The sketcher often prefers to make a thorough study, to take his fill of an exquisite and enchanting view spread out before him. There are other things besides the view. The enveloping air, spiced with ambrosia, caressing sunshine, the murmuring of streams, the whispering of leaves, which impress themselves upon his conscious mind. His silence and his comparative immobility, the result of complete absorption in his work, encourages all the wild thing to show themselves.
Once I paused to admire the markings of a snake which slithered over my feet. my admiration on that occasion was somewhat tempered by other feelings. once a mink crawled out of the water two yards away, and lay down panting in front of me, looking up with brown and confident eyes. I have watched badgers, deer, black bears - nearly all the commoner wild beasts for long periods at close range.
Once I was sketching in the Rockies, my legs dangling over a lofty ledge, utterly alone. The warm silence was made musical by droning bees, tinkling water, and the bass rumble of falling rocks, but it was suddenly rent by a shattering whistle at the back of my neck. I was in danger of falling off the mountain. But it was only a friendly marmot who craved for some chocolate. A more serious meeting occurred in Griqualand. I was wandering through a park-like grove of tall bushes, whose foliage trailed in the dust and limited by range of vision to a very few yards, hoping to bag a sketch, or a guinea fowl for breakfast. I was equipped for either, but totally unprepared for what did happen. As I crept round a quarry-bush I came suddenly upon two large baboons. They stood erect, engaged apparently in a sociable dialogue. I could have touched either, and, worse still, they could have grabbed me. Fortunately they ambled off, as disconcerted as myself.
Once I was pestered by small monkeys, who threw
berries at me from the higher branches of a tree under whose shade
I was working. The beauty and wonders of nature are as alluring
as the pursuit of Art, and made of me a landscape painter.