I packed up my sketch pad and pens and drove to the Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. It was later in the afternoon than I wanted to get there, but I pressed on anyway. The animals are typically quiet during the midday especially in an unusually warm day in the fall. This can and does affect the tenor of the sketches much like the sculptures of Rembrandt Bugatti while he observed the animals at the Antwerp Zoo. Most of his sculptures are animals in repose. So, I will follow his lead and observe the animals as they are confined in barriers. It’s the best I can do without being in the field in Africa or Alaska.
After sketching the polar bears, brown bears and the bison, I quickly put down on paper my impressions of the giraffe. He stood mostly still, licking his lips and watching me, occasionally grabbing at a tree branch way over the top of my head. Working with sepia toned ink pens and a bristol pad of paper, I kept my eye on the giraffe while sketching. These quick sketches are mental notes of the animals movement, even if they’re standing relatively still, they are moving. They’re also sketches which stand alone but are tethered to the beginning of a sculpture. I love pen and ink. And animals.