Painting and Sketching in my Garden of Eden; But Winter is Coming

Lin Barrie

As an artist and as a naturalist, skulls skins and bones have always fascinated me.

I love drawing the shapes of found natural objects. The natural world, its balances and ecosystems enchant me…and the place I find most inspiration is right in my own garden! Sabi Stars and old broken Kudu Horns are a natural pairing! Here below is my painting “Sabi Stars with broken kudu horns”, (Diptych), is acrylic on stretched canvas, each panel being 3 x 2 feet…

Sabi stars and old broken kudu horns

Here below is my alpha female wild dog skull- she was killed many years ago by a lion while defending her five-week old pups at the den. I treasure her skull and her memory. (Before you ask, her eight pups survived!….but that is a story for another time…)

Alpha female wild dog skull

Porcupines enchant me, and one in particular, Mr Nhungu, visits our bush garden regularly to nibble at the leftover dog food, or more happily chew on the bark of my favourite trees! And so of course, I paint quills……

A Porcupine likes dog food…….

Leopards grunt and prowl around our Tsavene bush house, exquisite cats, and so I paint spots… but my paintings are not purely decorative, just as animal skins are not…there is an excessive harvesting of skins for various cultural and decor uses which is not sustainable if we do not become very aware of the finite resource we are abusing…

leopard spots, a finite resource

Life and Death, Predator and Prey, are all the natural cycle of the world we live in, to be celebrated and honoured, not feared… and so my garden inspires me endlessly…


Giant land snails, often caught and killed by fire or drought, leave behind their exoskeletons… pristine empty white shells which are thereafter joyfully found by me like the jewels in the bush that they are. Prey to me and my pencil….!!

Giant African Land Snail shells

I relish painting these amazing natural shapes and colours…but the flip side of the coin which preys on my mind is un-natural death, excessive hunting or poaching by wire snare, poison or unwitting use of chemicals and plastics, trade in illegal wildlife products… My diptych, “Winter Woodland and Rhino Skull” is food for thought, Each canvas panel is 2 x 3 feet.

winter woodland and rhino skull diptych acrylic on stretched canvas each panel – 2×3 feet

Perhaps some of my paintings and photographs will act as a reminder of the fragile beauty with which we are entrusted, and of the mortality that looms if we do not find solutions to the over-use of our worlds resources…

And so I am working towards a solo exhibition…

Image Credits: Lin Barrie

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Lin Barrie
Author: Lin Barrie

About wineandwilddogs Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states:...

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