We had a pretty interesting assignment in our field sketching class called Replica Illustration. It was just that. We each chose an artist to duplicate, using the same medium and size on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. I chose to copy Walton Ford. He is an incredible artist painting in an old natural history style with political undertones. I discovered that we share a similar story. We both obtained a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and we were both selected to spend a year in Rome through the European Honors Program. I thought that was pretty neat. Anyway, because he works very large, I could only fit a detail in an 8 1/2 x 11 frame. Housatonic Ghost Cats is 60 x 120 inches. It's really big and really beautiful.
I had a hard time getting into this assignment at first, but I ended up loving it in the end. It was really gratifying to be able to copy a work that you admire and love. You also end up learning about new ways to use the medium. An upcoming assignment will be to draw in the style of the artist we just copied. I think it will be great to be able to utilize what we got out of the replica into our own work.
Last Wednesday, the class field trip was to a place called Wild Things. Wild Things is a non-profit organization that provides homes for displaced wildlife. Many of these animals work with trainers for movies, tv, or advertising. You've probably seen some of these animals. I didn't know how I was going to feel when I got there. Although this place isn't a zoo, I was worried that I might feel a bit sad like I often do at zoos. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt like all the animals seemed happy and content.
This was the first time that we drew from live animals. It was exhausting. Non-stop observation of moving specimens requires a lot of concentration, and by the end of the day, I was pooped. Stupidly, I forgot my camera, so all I have to share are pages from my sketchbook. I didn't get to all the animals like I had hoped. It was such a treat, and the experience left me with such admiration for all of the animals.
ELVIS, Red Kangaroo, 6 yrs
BARBIE, African crusted porcupine, 9 yrs
At one point, I moved my chair a bit and frightened her out of her relaxed state. She instantly became twice her size as her needles burst open. It was quite intimidating and she startled me right back.
THEO, Mara patagonia cavy, 5 yrs
CHIP and DALE, Capybara, 1 1/2 yrs, brothers
Remember the rodents of unusual size from The Princess Bride? Well, capybara are it. They are the largest rodent.
FRED, Ostrich, age unknown
LADY and ZAIER, Lion, 13 yrs
BUTCH, Elephant, 31 yrs, only male elephant
ED, Spotted Hyena, 2 1/2 - 3 yrs
MR. HOBBS, Tiger, 4 yrs
MISCHA, Siberian Lynx, 21 yrs
HUMPHREY, Camel, age unknown