Sunday, August 29, 2010

Inter-species Peace: Bella & Tarra

The Whole 9 Gallery has been sponsoring, The Peace Project, a gallery show based on the concept of Peace. It's opening will be in Culver City, CA on World Peace Day in September.

I’ve been wanting to submit something to this project for awhile, and as I thumbed through all of the beautiful traditional imagery of doves, globes, people holding hands, etc… I couldn’t help but think there has got to be something else just as symbolic and meaningful, but would speak to me as an artist and a human being. Then I saw the special on Bella & Tarra. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I was so moved and touched by this story, I just had to depict these two characters - Peace Project or no Project... I really didn't care. Everyone knows my deep love and affection for the animal world, and this story seemed to seal the deal. I was so moved that I just had to depict it visually.

I look at these animals, and see so many differences – Carnivore vs. Vegetarian, Canine vs. Pachyderm, 8,000 lbs vs. 40 lbs… the list goes on. I wanted to capture the simplicity of their relationship. The giant stature of the elephant bursting outside of the frame, and the small bright-eyed pooch snuggled in her trunk.

The story originally aired in January of 2009 (somehow I missed it!) but Bella and Tarra are still going strong. If you are lucky you may see a glipse of them on the live ELECAM at the Elephant Sanctuary website.

So my idea of Peace and Harmony? Well, I think you just need to look at this "Animal Odd Couple" to know...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Illustration Friday - ATMOSPHERE

The couple decided that Mattie shouldn't live inside the house anymore. They put her outside with a big bowl of food and a big bowl of water. She was so scared. All alone.

Another oldie, but goodie... "Mattie Forgotten Outside" or "All Alone." I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on this piece lately on my Whole 9 Portfolio and I thought it captured a sense of the word "atmosphere" featured this week on Illustration Friday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swinging Summer Days

There is nothing that compares to playing on the swings during the summer holiday. Some of my fondest childhood memories are swinging on my swing-set in the backyard before school started...

Friday, August 13, 2010


I decided to stretch my sketchbook a bit and practice drawing some babies. It's hard to find structure under all that adorable chub!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Illustration Friday - CAGED

This week, Illustration Friday's word challenge is "CAGED".... Immediately I thought my "Kennel Scene" fit the word perfectly.

Poor Mattie - still breaks my heart a little to look at this one, even though the real Mattie is safe and sound, sleeping at my feet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The San Diego Zoo

This past week I was lucky enough to travel to Southern California and visit the famous San Diego Zoo! It was great. There were so many animals waiting to be captured in my sketchbook.... I think I even salivated a little bit upon arrival :-)

The Koala Bears were my first subject. I have never seen a Koala live - and you might actually mistake these guys for stuffed animals! Apparently their favorite pass-time, besides eating eucalyptus is sleeping. I did manage to catch one in the act of eating... but before I could finish my sketch, he crashed out! Must take a lot of energy to eat all of those leaves.

After my time with the Koalas, I happened upon the New Guinea Singing Dog. This wild dog is apparently a distant relative of the dingo, and has been known to howl in harmony if they are in a group. He wasn't letting out a single tune for us, unfortunately. I guess he was waiting for the rest of the band...

Then it was time for the big cats. The San Diego Zoo has a wide variety of them, but the Black Jaguar captured me the most. Orson was extremely active for his old age - zipping all over his exhibit. I managed to get somewhat of an action "shot"... He was magnificent.

After spending time with a large carnivore, it was time to visit one of the zoo's most coveted exhibits - The Panda Bear. On loan from China, San Diego has 2 adult Pandas (Su Lin & Zhen Zhen), and one baby. This baby (Yun Zi) happens to weigh as much as my dog (45 lbs)... pretty big baby...! I was lucky enough to find a spot in the back corner where I could draw this adorable creature and still keep out of the way for the many people waiting in line. Zhen Zhen was enjoying her bamboo snack... so much so that by the end of the drawing she needed to lie down! (but continue to eat - of course!)

After my visit with the Panda Bear, the day started to get hot and the animals started to cool themselves down (by hiding out in the shade or in their pools). My last sketchbook entry was perhaps, the "coolest" of all the animals - The Orangutan. This female got such a kick out of watching the visitors, you would have thought WE were the exhibit. I'm sure all of us look hilarious with our paper cups and funny "fur"... What a gorgeous creature to end my visit with!