I returned home on Monday from attending the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Annual Dinner in Santa Barbara, California. I spent a productive afternoon the day before the Saturday event sketching at the Santa Barbara Zoo, keeping it really simple: a 7×5″ Pentalic Nature Sketchbook and a Sakura Micron .01 black pen.
Sketching live animals can be quite challenging and is great exercise for one’s visual memory. None of these took more than about five minutes. Sometimes I only did the contour and filled in the bodies a bit later, like with the condors above. I did take photos but learned long ago that drawing animals is a very different experience than shooting photos in that you have to really LOOK and SEE to get anything down. In the end it’s as much about process as result, but I’m pretty happy with these.
I’m back from our three week trip to England and Romania, a success on all counts! It was lovely to be in England in May, my first trip there in eleven years. Not much had changed…the countryside was still beautiful, the beer was excellent and I was able to get a nice selection of flower garden seeds at a big Garden Centre. I loved seeing Stonehenge again and we finally got to really explore Avebury, which we’d only had time to drive through on a previous trip.
Here’s a album of sketches, plus a couple of watercolors I did (Sakura Micron .01 pen on paper):
And on to Romania, a country that I had never been to before. I did a little research and ended up booking a tour to the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania in hopes of experiencing the largest surviving areas of the ancient forests that used to cover Europe and seeing European brown bear, of which there are close to 5000 in Romania, the largest population of any country in Europe. I succeeded on both counts and and all that and more will be the subject of a couple of upcoming blog posts.
After a week in Romania, we went back to London for three days, catching the “Sargent and Friends” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery on the last day. We also spent time just hanging out at Trafalgar Square, where I did these sketches.
On our last day, we spent the afternoon at St. James Park, which had great birdwatching and many very old trees. I got out my watercolors, finally, and did a couple of small paintings.
Little by little I’m getting caught up, but there are a couple of really interesting irons in the fire that I’ll be posting about in the weeks ahead that have taken a fair amount of email time.
In the meantime, there’s this trip I just took, during which I managed to find some sketching time, both in my journal and in my iPad.
First are the ones I did in my Moleskin sketch journal. They were pretty much all done in five minutes or less for the small ones and maybe twenty for the one that crosses both pages. Some were done during lunch stops, some at camp between drives. The cows and sheep were done at the home ger of my driver, where I got to stay overnight. That wonderful experience will rate its own post:
Since no one pestered me while I did the above sketch, I got out my iPad and did a couple more quick studies.
Before we left on our “wildlife tour”, Pokey and I had time to wander around UB. I took her to the Museum of the Chojin Lama. Since I had been in the temples before, I got out my iPad and did a little sketching of a few of the statues flanking the entry stairs of the main temple.