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Standing Strong • Acrylic on canvas
Standing Strong
Acrylic on stretched canvas • 76 x 152cm

A royal mount for a king and protector of the people, the elephant was trained to charge into the war and carry the king into battle. Worshipped by Eastern religions for millennia, legend has told of the mighty elephant holding divine power to summon rainfall and bear great thunderstorms. Reaching forth its trunk into the watery depths of the underworld, a surge of water is sprayed among the clouds to rejuvenate the parched land beneath. The beastly animal remains a sacred being to the present day, symbolising good luck and prosperity among cultures of Southern Asia.

This painting was one of my favourites to create - I really love elephants. But it was researching these beautiful animals and discovering how exactly I was going to communicate my message in this piece that was interesting. I realised I needed an Asian elephant, and I found that there's a significant difference in the shape of the head between African and Asian elephants. The structure of the face was important to get right as my concept behind this drew from Eastern religions. As you can see below, I really focused on getting it right before moving onto the body shape. Like all my pieces, the eyes are an important focal point to convey my message and needed to hold the expression.

So several iterations later, I was pretty happy with what I eventually came up with. I scanned the piece and took it into my art software to paint it and get all the colours happening. This gave me a pretty good idea of what I wanted, but it's always different when I actually paint it and I knew I would do the splatter more intense when it came time.

I managed to find this shot of when I just had the background laid down (sorry for the poor quality!) But it lets you see how I initially had the bright colours down so that when I splattered it with darker colours to get the storm happening, the brightness would still show through.

And then came the splatter! This was needed to make the background more subtle so that the lightning blended in more with the stormy sky. I then began painting the elephant, and like usual, I left the eyes til last to make sure the structure of the head was all in place.

...and a few weeks later, it's all done! 

You can purchase it from my website too!

Like this piece? You can purchase the original here.
Standing Strong • Acrylic on canvas
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Sabrina Norbido