There are some parts of our world – often islands – which so hotch with wondrous life that only several lifetimes would be sufficient to savour them all. In my view, Sri Lanka is one such. I lived in Hantana, a hillside cluster of houses perched above the ancient Kingdom’s capital, Kandy, and walked daily down the earthy footpaths which wove between often unfenced gardens to the plain below. My goal was the Botanical Garden at Peradeniya, but it was impossible not to be waylaid by entrancing muddy ponds filled with boggy plants and wild waterlilies.
A generous variety of insect and reptile life graced these worlds and dragonflies either poised motionless on a solid or apparent mid-air support or shot from one space to another in a dazzling trajectory of jewelled light. New amphibian species are constantly being discovered, making the current estimate of 130 known species rather conservative.
Sadly, Sri Lanka is also considered to have the largest number of endangered and even extinct amphibian species in the whole of Asia. I chose to paint this particular frog because it took me a while to see it at all, so carefully camouflaged to a fading lotus leaf was its tiny body.
In this painting, I hoped to convey some of the peace these boggy patches of “wasteland” can bestow on any passer-by. © Frances Livingstone 2018