Rhino

Our family visited the Detroit Zoo a few weeks ago and I swear the animals were posing for me! One of our favorites is the giant majestic rhinoceros.  We have two rhinos at the zoo and this day they were front and center.

Male Southern white rhinoceroses Jasiri (“courageous” in Swahili) and Tamba (“strut proudly” in Swahili) arrived in 2005 as the first of their species to live at the Detroit Zoo. Jasiri often shows his playful side by ganging up on his toys while running around the habitat. Tamba is the more dominant of the two and struts around with confidence and intelligence. Detroitzoo.org

Because of the small sized Bristol board I used, the head size had to be reduced in order to fit in the other features. My version below looks a bit more like a juvenile, but I went with it. I love his sweet expression.

Detroit Zoo Rhinoceros
Baby Rhino

Baaaaaa

Hello again. It’s been a while since I posted. After my last few paintings for others, I wanted to create something for our home. We have a large yellow-golden wall in the living room that begs for an equally large colorful painting. I like to change up my decorative pictures depending on the season and I needed a large spring / summertime image to fill the space.

After weeks of scouring my own pictures and the internet, I discovered this one on Flickr taken by a German photographer; a herd of sheep grazing the hillside at dusk. The vibrant colors and quirky composition grabbed me the moment I spotted it. The colors would match beautifully with our interiors. I know they say Art doesn’t have to match, but I guess I haven’t fully bought into that notion.

The number of sheep became overwhelming for me and I wasn’t convinced that I could get away with the angle. The more I stared at the “gaggle,” the more I saw them standing on their heads! I couldn’t leave it like this — it would drive the OCD in me crazy. I pared down the heard to a manageable size; one that I could have more control over.

Grazing
“Gaggle of Sheep”

Less sheep became even fewer sheep. At one point, my son commented that they look like elephants! Yikes! I love elephants, but that was not the goal! On to yet another reiteration of sheep.

Baaa
Refining

Finally, once I had a much more manageable group of “sheep-like” animals; I began detailing the faces. It was surprising to me if you change one little line that indicates bone structure or move the placement of the ears upward, they look like a completely different animal — think female lion. Below shows the finished painting on our wall. The yellow fields match perfectly!
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…

Baaa
Baaa

Mooooo…

I love cow paintings! For the past few years I’ve seen them everywhere and wanted to purchase one. But the artist in me thought, “I can do that!” So, I finally took the plunge and created my first cow.

Blue Nose
Blue Nose

After finding just the right image online I began by priming the background a blue “sky” color. Next I drew in the cow using vine charcoal. Instead of beginning with local colors, I choose to start with the shadow and highlight colors to create a more dramatic effect. I really liked this first phase with the blue nose and eyes – it was very Andy Warhol-esque.

Adding Color

I really wanted to paint this one loose and fast. Well, that’s how she started as you can tell by the the ears and top of head. But along the way, she smoothed out. I reconciled this by realizing that not every aspect of a painting has to, or should be, the same. Right? I mean, that would be awfully boring!

Refining

So, just as my boys look in the morning with their hair all dissheveled and moppy – so does my cow. Who knows, maybe she had a rough night! I wanted the focal point to be her sweet face so I went more soft and delicate here. She was a gift for my mom who also loves cows. She already has a new home – over her fireplace mantel – so I can visit her anytime.

Mooooooo…

Moo…

Zoe

This is a pen and ink drawing of our feisty one-year-old kitty, Zoe. I took a close- up photograph of her curled up in one of her favorite spots: her little basket on our counter-top under the warm lights.

Zoe

Rain

I’ll admit it, I love Facebook. Besides keeping in touch with friends and family, I learn so much from interesting sites and people. One of the best uses for the social media site are the incredible shared photographs. They make for great artistic inspiration! This is a popular photo, one that you may have seen before, and perfect for soft pastels.

Frog In Rain
11″x14″ Pastel on Canson Pastel Paper adapted from photograph