Skulls and Flowers; Life and Death in the Garden of Eden

Skulls have always fascinated me, and bones; we start dying from the minute we are created, a natural process not to be feared but embraced, truly the stuff of LIFE….

the decaying buffalo skull adorned by a blue tailed skink in my Tsavene Bush house garden

I collect skulls from the wilderness, and they sit amongst the indigenous plants that I nurture in my bush garden at Tsavene, Save Valley Conservancy.

in my art studio I slowly and happily work up my drawings of buffalo and warthog skulls into paintings…

the art space in the bush house…spot a “tribute to Georgia O’Keefe” by my dearest friend and artist, Bronwen Evans…

A finished artwork, Buffalo Skull and Aloes….

Buffalo Skull and Aloe leaves, acrylic on stretched canvas, 80 x 53 cm by Lin Barrie

How can I not be inspired by my Garden of Eden, the cycles of life, the indigenous flowers, insects, earth, rebirth and decay…

Skulls and flowers grow happily together, Vincas, aloes and crossandras vie for space with my found objects, skulls and giant snail shells…

Warthog skulls are particularly graphic, surreal and inviting to draw…to make marks….

and this is turning into a painting…

acrylic on canvas, in progress….

The finished piece…..Njiri, acrylic and oil pastel on canvas, 82 x 89 cm

(Njiri is shona for warthog……)

PS: my favourite tool for Making Marks is an old palette knife inherited from my dear father, Arthur Barrie…

More sketching; the warthog skull and the garden so pleases me…

field work; en plein air…..

it grows……



and matures into a finished piece…“Warthog Skull, with crossandras and vincas”, acrylic on stretched canvas, 3 x 2 feet

“Warthog Skull, with crossandras and vincas”, acrylic on stretched canvas, 3 x 2 feet


Many more skulls and flowers are to come out of my studio and my garden….watch this space…. Wildebeeste skull next and possibly Mr Gudo…..

Here is Mr Gudo guarding my portal, his fierce visage softened by the gentle Crossandra flowers…

Crossandra flowers are waterwise, hardy and indigenous to our lowveld, rewarding and unassuming, they bloom profusely and give me great joy…(I use them to decorate food plates, and place settings, having eaten the delicate peach flowers for weeks to prove to myself that I won’t kill my guests…!)

They even match the Pantone colour of the year, “Living Coral”!!! an interior decorators dream….

Crossandra growing with a Euphorbia, the spiny and the gentle…both plants I have collected from the wilderness around me…

and in parting, a strangely satisfying, sadly macabre, chiromantis tree frog, whom I found recently, deeply embedded on the cover of one of my favourite drawing books…a sad left-over from last winter’s hibernation, who did not make it with the new rains of the season to the waterhole at our house, but perished between the covers of the art books on my book shelf….

(warning this blog contains a graphic image!)

a graphic caricature….set against my “Sunset Impressions” artwork…
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About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas. Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
This entry was posted in abstract art, Africa, africa, African flora, African Safari, african wildlife, aloes, amphibians, arid areas, art, art collaboration, baboons, beauty, bees, bio diversity, books, drawing, eco-tourism, edible plant, flowers, frogs, gardens, gardens and flowers, giant African snail, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Honey gatherers, insects, interior decor, landscape, Lin Barrie Art, lowveld, predators, prey, reptiles, Save Valley Conservancy, sculpture, Senuko, sketching, skulls, treasure, wilderness, zimbabwe and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Skulls and Flowers; Life and Death in the Garden of Eden

  1. Rob Jarvis says:

    Fascinating reading Lin! Can I copy the link onto the Ortholopha newsletter!

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