Life in Ruaha
I am an artist and I've have lived under canvas in wonderful wild places for the past 36 years. I feel incredibly privileged to do so and for the past 26 years my partner Rob Glen and I have been living and working in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.
Four years after I was born in Jamaica, my parents moved to Tanzania, East Africa. I grew up enjoying the pristine beaches north of Dar es Salaam, and often traveled with my parents to Tanzania's wonderful game parks during the holidays. These trips into the wilderness were a great influence on my desire to make a career from art and wildlife.
I began painting seriously after leaving school and at the age of eighteen held my first exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya. By the time I was 22, I'd had decided to make a career as a wildlife artist, and so took myself off to Italy to learn what I could from the great masters. I remained there for two years, and the knowledge and experience I gained in Italy only served to fuel my dream.
Everything was funded by selling paintings, and I finally returned to East Africa where my adventures in the bush - paint brushes in hand - began. Alone in my jeep, I ventured into the wildest of places - places I thought would be interesting - continuing to develop my artistic skills by sketching and painting from life. The more remote and inaccessible the places were, the more I enjoyed it. My quest for adventure in the African bush, coupled with my desire to paint, has given me a rich and fulfilling life, overflowing with wonderful experiences and joy.
When I first moved to Ruaha, in 1994, I lived in a camp on the banks of the Great Ruaha River. In 2006, this camp was drastically changed by the falling of a tree, right onto my kitchen. The tree had been a major feature of the camp, providing shade and attracting many birds. Without it, the location just wasn't the same, so Rob and I, with the permission of the park, decided to relocate to a more remote part of Ruaha called Magangwe.
The peace and solitude of this remote area was not only conducive to painting but was the best way to learn from and observe the vast array of wildlife that surrounded my home. I'm always sketching, and never cease to be inspired and enthralled by the diversity of light, colour, pattern and design that nature conjures up.
In addition to my artwork, the three books I have written (see publications), exposing the beauty of Ruaha National Park to the world, could only have come into fruition by my being totally immersed in nature; bringing with it the clarity of vision which comes for being cocooned in its peace and wisdom.
Sadly, in August 2020 we were no longer allowed to continue living in the National Park. The changing regulations made it impossible for us to stay. We are eternally grateful for the marvellous 26 years we enjoyed and for the friendships formed with The Tanzanian National Parks. They have always been incredibly supportive over the years. We will continue to assist them anyway we can.
If you want to contact me please either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at P.O. Box 369, Iringa, Tanzania.
We were extremely privileged to be living in this paradise. We sincerely thank Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) for helping us realise this dream and for understanding the role that wildlife art plays in the conservation arena. They have been helpful and supportive and we congratulate them on the excellent way they manage their Parks.