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Chris McClellandChris David McClelland   AFC, SAA, WASA, QWASI, AGRA Chris McClelland
Wildlife drawings African/Australian animals with intricate detail
Visit Chris McClelland's Latest Website
Chris McClelland is famous for fine, intricate pencil drawings of African wildlife, which is quite a contrast to his previous career: he spent 30 years managing a large Australian sheep station, which ran 40,000 sheep.

His natural talent for drawing was recognized early, and he drew horses for a hobby.

But he grew up with a fascination of Africa, inherited from his parents, and on his first trip there in 1994, with wife Margie, a respected photographer, he fell in love with the place. He began writing reports and drawing wildlife and lodges for The African Safari Magazine.

Africa stimulated his sense of sight, smell and sound and he "found its heartbeat deafening."

No other place on earth has the variety and numbers of such visible wildlife, and McClelland has since made ten trips to Africa, witnessing the powerful and unstoppable force of nature. He believes he has managed to gather Africa's spirit and soul to fuel his desire to draw and paint the people, places and wildlife of the country with all of its harshness, savagery and beauty.

He has spent hours studying his subjects in their natural habitat, observing their movements, and noting the interactions between predator and prey. He uses sketches, photographs, video footage and his own well-honed powers of observation as reference to accurately portray the behaviour and anatomy of his animals. He draws them with such fine detail that each of his drawings takes up to 300 hours.

Coming from the land and pioneering stock himself, he believes that the spirit of the Australian bush and the African bushveld is a part of him, and he finds it easy to become one with it.

His living drawings are greatly sought after by discerning collectors.

Chris can be found in the Chris McClelland Gallery/Studio at 84 Lachlan Street, HAY NSW Australia. He is there drawing most days and loves people to have a chat with him and to talk about his drawings.

Support for Conservation:
After numerous visits to the Painted Dog Conservation Project near Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Chris has been givng percentage of sales to help with this project. The web site for this is www.painteddogconservation.iinet.net.au

Special Achievements:
  • 2016 - "No Worries!"
    Fauna Award Best Painting at Deniliquin Easter Exhibition. the drawing shows sleeping Koala's in various positions they have in a tree to be comfortable and relaxed. Coloured Pencils
  • 2015 - "No Worries!"
    This drawing on the packing room Award at the Australian Art Excellence Awards Exhibition At AGRA. The drawing shows sleeping Koala's in various unique position they have in a tree to be comfortable and relaxed.
  • 2015 - 
    The Hunter's Five won the "Drawing the Essential Art 2015" the Kenneth jack Memorial Prize. This fine coloured pencil of the hunter's five animals in Africa. Chris used his unique style of drawing and design to create this marvelous drawing.
    Judges comment:-"Amazing ability shown by Chris, I believe that even the pencils themselves would have been bewildered by the wonderful effects that Chris was creating with them! An absolute stand out!' Bob Wade
  • 2014 - "A Nation's Icon Shearing the Weaners"
    This montage, all graphite and coloured pencil drawing on 360gram Acryl paper, depicts the recent rise from the ashes of a huge new steel and galvanised iron woolshed. It is a national symbol of our early past and our dependency then on the wool industry. The original 50 stand shed, which for 98 years was the heart of the property Tupra Station which I managed for 21 years, was struck and demolished by a renegade mini tornado in 2007.
    For me and my family, the era of over two decades on the Hay plains is one dear to our hearts and the 422 hours that went into this drawing was more of a labour of love.
    Above in colour is the new woolshed viewed from the banks of the Lachlan River, while below in graphite is the busy state-of-the-art working layout of a shearing shed in action. Looking on is a pencil portrait of the owner Ian McLachlan.
    However, nostalgia has included some of the original shed. The Ferrier's woolpress (Serial No. 1604) built in Geelong by Humble and Nicholson, is one of the original presses preserved undamaged from the original shed. The inclusion of the experts room in the drawing represents an important part of the original shed and the almost forgotten role of 'the expert' in the larger sheds of the pastoral industry years ago. The expert attended to all shearing machinery and engine and in his very private domain, was responsible for sharpening the 50 shearers combs and cutters when placed in tin boxes of their allocated numbered pigeon holes.
    The outline of the 13 tooth wide comb represents and is a reminder of our eventual victory in the old shed over the shearers wide comb dispute. In 1983 the thuggery and inflexibility of the Australian Workers Union led to a ban on all shearing because of, in their terms, the unacceptable use of wide combs in the industry by 'scab' shearers. Arbitration forcefully settled the matter and shearing was soon allowed with wide combs and totally accepted by all shearers without a whimper.
    The Merino weaners are watering on the Lachlan River, a typical scene amongst the red gums.
    During my thirty years service with the McLachlan family, I managed Tupra Station from 1982 to 2003 and we generally shore around 40,000 Merino sheep.

  • 2014 - Presentation "Makings Of a Wildlife Artist"
    Ask to give a presentation about "Makings of a Wildlife Artist" at an Art Convention held in Canterbury, United Kingdom, August 2014
  • 2013 - " A Formidable Display"
    The hippopotamus is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and responsible for the most publicised deaths of people by wild animals on the continent, south of the Sahara.
    Although highly gregarious and usually cluster in close contact in the water where they spend most of their daylight hours, this social schizophrenic is nevertheless highly aggressive towards its own kind.
    Margie and I have been in close contact with hippos during our many travels to Africa, often having to carefully circumnavigate pods of hippos in rivers and waterways while leisurely travelling in boats and frail canoes. We have treated their presence with great respect when walking on foot through their grazing territory.

    In this scene, a territorial male aggressively confronts a trespassing bachelor bull approaching too closely to one of his females with calf. The hippopotamus has a formidable set of teeth and tusks and its jaws are capable of an impressive 150º gape. Yawning or opening of the mouth is a dominance or threat display. Closely bonded to her calf, a disturbed and protective female faces the aggressors. The scene is set in a gently sloping waterway of the Okavango delta. The alarmed red-billed oxpecker and cattle egret are two bird species that can be found around these lumbering beasts.
    Winner "Animals in Art" Exhibition AGRA Gallery - Melbourne
    Finalist Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize - Adelaide
    Finalist in Artists For Conservation Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada 2014. On display Arizona Sonora Desert Museum until March 2015

  • 2012 - "Those Marvellous Bloody Horses"
    Neither cavalry nor professional soldiers, the men of the Australian Light Horse gallantly rode into history. They were frontier Australians of a generation which we will never see the like of again.
    The charge against the Turks at Beersheba on the 31st October 1917 was the last great wartime cavalry charge. The audacity and ferocity of it stunned an otherwise formidable enemy into capitulation.

    As one light-horseman would later say, "It was the horses that did it; those marvellous bloody horses. Where would we have been but for them."
    A Commended Award at "Drawing- the Essential Art" AGRA Gallery Camberwell Victoria

  • 2012 - "People of the Track"
    In 2010 I made the first of two very spiritual journeys along the Kokoda Track to follow the footsteps of mostly an elite and courageous generation of young Australian men who were called upon to defend their country at enormous cost. Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice were the virtues that became the strength and spirit of this horrendous campaign of the Second World War.

    During a rest at the summit of an exhausting climb up one of the many steep ridges, we were passed by this young family, who with few possessions and far more ease, were travelling through on foot to Port Moresby. This track over the daunting Owen Stanley Range is the only means they have for communicating between villages and the outside world.
    AWARDS: Best Painting Award in the Presidents Challenge "The Family" Exhibition held at the Australian Guild for Realists Artists Gallery, Camberwell, in Melbourne in May 2012

  • 2011 - Exuberance of Youth
    A typical show of bravado from a young elephant, full of libido, who breaks out of the family herd moving unconcernedly off a waterhole to charge a supposed adversary, maybe an encroaching Kudu or perhaps a safari vehicle full of camera clicking tourists. In this case his bravado is short-lived as this enlarged beast, ears outstretched, comes to a sudden halt only to mockingly turn-tail and run back to the safety of the herd. The knowledgeable driver leans back unmoving and chuckles after warning his passengers to remain silent and still.

    Judges Choice Award at 250th Faber-Castell Anniversary Exhibition in Brisbane run by QWASI. Selected to be hung for the Mortimore Art Prize and traveled for the year in Australia.
  • 2010 - Tumblebug
    During the months following rain we are always fascinated with the antics of the larger dung beetles after seeing them homing in by wing to freshly laid elephant dung and breaking up the mass into balls. The almost perfectly spherical balls are then rolled away by the males doing a hand stand and pushing backwards with their hind legs. Fights often breakout between males over who rightfully owns the ball of dung. The balls will be buried and a courting female will lay a single egg in its centre.
    AWARDS: This drawing won third prize in the drawing section of the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize held in Adelaide 2004. It went on tour for six months around Australia.
    The original drawing of Tumblebug was selected from many International artworks to be exhibited at the "Focus on Nature" Exhibition being held at the State Museum in New York USA in 2010.
    It won a special Jury Award

  • 2009 - A Young Australian
    In this montage drawing, a red kangaroo joey gazes out with innocence from the comfort and safety of his mother’s pouch. The superimposed adult paw prints behind him symbolise and point to his destiny while his eye reflects freedom and independence on the salt bush plains.
    Born in an embryonic form, the 1-2cm long hairless joey must survive a perilous journey climbing up through the mother’s fur from cloacae to pouch where it firmly attaches its mouth to one of four nipples. When I first worked on the land in the sixties, the old kangaroo shooters and stockmen were emphatic in their belief that the joey was ‘born on the teat.’ This was due to its tiny embryonic appearance and its strong, permanent fixture to the end of a long nipple in the pouch. Around this time some European researchers filmed the remarkable birth of a captive kangaroo for the first time, but I could never convince the old timers!
    Unlike Africa, we know so little about our own native animals.

    AWARDS: This drawing has been selected to hang in the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in New Jersey in September 2009 AFC

    Also awarded the Kevin A Taylor Award for Best Painting in show at the Australian Art Excellence Awards Exhibition 2008 held at AGRA Gallery Camberwell, Melbourne November, 2008.

    Won the “Peoples Choice Award” in July 2008 at the Queensland Wildlife Artist Society’s “Ocean to the Outback” Exhibition held at Broadbeach near Brisbane.

    Unframed Limited Edition Prints signed and numbered of this drawing are available.

  • 2009 - Dugga Boy
    Margie and I have been fortunate over the years to have done many exciting and eventful canoe trips on the upper and lower Zambezi River, staying overnight at safari lodges on both the Zambian and Zimbabwe sides.

    On one occasion when avoiding a large pod of hippos we left the main stream to take a short cut along a series of waterways which meandered through extensive grassy flats. While passing through a heavy patch of tall reeds we were suddenly confronted by a large, old buffalo bull grazing right beside the narrow and shallow channel. Not wanting to spark a sudden charge, we remained motionless, letting the canoes drift with the current silently past him.

    With nose in the air, the old bull stared at us intently, stood his ground but bore us no malice. We safely past him with hearts in our mouths, probably saved by our low profiles and the beast's uncertainty.

    The African buffalo was often regarded by the old hunters as the most dangerous of the Big Five and I have endeavored to portray the bull in this drawing with an air of authority and a creature not to be meddled with. His alert pose is further enhanced by the red-billed ox pecker flying off his nose in alarm from some perceived danger. These birds have evolved stiff tail feathers which are used as props as they clamber all over their hosts seeking parasites from every nook and cranny. They are commonly seen in association with giraffe, antelope, domestic cattle and buffalo.

    AWARDS: The Store Packers' Award for Best Painting 2009 - 2010 AGRA Art of Excellence Exhibition Melbourne 2009
    Runner Up AGRA Summer Exhibition Melbourne 2009

    The original was selected from many international entries of the Society of Animal Artists in USA to be on show at their 50th Annual Exhibition "Art and the Animal" being held in San Diego Natural History Museum, California USA in 2010

  • 2008 - A Young Australian
    This graphite pencil drawing won the Best Painting in the Australian Art Excellence Awards Exhibiton held at the AGRA Gallery Melbourne.
    This drawing was also given the People's Choice Award at the Queensland Wildlife Art Society International exhibition held near Brisbane.
    In this montage drawing, a red kangaroo joey gazes out with innocence from the comfort and safety of his mother’s pouch. The superimposed adult paw prints behind him symbolise and point to his destiny while his eye reflects freedom and independence on the salt bush plains.
    Born in an embryonic form, the 1-2cm long hairless joey must survive a perilous journey climbing up through the mother’s fur from cloacae to pouch where it firmly attaches its mouth to one of four nipples. When I first worked on the land in the sixties, the old kangaroo shooters and stockmen were emphatic in their belief that the joey was ‘born on the teat.’ This was due to its tiny embryonic appearance and its strong, permanent fixture to the end of a long nipple in the pouch. Around this time some European researchers filmed the remarkable birth of a captive kangaroo for the first time, but I could never convince the old timers!

  • 2008 - Intimate Intent
    This scene depicts a pride male with his female consort in oestrous who lies typically in relaxed fashion on her back. The male will remain in close proximity throughout the usual four day cycle, copulating with her every twenty minutes or so. Cats are induced ovulators and repeated copulation is necessary before ova are produced and conception can occur.

    Bronze Medal at the Bi-annual Wildlife Art Society of Australasia
  • 2008 - Nature's fury
    This life like graphite pencil drawing won the best painting in the Summer Exhibition at the Australian Guild for Realist Artists in Melbourne Australia.
    The inspiration for this drawing came from countless hours spent sitting quietly besides this permanent waterhole at the Makwa Pan, Hwange NP. This is a favourite place for large family herds of elephants to come in to quench their thirst and socially congregate briefly before dispersing again. These encounters are a marvellous opportunity to observe and film the antics of the young and interactions between the often related family groups and other species.
    In 2007, with Zimbabwe in chaos and human despair, we had the park almost to ourselves for several weeks. One afternoon on our return to Makwa we witnessed a noisy upheaval at the waterhole when three painted hunting dogs nonchantly came out of the nearby teak woodland to drink, disturbing a large family herd of elephants. The commotion attracted the attention of a pride of lion that we had noticed earlier that morning, laying almost out of sight under bushes several hundred meters away. Upon seeing the dogs, several lionesses got up from their concealed repose and stealthily stalked the intruders. Their sudden appearance only increased the frenzied behaviour of the elephants and several trumpeting cows charged the big cats.
    In this drawing it is a large tusked bull elephant that is shown venting his anger, may be at an encroaching lion, with a full frontal charge. In the background nervous cows with calves hurriedly leave the waterhole while a young bull, still with the herd, stands his ground with outstretched trunk testing the air to locate the source of danger. Behind and above the bull the looming thunderstorm opens the season with a torrential downpour. The dust of this brief encounter will soon be erased and forgotten but the parched soils will be quickly transformed into a carpet of green to become the sustenance for the animals of the African bushveld.

  • 2008 - A Conflict of Interest
    This drawing was given the Runner up Award at the Australian Guild of Realist Artists Ltd. The judges comments were " The artist has captured movement and character in his subjects, givng a glimpse into the realtionships of the pack. They are skilfully drawn and beautifully presented with subtle colours and a clean finsh." Judge: Christine Broaersen
  • 2007 - Natural Intent
    A dry scene set in Kruger NP in October with the opening rains looming in the background. A family herd of elephants have been disturbed by perhaps a pride of lion lying in shade beside a waterhole and as the females and their young run off the big tusked male turns towards the danger to carry out a determined full charge attack. This bull is one of the many large tusked elephants that can be seen in Kruger due to their protection from significant poaching over many years. The bull is in musth which is denoted by the discharging temporal gland and urine stains on the sheath and back legs and is the reason that he has joined this female herd in search of females in oestrous.

    AWARDS: Runner up - Summer Exhibition at the AGRA Gallery Melbourne 2007

  • 2007 - Jock of the Bushveld
    Given a Highly Commended Award at the "Drawing - the Essential Art" held at the AGRA Gallery in Camberwell, Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
    It also was voted as the "Viewers Choice" at the exhibition April 2007. The drawing is of the "Jock of the Bushveld" lodge in Kruger National Park South Africa. Drawn in mainly graphite pencil a a little coloured pencil.
  • 2006 - The Nursery
    A graphite pencil drawing of a herd of Impala seen in Chobe National Park, Botswana. This drawing was the runner up in the AGRA Winter Exhibition held in Melbourne in May, 2006. Some of the mothers are looking after a nursery of baby impala while their mothers are away feeding. There is a lot of movement in the drawing with babies feeding and a lot of grooming going on.
  • 2005 - 
    A winner of the AGRA's Summer Exhibiton 2005. A montage drawing of Jack's Camp in Botswana with a Brown Hyaena coming towards you, Merecats and the migration of Zebras in the background. This drawing also won the people's choice award at the exhibition.
  • 2005 - 
    A detailed graphite pencil drawing of a herd of African elephants approaching a waterhole. They are sniffing the air with their trunks raised to smell any danger for the young calves at foot.
  • 2004 - "Tumblebug"
    This fine detailed graphite pencil drawing of an African Dung Beetle and an African Elephant was awarded third prize in the drawing section of the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize in Melbourne.
  • 2003 - "Eye of the Matriarch"
    This graphite pencil drawing of an Elephant's eye with a young elephant calf running was given a Highly Commened Certificate at the annual WASA exhibition in Melbourne.
  • 2003 - South African Safari Lodges
    Chris was invited to South Africa to draw some South African Safari Lodges. He drew again a montage of animals with the lodges. These drawings took a year to draw.
  • 2003 - "Lace Monitor"
    This drawing was an ink pointilism drawing of an Australian Goanna lizard set in the Australian bush. It was chosen as a finalist in the inaugural South Australian Museum, Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize held in Adelaide.
  • 1997 - 1997 to 2002 Chris asked to draw African Safari Lodges
    Chris was asked to return a number of times to draw African Safari Lodges in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Chris drew a montage drawings with wildlife a major feature in the drawings as they were typical of animals that would be seen around the lodges.
  • 1996 - "River Horses"
    A fine pencil drawing of Hippopotamus in the Kazinga channel in Uganda. This drawing won the Catani Drawing Ward at the WASA Exhibition held in Melbounre. It was the first time Chris had entered a major exhibition.

Organization Membership:
  • 2005 - Queensland Wildlife Artist's Society
    QWASI to promote a wider interest in wildlife art as genre. To hold regular exhibitions of members work and of guest artist. To offer a place of enquiry for potoential commissioners of works. To offer stimutlating, informative and educational programs in order to further knowldege and understanding of wildlife art.
  • 2005 - The Australian Guild of Realist Artists Ltd
    AGRA some of their objectives are to foster and support tenets of Realist, Traditional and Representative Schools of Art in Australia. To form a bond of union between Artist and to provide a medium through which their opinions may be ascertained and expressed.
  • 1996 - Wildlife Art Society of Australasia Inc.
    WASA aims to foster the study, practice and appreciation of wildlife art in all media, to encourage the exchange of ideas and experiance in this field, and to promote the work fo wildlife artists.


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Australia 2711
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