Monday, July 1, 2013

Portraits at the Zoo

(Direct link to video) I arrived at the Bronx Zoo early yesterday to do some watercolor portraits. I had no luck with the mandrills, who were too hyper, so I moved on to the gorillas.

One of the females came down to pick up big handfulls of carrots that were scattered in front of the window. I couldn't interest her in what I was doing. She shyly tried to disguise herself with a leafy branch as she grabbed the carrots. The she went halfway back in the enclosure to enjoy her breakfast, where I hoped she would hold still for a while.

The big silverback male was named Ernie. He coolly surveyed the people watching him, and then he looked up to the side. I was so impressed with the powerful forms of his head as I sketched him in watercolor, gouache, and watercolor pencils.

There was a giraffe standing quite still in the indoor enclosure. In the video you can see how I laid in the background with the opaque gouache mixed with ultramarine blue watercolor to get a smooth tone.
MediaWatercolor Pocket Setwatercolor pencils, watercolor sketchbook, and various sizes of flat watercolor brushes. 
Bronx Zoo (also called Wildlife Conservation Society)
Previously: Gorilla Portraits


Elena Jardiniz said...

I'm impressed the gorillas let you draw them! I used to try a lot, but they always became very upset and antsy and I didn't want to bother them.

I figured it was because they don't like that intent stare, perhaps you're better at glancing at and away. The orangutans would just kinda smirk and look back, much less shy.

One day I tried to show a friend what would happen, but they were reacting to some folks near us, much more intensely - they were veterinarians! Well, of course, who else takes notes, looks at them, then nasty things happen.

F. Emmanuel Laverde said...

Wów! James! beautiful!!
How you catch the esence of the animal in movement!
The video is Awesome.