While I am in love with my job as a painter, it's more important to promote painting to young people who can make it their own experience and pass it on to the next generation. I was happy to help a young friend in San Roque de Cumbaza, Peru, try her hand at painting water from an elephant's trunk.
I painted this Asian elephant moves forward into a stream of water while throwing up an airborne stream of dust. As much as I like the contrast between air and water my understanding of elephants suggests they might like it more, as their trunks can provide a unique medium between the two.
The light speckles on the skin of the Asian elephant are caused by depigmentation, and their skin is thick to give protection from insects and weather. Elephants are known to be left or right tusked, and use their tusks for almost as many purposes as their trunks. In this painting the elephant's face and posture are expressive, as elephants are highly intelligent and self aware.
As the largest land animal in Asia, Asian elephant's feet have pads with shock–absorbent elastic tissue to support all their weight. It is true that elephants cannot jump, and when they move they always have at least two feet on the ground. That said, they can move nimbly through dense jungle and woodland. I painted this elephant slowly moving down to the water to keep it's balance.
Peeking through a window from the nearby Amazon jungle into the artist's work space at Sachaqa Centro de Arte in Peru, where this artwork was created. The jungle in the background of the painting has been finished at this stage, and we can just see an outline of the elephant.
The artist is caught hanging out with Arco, the art dog assistant. This Asian elephant canvas painting was temporarily hung on a tree for an outdoor art show in the centre of town at the Plaza San Roque. My hosts at Sachaqua Centro De Arte put on a cultural art event or exhibition for most groups of artists in residency, for the town to see.
Learning how to backpack with large paintings required a large waterproof storage tube. Each canvas painting was taken off it's stretchers, laid flat, and given a sheet of plastic protecting it from the painting on top, until all were carefully rolled together and placed in the storage tube. Using fluid acrylics as a medium affords more flexibility than thicker paints that might crack.
"Dust and Water" as a nearly complete work in progress, at home in the Sachaqa Amazon jungle studio.