Simon Combes and his art radiated all that was wild about Africa. Raised on a ranch in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, his intimate relationship with the land and its inhabitants permeated his art. “Only a cat could look so comfortably relaxed and yet its half-closed eyes miss nothing,” said Simon about this leopard.
“The slightest sound or movement will trigger an instant reaction from this apparently comatose leopard. I found this particular animal in the Aberdare National Park in the Kenya highlands. He was draped over the branch of a wild fig tree, perfectly posed for this painting. “Chui” is the Swahili word for leopard.
“Unlike lions, leopards are solitary. They often hunt at night to avoid competing with the much larger lion and a leopard will usually drag its kill into a tree to protect it from scavengers like the hyena. They will spend their day draped in the branches of a favorite tree, avoiding the worst of ground-level insects, catching a welcome cooling breeze and, through lazy, half-closed eyes, mentally logging the movements and locations of possible prey seen from a treetop lookout post. At dusk, a leopard will descend and emerge at a point where his instincts direct him to hunt. The leopard, with his arrogant independence, his ruthless hunting skill and beautiful coat, epitomizes everything feline.”
In 1982, a version of “Chui” was first produced as an original lithograph. The image was created by Simon in only four colors as part of the lithography printing process. Years later, a collector commissioned Simon to create a complete oil painting of “Chui.” This Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Giclée Canvas is an impeccable replica of that original and one of the finest examples of the art of Simon Combes you could possess.