Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shrimp Time

Shrimp Time 7 (3/4)" x 4 (3/4)" watercolor on paper

My favorite thing lately is when they get fed, they get all excited and go down to the water area. I like when their heads go underwater looking for shrimp. When all the flamingos are in the water their reflections are so pink in the green water, so I'll need to properly capture that one day. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Flamingos 16.5" x 11" charcoal on paper

I've been studying their movements, I love when they're eating shrimp and moving their heads back and forth. I enjoy the flamingo in the foreground, you can see the movement of the neck. I render the form when they hold a position.They're constantly twitching and moving, like the standing flamingo to the right, head moving back and forth- probably looking at all the humans entering the exhibit, being like 'who let in all these animals?'

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Flock of Flamingos II

Flock of Flamingos II 16 (1/2)" x 7" charcoal on paper

Check out that top Flamingo! Finally got a sketch where I was able to capture a flamingo riffling its feathers. They move a lot so I tend to draw a few different flamingos in vine charcoal and I'll rub it out if another sketch is working out better. This vertical format is really good with the flamingos.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Flamingo Sleeping

Flamingo Sleeping 3 (3/8)" x 3 (3/8)" watercolor on paper

I used a few layers on masking fluid rather than just one. I painted silhouette and the background at the zoo. I finished the flamingo looking at my drawings and color studies. It's so tiny, weird to see it blown up big on a digital screen.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Big GBH

The Big GBH 12" x 7.5" marker on paper
Actually got the rock in this drawing, love how clean the line is in this one. Line is currency and the idea is to not use a lot of currency, spent your money where you need it. I do a lot of line exercises where I'm basically running a line down a page but I'm adjusting the pressure as I go down.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron 11" x 17" marker on paper

I do caricatures at the zoo and there's a lot of down time, especially on weekdays. My booth is next to the penguins so I can turn around at my easel and either see a Humboldt penguin or the Great Blue Heron. Lately I've been calling him the Big GBH. He actually isn't part of the exhibit, he just flies in for the fish.  He moves so slowly, it's like he's really thinking about his next step. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Phoenicopterus Chilensis

Phoenicopterus Chilensis 16" x 10.5" charcoal on paper

This is actually the same flamingo drawn three times. He was continually bowing to get water and grooming so I would get back and forth between the different figures. When I squint my eyes at the scene the pink flamingos really pop, it's in the value. The lightest light  is on the flamingo while everything else is generally darker than the flamingos.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Flock of Flamingos

Flock of Flamingos 18 x 7.5 charcoal on paper

Gestures feel like the appropriate way to show the flamingos since they are constantly moving, always twitching, nipping at one another. Gestures can give a closer relationship between hand and eye. When I draw an animal I'm constantly reminded that when I look back up from my paper the animal has already moved. Matisse liked to use line while observing because it gave an instantaneous record of immediate impression. I might follow that road- I dig it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Flamboyance

A Flamboyance (16" x 10.5") charcoal on paper

Flamingos sleep 90% of the day but when a zookeeper comes in they get all alert and freaked out. It's really adorable how they extend their necks and get close together, they're like 'intruder, intruder!' A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance but they can also be called a flock, colony, pat or regiment. I like the gesture of their necks, it's just a fluid pink line attached to a bulb. Now that I'm looking at the small thumbnail on the screen, I really enjoy the flamingos in the background because that's how they look in the shade.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Flamingo Studies

Flamingo Studies 11" x 7.5" charcoal on paper

I used some vine charcoal to coat the paper, after that I drew with a vine charcoal stick to do gestures, alongside an eraser and a 4B charcoal pencil. This technique seems like the fastest way to get a gesture, eye to hand. Lately I feel like I've been doing blind contour drawing where I'm looking at the same time as moving my hand, not necessarily looking at the paper. Working from life has been good, makes me work quick. I want to see how fast I can capture something so I've been blurring my eyes to get rid of all the extraneous details. As Matisse would say, "All that is not useful in the picture is detrimental."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Three Flamingos

Three Flamingos 7 (3/4)" x  4 (3/4)"

I like how dreamy this watercolor feels, the colors really jive together. I love how their bills skim the surface of the water to get shrimp. Sometimes they stamp their pink feet to see the shrimp move in the water, it's really cute, makes me laugh every time.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Grooming 6 (1/2)" x 4 watercolor on paper

Here's another study of a flamingo grooming its feathers, I like how rich and dark this one turned out. I'm starting to realize that the less you touch the paper the better.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Flamingo Grooming

Flamingo Grooming 6 (1/2)" x 4 watercolor on paper

I'm in love with how flamingos move their necks especially while grooming. My process with these watercolors is that I do a few sketches of gestures while observing, then I paint the silhouette of the gesture with masking fluid. After that I do the background, wait for it to dry, then I paint the flamingo based on my notes. I also like to look out and blur my eyes so I'm getting the color generally right.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Flamingos in the Sun

Flamingos in the Sun 4 (3/4)" x 7 (3/4)" watercolor on paper

In this study I was looking at what was happening with the colors when my eyes were blurred. I wanted to know what was happening generally throughout the scene, what it was saying as a whole rather than looking at tiny nuances and details. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Chilean Flamingos

Chilean Flamingos 7 (3/4)" x 4 (3/4)" watercolor on paper

Did you know that flamingos are born white? They're pink from shrimp and apparently there's green and blue ones too! I've been working at the Woodland Park Zoo as a photographer/caricature artist. On my lunch breaks I go to the Chilean Flamingos, there's also swans and ducks in there too.