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“Cause For Alarm”

16 ¼ x 14 ⅜
200 Master Giclée Edition S/N $ 150
20   A/P $ 180

 

“Cause For Alarm”

Silently slipping out of the brush in front of us, the female leopard materialized out of the shadows.  The perfect camouflage of her spots became a glimmering pattern as the sunlight struck her side.  Astonishingly, she not only seemed unafraid of us, she began to respond to my best imitation of a leopard’s call.  Gliding past the side of our open vehicle, her eyes would nearly close as she echoed me with a low, throaty rumble. 

As she paused directly beneath the rear of the vehicle, I climbed over the back seat where I could lean out to photograph her.

Neither she, nor I, felt a sense of threat or fear as she gazed up at me.  There was only a silent connection between us.

Turning around, she retraced her footsteps and selected a proper patch of ground in front of us.  Casually, as though she were in the company of old friends, she began the fastidious process of grooming her splendid coat.  Crisp white whiskers flashed in the light as she primped in the classic feline manner, giving me time to sketch her beauty.  Every sinuous movement became etched into my memory……if only I could capture it quickly in my sketchbook.

Suddenly, a veil dropped over her luminous eyes.  Face drawing tight with apprehension, the menacing sound of an approaching vehicle revealed the source of her alarm.  As it rolled up beside us, I was transfixed with the transformation taking place in “my” leopard.   Her eyes now smoldered with a suspicious glint and the instinct to flee flowed through her, replacing the soft reclining form with one of agitated steel.  She was gone.  As quickly and silently as she had come.

Finding it impossible to choose between the attitudes divulged during our private audience with this royalty of Africa, I have chosen to first share three of her most memorable moods.  Moving from right to left, you can easily see the progression from a willing accomplice to that of a wary and dangerous creature.  With her image burned into my mind, this is my initial effort to depict a privileged moment with the most exquisite of Africa’s gems.

 

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