Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How I spent Valentine's Day...

A day at the Santa Barbara Zoo.  I've been wanting to go to the Santa Barbara Zoo for a while now.  With the unbelievable sunny warm days,  Valentine's Day was the perfect time to go.

I took my art supplies and my husband took his camera.  While he took photo reference photos for me, I sat down to do some Plein Air painting.

Plein Air painting does not come naturally for me.  I'm always afraid that people will look over my shoulder and see my paintings and make some snide remark.  But this year I plan to change all that. 

Santa Barbara Zoo was a test run for me and the supplies I carried.  I took a hand made small journal that is 7"L x 4" wide.  When open I have a full page that measures 8" wide.  Because I wanted to keep the journal small and compact I only had 4 sheets of 140lb watercolor paper which gave me 16  half pages to complete.   My other supplies I took were: a water brush, paper towels, pencil, sharpie, 8 Faber-Castell watercolor pencils, eraser, and a set of 18 Daler-Rowney watercolour quarter pans.

My first painting was of elephants walking around and being fed.  I found a bench to sit at...that had a high wall in back of me.  This was perfect because I could paint without anybody looking over my shoulder.  Now the fun begins...juggling my supplies, my journal and water brush.  I initially started to drop paint in for the elephant, but was so frustrated with the watercolor set of paints I took (had to keep on referring back to my color chart).  Out of frustration I grabbed 3 watercolor pencils and did a quick sketch of the elephant and his surroundings.   Once I had a basic idea of how I wanted the painting to evolve I was able to mix and add watercolor to the painting.  I think I worked on this painting about 5 minutes.

Across the way was a Cockatoo.  After painting him, I went back to watch and paint the elephant being feed.
It was a good day at the Zoo.  Not only did I get to see all the lovely animals,  I got to spend the day with the love of my life.

Tomorrow I share more watercolors that I did at the zoo.

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