New York-based artist Douglas Terranova explains his sketches and paintings in the Purple Palette.
My first safari in Botswana in 1990 left me overwhelmed with the purity and beauty of the African bush, and the thrill of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. From then to now, I have been trying to capture that magic in my drawings, sketches and paintings. Below a few offerings from a wide collection in my Africa portfolio.
Wow, the size and power of these behemoths take your breath away. One evening at our campsite, in the Chobe National Park, as the sun painted drama across a purple sky, we found ourselves practically surrounded by an elephant herd. Initially frightened and desperately wanting to make our way to the vehicle, we soon saw that these giants of the bush were peaceful and only wanted to reach the nearby river. We watched in awe as this giant bull passed our campsite, glancing only momentarily at us as he pulled one more tree branch before descending the hill.
In the vast and unfenced national parks of Botswana, lion can be lurking in the nearby bush, and you wouldn’t even know it, much as this resting yet alert female lion was, avoiding the heat of the day in tall and tangled grasses, under the shade of a tree, visible to us from the safety of our tent.
Of the hundreds of amazingly colourful birds in northern Botswana, the Lilac-breasted roller must be one of the most beautiful, and striking, in flight. Its multi-coloured plumage of blues, olive green, yellow and lavender bursts into the sky when it opens its metallic blue wings to fly. Usually found in open woodland or savannah, it perches on high places, scanning the undergrowth for insects, lizards, scorpions or snails.
Driving along the rutted and potholed roads of Chobe National Park, we chanced across this Leopard tortoise, lumbering its way down the road. I noted its attractive markings and wondered at its age, for I know these animals live to a ripe old age. We stopped the vehicle and watched for a while, before the creature slowly made its way into the grasses along the side of the road, in search, no doubt, of succulent plants to graze on.
The sight of Red lechwe leaping through the wetlands of the Okavango Delta is a picture of elegance and grace. These sleek, sure-footed, semi-aquatic antelope are commonly seen in Botswana’s northern national parks and reserves, with the males’ long, curving horns adding a perfect silhouette to the dying day.
© copyright: Douglas Terranova