Park West Gallery artist Andrew Bone knows a lot about lions, and not just as subjects for his beautiful, photorealistic wildlife artwork.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Bone has had firsthand experience with lions. In his 20s, he began working as a travel guide in the country’s Zambezi Valley, home to many species, including elephants, hippopotami, impalas, zebras, buffalo, and, yes, lions.
Throughout his lifetime as an artist and conservationist, Bone has had some close calls with lions—and his stories of those near-miss encounters can be just as thrilling as his artwork.
Fortunately, you can find a little of both in Bone’s artistic memoir, “Brush Strokes of Africa,” published by Park West Press.
Park West has released a series of gorgeous, high-quality books featuring the works of some of its most famous artists—including Anatole Krasnyansky, Linda Le Kinff, and more—and Bone’s memoir is no exception.
“Brush Strokes of Africa” not only features reproductions of some of Bone’s most memorable wildlife paintings, but it also serves as an engaging memoir of his time in the Zambezi Valley.
In the excerpt below, Bone recounts one encounter with a lion that almost came to a tragic conclusion.
While leading a canoe expedition for a group of tourists, Bone unexpectedly came upon two male lions from a local pride, fighting over an antelope carcass only a few feet from the water’s edge.
After the dominant lion (nicknamed Blackbeard) defeated the other male (known as Blondie)—taking the antelope as his prize—the wounded and enraged Blondie suddenly turned, realizing for the first time that he was being watched by Bone and his companions. And he was not happy about it.
As Blondie skulked closer to the group, who were standing with their canoes only a few meters down the shoreline, here’s how Bone remembers their tense standoff:
Excerpt From Andrew Bone’s “Brush Strokes of Africa”:
When facing an attack from a lion, it is lethal to run.
Our best chance of survival was to stand as a group and scare the charge down.
Blondie emitted a malicious growl and charged us. I lifted the paddle, ready to swing it in an attempt to smack the lion against the injured side of his head.
Again I bellowed to my companions to stand firm while I waited for the instant to strike. Blondie flashed towards us, a missile of tawny death.
For an incredible instant, I thought he was not going to stop. All I was going to have was one good swing.
Then he slammed to a halt at the water’s edge. We looked into each other’s eyes and I saw the torment and pain and anger. He turned and left me standing in the spent passion of the moment.
Slowly I lowered my paddle and turned to my clients. “Wasn’t that just…”
To my amazement, my people were very rapidly disappearing over the dunes towards Zambia. Cameras, hats, binoculars, and sunglasses discarded, the soles of their feet kicking up sand as they sprinted from impending death.
You can order “Brush Strokes of Africa” from Park West Gallery’s store on Amazon.com. (Both the hardcover and softcover editions are signed by the artist.) The Park West Amazon store offers original books from Park West Press as well as books on such other notable Park West artists as Peter Max and Yaacov Agam.
You can also contact Park West Gallery at 800-521-9654 ext. 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about Bone’s original artwork.