Hoo! I made the grade and was selected to be an exhibiting artist in the project AnimalScapes of the Sierra Nevada Foothills. This show, a tri-county project of the Calaveras County Arts Council, Tuolumne County Arts Alliance, and the Amador County Arts Council, will include over 50 artists and makers. We artists will be creating pieces—paintings, pottery, photos, sculptures, even poetry—that depict animals in the Sierra Foothills, and our works will travel around the three counties in an exhibition to be displayed in 2016.
There are many good things about this show. It will raise awareness of the animals that live in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, and publicize animal welfare organizations working in the Foothill communities. I hope that it will increase the human will to protect and care for the other species that live in the area.
But one of the best things about being a part of this show? There were two field trips. I love a field trip. (Yeah, selfish. I know.)
For our first foray we piled into a big yellow school bus and spent a long day rambling around Calaveras and Alpine Counties. It was great to leave the isolation of the studio and meet other local artists (my people!).
First stop was the New Melones Lake Visitor Center & Museum, where rangers led us on a short hike and we spotted an osprey roosting in a tree. The ranger said it was probably a fledgling from last summer’s clutch of chicks raised in the osprey nest built near the center.
At Calaveras Big Trees State Park we had a short tour of the redwoods, led by volunteer docent Dexter. Dexter gave a good tour, and even better, had a great face for sketching. (That’s the illustration at the top of this post.)
This trip was like sketching heaven for me, and my pencil was busy the entire time. I tried to catch as much visual information as I could. Since the theme of this show is animals, I spent time drawing the taxidermy specimens in the visitor centers. Sketching stuffed animals isn’t as fun as drawing live beasts, but on the bright side, I could really concentrate on understanding perspective, proportions and forms.
I’m slowly adding color to the sketches, as there was no time for dragging out watercolors during either tour. It’s been a great way to experiment with the paint, as I’ve scanned the original pencil sketches to preserve them. With the sketches safely stored on my computer, I feel like I can take some chances with the paint.
AnimalScapes blog posts
Drawing animals for AnimalScapes
Sketching bears and tigers at the PAWS Ark 2000 animal sanctuary