Artist Guy Combes’ star in international wildlife painting and conservation continues to rise. He is actively involved in several groups including the Soysambu Conservancy (protection of Africa’s Great Rift Valley ecosystem), the Action for Cheetahs in Kenya and efforts to prevent the Tanzanian government from building a road across the northern migration routes of the Serengeti National Park. Elephants are another of Guy Combes’ beloved causes.
“Elephants,” says Guy Combes, “are to the Amboseli National Park what wildebeest are to the Mara/Serengeti, which is to say that the environment suits them perfectly. The juxtaposition of forest on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and the plains and swamps of the Amboseli lake basin are an Eden for the elephant who rotate on a daily basis, moving en masse to the most abundant food supply. On the way back to camp one day I found myself directly in the way of a gathering of several herds, numbering around 300 in total, that were making their way down from the mountain to the swamp to cool off in the midday heat. They were so absorbed in reaching the water that they were oblivious to my presence and simply walked around my parked vehicle where I had resigned to sit and wait. There was simply nowhere to go to get out of their way and even if I had tried I feared I might provoke one of the large males. I was inspired to paint one of these bulls walking towards me through the dust, his head nodding and swaying with great and elegant movement, followed by several females and young. This now ranks at the top of my many experiences that have left me in complete awe of the scale and majesty of nature and I will revisit this scene many times again in my mind and most probably on canvas.”