One of my sculpture courses offered a choice of subject. With a love of lions embedded as a child, I instantly decided to concentrate on the lioness form. It was fascinating to study the animal's bone structure and musculature; appreciating them in an entirely different way.
As a youngster I was often entertained by flicking through the pages of Born Free during afternoon family visits to my grandmother's home. The black and white 1960's images in Joy Adamson's book, depicting her African safaris with her free-roaming lioness Elsa, left an indelible impression. The beauty manifested in the power of these animals, the efficiency and prowess of their hunting skills and the relentless conviction to survive, fascinates.
The lioness sculpted on the course in clay has slowly dried out and remains in its cracked clay form. It's a reminder of many lessons and achievements! All subsequent Lioness sculptures were also worked in clay. I simply named the subsequent sculptures 'Lioness' followed by a number. Lioness 1 was never made into a bronze. Lioness 2, 3 & 4 were taken to the foundry and cast. Lioness 4 was later destroyed as I was not satisfied with the end result.
Lions are masters of stealth: they seem to meld into their surroundings. Whilst their true colour is the recognisable sandy shade we are all familiar with, both my lionesses reflect the environment they are melding into. The patina of Lioness 2 is a fantastic watery blue over brown. A statement about their watering holes; dark with damp mud at the edge and reflecting hot blue skies over the surface. Lioness 3 has a patina of olive green over brown. Depicting the lower stems of Savannah grass which hide the lioness as it stalks its prey.