Toronto, Ontario-based artist Ruth Oosterman collaborates with her two-year-old daughter Eve to create imaginative paintings that feel as though they’ve been lifted from the pages of a fantastic series of storybooks we’re now dying to read. Here Oosterman describe their process:

As all of our collaborations start, my two year old creates her own sketch with an ink pen which I then use to turn into a watercolor painting. The sketch is completely her own with no instruction given from me, I simply use her creativity to inspire me to create a painting.

Oosterman says that she can usually either discern a picture hidden inside Eve’s sketch or her daughter will have chatted with her about what she was drawing. But sometimes there is no conteext andshe has to let her own imagination run with it.

I try to work quickly and let imagination and play take root into the painting rather than taking it to seriously, this way I can encourage Eve’s contribution without making it to “grownup.”

Visit Ruth Oosterman’s blog and her YouTube channel to check out more of her wonderful collaborations with young Eve.

Prints of some of their creations are available via the Eve’s Imagination Etsy shop.

[via Bored Panda]

A couple weeks ago we learned about beautiful ice cream shaped like roses. Today we discovered another whimsical frozen Japanese treat: zou no hana or Elephant nose ice cream. These soft serve pachyderms, complete with waffle cone ears, are the house speciality at the Zou-No-Hana Cafe in Yokohama, Japan. And because they’re each handmade, no two elephants are alike. What’s more, during certain times of year the cafe offers special half & half chocolate and vanilla elephants with crunchy tusks, limited to only 20 per day - which is the quantity they produce, not the amount you’re allowed to eat.

We like to think that some ice cream visionary was simply going about their duties one afternoon when, having poured a cone, they looked down at their work and recognized the unmistakable resemblance to an elephant’s trunk. And thus Elephant nose ice cream was born.

Visit RocketNews24 for even more photos of adorable elephant nose ice cream cones.

UK-based artist and designer INSA (previously featured here) just shared an awesome new Gif-iti piece. This time INSA traveled to The Gambia where he painted the outside of a thatched mud hut as part of Lynx Africa’s 18th anniversary celebration:

"It was only after I had had all the inoculations and boarded the plane that I realised I had misread the brief of ‘Make a piece of work inspired by Africa’ to Make a piece of work IN Africa!

Anyway it worked out well as I couldn’t think of a better way to produce a piece of work inspired by a place than actually visiting it. I flew to The Gambia and spent some time in and around the villages on the mangroves of Makasutu Jungle. I painted a traditional african thatched mud hut that belong to Saloum and his 2 wives and many children. Saloum was particularly pleased with the marching elephants as they have pretty much been wiped out in The Gambia apart from the one owed by the president.”

Click here for a timelapse process video.

[via Insaland]

Last spring French photographer Charles Freger traveled to Jaipur, India where he shot these awesome portraits of elaborately painted and costumed elephants and their mahouts. The pairs were decked out in such festive finery for the annual Painted Elephant Parade.

The parade takes place each year on the eve of the Holi, the springtime festival of colours. Professional artists paint the elephants with the same colourful pigments that people use to splash each other during Holi.

Charles captured 25 stunning portraits of elephants and their mahouts. Visit National Geographic to view more.

[via Lost a E Minor]

Today the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship brings us the awesome story of ‘Bubbles’ the 32-year-old African elephant and ‘Bella’ the 3-year-old black Labrador. They’re best friends and they live together at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, also known as Myrtle Beach Safari, a wildlife park in South Carolina.

Bubbles was rescued when she was still a baby, orphaned after her parents were killed by poachers for their tusks. She was flown to the US along with a few other elephant orphans where there were facilities ready to care for them.

One of Bella and Bubbles’ favourite games to play is play catch. Bubbles uses her trunk to throw a ball for Bella. When they’re in the water together, Bubbles throws the ball and Bella leaps off her perch atop Bubbles’ head to dive in and retrieve it. Bubbles also likes to play keep-away with the ball and Bella because Bella can only leap about as high as her friend’s knees.

Photos by Barry Bland.

[via Design Taxi and]

Amit Drori and Tel Aviv-based designer Noam Dover created an awesome menagerie of robotic animal sculptures, which are powered by servo motors and remote-controlled by puppeteers, for theatrical production entitled Savanna, A Possible Landscape, which premiered in 2011.

Head over to Laughing Squid to watch a couple short videos of the production.

Photos by Noam Dover and Michal Cederbaum

This awesome mural, entitled Elephants, is an astonishing and enormous piece created by artist Adonna Khare using only carbon pencil. After more than 47,000 voters cast 412,560 votes, Elephants was recently pronounced the winning piece of ArtPrize 2012. Adonna Khare, who is also an elementary school art teacher turned stay-at-home mom, took home the $200,000 grand prize.

"A week before the September 19th opening of ArtPrize, Khare brought in her 8-feet tall by 35-feet wide drawing Elephants and put it up on the wall of the museum. During the event, she continued to add to her piece, even spilling over on the museum’s walls. She purposely set up her drawing as a triptych, “to engage the viewers in the transformation of the work.” At the end, after more than three weeks, the stunning drawing grew to be 13-feet tall by 40-feet wide. (You can see completed photos of the mural on Adonna Khare’s Facebook page or on her website.)”

If you’re in the area of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Elephants is currently still on exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

[via My Modern Metropolis]

Meet Motala, a 50 year old elephant from Thailand who lost her front left leg in 1999 after stepping on a land mine left over from ongoing conflicts along the Thai-Myanmar border. When the accident occurred Motala was a working elephant who moved trees for a living. She was simply foraging for food in the forest when she stepped on the mine.

Although her owners tried to save poor Motala’s leg, the limb was so badly damaged that it eventually had to be amputated below the knee. It wasn’t until 2006 that she was able to receive her first artificial leg. It was only a temporary solution, but she successfully learned to walk on it. In 2009 Motala received her first permanent prosthesis, made for her at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) elephant hospital in the Mae Yao National Reserve in Thailand. Because prosthetic legs must be changed according to weight, Motala has been given other legs accordingly and received a new one last year, her third.

A documentary entitled The Eyes of Thailand shows the amazing moment when Motala took her first few steps on her first prosthetic leg. Check out incredibly moving video of that awesome moment here.

For more information on this topic check out the documentary The Eyes of Thailand. (watch a trailer here)

[via The Huffington Post and enpundit]