‘Tails Up’ & The Silvermere Warthogs

This post is about optimism and waiting on God’s perfect timing. The Israelites had to wait 40 years to enter the Promised Land, and I have had to wait many years, not so many by comparison , to capture on camera, warthogs running with their tails up. A friend once asked for a painting of warthogs running with their tails up, and I have failed to find any such suitable photographs. I do not like to paint from guesswork, being rather particular about anatomical accuracy. But ever since a family of warthogs have settled on Silvermere my chances have increased dramatically.  Well,  the wait has finally paid off.   However as often happens, one seldom has the camera when sighting the warthogs. Earlier this year though, John Oliver(with camera) and his Dad were walking at Excelsior, the top part of our farm; when they saw the warthogs, and managed to capture them running off. These action photos though blurred, were then enhanced slightly thanks to Photoshop, and these two sketches were the result.

Warthogs. (560 x 250 mm. Pencil and wash sketch, on unstretched watercolour paper.)

Warthogs. (560 x 250 mm. Pencil and wash sketch, on unstretched watercolour paper.)

Warthogs.(560 x 250 mm. Pencil and wash sketch, on unstretched watercolour paper.)

Warthogs.(560 x 250 mm. Pen and wash sketch, on unstretched watercolour paper.)

These sketches sparked my interest and two more paintings followed.

Two Warthogs.(620 x 430 mm terracotta paper with watercolour, gouache and pastel.)

Two Warthogs.(620 x 430 mm terracotta paper with watercolour, gouache and pastel.)

I don’t suppose warthogs could be called optimistic characters, but their comical demeanour, the “ tails up” mentality, really conveys a sense of optimism. Living with a quiet sense of optimism is usually based on the peace that comes from walking with the Lord Jesus, and knowing that God has great plans for us. God chose us, and through His great love for us,(John 3 v 16) sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sinful nature; and give us hope of redemption and the promise of eternity with Him. So when we are in danger of falling apart with the circumstances in our lives, it helps to meditate on the Promises of our Lord so numerous and inspiring in the Bible. Psalm 139 demonstrates so vividly how much God loves and cares for us.

Warthog group running.(515 x 330 mm. Watercolour on stretched watercolour paper.)

Warthog group running.(515 x 330 mm. Watercolour on stretched watercolour paper.)

So, the next time you see a warthog family running by with their aerials (tails) up, consider how much God loves you and smile!!!


My ESV Bible, line drawing

“Wait for the Lord: be strong (optimistic and cheerful) and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord “ Psalm 27 v 14. (ESV)

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him;…”(His timing is always perfect) Psalm 37 v 7 (ESV)

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”Psalm: 130 v 5,6. (ESV)

Psalm 139 (ESV)         Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

“1O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. 13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. 19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 20They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! 21Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”



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5 Comments

  1. Jan Simpson
    Posted 16 Aug 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Heath and I really enjoyed this blog and especially liked the cute little warthogs in the group running!

  2. Charles
    Posted 17 Aug 2009 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    What about Pumbaa from Lion King, him and Timon (Meerkat) were quite optimistic characters… Their famous song is after all: “Hakuna matata”!

    Definition:
    (Hakuna matata is a Swahili phrase that is literally translated as “There are no worries”. It is sometimes translated as “no worries”, although is more commonly used similarly to the English phrase “no problem”.)

    So I think Warthogs are definitely optimistic, carefree, and blissfully ignorant creatures 🙂 – or am I giving them too much credit 😉

  3. mike doe
    Posted 30 Oct 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I found these drawings absolutely mesmerizing in the sense that the detail is suggested not laid on they set my mind wandering back to the times spent watching the warthog in the serengeti, when I look at the picture my memories of a once in a lifetime trip come rushing back and i find myself smilling, as a footnote,i married my partner on that trip after 25 years of courting so the warthog has a special place in our memories. I am smilling just thinking about the hog running for its life at breakneck speed being chased by a lioness only to slow to a cocky spring step when it new it was safe as the picture says its tail held high and proud,we cheered him that day . You see the picture has caused a reactio with us….awesome.

    • Posted 3 Nov 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment, Mike. Glad the warthog picture brought back some special memories !

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