Finally the rain stopped and we had out fourth day at the zoo. We had decided that it was silly to go to the zoo four times & not take photos, so we took our cameras as well as our sketching materials. We spent a lot of time taking photos before we got down to sketching. It was a very hot day this time, so many of the animals were sleeping out of the sun, and we missed taking their photos. As you see, we went to see the baby tiger cubs.
We were passing by the spider monkeys again and they were more co-operative this time and sat and posed for us. I named one Ginge, because a woman asked her grandchild what he thought the monkey was called. The child didn’t answer, so I made a decision – his name is Ginge. In Australia these days, redheads are often called Ranga, but this monkey is definitely a Ginge, not a Ranga.
At lunchtime we went to the lawn where we usually eat our lunch and at the end of the path was a turkey putting on a dance performance. He danced the whole time it took us to have quite a leisurely lunch, and still while we sketched him. Finally his turkey girlfriends came along to admire him.
After lunch we went looking for this lovely area of pools and fish and birds that we’d seen another day. It took us a long time to find it. The zoo is on the side of a hill and we were wandering about for a long time in the hot sun, looking .Always remember the name of the place you want to go back to. It turned out to be the Wetland Aviary. I drew the beautiful mandarin ducks, and the royal spoonbill who really was trying to fish.
Last weekend I went out on a boat on the harbour. It was a beautiful day, but quite windy & the sketchbook was fluttering about. I did quite a few pencil drawings.
The following day I went to the zoo again. Again I did quite a lot of drawings. Since then I’ve hardly been home, so still trying to finish my pages. Getting close now, so they will be on the blog very soon.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, I’m going out on a tall ship! I’m very excited, but the weather forecast is a bit rainy and high winds. I’m not sure if it will be a sketching day or not. We’ll see.
In the afternoon we drew some animals we’d been getting around to drawing since our first day. These mountain goats have their own little mountain right in the middle of the zoo. You can see them sitting high up in nooks and crannies & even in little caves. The zoo call them TAHR, but I know them as THAR. I looked them up in Wikipedia and it seems that both names are OK.
At one time I worked at a hotel in New Zealand’s Mount Cook National Park. The two imported animals in the national park were the chamois and the thar. We had to know all this stuff to tell guests at the hotel, so I was a bit thrown when I saw it spelt another way at the zoo. You can see the woolliness of their coats varies a great deal, and I haven’t found out yet what that means. Age?
Our next stop was to stand in a short queue to see the tiger cubs who had only been on display for 13 days (photo taken with my Xperia Arc). There are three of them, though we only saw two. So cute. Mother was looking absolutely gorgeous and very proud. She was keeping her eyes fixed on all the people watching her cubs, and according to the keeper, also on the father was was sitting above us. See this zoo video of them – just wonderful. A few days ago, someone put this video of lion cubs on FB and I am sooooooo envious.
Last drawing of the day was back to see my favourites- the ringtail lemurs. There are 5 males – easy to tell because of the way they always carry their tails in the air. The zoo page has some wonderful photos of them. I just love them. We spent as long just sitting watching them as we did sketching. Next time I will take my camera with the 12x zoom.
The zoo has made me think of childhood rhymes and old song lyrics. You probably saw one on one of my earlier zoo drawings and now here’s another one on the drawing of the bongo. The words, by the way, are from a song called “Civilisation”.Our third day at the zoo started out with a plan that worked pretty well. We came along past the bongos, and they were relatively cooperative. It is such a beautiful animal with distinct facial markings, but what I really love about it is the markings on its coat that look as if paint has been dribbled down it.
The zebras are even more beautiful if that is possible. I’m becoming more and more fixated on the beauty of the animals with every visit to the zoo. Just after we began to draw the zebras, the keeper came in, bringing brunch. That’s how I had a two-version drawing happening until the zebra decided that it was doing and I was able to finish the drawing.
Another beautiful day at Taronga Park Zoo, and this time we had a plan. We went straight to the Barbary Sheep – gorgeous calm looking beasts with shaggy hair like a mane, but falling down from their throat. Apparently they are a species of goat-antelope, and they’re a beautiful caramel colour.
There are quite a number of them, but on this hot morning at first they weren’t cooperating. They stood far from where we were. Fortunately with some patience, some of them decided to come and sit quite close to us, and I was able to get some better drawings.
After a large coffee and a few short visits to other favourites, we were on our way to draw the spider monkeys. As we passed the floral clock, a peacock was putting on quite a display. He was there for quite some time and totally gorgeous (and he knew it).
The spider monkeys saw us with our sketchbooks and immediately went to the other side of the enclosure. We stayed put, hoping they would come back. They remained fairly unhelpful,so we just did the best we could. I’m certain if we’d moved closer they would have moved away again. These animals know what you’re up to!
Our last drawing of the day was the colourful Cassowary. There were two of these amazing birds. We’d seen them prior to our (late) lunch and one had been sitting at the front of the enclosure. By the time we settled down to draw them they were both wandering their enclosures, so again it was a matter of waiting for one of them to take the same pose for a second time. There was a large heap of big green round eggs. An adult cassowary can be 6 feet tall or more, and the eggs were sized accordingly. Though they are native to Australia – not from around here -I’d never seen one before. It’s ‘hat’ is called a casque. It actually had metallic gold colouring at the back, so I had to get the gold acrylic paint out to finish it off when I got home.
We arrived at the gorilla enclosure just as the keeper talk was ending. I should mention that the zoo is Stroller City. Not only that, but full of school groups of very small children. All the little darlings shriek at once, so arriving when they leave is a great bonus.
The gorilla enclosure is quite large, but there are a lot of them, so plenty of opportunity to draw. The one on the top left was sitting at quite a distance, and he seemed to be the boss. I’ve drawn the expression on his face as far more benevolent than it was. I liked ‘The Thinker’ in the middle – that seemed to be a pose they liked too. The one at bottom left appeared to be pregnant.
After drawing the gorillas we had time for lunch on a lawn with a beautiful tree. Although we were there to draw the animals, we couldn’t leave without drawing the tree as well.
On our way back we wandered into the lemur enclosure – well, they are behind a pane of glass. This cheeky little person came and sat right in front of me for some time – so close I could have touched him and rested his paws on the wood that supported the glass. These ringtail lemurs are my absolute favourite. Their tails are so long & when they walk around they carry them upright, but curled like a question mark. I could watch them for hours. There are five of them according to the zoo article but they are so cheeky and entertaining that it seems like more.