Elephants are magnificent, fascinating animals. We are awed by their size and captivated by their trunks. So it was a joy to paint this elephant. And I secretly enjoyed breaking my rule of only painting animals I have encountered. It is true there are not many elephants in Berkshire.
I wanted to capture the grandeur of this one, so that painting is 70cm square. I wanted to capture the texture of its skin and hint at the environment it lives in, which I did through the burnt copper of the background. It is painted in watercolour on a specially prepared canvas, with copper leaf applied and then treated with a wax finish.
If you need a reason to love them even more did you know:
They console each other by putting their trunks in each other’s mouths, offering comfort through physical contact. They mourn their dead. Along with humans, dolphins, magpies and of course, the great apes, elephants can recognise themselves in a mirror. It turns out that they really do have long memories too. They can point with their trunk and listen with their feet. African elephants can detect rumbling in the ground with sensory cells in their feet. The vibrations travel through their body to their inner ear. They may even use these vibrations to communicate with each other over long distances.