Sunday, July 20, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Polar Bears at the ZOO"

This is "Day Three" of my weekend of sketching!  It's been like a "stay-cation"...wonderful weather all three days.  This morning I had the misfortune of seeing myself walk by a mirror after getting out of bed.  I thought, "You look like a big ol' polar bear."  DING!  There was the silver lining...that was a perfect catalyst for going to sketch at the zoo today!

I had not really taken a lot of time to enjoy the fairly new polar bear exhibit on my last couple of visits.  The sketch above was my first of the day.  The bear was pacing back and forth, so I had to catch bits of him each time he walked in the direction you see in my drawing.

Below, that bear was pacing in a different area..up to the window, then back to the far corner.  I had just started drawing the bear on a return trip, when it decided to go take a swim.  Dang.  So I figured I'd just keep drawing all the rock structures.
I went inside the building where they have bleachers to watch the bear swimming laps around the pool. Wouldn't you know it...just as I'm about to sketch him as he swam by...he decides to go inside the enclosure where the caves are in the back.  Double Dang.  So I just drew the water view. Eventually he came out for a brief appearance in the far distance.  I put him in the scene...on the left of the center window.  That's the thing about trying to draw animals at the zoo.  They move.
I had not really ventured into the KIDS area in a long time...they have changed a ton of stuff since I was there last.  In a couple of weeks, I hope to take Courtney and my grandson, Jackson, back to the zoo.  This was sort of like a scouting trip.  I could not believe this GIANT TREE for kids to climb up into!!  It was so cool...I would love to see photos of the process of building that thing (I think it was made of concrete).  Below is a photo of it from a different view from where I was sketching.
Guess the weekend is about done now.  It was great to have some quality time with the ol' sketchbook!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Nelson and the Lake"

This weekend has been full of sketching.  Today, I went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with several artists from the "Urban Sketchers Midwest" group. This was the largest turnout I've been to so far...about 20 or more folks showed up.  It was great to pass around sketchbooks in the cafe area afterwards, and see what everyone drew.

Since the security guards will only allow pencils to be used inside the museum (no ink pens or liquids), it forced me to break out the 3B.  But I rather enjoyed using the pencil and intend do it more. The sketch above is of an Egyptian bronze of "Horus of Buto".  The terra cotta portrait below is of "Jean-Francois Ducis", sculpted by Augustine Pajou in 1779.
I arrived early to do the sketch below of the sculpture of multiple commuters. It is outside the museum, so I could use ink and washes. The time ran out to go meet up with everyone before I could put details on all of the figures...but I think I like it with just the contour lines for the non-rendered ones.

These other sketches are from an outing to Shawnee Mission Lake yesterday (I took a vacation day to start the weekend early).  I rented a canoe, paddled to a quiet cove, tied up to a branch, and just enjoyed the breeze. I was a bit frustrated because my new sketch pen was clogging on me, and the ink blurred the colors of the watercolor washes. But it was fun, and I'll try this again sometime. I've posted these on Facebook, so apologies if you've seen them already.
I couldn't sleep last night, so I decided to try a self-portrait based on the "selfie" photo I took at the lake.  I haven't done a sketch of myself in a long time, but for some reason, this felt like I was drawing some other character besides me.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "More Dino Bones at Prairiefire"

Today, I returned to MUSEUM AT PRAIRIEFIRE and sketched for about 6 hours.  It got up to 95 degrees today, so I enjoyed the cool air inside.  Within the last two months since my first visit to Prairiefire Shopping Center in May, the museum added some new bones to their displays.  And the original entrance fee of $5 is now FREE!
My sketch at the top of this post is one of the new residents...a MOSASAUR.  I had been sketching for a few hours before I drew this one.  I am usually SO tight with the realism, that I wanted to break loose and do some quicker sketches.  I actually like the looser ones the best from today's efforts.  And I even let myself throw on some "splats" for fun.

The next sketch is actually my first of the day.  This is the other new display...the largest known "boney fish" called a XIPHACTINUS.  This one is 13 feet long. This was a challenge to draw, since it is so flat and dark brown...not a lot of detail was easy to see in the low lighting.
A nice "thank you" goes to Debby (Debbie? Debi?), a staff member who was kind enough to snap my photo while I was drawing.  You can see my sketch below, just before I painted it.  This is one of those examples of when I wish that I had left the drawing alone, and not added color.  A tough call sometimes, as I tend to over-work things.
Here's another sketch from across the Great Hall.

Below is a photo of the MOSASAUR on display.  The reflected white walls made this tricky to sketch...details were hard to see even while standing right next to the glass.  But it's cool to be able to get so close these bones in person. (Though, I wouldn't say that if I were swimming with a live one!)
The next drawing is of some relatives of the starfish and sea urchins...these were fossilized CRINOIDS.
These amazing creatures look like something out of the movie "ALIEN".  All of the tentacles made a wonderfully "woven" free-form tapestry.
Next up...I revisited the T-REX display.  This was the second in my series of "quick sketches"...I didn't worry so much about the actual details...just the essence of the shapes.  I used a SHARPIE "poster paint" White Marker for the lighter lines...then added more washes on top.  I want to continue to try to loosen up like this when I go sketching again.
Here's a view of the ribs of the Rex.  You can see a photo of me below where I am tucked away in between the columns by the window.  It got a little chilly sitting over the AC vents...call it "suffering for my art".  :)

And just like last visit, I couldn't resist having some fun in front of the "Dino-tron", like any big kid should.  Here I'm about to be eaten by a T-Rex...then was wing-slapped in the face by a fire-breathing Dragon...had my foot stepped on by a Velociraptor...and finally...completely soaked by a splashing Mosasaur!!  A very nice day, indeed!