Sat, Feb. 22

On the Wild Side<br><i>Artist Paul Bosman draws deep on his South African roots</i>

Paul Bosman has sold his work insafari shows and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, receiving four awards of excellence along the way. This bald eagle is a perfect example why.

As a child in the Great Karoo, then relocated to Botswana, he spent much of his time drawing.

“I would do portraits of my family. When they would get bored of sitting still, I would draw portraits of myself," the Village of Oak Creek artist remembers.

As a young man, he studied art at St. Andrews College, Grahamstown, and later at Johannesburg Art School in South Africa. He furthered studied years later at the Central School of Art in London.

He met his lovely wife, Elaine, in London. There, he made his living in advertising sales.

In 1956, he moved his family back to South Africa to a coastal town called Durban. In Durban, he continued to work in advertising, before being transferred to Johannesburg.

“I was a director and shareholder of an advertising agency, but advertising can be a young man's game. I decided that when I started to get a little long in the tooth, around 40, it would be time to pursue a different career.”

At 38, he retired from his advertising career and in 1969 he and his family built, owned and operated a luxury safari lodge in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. It was there that he began to paint the region's prolific bird and animal life.

“We had lions, elephants; the buffalo would eat our banana trees and the lions would chomp on our garden hoses. We lived very remote, 200 miles to any town. We built an air strip for our guests.”

After a year-long drought that caused the animals to leave to find water and with an encroaching war nearing his home, Bosman found his business and family in an unstable situation. He sold his lodge and moved his family. The government only allowed them to take $4,000 with then, so they had to leave all of their money behind.

Bosman's saving grace was his opportunity to design wildlife postage stamps, which he was commissioned to do by the South African government. This provided his family with enough income to buy a house. He also won the Italian “Golden Stamp” international award for the most beautiful postage stamp issued in 1976.

This launched a new career for Bosman. Soon after, his brother suggested he draw animal portraits to sell. In his first show, in just two hours he sold 26 of his 27 paintings.

“I realized then that I suddenly had a new profession. I kept painting, moved my family to Lake Kyle, Zimbabwe. But with the war and problems with sanctions, we decided to move back to South Africa. We rented a house on a mountain in Cosmos Lake. It had an extraordinary view. It was paradise.”

There, Bosman continued to paint for a living going back and forth to the United States to sell his work.

In 1982, he and his family moved to the United States, first in Phoenix, then Scottsdale and finally to Sedona in 1991.

Bosman has achieved creative excellence in his wildlife portraits, selling them in safari shows and the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming. He has received four awards of excellence, also the Elliot Liskin Award for painting for his submissions to the Society of Animal Artists’ annual shows. At that time, he was the only painter in the history of the society to have received two awards of excellence in one show.

He has 27 limited edition prints in South Africa and the United States and has done painting and sketches for numerous books. He has also been featured in, or has been on the cover of, many well-known wildlife magazines.

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