The Mountain Times

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Catching the moment

The opportunity to go on safari in South Africa will never come to some of us but there are places to go for the same experience. The challenge to the artist is to catch the moment whether it's two impalas playfully battling or two rhinos walking away side by side. In mid-May, Patsy Zedar, Betty Little, both members of the Killington Arts Guild and Martha McMullen took a photo trip through Lion Safari Country in Loxahatchee, Florida with Brian Dowling, the Curator.

They were inside the fence with the lions only a few feet away, lying leisurely under the trees. "Don't be fooled," Dowling said, "They are wild and dangerous-we try to keep them that way." In the vehicle behind Zedar, Little and McMullen, a park ranger kept careful watch. The artists were tense with their cameras. "They move very quickly, when they move," Dowling said. Click, click, click. They have caught the moment.

Brian talks about caring for the animals-first quality food. We see fresh strawberries on a feeding pavement; rhinos intent on eating. The antelopes follow the food truck with their heads, this way, that way, all in unison.  Forty-year-old Burt, a Rhino, in a field with a camel, catches our hearts. He comes towards us to rub his horn. He places his head in the gate above the chain - his tiny black eyes looking upward, sadly. Dowling encourages the artists to pat Burt's long forehead. What looks like hard rough skin is actually soft. An ear twitches appreciatively. Burt is separate from the other rhinos who pick on him. Dowling says "we give animals like this special care." Betty Little's pen begins working on a poem.

KAG - Giraffe

Breeding is a concern. But things look good: ostriches with eggs, impala with big tummies waiting to give birth, small versions of animals everywhere following their mommies.

The giraffes run around the vehicle. All the artists can see are legs, then suddenly a head scoops down and looks into the window with large dewy eyes, they recall. On the other side, Zedar lifts her camera to catch the moment - two giraffes at play.

It will be several months before art begun during this safari is ready to display, but here is a sneak peek.

The Killington Arts Guild's Spring - Summer Show at the gallery at Cabin Fever Gifts is opening on May 26 with a reception from 1-3:30 p.m. The show features creative work of new members. Everyone is welcome. For information: www.killingtonartsguild.org

Tagged: KAG, safari