Wildlife Photos, Impressionist Style

Buffalo bull staring agressively in impressionist style Cape buffalo bull giving a typical surly stare, Kruger National Park, South Africa

These pictures are my first attempt at digital painting, using software to give wildlife photos an impressionist look.

Ever since visiting Paris in 1972, I've been smitten by Impressionist art. Four of us were travelling around Europe in a camper and, after the mandatory tour of the Louvre, we also visited the Jeu de Paume.

It was a small gallery that, at that time, housed France's magnificent collection of Impressionist paintings (now in the Musée d'Orsay).

After the overwhelming, sombre, and intimidating Louvre, here were bright, airy, colorful canvases by Monet, Renoir, Manet, and others of the French Impressionist movement.

Needless to say, I was blown away.

I've never studied art and can't draw, never mind paint. Yet for some time I've had this hankering to give my wildlife pictures a painterly look and, more specifically, a rough-hewn, impressionist feel.

After all, the originals are photographs, so there's no point in trying to make them look like realistic paintings!

In any event, I've been enjoying myself tremendously, using Photoshop and other software to get a look that appeals to me. I'm sure before too long I'll probably be embarrassed by these first efforts, but so far I like them enough to display a few here.

Old male lion given look of Impressionist painting Mature male lion with battle-scarred face and impressive gold and black mane, Kruger National Park, South Africa

This old guy had clearly been around the block a few times and had the scars to show for it. His coloring was unusual, with a pale face surrounded by this huge, shaggy mane that ranged from red to near black.

Elephant in mock charge with impressonist look Elephant in mock charge, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana

A charging elephant is an impressive and intimidating site - even a mock charge, as was the case here. We were driving through fairly open terrain when this elephant took exception. It came thundering down a grassy slope, ears flapping, its feet stirring up dust, before stopping short and shaking its head.

Portrait of Leopard looking downwards, digitally painted  Portrait of leopard looking down, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

A good leopard sighting in the wild is always a bonus. We found this elegant female sitting relaxed on a tree stump in a small clearing with subdued, dappled light in the background. She was looking down, as if deep in thought.

Rhino with mud-encrusted hide, digitally painted White rhino with late afternoon sun adding a shine to its mud-encrusted hide, Kruger National Park, South Africa

This white rhino had been wallowing in a mud pool when we came across it standing in open grassland. It was already late afternoon, the warm light adding a deep, golden luster to the moist, crusty layer of mud that coated its hide.

Cheetah walking with full belly, impressionist style Cheetah, its belly full after feeding on kill, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana

Compared to the other big cats, cheetah are gentle and quite timid. After a kill, they have to eat quickly before their meal gets stolen by more agressive predators. This one had clearly eaten its fill when it came walking towards us, looking for a pool of shade.

White rhino on the charge, digitally painted White rhino on the charge, Kruger National Park, South Africa

White (or square-lipped) rhino are huge yet less agressive than the smaller black rhino. Nevertheless, this one took umbrance when we stopped nearby and came charging towards us. An heart-stopping site that gets the adrenaline pumping! Luckily it stopped a few meters from our vehicle.

Giraffe males sparring, impressionist look Young male giraffes sparring and neck-slamming to establish dominance, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Young giraffe males will often test each other's strength by neck-slamming to establish dominance. They circle each other before one swings its neck, using its head like a hammer in trying to land a blow with its horns. The other then responds in similar fashion, with movement and counter-movement appearing almost like a stylized dance.

For bird pictures given similar treatment to the above images, please see Bird Photos Impressionist Style.

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