Friday Fauna-wild and otherwise

Dreaming of Borneo: a beautiful orangutan at the OKC Zoo.
Dreaming of Borneo: a beautiful orangutan poses at the OKC Zoo.

Zoo drawing is a great way to sharpen your animal drawing chops and the Tulsa Zoo’s rainforest exhibit looks to be a large one, an indoor walkabout with a 50 foot high ceiling and free-flying birds. I’m going there today to sketch, and should probably take binoculars. I don’t want to miss a feather.

On the easel: a pair of coati mundis, posed on a high branch in a tropical forest. The coatis were sketched in Panama, the branch photographed in the Peruvian Amazon. Please don't tell anyone. Oil on Arches primed paper, 24" x 18". Please note the wooden palette box at the right. I built it. They're usually called a "French Mistress" but since I made it I'm calling it a "Rumanian Gigolo". 'Nuff said.
On the easel: a pair of coatimundis suffering vertigo in a tropical forest. Oil on Arches oil-primed paper, 24″ x 18″.

Fresh paintings are currently hanging like wet clothes on the wall behind my desk and as they get close to completion I clip them up there until one of them yells for help and goes back on the easel. Or not. Right now there’s a pair of coatis in residence, and I’m ignoring the cries from the clothesline.

Coatis, sketched on a low tree on Barro Colorado Island, looking curious and mischievous and very omnivorous (they were looking for fruit and grubs). BCI was once home to large groups of coatis but in the last few years their numbers have fallen off a bit since a jaguar or two swam across the canal.
Coatimundis, sketched on Barro Colorado Island,  curious and omnivorous (they were eating grubs and palm fruits, my favorite snack, too). BCI was until recently home to large numbers of coatis. Then a jaguar or two swam over from the mainland and crawled aboard, hungry and carnivorous.

If you sketch and paint birds, you may enjoy the novelty of painting mammals. It’s fair to say it’s not far from figure painting, if you think about it. We have so much more in common with  coati architecture than we do with the bird model.

Just a little less fur.

Happy Friday.

Coatis, in progress. Oil on Arches primed paper, 24" x 18"
Coatis, in progress. Oil on Arches primed paper, 24″ x 18″

9 thoughts on “Friday Fauna-wild and otherwise

    1. zeladoniac says:

      As far as anyone knows, the jaguar is still ensconced. There are also pumas and ocelots.The only way anyone knows is if they trip the camera flash beam crossing one of the trails. They do add a touch of spice to the jungle; all but the coatis are pleased to have them on board.

  1. Ken Januski says:

    You’re sure right about coati architecture! It seems like I’m back on familiar ground when I make my very occasional attempts at mammals. Birds however remain terra incognita. And I just learned this again drawing herons down the street a few minutes ago!

    I think I like the orangutan the best but that coati painting looks to be on its way to something special as well. My guess is that it will be my favorite when done.

  2. Marc says:

    Aahhh, its so gooood!other beautifull picture that remembers my style,The coatis on the rain forest accompanied,with bromelias!,i waiting the impatiently the final result of this great picture.

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