Below are a few of my enormous life-size pictures from the archives!
'Tara and Hope'
Following on from painting 'Tembo' who was an African elephant it soon became obvious that I needed to paint an Asian life-size elephant!
Back in 2010 I was asked by the wonderful charity Elephant Family if I would like to paint one of their 3D fiberglass elephants to join over 250 others in a unique parade all around London to raise money for the charity. Well, I couldn't resist and soon got to work on my elephant called 'Hope'. It was the only elephant out of them all which tried to represent a life like ele amongst all the other beautiful bright and artistic creations... I did feel mine looked very bland next to all the others but thankfully it did sell for £26,000 which was amazing!
Anyway, this parade gave me the inspiration to paint my life-size Asian elephant 'Tara'. Tara is a very special girl and featured in the best selling book by Mark Shand, founder of 'Elephant Family' who has a very special bond with Tara and I really recommend reading this story.
Again very fond memories of this drawing which was my first ever life-size piece and really the start of it all. I had just come back from the USA visiting the Hollywood legend and actress Tipi Hedren where she rescues lions, tigers and many other big cats from the appalling pet trade in the US. Here you can quite literally buy a tiger as a pet, it's wrong on all levels and Tipi is working tirelessly to put an end to this crazy trade. It was here at her sanctuary that I met the beautiful Sambolina tiger who was one of her rescues and this was one beautiful tiger! It just came out of the blue to me but I remember standing next to this gorgeous cat and thinking 'I have to draw this tiger life-size, it's the only way to show off her beauty!'. Well 300 hours later, 8 foot long sheet of paper, lots of pencils and a lot of patience it was finally finished!
The best part for me was auctioning it at Christie's in London with 50% of the sale going to help the wild tiger. It felt good to know that although Sambolina was captive she was in her own way helping her wild cousins.
This painting holds a very special place in my heart! The idea to paint the world's first true life-size oil painting of an African bull elephant came about in 2002. I was travelling around South Africa quite a lot at that time on my research trips and found I was fast falling in love with elephants!
I was amazed at not only their size but the complexity of how they react and socialize amongst each other but above all how intellegent they are.
It sadened me how anyone could ever think or let alone actually harm one of these magnificent animals. It was for this reason I wanted to bring a life-size elephant home with me to show everyone the vast scale and beauty of these giants. Well as much as I would, for all the wrong reasons, love to have my own elephant at home it became obvious that the only way was to paint one!