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Tons of Inspiration

Well, this was my eighth trip with Overseas Adventure Travel ( and, as expected, it provided tons of inspiration for my painting. While most people on the safari trip were focused on the animals, I was busy taking pictures of the sunsets, the trees, the rivers, the waterfall (Victoria Falls) … the stuff I knew I would want to paint.

And boy, was Africa beautiful. Specifically Kruger National Park in South Africa, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Chobe National Park in Botswana and Lake Kariba and the rivers that link to it. Unending inspiration.


Kruger Sunset

Of course, every day I was in Africa there was a beautiful sunset. And I got to see it because it never rained. And it was often reflected on a river or lake, or peeking through the amazing umbrella thorn acacia trees. This is just the first of what will be many African sunset paintings.


Morning in Hwange


Africa is hot, so safaris go out in the early morning and late afternoon to see the animals (usually napping during the mid-day heat). As a result, all my photos were early morning or late afternoon. This painting is a meld of several of my photos from Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe around 9:00 in the morning. We were on our way to see the animals (lions, giraffes, impala, zebra, hippos, etc.) and I was busy taking pictures while everyone else waited ’til we got to the animals.


Kruger Reflection


Southern Africa had just gone through a year’s drought and this was the dry season, so water levels in the lakes and rivers were very low. Often you could see the tops of dead trees sticking up out of the water (they would have been under water absent the drought). There was something very abstract about the composition of my photos and so I decided to do a smaller test (this is 12×7) since I wanted to combine the soft reflected sunset in the water at the top and the hard edges of the trees sticking up…all on raw canvas. I ignored the hippos, the crocodiles, the fish eagles, etc. and just focused on the dead trees and the reflection.

Square is still “liberating”

My fascination with a square canvas continues. For me, square is still liberating.



This was my experiment putting red on the inside and white on the outside (a reaction to my previous Beyond Insight). Then I decided that red and white was too limiting.

And, of course, red is not my favorite color. Blue is. So I decided to continue the “Square is liberating” experiment with blue.

Above Blue


Above Blue is all about using various blues and white to express sky or water, soaring above or looking up to the light. There’s a wonderful feeling of freedom, which is what the square format seems to give me.

So I decided to try again, still with blue.

Sounds of Blue


Still blue, still abstract, but no white. But I like the feeling of movement. Not sky or water this time. Just blue. A little bit of depth and the focus on the upper right.

Yup. Square is still liberating.