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 African Warthog by Andrew Denman
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12 x 24" Acrylic on Cradled Board
African Warthog

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In 2012 and again in 2014, I spent several days in the Aberdare National Park, Kenya’s last remaining stronghold of highland cloud forest. Though this area has all the denseness of the humid tropical jungle you might imagine, the high elevation (between 10,000 and 14,000 feet) keeps it cool year round, and at the highest elevations, the forest gives way to landscape more typical of Scottish Mooreland than anything one might expect to find in Africa. The greens here are made all the more luminous in contrast to the shockingly red, oxide-rich soil that dyes the skin of all the local wallowing animals, from elephants to warthogs, a beautiful terra-cotta brown. The rough, four-wheel drive required terrain makes this one of Kenya’s least visited parks, so the wildlife, while plentiful, is also skittish and wary of people.

I’ve always loved pigs of all kinds, and warthogs have an especially engaging surplus of personality and weirdness. The dense vegetation in the Aberdares means that most animal sightings are brief, and my first few warthog sightings were frustratingly so. A warthog would dash across the path of our vehicle, a brilliant red streak against the verdure of the jungle, and then disappear entirely into the walls of vegetation (as thick as English Hedgerows) on either side of the road. During our stay I had plenty of much better experiences with warthogs, observing entire family groups, complete with adorable little piglets, grazing for extended periods of time. When it came time to conceive a painting, however, I returned to that notion of a brief and exciting glimpse. I kept the background active and gestural and allowed the warthog to fade out towards the back end in order to create a sense of movement. I very nearly titled the piece “Aberdare-devil” after one pig that grazed very close to three lumbering elephants and would dart away only when they came within yards, but I didn’t want to be too cute. Of course, who couldn’t find cuteness in a warthog!?

Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California –based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
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