Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Another ZOO Day"

Yesterday, I decided I needed to get out of the house and go do something fun. "Hey, I'll go to the ZOO and draw animals!" I said to myself. By the time I got there, it really never dawned on me that a lovely sunny Memorial Day would also inspire a couple of thousand other folks to get out of the house and go do something fun. Not being a "people person" (especially a "huge crowds of people" person), I sighed...and went about my adventure anyway.

Above is one of my favorite critters...the beautiful WARTHOG! I love every bump, tusk, and gnarly thing about these guys. Took a while to get this sketch locked down...he kept getting up, walking away, then back again to lay in the sand.

I decided to walk in reverse order from my last visit to the zoo in July of '09 (Check my labels on the right of this blog for other zoo sketches). So I went straight over to the AFRICA area, and warmed up with a few poses of some baboons.

Around the corner were these multi-colored African hunting dogs...but they weren't hunting. They were sleeping...so I let them lie...as the old saying instructs us to.

Found my way over to the Crocodile House, where I took note of this guy's camouflage. Did you know that if you sit quietly in a zoo, minding your own business drawing a crocodile, that several children will soon be crawling all over you, to watch? I had forgotten this little detail about zoo sketching...happened almost every place I stopped to draw. It was okay, though...I decided it was good training for my soon-to-be-a-Grandpa status, come September.
This underwater view above was right up next to the glass enclosure...the croc hoping to make a quick snack of one of those curious children watching me draw. Here are some of the questions I was pummeled with while drawing: "What are you doing?" "Are you an artist?" "Did you draw that from scratch?" (I told him, "Yep...no tracing here!)

And my personal favorite question of the day was from a very loud teenage girl looking over my shoulder as I was drawing the hippo below: "Are you drawing that?" (as I am literally "drawing that" while she watched.) I just turned around with a huge grin of disbelief on my face, and said nothing.
The little rhino sketch above was disappointing, in that the beast kept eating and moving around. So I just managed a quick little thumbnail drawing.

It was almost closing time, when I came up on the elephants enjoying their evening meal. I thought, great...they'll stand still for me! Wrong...I would do some sketching...pick up my gear, walk down the path...sketch a bit...pick up, move down, sketch, etc. The last drawing of this female was fun...I was captivated by her smiling face (between bites of hay), and the long girly eyelashes. It was a good day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dinos In The Garden!

I currently have family visiting from out of town. Today we drove out to Powell Gardens to enjoy looking at the various dinosaurs that they allow to roam free throughout the grounds. Here are a few of the ones that happened by, while we soaked up the sun and smelled the flowers. Actually, two of them were just resting under some trees...we tried not to disturb them too much.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Spudnut Cowboy"

Just returned from a trip home to see my family in El Dorado, Arkansas...a weekend full of sketchin', eatin', laughin', bush-hoggin' and swimmin'! Thought I'd post a few images of some of the fun.

On one rainy morning, I headed over to one of the iconic places in my home town...The Spudnut Shop! Most folks wonder what you're talking about..."What's a spudnut?!" It's better than any donut you'll ever taste...made from potato flour and love, covered in a sugar glaze and greasy as can be. Melts in your mouth!!
I had started the sketch below, when "hoss" sat down right in front of me (the drawing at the top)! Couldn't resist. I told someone later, "Don't sit down in my composition and not expect to get drawed!" (You may notice that I'm even writing with a southern drawl now...always happens when I "go home" for a bit.) Anyway...after the "Spudnut Cowboy" left, I finished the sketch of the tables.
Mom, her sketchin' buddy "Speck", and I spent a couple of days on a sketch adventure . Mom had scouted out some locations before I arrived, and hit the "Mother Lode" with a wonderful place ..."Rusty Acres" Salvage Yard!! The name says it all...acres and acres of junked out cars, trucks, tractors and who knows what...all rusting away. It was beautiful!!! We stayed out there for a few hours, in spite of the threatening rain clouds, and had a blast. I will be back!!
Mom and "Speck" sketched some ol' John Deere tractors, while I was around the corner continuing my series of vans with weird things sitting on the roof.
We ended that day's efforts at the Arkansas Gas and Oil Commission building, next to First Assembly of God Church.
Another day, we drove to nearby Smackover to visit the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources (a.k.a. the Oil and Brine Museum). There was an interesting vehicle made from a former circus trailer that was owned by the locally famous "Goat Woman" during the depression era. She was a "one woman band" and could play seven instruments at once. She lived in this little trailer, raised goats, and would entertain any visitors who might drop by.
There were a couple of old "boom town" vehicles on display...I liked this delivery truck.
Since it was raining, and we were getting tired, I was not able to sketch some of the terrific treasures out on the grounds of the museum...antique oil drilling machinery. Another time!

One of the highlights of the trip was going out to the home of my brother Kris and his wife Debra. For the first time in my life I got to drive a tractor and bush-hog the front pasture!!! I had a silly grin on my face the whole time. Kris was more than happy to "let me" mow for about an hour. (Reminds me of Tom Sawyer's approach to getting his fence white-washed.) After showing me the ropes, and goin' a lap or two around the field, he turned me loose on my own.
Whew! Worked up an appetite...I need me a SPUDNUT!!