Henri Rousseau the French painter painted wild jungle scenes and tropical environments despite never having visited such places. He studied animals in zoos and from books and then created these incredibly strange and delightful tableaus. His vision was unique and his determination and passion to his art is legendary.
For years he was mocked an ridiculed. His style was deemed childish ridiculous and was completely at odds with his contemporaries.
I admire the boldness of his incredibly imaginative childlike at at times mystical paintings. He evokes moods beautifully. The scenes he painted transcend the familiar world. He transports the viewer far away with his dreamlike scenarios.
My imagination is host to a carnival of animals too. It is through painting and drawing that I discovered how great an affinity I have with living creatures. It brings me peace and I find I somehow get inside the skin of an animal when I draw, paint or sculpt one. I empathise and connect with my fellow earth inhabitants by doing so and it grounds me.
This pastel is full of harmony between bird an beast. The harmonious colours also add to the sense of unhurried ease in this garden of plenty. There is a thoughtfulness to the image it lies I think in the fact that the dove is turned away and in the elephant’s poise. The relationship is not a trivial one.
It is a curious business examining ones past efforts.