by Cheryl Goodenough
An art exhibition is to be held in Victoria in September featuring paintings from Australia and Africa, including wildlife and tribal portraits and landscapes, with a percentage of the proceeds to be donated to the Global White Lion Trust.
One of the three artists, Alison Clark, decided after a trip to Africa to specialise in painting African wildlife exclusively and only uses references she obtained herself by observing animals in the wild. My passion for these animals has grown with each trip as my understanding of them deepens. I feel this immersion in their environment is essential to bring authenticity to the images I paint, to get the right feeling on canvas that reflects the experience of being there with them and to elicit an emotional response from observers, says Alison.
Africas animals, especially the big cats, and wild places have held a fascination for Alison since childhood. She is intrigued by the grace and speed of the cheetah, the charisma of lions and the stealth and beauty of leopards.
Some years after she started painting she decided to save money to see the Serengeti. Six months later she headed for Nairobi and then drove to Arusha in Tanzania. That was three trips ago.
On the last two occasions Alison has spent most of her time in South Africa doing volunteer work. Last year she volunteered at the Siyafunda Conservation Initiative to assist with the elephant immuno-contraception program. She has some great stories to tell about her experiences there. One morning when we were on foot, we were charged by a grumpy rhino and had to hide behind a tree and stay very quiet. A rhino cant see much, but he can hear a pin drop. During an elephant monitoring night drive, we were charged by an adolescent bull elephant.
He flipped the trackers seat on the Land Rovers bonnet with his tusks. When the seat fell down, he gave himself a fright and left us alone. Alisons paintings will be part of an exhibition with two other artists who paint natural subjects, Sandra Dare and Kris Peter. Entitled VIVID, Images of Africa and Australia, the exhibition will be held at AGRA Galleries in Camberwell, Victoria from September 2 to 13, 2009. The official opening will be held on September 2 at 7pm. Entry to the exhibition is free.