Hot chocolate #591

Daily painting #591 6"x6" oil on primed canvas panel

There is an awful lot of talk about chocolate at the moment, but who cares!! Not me...at least not until I got home after nearly 2 weeks away and my hips and I had a major fallout when I pulled on a pair of old jeans! Well let's not go there... so back to chocolate...again!

Yesterday I shared some early morning experiences with you so today I would like to share some early evening and sunset drive pictures. Just before sunset all vehicles are required to be out of the game reserve unless you are being accompanied by a qualified ranger. The bush is DARK at night and any light is solely dependent on the phase of the moon. All sorts of creatures that you didn't even know were there make an appearance. Navigating yourself around becomes tricky and the deathly silence which falls over the bush at night, other than the occasional shrill call of an owl, hyaena, jackal or other hunting animal is enough to send a chill down your spine if you were out there alone! So we always book a trip with a ranger to go into the park on a night drive as it is such a different experience from the day time. They use special spot lights and know just how to find the animals using the lights without scaring them or damaging their eyes with the glare of the lights. Last week we decided to book a sunset drive with a ranger rather than a night drive as it is winter and temperatures drop fast at night... it is COLD in an open game vehicle! The sunset drive would also give me some camera time at sunset before the sheet of darkness falls and envelopes you like a blanket covering you. We would have the best of both worlds, sunset and evening viewing as we would get back at 8.30pm. The night drive was only leaving at 9pm and as we got back at 8.30 pm after 4 hours of open vehicle viewing (and after leaving at 4pm with not so much as a jacket on) we were huddled under jackets, hats, scarves and blankets in an attempt to get warm. Copious amounts of hot chocolate was consumed in an attempt to heat our bodies up and I looked on with pity as the poor people going out on the night drive after us climbed into the open vehicle...they were going to freeze!

This cup of hot chocolate was obviously painted at night, can you tell why? Look at the odd hard shaped shadows that seemed to play tricks with me as I painted. The colour too seemed different every time I looked at the cup and the light quite frankly was not ideal for painting in. I always prefer to use natural light in my studio from a large studio window and avoid the hard shaped shadows that strong unnatural lights create. But with daily painting, as I always say, if I waited for the perfect light, perfect subject matter, perfect composition etc. etc. I would never paint! So I enjoyed the moment ...and temporarily forgot how cold I had been just a few hours before. But the cold was worth it and the evening magical....

Israel, a knowledgeable, interesting and passionate ranger who has taken us on many evening adventures!
His obvious love for the bush and passion for conservation of our animals is applaudable!

Apologies for the glutton of photos today but I am a hopeless decision-maker and trying to decide which photos to share with you was impossible! I wanted to show you everything, especially for those of you who have never experienced the African bush! I hope you enjoy them!

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art
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