Vivienne Gadd – "Sleeping Lion"

by Cindy Paul

Vivienne Gadd is a mostly self-taught artist working exclusively in oils. She has a wonderful, friendly eye for her subjects, which mainly include the various exotic wildlife of South Africa. Her paintings are inevitably endearing portraits, usually closeups, rarely from afar. She will often choose to depict just the face of one of these noble beasts, such as in "Tiger" or "Wolf." Somewhat illustrative in nature, these oil paintings are dramatic and beautifully executed.

"Sleeping Lion" is a standout among her present online collection. There’s an irrefutable sweetness to this loving painting of the lion, who is posed with his sleeping head resting comfortably on big paws. The artist has placed a thick, pitch-black base under the subject, a nice touch that firmly grounds the painting and separates it from the background. The work measures 20″ by 20″, and brings the viewer in close to the gorgeous animal’s face and mane. Carried out in a lovely style that resembles watercolors, "Sleeping Lion" nevertheless has all the appropriate fine strokes for texture and delineation.

"African Wild Dog" is another unusual animal portrait. In this canvas, we see the fabulously marked head and contrasting patterns on the entire back of the creature, caught in the act of looking back over his shoulder. Perhaps he has heard something that needs investigation.

It’s quite evident that Vivienne looks for ways to paint her subjects that are unusual. "Too Cheetahs" bring us an amazing portrait of the big cats grooming one another affectionately, a good example of her unique approach.