Threatening Skies

22″ x 33″ original acrylic painting

During my 2013 wildlife research expedition to Africa and Botswana, I came upon three white rhinos—a mother, a yearling and a sub-adult—all grazing together. The ranger stopped the jeep and, much to my amazement, all three rhinos slowly approached us, almost too close even to take photos!

After several minutes of what was for me ‘sheer photographic heaven’, the rhinos seemed to become agitated and nervous. Suddenly, a massive adult male rhino came charging out of the bush. I was worried at first, but they all seemed to tolerate each other.

It was late afternoon, cloudy and a rain storm came through the area. Afterward, the sun poked out from behind the clouds, lighting up the background in a beautiful orange colour and highlighting the treeline against the ominous threatening sky. I put on my rain gear, but the storm ended up lasting only minutes. Once the sun retreated, we left the rhinos alone and were off on the rest of the day’s adventure.

This encounter definitely ranks in the top 2 of my life. My goal with this painting was to recreate the drama of this spectacular encounter.