Still working– but nearing completion now! My Maasai Mara leopard painting as of this evening. Building up those paws at the moment. I will continue to work for three more days on this piece– destined for auction Oct 5 to benefit the Gladys Porter Zoo Youth Education Fund-before finally relinquishing it to the framers on Monday.The story behind the painting:This piece was researched in the Musiara Marsh in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, East Africa. I spent a month in the Mara, hoping to find just the right leopard– and luckily spotted this big fellow one evening, just as the colors of dusk and rising curtains of mist were at work transforming the landscape. When my Kikuyu guide Moses and I happened upon him, he was sitting out in the open on what I imagine to be his customary high perch, listening intently as a lion roared in the near distance. I say customary as he looked so at ease and at home up there in his element, totally attuned to every nuance alive in this corner of his home range. I found it interesting to note how his front paws were resting in that just-perfect depression in the branch.The cat allowed us twenty minutes of his time as darkness approached–apparently unperturbed by our presence– then slipped quicksilver-fashion to the ground and vanished instantly into the bush. A herd of impala were on the alert nearby, frozen in place as communal ears and eyes scanned the shadows for any sign of their covert nemesis. We went to check out the lions– and found the famous Notch of the Marsh Pride walking close to the forest edge, intent upon a languid lioness.Moses and I felt incredibly lucky to have been granted an audience with such an elusive cat. It is always a privilege to observe a leopard living free, especially one so close and so unconcerned as to allow a glimpse into its normally secret life in the African wild.Thus, the concept here is an almost literal translation of Job 41: 34: ” He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.” The pride, in this case, being a collective of very real and very close lions. If given half a chance, lions will kill any leopard they come across. Clearly, watchfulness, intelligence, and stealth are essentials in the leopard’s daily survival game.