IN NOVEMBER 2008, with generous sponsorship from Park West Gallery, wildlife artist Andrew Bone undertook a South African expedition that took him to the extremes that the continent had to offer.
The endless roads of the Namib desert
In over one month, through 5,000 miles, 5 countries and 6 punctures, wildlife artist Andrew Bone studied, photographed and recorded the fascinating inhabitants of some of the most inhospitable terrain in Africa. Andrew traveled through the oldest desert in the world (the Namib), the largest continuous stretch of sand (the Kalahari), examining the oldest living plant (the Welwichia) and the largest Cape Fur Seal colony in Africa – all of this in temperatures well in excess of 120 degrees.
From the black-maned lion of the Kgalaghadi to the birthing of springbok in Namibia, from the enormous Sociable weaver nests to the comical ostrich, from the belligerent beach-masters of Cape Cross to the zebra herds of Etosha, and from the mystique of the Victoria Falls to the elephant of the Kalahari – all now serve as inspiration for a series of oils, studies and sketches being undertaken this year by Andrew.
“The desert species have adapted remarkably to their harsh environment,” explained Andrew, “although all respect the mid-day truce when shade is the only true ally from the repressive heat. Waterholes, in the evening and morning, bring a constant stream of both predators and prey, and it is here that one can gather the best material.
“I have been fortunate in having had access to the Zambezi valley when I was learning how to paint, but now, having traveled through the desert, I have found that there is so much more that has captured my interest,” Andrew said.
Andrew Bone studying the Welwichia Plant in Namibia
Inspired by his latest travels, there has been a new and exciting development in Andrew Bone’s art. In an attempt to bring ‘all things African’ to his Park West clientele, Andrew completed a series of oils depicting the Zulu people. The first time they were shown aboard a cruise, a bidding war broke out at the art auction, firmly establishing Andrew as a truly African artist. In April of 2009, the artist traveled once again to visit the Zululand interior to gather more material for a new series of oils.
In addition to his painting, Andrew continues to be involved with the conservation of his native continent. In a recent development he has been approached to become a trustee of a drive to create an awareness of the plight of the African wild dog.
In the near future, Andrew will be publishing his art journal, amidst numerous studies and paintings of his most recent works. Andrew’s anticipated memoir, Brushstrokes of Africa, relives his growing up in Rhodesia, the trauma of the bush war, his career as a guide in the Zambezi valley and the forces that have molded him into the wildlife artist he is today.
Young cheetah surveying the plains
Bat Eared Fox - a common resident of Etosha
A lioness overlooking the Kalahari
Photo credit: Andrew Bone
Read more about Andrew’s South African safari
View artwork inspired by Andrew’s travels available at Park West Gallery
Have your travels inspired you creatively (art, drawing, music)? Share your story by leaving a comment below!