Wednesday, December 4, 2019

International Cheetah Day ~ Painting and Drawing My Favorite Animal

Detail from Kilimanjaro 1989
Oil on wood panel, 2018

International Cheetah Day
December 4th

I think I started trying to draw cheetahs by the time I was in Ms. Skeehan's class in 1st grade. At some point in grammar school I did a report on cheetahs and bush babies got bumped from my number 1 spot of favorite animals. When I found out, as a little girl, that cheetahs don't attack humans I of course wanted a pet cheetah. The problem is that many people feel the same way and never grew out of it. 

Here's a little ink sketch I made in high school, in 1986.

These beautiful animals don't belong in homes or in places far from their own habitats with folks who have no idea how to care for them. Most die within a year or two. Believe it or not, this is one of the biggest conservation challenges. Dozens of cubs at a time are are being smuggled out of Somaliland and most of them won't survive the journey. Along with the captive pet trade, another enormous issue is that they have been driven out of 91% of their historic range.

Cheetahs are the most endangered big cat in Africa. Their population of 7,500 individuals is down from 100,000 and without help they will be extinct, in the wild, in the next 15 years. 

Here's a video from the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Please watch!

Young Cheetah
Ink on paper, 2007

Here's a video of a rescued baby cheetah by the Born Free Foundation.

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For my last solo show Through Time and Place: 5 Decades, I knew I had to paint a cheetah. Seeing them 30 years ago in Kenya was an unforgettable experience!

I remember standing inside the van with my head popped out of the open top, 35mm with telephoto in hand. We were only 10 to 15 feet away from two brothers sitting on a hill. It was just my family of four, our guide Francis, and these two beautiful cheetah. They looked like they were posing, sitting there so regal and graceful. I remember staring in to the eyes of one of these beautiful beings and it was ... emotional, magical and indescribable. 

You can see, below, I was working from some of my old old Africa photos for reference.

Kilimanjaro 1989, 2018
12 x 12"
Oil on wood panel with gold metal leafing

I am planning on doing a life size painting of a cheetah for my next solo which will be on endangered  and keystone species and our fragile planet. Stay tuned for that!

Meanwhile here is a news clip about the problem of cheetah smuggling with footage of many of the cubs, please click HERE 

If you would like more information or to donate to help cheetahs, click on the links below.

Cheetah Conservation Fund
Born Free Foundation
Wildlife Conservation Society
5 Things to know about Cheetahs-BBC (with videos)

Blessings, Light and ...
Happy International Cheetah Day!