Monday, 13 January 2014

Elephant No. 82: Guest Artist Riley Robb-Cheney

One of the nicest things I got for Christmas this year was a drawing from my niece Riley. Riley is already a mighty fine artist at the tender age of seven—or, as she reminded me at Christmas, seven and three-quarters.

This is the first elephant art Riley has ever drawn for me. In fact, a couple of years ago, when I asked Riley if she knew how to draw elephants, she replied rather emphatically, "No," with a clear subtext that said, "and why would I?" Riley tends to be quiet, but she can also be very funny.

There are many things to love about Riley's elephants. For one thing, she's given her elephants lovely toenails and nice bows on their heads. She's also understood that elephant eyes are a lot like human eyes—and, in fact, not much bigger than ours. I also love the fancy howdah carried by the elephant on the inside spread, complete with a fashionable handbag for a fashionable young lady. By the way, that's Riley next to the elephant on the inside.

Another wonderful thing about the card is the back, which has purple birds flying below a rainbow, in a heart-shaped formation. Would that we all saw the world this way.

This card really was one of my favourite gifts this Christmas, and I can't wait to see what Riley does next. I'm pretty sure she has a bright artistic future ahead of her.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Today's elephant lore comes from my post on drawing like a child, from the original Elephant a Day blog. 

Because children's drawings are generally lighthearted, today's elephant lore is simply a video of a young elephants playing with a soccer ball at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust near Nairobi, Kenya.

Play like this is important in terms of socializing elephants, and helps them to develop various skills. As you'll see in the video, a couple of the elephants kick the ball to one of the keepers, then trumpet, waiting for the ball to be returned—just as a pet dog will bring a ball, drop it and wait for it to be thrown again.

Elephants are playful creatures, and are also keenly aware of the moods of those around them, whether elephant or human. While able to amuse themselves quite easily, elephants also respond readily to praise, laughter and applause. 

To Support Elephant Welfare

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