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The golden hour andndash African elephant bull

The golden hour – African elephant bull

Artwork Type: Print

Pastel on Colourfix paper

Image size 44 x 60cm

Just finished this particular pastel challenge which has haunted me for some time now. On a safari into Botswana and the Okavango we came across many wonderful critters but of course none more awe inspiring than African elephants. We travelled on boats in among them as they drank and fed on water rushes but we came also across them in virtually every habitat type imaginable and in the darkness one even walked calmly through the circle created by our campfire chairs, around the campfire and out the other side of our ring of chairs as we sat speechless and in awe. But my favourite experience was this big guy moving quietly over the clay flats to slake his thirst at this small waterhole partially hidden amongst the surrounding scrub. What was ultra-fascinating too was the face to face meeting of the pool's lone, resident hippo with Mr Elephant. The hippo seemed to feel a bit vulnerable and did everything in his power to intimidate the elie as he came quietly to the water's edge. For his part the elephant responded to the hippo display by simply swinging his trunk gently in the direction of the upset hippo's gaping mouth, reassuring him (as indeed we would with a simple wave of the hand) that there would be no need for violence. He went on to drink peacefully for some 20 minutes as Mr hippo backed off to observe the other two bulls who came down a few minutes later to join their friend.

The sky colour reflected on the clay dust on Mr Elie's hide was a brilliant contrast to the warmth of the 'golden hour' lighting and the sparkle of diamond water droplets set it all off to perfection. The mood of tranquility was so profound that I will always cherish the memory. It's times like these I wonder what I did to deserve such a fabulous life.

If you are like me and wish to learn more about African elephants please visit the extraordinary Elephant Voices which is headed up by the remarkable Co-Founder and Co-Director Joyce Poole. There you will find everything you ever wanted to know and ways in which you can become involved with helping these remarkable leviathans.

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“My art is of nature,
 for nature

Steve Morvell


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