Message on the Wind

Message on the Wind

Message on the Wind – Cheetah family, (2006)
Signed and Numbered Limited Edition of 650, Offset on Paper
Retail Price at Issue $165
Please inquire about the availability of Artist’s Proofs
Image Size 31¾” x 22 5/8″

Message on the Wind – Cheetah family, (2006)
Signed and Numbered Limited Edition of 180, Giclee on Canvas
Current Market Price will apply.
Please inquire about the availability of Artist’s Proofs
Image Size 38″ x 27″

Interested buyers please contact Tracy Morrison (Conservation Design) at Email: aprintjock@gmail.com; Phone: 1-781-585-9871;
Located in Duxbury MA

Although very much focused on the North American wildlife scene, the African wildlife doesn’t leave me in peace. All over the world, one finds many different cat species. Many people know well the lion, the tiger and the leopard. Most of the smaller wild cats are unknown by the larger public. All those cat family members have one thing in common: they all have retractable claws. So, the one cat that was so difficult for naturalists to classify was the cheetah, because although it has all of the other features of the cat family, it is the only member of the family that doesn’t retract its claws. Mystery! An explanation could be that, with the claws out, the cat has more grip on the ground when maneuvering and running fast. Indeed, this cat is the fastest of all land animals.
For my painting I wanted to portray a cheetah family, since the cubs are so exceptional, too. The gray hair on their back (which disappears little by little as they become adults) is not seen on the babies of any other cat species. There are different theories for the purpose of this gray mantle. It is thought to act as camouflage, resembling dead grass and thus allowing the cubs blend into the shadows. Some also suggest that the mantle causes a cub to resemble a ratel, or honey badger — a very vicious small predator that most other predators wisely choose to avoid.
What I tried to capture in my painting is a moment of alertness for a cheetah on its way to a waterhole. She stands still to smell the air and might smell the presence of lions: Lions cannot stand cheetahs in their territory. This makes it very dangerous for the cheetah cubs. Lions will kill cheetah cubs when their mother is not there to defend them. There is no compassion in nature. The balance has to be maintained.

Mother knows the danger; the cubs don’t. I tried to show that the cubs wonder why their mother suddenly stops the walk. I have been ten inches away from the eyes of a tame cheetah female. I never will forget those big orange eyes. This experience was the stimulus to start this painting.

— Carl Brenders