By Kylee Ryers
Going on an exciting safari at the Kruger National Park or enjoying a serene seaside escape at Thonga Lodge is a fantastic way to give yourself a reward but if you want to enhance this effect, make sure to create art during your stay! A Drexel University study has found that making art has a very similar effect to that enjoyed while you are on a holiday. It brings bloodflow to the part of the brain where you feel rewarded, thus enhancing your ‘feel-good factor’ and improving your mood. When you are on a safari, it is important to ‘live the moment’. However, while you are relaxing at Rhino Ridge Safari or any other of Isibindi Africa’s luxurious lodges, pull out your drawing paper and capture the beautiful plants and animals you have witnessed earlier in the day.
Honing Your Skills Prior to Your Safari
In the months or weeks leading up to your safari, make sure you get the basics of drawing trees and animals right. Research into the types of animals you might find at your destination. For instance, if you will be going on a Rhino Walking Safari, pull out a few sketches of rhinoceros in different positions and try drawing them until you get proportion, perspective, and shadow/light right. You will also be viewing unexpected animals, including birds. It may seem daunting at first, but a simple bird drawing guide can show you how with little more than a circle, a couple of curvy lines, and a fan shape for the bird’s tale, you can draw a beautiful bird whose expressions, colours, and unique features you can then refine in your safari-inspired drawings.
Capturing Your Subjects on Film
While you are on safari, try to take a few good shots of the animals you wish to draw. Take shots from various angles if you can, since you never know which angles will most appeal once you get back to your lodge. Take a few extreme close-ups, ensuring you have a camera with a quality zoom lens that will allow you to zone in on features like the eyes, nose, and plumage. Extreme close-ups make excellent inspiration for abstract or impressionistic paintings, so if you prefer oils to sketches, the amazing colour combinations in some of the birds or wild growing plants and flowers you may encounter can serve as a good starting point.
Sharing the Beauty of Your Drawings
Many people know about the fate of wild animals across the globe but feel overwhelmed or saddened by the dire statistics. Sharing your beautiful drawings, photographs, and paintings taken during your safari can be a wonderfully positive way to enlighten friends on why nature is worth fighting for. You might want to throw a dinner party and delight your guests with a slide show, or even hold an exhibition at your local art centre. Doing so is an excellent way to let people know more about the animals you have photographed, and to encourage them to enjoy a safari, so they can encounter animals in the best way possible: face-to-face.
If you have always wished you could express yourself more, let your next safari provide you with the reason you need to unleash your inner artist. Work on pertinent animal shapes prior to your trip to Africa, leaving the fine details for the actual animals you encounter. Make sure to share the beauty of what you experience with loved ones, in the hopes that they too will one day witness the beauty of African nature in living colour.