Polar Bear Play and more zoo sketches

Pitt Big Brush Pens in a Stillman & Birn 6x8" Delta

Our sketch group was back at the Bronx Zoo on Thursday. It was a spectacularly warm day, so we spent much of the time finally being able to sketch comfortably outdoors. We weren't the only ones with the idea to visit the zoo on that beautiful day; that was the most crowded I've seen it all winter! We started out with the Polar Bear. I'd been wanting to sketch him for so long, and this seemed my best opportunity, since he was outside. He was engaged in his morning rest, but did keep moving and looking around --- not nearly as still as our figure models in life drawing! One thing about drawing animals is that you realize that even though you thought the poses in life drawing were way too short, at least the models don't move much once they assume their pose!

I went past the Polar Bear again later in the day on my way back to the car. He was swimming in his deep pool, diving, splashing, and playing with pool toys! Who knew that Polar Bears would play like that? He'd throw them up in the air and chase them under the water. It was very entertaining to watch.

From there we went over to Jungle World to see what was there. Even though we've gone several times this winter, we never went there. Well, that is the greatest place to sketch!!!

The gorgeous black panther was lying on a thick log in his exhibit, which gave me a chance to examine that huge paw that he left stretched downward over the limb. The Malayan Tapir was in the exhibit just across from him, and I'd never seen one of those before. They have fabulous shapes to sketch. There was so much in this exhibit to draw, but since it was indoors, I felt it would be best to save it for cold or rainy weather, and I ventured back outside.

The deer in this herd didn't stay still for long. Even the ones lying down shifted position frequently, plus they were far away and hard to see well. I tried to capture some gestures though, and study the way they move and are put together.. I'd brought binoculars with me, but found that they are really impractical. By the time you look through them, find your subject and focus, the subject has moved on.

I love sketching camels. Like giraffes, I find they have fascinating, expressive faces. I did a quick portrait sketch of this one, and was about to start another when we were asked by the zoo staff to move. They were trying to move one of the camels from the enclosure into a building, and didn't want anybody to become a victim of a recalcitrant camel, so I only have this one to show.

All in all, it was another great day at the zoo! When I get home, I look at my photos and always wish I'd taken more. I get so absorbed in my sketches that I forget to take photos.