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“Her modesty should never be mistaken for lack of courage. Her beauty never limited by colour or creed, nor her humble posture or loving heart given for weakness. She is quietly fearless with sharp senses and lightening prowess. She will never be bound by territory or pride nor quieted by trickery or indignity. She is a portrayal of grace and resilience, and with both empathy and fortitude on her side, she will shine.”
Acacia is named for the Umbrella Thorn Acacia, one of the most recognisable trees of the African savanna. A haven for cheetahs, often portrayed sprawled along its’ branches to beat the harsh sunlight. The tree is as robust as they come, growing in sand dunes and rocky grounds of Africa's grasslands in areas with annual rainfall as low as 4 cm. This tree can survive the most scorching temperatures during the day, and freezing temperatures at nights.
Work In Progress
I'm a huge fan of this demure portrait pose, her body language showing a soft vulnerability and yet with her shoulder exposed, the opportunity to represent her contrasting characteristics. This time I have chosen the cheetah, symbolising her strength of self, her swiftness, her fearlessness and diplomacy as well as her empathy and protection.
For the most part, Acacia came together beautifully. The textile work is always a long, slow process but went according to plan (despite at one point having run out of fabric and having to wait on more supplies to arrive). The colours I had decided upon and mixed were perfecto and I didn’t have to make any changes or recolour any selections (which almost never happens). Woo!
But of course, on the last leg, I did run into a big problem… I had initially planned on an actual profile of the cheetah to be designed within Acacias’ shoulder, the key element, and I even executed the work spectacularly… and hated it. Aesthetically the cheetah was just too much. I decided to lighten the design… still hated it. Changed it to gold… hated it more.
It had to go. But the cheetah was the master of the piece, the most important symbol of the character I was trying to portray!
It took a couple of days (and sleepless nights) for me to decide to take the cheetah back a step from a more realistic approach to a symbolic gesture… and wow, I couldn’t be happier with the results! There is about 30-40 hours of work here. She is spectacular and I can only hope you are as enchanted with Acacia as I am.
19 December 2018
Acrylic and mixed media on stretched canvas
Fine Art Giclee Prints Available
Hahnemühle German Etching Paper