I was born in a small mining town in Zimbabwe and spent my childhood in the almost perpetual sunlight of southern Africa. I explored the wild hills surrounding the suburb where I lived with my parents and sisters and devoted countless hours to racing my bicycle up and down streets lined with jacarandas and bougainvillea but the greatest joy was derived from fishing a blank piece of paper out of a drawer, searching for a pencil or crayon and pestering my mother with the question, “What can I draw now?”

Having finished senior school in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, I studied at the Zimbabwe College of Art and Industrial Design before starting a small business with my mother. In 1996 I met Ian, my partner. He worked in the photographic safari industry and we spent several years living at a safari lodge in the spectacular Matobo Hills – a wilderness of granite outcrops, leopards, black mambas and white rhino’s. In early 2000 things began to fall apart in Zimbabwe and in 2002 our house was burnt down. We moved into Bulawayo for a while before emigrating first to the Seychelles and then South Africa.

Ian and I now live in the beautiful coastal village of Hermanus – about an hour from Cape Town. We own Lembu, a small gallery, which also serves as my studio.

I started painting professionally in 2005, concentrating mainly on wildlife and am now most well known for my ‘Red Elephants.’ I’m constantly asked, “Why red?” The trite answer I always want to (and sometimes do) give is, “Why not?” I suppose that’s because I don’t have a clear explanation. I sometimes paint them in their natural colour, sometimes in sepia and golden tones and I’ve even done them in shades of blue but I always seem to gravitate back to the red – the red seems to capture the essence of the animal, it’s enormity, it’s immense power and strength

When we were still in Zimbabwe and Ian was working as a safari guide, we had the opportunity of spending a lot of time in a private reserve on the edge of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife area. Living within the reserve was a herd of approximately three hundred elephants. They had become fairly used to the presence of safari vehicles and on occasion would allow us to get incredibly close. To sit in an open safari vehicle and have a large wild bull elephant come within touching distance is a heart-stopping, breath-taking moment; time stands still and the incredible presence and authority of such a colossal animal is overpowering. I hope my ‘red elephants’ in some way describe this sensation.

In addition to elephants, I also paint a wide range of other animals – zebra, giraffe and leopards being amongst my favourite subjects.

I work primarily in oils but also love to draw on textured rice paper using a raw umber oil pencil. The combination of the textured paper and oil pencil creates a clean depth of colour that can be difficult to achieve with other mediums.

To acquire reference material for my work, Ian and I try to go to the Kruger Park in northern South Africa for two to three weeks every year. (It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.) I take hundreds of photographs and then spend hours sifting through them all to find the ones that I feel I can use.

When I feel the need to break away from wildlife for a while, I enjoy losing myself in abstract work and also dabble in figurative landscapes.

In addition to exhibiting in our own gallery in Hermanus, I have participated in exhibitions in the Netherlands, Italy,
the US and the UK.

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