Artist Code: 1406. Completed August 2014. Original Oil on stretched canvas. Framed size 21” x 17”. Snow Leopard—Pantherinae uncia, Himalayan Poppy—Meconopsis integrifolia.
Banham Zoo, Norfolk (ZSEA) has a beautiful pair of snow leopards which I have visited many times. I tried to sketch but people continually interrupted me and I kept losing my flow, so decided to take resource photographs to accompany my very few sketches. Whilst spending a long time just watching these big cats in their daily routines to gather inciteful characteristics, the eventual composition came about from three or four photographs. The painting shows the female in a stance equivalent to a human placing their thumb on the end of their nose and waggling their spread-out fingers (cock-a snook); as the male innocently walked by and she let him know about it – wrong place, wrong time!
The poppy in the foreground is taken from a resource photograph kindly supplied by Daniel Winkler (USA), taken at an extremely high altitude in the Himalayas. It is commonly called a Himalayan poppy and has hairy leaves and stalks. It is very beautiful. I am also indebted to Martin Francis for supplying me with photographs of genuine Himalayan mountain scenes and rocks which enabled me to design a veritable background to my painting.
I sit quietly watching, at Banham Zoo
As people flock round me to see what I do,
‘Its great to draw, I don’t have a straight eye?’
I answer quite fervently ‘Neither do I!’.
Straight views are not what is needed here
But shape and colour and form so clear
By watching and waiting for big cats to move
The pencil lines waver then fall in the groove
Skimpy sketches are fun to do
Although they are sparse compared with the view
As gently I put my sketches to bed
And use lots of great photographs instead!