Out of Range – Lion & Zebras
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20” x 48”, acrylic, 1999

Dust is part of the world in many of the best game viewing places on the planet. Semi-dry tropical climates seem to support the kind of grassland that in turn forms the fodder for grazing herds. In the case of Africa, these herds usually come with their dependent predators.

Lions are called the "King of the Beasts" because they are at the top of this food chain. The males are not necessarily great hunters but they are impressive to look at. This is not superficial; their appearance has a purpose. They are there to protect the pride composed mostly of females and young. Although the male lion is a formidable fighter, it is far better to avoid fighting; if this can be done through bluff and demeanour, so much the better. A simple fighting injury can cost a life. The two main fighting functions of male lions is to keep hyenas away and to drive off rival males.

The lion in this painting is not charging to make a zebra kill. If he was, his head would be down and he would be moving much faster. He is running, head held high to impress, towards another male who is trying to move in to his territory. The zebras also are running but not going full speed. They are simply keeping a safe distance between themselves and a moving lion. It was an interesting challenge to paint this action in the world of dust.