alison Nicholls

Towards Evening, watercolor on paper by Alison Nicholls

A-Shady-Spot-by-Alison-Nicholls

A Shady Spot, watercolor on paper 12×12″ by Alison Nicholls

Sun Spots, acrylic on canvas 29x29" by Alison Nicholls

Sun Spots, fluid acrylic on canvas 29×29″ by Alison Nicholls

I don’t work from an easel, I paint with my work flat on a desk. What this means is that I can’t get too far away from my work without moving it off the desk and standing it up. As a result, I found that I was often working close-up, which made my use of color weaker, and increased my use of detail. When my works were framed I felt I had to walk up close to really see them, when actually I wanted to be able to stand across the room and see them. I needed to be bolder. So over time I strengthened my colors and gradually background landscapes disappeared, as I removed everything that I felt was unnecessary in my compositions. Then I switched from watercolor on paper to fluid acrylic on watercolor canvas. Which is how I am painting now. I love the vivid colors, the lightweight canvas, the fact that I don’t have to stretch paper anymore before using it and the fact that I can frame without mats and glass. It took a long time but I think I found my medium!

Tomorrow I’ll show how my subject matter has progressed since I switched to fluid acrylic.

See you tomorrow…
Alison

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Cheetah Trio by Alison Nicholls

Art Challenge Day 3 – Field Sketching

Mabuasehube ANicholls

Mabuasehube, watercolor field sketch by Alison Nicholls

Gemsbok ANicholls

Gemsbok (oryx) watercolor field sketches by Alison Nicholls

Cheetah Trio Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls

Cheetah Trio Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Once I started taking my watercolors out into the bush to sketch I reached a turning point. Gradually my sketches progressed from landscapes with tiny animals in them, to pages with multiple animals on them, to full page sketches which I now sell as finished pieces and as limited editions. During these years I was awarded an Artists For Conservation Flag Expedition. I spent 6 weeks with the Painted Dog Conservation project in Zimbabwe sketching all kinds of wildlife including highly endangered African wild dogs. This period of time when sketching was my top priority for 6 weeks made all the difference. I now knew that sketching from life made me far more aware of the movement and anatomy of animals than working from photos had ever done, and as a result I was able to speed up my sketching and could turn to my sketches back in the studio for inspiration. But, even more critically, I  could create compositions in the studio without any reference material, because I now had images of real, moving animals buried deep in my artistic memory. Now I felt I was getting somewhere!

Tomorrow I’ll show how my studio work progressed to become full of color & space. In the meantime, the next artist I’d like to nominate is Hazel Jarvis. We have been on many a sketching jaunt into New York City and Hazel’s work is always fabulous regardless of which medium she uses.

Until tomorrow…
Alison

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Zebra, pastel 20x16" by Alison Nicholls

Art Challenge Day 2 – Wildlife in Detail

Zebra, pastel 20x16" by Alison Nicholls

Zebra, pastel 20×16″ by Alison Nicholls

At Rest ANicholls

At Rest, cheetah in pastel 20×16″ by Alison Nicholls

Pride-On-The-Move by Alison Nicholls

Pride On The Move, lions in pastel 20×30″ by Alison Nicholls

Day 2 of the Art Challenge.
After a while, surrounded by wildlife during my bush trips, I decided I really needed to start using animals in my paintings. I switched to pastel for a while and loved using the colored papers. But using this like a drawing medium meant that once again detail was the focus of my work (still surrounded by space, but lots of detail nevertheless) And if you want this level of detail, you really have to work from photos, something I desperately wanted to get away from, but couldn’t figure out how.

Next time, I realize that field sketching is the way out of my dilemma.

And the next artist I’d like to nominate for the Art Challenge is Karen Laurence-Rowe, whose paintings are so wonderfully expressive (I was particularly struck by her giraffes). So enjoy her work and I’ll be back tomorrow, with field sketches.

Until then…
Alison

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Okavango Palms

Art Challenge Day 1 – Watercolor Landscapes

Okavango Palms

Okavango Palms, watercolor 20×16″ by Alison Nicholls

Ant eating chats

Anteating Chats in the Kalahari, watercolor 24×30″ by Alison Nicholls

Khutse Sparrow Weavers

Khutse Sparrow Weavers, watercolor 24×30″ by Alison Nicholls

I have been nominated to take part in a Facebook Art Challenge by my friend and fellow artist Karryl, who creates wonderful whimsical animal sculptures. Thank you, Karryl! The challenge is to post 3 images of my art every day for 5 days, each day nominating a new artist to take part in the challenge. Although this is a Facebook challenge, I decided to post the same pieces to my blog. And, like many other artists who are taking part in the challenge, I’ve decided to use these posts to show you my artistic journey, showing artwork from different years to illustrate how my style developed over time.

I really began to paint when I moved to Africa. Since childhood I’d really only been interested in drawing landscapes. Drawing is still very important for me and watercolor allowed me to combine drawing with color. Having not studied art, I had no exposure to other media, so I stuck with the only media I knew. These pieces were probably completed between 2000-2003 At the time I really wasn’t keeping good records, or taking particularly good photos of my work. And, as you can see, my watercolors were quite detailed and realistic. These were no doubt completed from photos, but already I can see the use of a limited palette of colors in each piece, a careful composition and an element of space, features which still exist in my work today.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the next set of images – Wildlife in Detail.

And the next artist I’d like to nominate for the challenge is Asher Jay. She visited my studio in the summer and we had a great day talking about art and conservation. You may already have seen her work. If not, watch her posts, she has some great images to share!

Until tomorrow…
Alison

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Kisimir, Nicholls, Living Wall, Tanzania

Human-Lion Conflict in Tanzania

Kisimir, Nicholls, Living Wall, Tanzania

Elvis Kisimir of APW & artist Alison Nicholls at a Living Wall in Tanzania

The start of 2015 has not been as peaceful as many across the world hoped. There have already been many atrocities and human tragedies in the first 2 weeks of this new year and my thoughts go out to all who have lost family members, friends and colleagues.

The start of the year was also tragic for a pride of lions near Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania. On New Year’s Eve the pride killed donkeys which were kept in a traditional thorn boma in a Maasai homestead, so the moran (warriors) hunted the lions and killed one. Early on New Year’s day a woman and her child found a lion in their boma (also a traditional thorn boma). Thankfully the woman and her child were unharmed, but the moran of the area started gathering in large numbers and hunted down another 6 lions. One of APW’s Human-Wildlife Conflict officers tried to diffuse the situation. (Elvis Kisimir, pictured above, is another of APW’s HWC offers. Like the others, he is Maasai, from a village in the area, and has successfully prevented warriors from embarking on lion hunts in the past.) However, this situation involved huge numbers of warriors and attempts to resolve the issue peacefully were unsuccessful.

I’m adding this post as an update to “How Do You Know If Conservation Is Working?”, a post I wrote at the end of last year and which you can see below. Unfortunately, this incident is a prime example of why the work of organizations like APW is so vital and why the installation of more Living Wall bomas (fortified bomas that protect livestock, prevent habitat destruction and dramatically reduce incidents of human-wildlife conflict) are essential. The area where the donkeys were killed has very few Living Wall bomas although APW hopes to install many more there in the future. But each wall takes time and money to install. APW founder & Executive Director Dr Laly Lichtenfeld told me that many people in other communities with significant numbers of Living Walls have expressed sympathy to APW staff over the lion killings. They appreciate the numerous benefits that working with APW has brought to their communities – not only Living Walls, but high school scholarships for children, natural resource management seminars for adults, grants for small businesses and the creation of the only Women’s Association on the Maasai Steppe, to name just a few. APW aims to expand these programs to many more communities and I hope you will consider supporting their work.

2015 has certainly not started as we all hoped, but lets make sure we turn it around very soon.
Until next time…
Alison

Donate to help APW expand their work on the Maasai Steppe

How Do You Know If Conservation Is Working? (originally posted on Dec 12 2014)

Quite simply, as in any other field, you have to evaluate your results. It is easy for conservation efforts to be undertaken with the best of intentions, only to find that there are unexpected negative consequences which put the whole project in question. Unfortunately, too many organizations want quick fixes and they don’t stick around to ensure that their efforts have the desired results.

That is certainly not the case with the African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) in Tanzania, an organization I am proud to support. Dr Laly Lichtenfeld, Charles Trout and Elvis Kisimir of APW recently had a paper published in Biodiversity & Conservation, titled Evidence-based Conservation: Predator-proof Bomas Protect Livestock and Lions. The team evaluated their depredation data relating to large carnivore attacks on livestock in their study area, and found a significant decline in depredation events after the construction of fortified bomas (also known as Living Walls).

The fortified bomas prevent attacks on livestock by large carnivores and this prevents retaliatory attacks on carnivores by livestock owners. They reduce habitat destruction because they do not require repeated cutting of thorn bushes like traditional bomas, and they reduce the burden on women, because they require no maintenance. But significantly, they also found that the reduction in depredation events due to construction of fortified bomas, did not increase the number of carnivore attacks on non-fortified bomas or on livestock at pasture. Had this been the case, they could have been reducing depredation at the boma, only to increase it elsewhere. Instead, the evaluation of their long-term data showed that fortified bomas are an effective conservation tool and should be considered by other organizations aiming to reduce human-carnivore conflict.

And that is how you know conservation is working!

Donate to help APW continue their work on the Maasai Steppe!

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Art Inspired by Africa

Happy New Year from Alison Nicholls!

Art Inspired by Africa

I hope 2015 is happy and healthy for you and all your loved ones.
I hope 2015 is peaceful, with opportunity and education for all.
I hope that 2015 will be a great year for conservation around the globe,
including an end to rhino and elephant poaching.

I think that’s probably enough to start with!

Happy New Year!!

Alison

Don’t forget today is the last day to take advantage of my 2014 Seasonal Offers!

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zebras in the snow

A Holiday Miracle!! by Alison Nicholls

zebras in the snow

A Holiday Miracle!

It turns out that I don’t have too many paintings that are appropriate for a Happy Holidays email, but I found this one and it seemed perfect!

There was snow in the Kalahari once, so you never know…

At this time of year I would like to say Thank You for your support during the year. It is wonderful to know that my paintings and sketches hang on walls around the world and I hope they help to make your homes a little warmer! I am also grateful that my art helps support conservation organizations who are working hard to make a positive difference in the lives of people and animals in Africa.

Thank you again, I appreciate all your emails, calls, tweets & posts!

Happy Happy Holidays!

Art inspired by Africa will be closing on December 17 for the holidays. You can still take advantage of my Seasonal Offers until December 31, but the last date for placing orders to arrive in the US before Christmas, will be December 17. Thank You
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Kisimir, Nicholls, Living Wall, Tanzania

How Do You Know Conservation Is Working?

Kisimir, Nicholls, Living Wall, Tanzania

Elvis Kisimir of APW & artist Alison Nicholls at a Living Wall in Tanzania

Quite simply, as in any other field, you have to evaluate your results. It is easy for conservation efforts to be undertaken with the best of intentions, only to find that there are unexpected negative consequences which put the whole project in question. Unfortunately, too many organizations want quick fixes and they don’t stick around to ensure that their efforts have the desired results.

That is certainly not the case with the African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) in Tanzania, an organization I am proud to support. Dr Laly Lichtenfeld, Charles Trout and Elvis Kisimir of APW recently had a paper published in Biodiversity & Conservation, titled Evidence-based Conservation: Predator-proof Bomas Protect Livestock and Lions. The team evaluated their depredation data relating to large carnivore attacks on livestock in their study area, and found a significant decline in depredation events after the construction of fortified bomas (also known as Living Walls).

The fortified bomas prevent attacks on livestock by large carnivores and this prevents retaliatory attacks on carnivores by livestock owners. They reduce habitat destruction because they do not require repeated cutting of thorn bushes like traditional bomas, and they reduce the burden on women, because they require no maintenance. But significantly, they also found that the reduction in depredation events due to construction of fortified bomas, did not increase the number of carnivore attacks on non-fortified bomas or on livestock at pasture. Had this been the case, they could have been reducing depredation at the boma, only to increase it elsewhere. Instead, the evaluation of their long-term data showed that fortified bomas are an effective conservation tool and should be considered by other organizations aiming to reduce human-carnivore conflict.

And that is how you know conservation is working!

Donate to help APW continue their work on the Maasai Steppe!

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Tea by the Fire Field Sketch 11x14" © Alison Nicholls 2014

Sketching in the Dark in Tanzania by Alison Nicholls

Tea by the Fire Field Sketch 11x14" © Alison Nicholls 2014

Tea by the Fire Field Sketch 11×14″ © Alison Nicholls 2014

Tea by the Fire was possibly one of the most difficult sketches I’ve created, because I was sketching in near darkness. I had been invited into the home of a Maasai family to sketch, but when I got inside I couldn’t even see the chair I was offered, and I had no idea how many people were in the house, never mind whether they were men, women or children. I was doing pretty well with my KiMaasai greetings by this stage in my trip, so I was hoping to be able to say the correct greetings to the various members of the family according to their gender and age, but it is very difficult to greet people when you don’t know who they are or even where they are!

My eyes took a couple of minutes to adjust and then I could see 2 women and 2 children by the fire. There was a small opening high up on the wall which let the smoke out and a little light in. There were pots on the fire and soon we each had a lovely cup of hot milky tea. Gradually I was able to start putting pencil to paper and by the time I finished sketching, I could see the family and the contents of the house quite well. I wanted the sketch to show the darkness of the house and the tiny slivers of light from the window.

As I sketched, I was thinking about this amazing opportunity and how removed I felt from my normal life. I like to avoid the use of technology as much as possible during my travels in Africa. Its a kind of escape for me. But every now and again I would be reminded that technology reaches most places these days – a cellphone screen would briefly flood the house with a cold blinding light as one of the family members received an incoming call or text!

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Atka the Arctic Wolf studies my Art

Wolf-Approved Art by Alison Nicholls

Atka the Arctic Wolf studies my Art

Atka the Arctic Wolf studies my Art

Last night I and my artwork attended Wine & Wolves, the annual benefit for the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem. Atka the ambassador Arctic wolf made an appearance and decided my art was worth a closer look!

If you would like to see more of the art that Atka approved of, you can check it out on my website: www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com. Don’t forget to take a look at my Seasonal Offers which are available until the end of December.

Learn more about the Wolf Conservation Center.

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Watering the Cattle, field sketch 11x14" by Alison Nicholls

Watering the Cattle, Tanzania Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls

Watering the Cattle, field sketch 11x14" by Alison Nicholls

Watering the Cattle, watercolor field sketch 11×14″ by Alison Nicholls

“Cattle drank in lines at the trough then ambled away to graze; Maasai men leant against their sticks in the shade of the trees; donkeys, often fully loaded with water, stopped for a drink before heading home (often with no owner in sight); men flew past on bicycles down to the stream, filled their water containers then slowly pushed their bicycles back up the hill; children herded goats and sheep and stopped to stare (if they were brave they would come to see my sketch then talk and laugh as they left); whistles, shouts and cow bellows floated out across the karongo (stream).”   An excerpt from my Journal, June 11 2014, during my latest visit to the African People & Wildlife Fund in Tanzania.

See more of my African Field Sketches, all of which are available for sale with a donation to African conservation. I also have a number of Seasonal Offers available until the end of December.
Learn more about the African People & Wildlife Fund in Tanzania.

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Celebration Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls

Celebration Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls

This sketch does not feature your typical US Thanksgiving Day celebration!
In fact it is a sketch of Maasai men dancing at a wedding in Tanzania.

But all around the world, people everywhere celebrate important events. So I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving by sharing this sketch with you, from a celebration of a different kind that I was lucky enough to attend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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Yes, it is still that time of year!
So here are my Seasonal Offers #4 and #5.
(You can find #1, #2 & #3 in my previous post here)
My usual donations to African conservation organizations apply to all purchases. Browse or graze your way through my offers then find one that works for you!
Surprise Gift with Every Original by Alison NichollsBuy any Original Painting or Field Sketch and you will receive a special Surprise Gift from me (I’m not giving any clues)! My usual donations to conservation organizations apply. Offer expires 12/31/2014. Free Shipping Offer also applies (see below).

 

3 prints for 300 by Alison Nicholls

Buy any three 11×14″ Limited Edition Reproductions and pay only US$300. Although you are receiving a discount, my donations to African conservation will be made as if you have paid the full price. This offer will expire after 10 buyers have redeemed the offer or on 12/31/2014. Free Shipping Offer also applies (see below).

Free Shipping by Alison Nicholls

Free Shipping on all artwork mailed to a destination within the lower 48 states of the United States. Half-price shipping on all artwork mailed elsewhere, including Internationally. Combine this offer with any of the other offers shown below! Offer expires 12/31/2014. My Last Shipping Date will be Wednesday December 17 (with guaranteed delivery within the US by December 24).

Thank You for spending time browsing or grazing!
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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