Monday, March 14, 2016

Zoo sketches

I love the San Diego Zoo and try to go sketch there now and then - uasually after a Balboa Park sketchcrawl meeting. When I published my last post, I realized I hadn't put any zoo pictures up.
This is Janey, one of the Orangutans at the zoo. She likes to be up near the glass and sometimes will interact with the people watching. Although I stretched out her face too much, I think I captured a bit of her expression.

This is from a seed pod at the zoo - I don't know what kind of tree it came from. There were lots and lots of seeds in the pod and it was quite interesting. I named it the "Sumkinda Pod" in honor of our sketching friend Nikki who is really good at making quick sketches of birds and flowers and giving them funny names.

I always make sure I stop by the flamingoes. It's hard to get a good flamingo color with the toned paper, although probably someone with more experience would have no problem. They seem extra bright this year.

We were by the gorilla exhibit, but there were too many people to even see the gorillas, but I noticed this shoot of giant bamboo (this much of it was probably more than a foot long).

Another time I was at the orangutan exhibit and there were too many people to see much, because the orangutans were quite active. This, of course makes it harder to sketch them, as I am not too swift with the sketching. So, here is a sketch of a tree stump, where I didn't have to worry about it moving to a new position, haha.

The Scripps Aviary is one of my favorite places to watch the birds. When I was there in January, I noticed a bunch of Clivia buds and sketched them.

Today I went to the Galapagos Tortoise exhibit and this guy, Abbott, was in a nice pose but not moving, so I managed a sketch and then added watercolor later. I need to go back and fix the greys, it was hard to tell how much color was there as the toned paper darkened where it was wet, so now it looks a little strange. Also, the dark lines are from an Elegant Writer pen, which is water-soluble and adds the blueness to some areas. It's not very done; perhaps I'll work on it and post it again later.

Thanks for looking at my sketches!
Go make art!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Recent Sketches

 I didn't do much sketching last fall; seems I was really busy and then I didn't like what I had done. This year is looking a little better. The sketch above is from the Urban Sketcher meetup near the Kensington sign in San Diego. This is a cute little cafe across the street from the park.

One thing I have been doing differently that I think is working out well is to paint the watercolor directly, with no sketching or pencil. Large shapes are blocked in with very light watercolor, then shading is built up with successive layers of more color and more detail. All three of these sketches were done that way. I think the hardest part for me is to stay focused and don't get impatient. I find I run out of energy to continue after about an hour; then I get lazy and stop really looking at what I am painting. I need to stop at that point, instead of continuing to mess with the picture.

This is from the new outdoor art exhibit from the San DIego Museum of Art in the Plaza de Panama area of Balboa Park. I wrote Art in the Park but that isn't the right name, it's Art of the Open Air, part of the #freetheart campaign. There are a number of wonderful pieces, including a Rodin and MirĂ³. I like this one by Lynn Chadwick, The Watchers. 

This is one where I should have quit earlier. I got tired before I did the ground and colored cement areas, so they don't look right at all; with no perspective at all. Very strange-looking. However, I love this paper, in spite of the fact that it isn't really made for watercolors. It is available here, and is called Annigoni, as it was made to the specifications of Pietro Annigoni, who I think used it primarily for sketching, studies, and printmaking. Perhaps I like it because I'm not a traditional watercolorist, I don't know. It has a beige-gray color and just a little texture, but I like the way it takes the watercolor paints. You should give it a try!
Go make art!