Fr the second day of a brand new project, today’s picture was a bit….tricky. The sky – the central theme of the whole thing – has been that bland, non-descript grey which is devoid of all interest or attraction. It was so dull and uninspiring that I actually forgot to take a photo this morning when I was walking my dog! So got back to my studio and thought about something an art teacher told me once: if in doubt, paint what’s in front of you. So I did. And here it is, in watercolour and pen.
Today’s news items in the picture both come from the Daily Mail. The first one is the headline ’86 Elephants Are Killed For Their Ivory In A Single Week’, a report on the horrific slaughter of elephants in Chad, central Africa, by heavily-armed poachers. The elephants, including 33 pregnant females, had their tusks brutally hacked off after they were killed. The slaughter is a direct response to the black market demand for ivory from countries such as China and Japan.
The United Nations reported last week that around 17,000 elephants had been poached worldwide in 2011, and there are fears that some regions of Africa face losing their elephant populations altogether.
Experts are firmly of the belief that the only way to save the elephants long-term is to negate the demand for ivory, as the poachers themselves become more military in their approach, and carry warfare arms on horseback. But when will a country with the size and population of China wise-up to the effects they are having on some of the world’s most-endangered and beautiful animals?
The second headline concerns the family of Lance Corporal James Ashworth, who received his posthumous Victoria Cross award at a ceremony yesterday. L/Cpl Ashworth, 23, was killed by a sniper when leading his team against a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, and was awarded the highest military honour possible for his ‘immense courage, which represents the very best of a generation’. He was attempting to throw his last grenade at the sniper, and realised he needed to expose himself from his postion flat to the ground in order to get the grenade away and save other members of his unit.
I’ve included the photos of his parents, Kerry and Duane, and brother, Coran. I think their pride, dignity and sadness is etched all over their faces. His mum said, “I miss his smile. He’s got the best smile anyone could ever have. He always smiles…and his hugs. I just love him so much.”