Sunday, October 25, 2015


I wanted to look closely, and have done so. And by far were the animals, I was close, much more, infinitely more near to what I'm used.

The Etosha National Park, is located to the North of the country, more than 400 km from the capital, Windhoek. A 5 hours drive by road from two-way and in very good condition.

The first contact with Etosha Okaukuejo, was... shortly after sunset. Would you describe it with one word. Brutal.

Already only to get close, hear sounds that you only are relatives by the soundtrack of documentaries, and impact. To add to the image, the air still and warm, dry,... quiet broken only by sounds that arise from nature itself, splashes in the water, insects, serious puffs, screams, grunts, squawks,... flapping,... a patchwork of sounds that generate a unique soundscape,... as I said, it would not serve much, because you have to hear it, it serves some describe it. But when you get to the shore, and see, and take conscience of what happens there, then, and only then, your mind becomes, lands there, impacting against the ground as by accident, after describing a parabolic trajectory that goes from my fantasies, to more of ten thousand kilometers, until the stone of a pond and dusty soil located in the midst of a territory that at this point in time it dries, it seems to have been devastated by a cataclysm.

Starting from there, you're in another world, the previous references, they lose sense, this is the reality and nothing can change that. That Yes,... When you are there, looking from up close, if you know where to end all this, it has a limit quite clear and located. But this space has a million hectares, so that, it is so far away that mentally vanishes.

A vision of paradise...

At Okaukuejo, the decanting of mammals and birds is continuous and takes place 24 hours a day, which means, that you can literally draw continuously. Overnight, several spotlights illuminate the lagoon. I watched dawn lions and black rhinoceros.
Etosha, and especially their region more Western, is an extremely dry place at this time of the year. We are at the end of the dry season and the degree of relative humidity is between 5 and 7. The temperature at noon and in the shade, between 36 and 42 ° C. Almost always run some hot air. This facilitates the drying of the paper when you work with watercolor. The color you just prepare on the palette, you're going to get wet again, and is dry. You are spreading color, especially if you work with a small brush, and... dries. Everything is dry. I'm not great watering holes, so no problem. Interestingly, the Sun does not burn, no stings as in our latitudes. Even with the light of noon, the sky remains blue and vivid color of everything that you look at, despite the dust can be seen. Clean air, pollution, also from humidity, transparent atmosphere.

At noon, more than a hundred Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), take refuge in the shadow of the great tree that grows near the pond. On the, dozens of African pious crows (Corvus albus), articulating a series of sounds of the more curious, and that soon become part of the music of the soundscape that accompanies these images.

The Springbok has been one of the more interesting to draw. Although they are in continuous movement, the fact that so many so many specimens were continuously at the pond, allowed that, when the individual drawing, changing position or changed location, it was not difficult to find another copy in a similar position to continue drawing. Fewer, black-faced Impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi) a subspecies that lives exclusively in Namibia and Angola, was also common in the pond.

A Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis), continuously alighting near the place where he used to sit to draw in Okuakuejo. I spent much time preening is and in the shade in the Middle hours, in which the heat more squeezed. In general, all passerine birds, are very committed and are closer to browse, and at the same time left approach. It is a marvel.

Impressive animal, the Cape Oryx (Oryx gacella). They come to drink in small groups. Open field, in the places in which is feed, they often share space with ostriches.

The armed lapwing (Vanellus armatus) is one of the more abundant in the environment of ponds Etosha and the more I have been fascinated by their plumage and behaviour. In ponds in which are reproduced, as Rietfontein are extremely territorial, driving even the most small passerine birds which come to drink. Next to the giraffes to observe them while they drank, was spectacular, for the huge proportions of the mammal in relation to poultry.

Many sheets of sketches that are approximations, attempts, doodles that are allowing me to get to know, understand, and which are necessary to advance.

And get strokes more accurate...

Halali, a pond in more small, visited by animals in groups more reduced, more intimate, quiet and a great place to watch small birds. The pond lies at the foot of a rocky outcrop inhabited by baboons and squirrel land and surrounded by trees of various species.

Look closely. Towards the eastern part of the National Park, endless plains of herbaceous plants. Namutoni road, have one of the more formidable with this giant with which I had opportunity to chat a while after the exacted up to me, or to my plate, a white vehicle wrap.

In Koinachas, another near Namutoni Camp pond site, spend several hours, drawing several examples of Kori Bustard, a stunning bird. In Etosha, it is not possible to put a foot on the ground outside the camps, so I have spent many, many hours drawing inside the vehicle using a tripod of window to the telescope and steering wheel support for notebook.

Once I leave Etosha, towards the South, I visited REST (Rare Endangered Species Trust), an organization dedicated to the recovery of wildlife threatened in Namibia, which has a visitor center and an Aviary in Otjiwarongo where I could observe and draw several threatened, including the Cape Vulture bird species.
My thanks to Maria Diekmann and Margaret for their hospitality and the facilities that I was offered to visit and work at the Center.

The work of small artists who passed through there before me.

Cheetah Conservation Found, this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. It is an organization dedicated to the conservation and research on this by my admired animal that is the Cheetah. I visited the installations that have North of the Waterberg National Park and had the opportunity to observe them and draw them from a very, very close. My most sincere thanks to Sheryl and the rest of the staff of the Centre.

Waterberg National Park. Ascend to the top of the sandstone platform and watch hundreds of kilometers of plain and infinite landscape of this huge territory, which is the North of Namibia, has been a beautiful experience on this trip, scenically speaking. It is a very quiet place. Of you margins of the Rocky platform, there are veins of water that feed large trees and a fauna rich and diverse mammals, mongooses, damara Dec Dec, ground squirrels, hyraxes, baboons and birds. And here after two weeks, ends this journey.

All the travel, you bring new things and leave others. Whether or not material. In this also. Namibia is an extraordinary country. So are its people. And I have brought me a Pleiad of experiences and learning. And I am already thinking back again.

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