We came across two young male lions late one morning as we continued our exploration of Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve in September. Unlike the older lions we happened upon, these younger lions seemed less comfortable in the presence of our vehicle and, after we'd observed them for a short while, they casually moved off, presumably in search of some tourist-free solitude.
I captured some decent photographs of the pair, including the reference shot on which this painting is based. Other than flipping the photo horizontally and cropping it to create what I feel is a more pleasing image, the painting will replicate the photo to a large degree. I acknowledge that I often rely too heavily on photographic reference, but as the subject in this case is a simple study of a young lion, I felt there was little need for further manipulation.
After I'd contemplated tackling this piece with oil paints, I opted for the more familiar option and have reverted to acrylics. I'm keen to switch to large canvases and oil paints in the near future, but after what's been a long absence from the easel, I felt that acrylics would pose fewer challenges as I strive to rebuild some much-needed confidence.