Friday, July 10, 2009

Drawing and sketching at the Cincinnati Zoo

…continued from yesterday’s post on Lorakeet Landing and zoo camp at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
At zoo camp, each camper gets a sketchbook! Matty and Maria have participated in zoo camp over the past three summers and “the sketchbook” has been a big part of Matty’s enjoyment each year. In his words,
“When you sketch or draw an animal, you remember it better. Now I have a record of my zoo camp for the past three years, and I remember what it was like when I was drawing the animals.”
Sometimes we will pull out the old sketchbooks and look them over, and Matty tells me all about the animals, but this year’s sketchbook was a little “sketchy.” In the past, the teachers let the kids linger at each exhibit so they had plenty of time to draw and write about what they were seeing, but this year, the teacher wasn’t quite as contemplative, so there were holes where animal sketches should have been. No prob…we headed down yesterday to plug those holes.

Sketches made by Matthew Riccetti at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2009.
The White Tiger was very cooperative and lazed in a perfect pose!

The Margay was a very interesting cat. He had 
the biggest, buggiest eyes we'd ever seen on 
a cat...very helpful for a nocturnal animal! 

Sketch of the Manatee made by Matthew Riccetti at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2009.
The kids did a lot with the Manatees. 

They really enjoyed working with them. 

Sketches made by Matthew Riccetti at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2009.
Matty had 42 sketches total. These are just a few. Way to go Matty!!!

Sketchbooks are fun because you can write in them too, describing the weather, what the animal was doing, how you were feeling…whatever! It’s also hard. Sketching plein air is challenging because usually the animal doesn’t stay in one position, but it’s fun to draw so fast you capture one moment in time. You’re not worrying about perfection when you’re sketching. It’s more about the process and the connection with the animal as you draw him. One hundred percent of your focus is on that animal…his fur, the shape of the eyes, the thickness of the chin, and as you put time into studying the animal, your appreciation grows…feelings deepen…and it changes the way you see the animal. So, if you haven’t tried it, grab a sketchbook and a pencil and head outside and draw from life. No one has to see your drawings…just move the pencil around and write about what you’re seeing. You will be surprised at what happens!

Sketch of the Serval by Kelly Riccetti at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2009. It was so nice to spend the day sketching with Matty.
I enjoyed sketching the Serval. We were very close 
to him but had to move fast as he was waking up! 

Sketch of a White tiger by Kelly Riccetti at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2009. The White Tigers were very cooperative and lounged in front of us!
The White Tiger was gorgeous and so 
polite. He waited until we were finished 
sketching before moving his position! 

I draw birds all the time outside, but usually there are no people around. Dealing with a crowd can be challenging. Matty and I both found it's hard at first with people bustling around, but once you lose yourself in the animal, the people fade away. It's very good practice, and sketching really does enhance your visit. Instead of running around trying to see everything, you have to slow down and take your time studying the animals. It was the first time I ever sketched on location at the zoo. I'll definitely do it again. 


Elaine said...

Lovely sketches! Spending the day with you sketching is something Matty will look back on and cherish.

Sue said...

What great memories Matty is going to have. And the sketches are wonderful. This inspires me to give it a try.......

Anonymous said...

Nice to sketch pictures. That always seems like another era to me. I remember when I was doing journals for people that there was a time in living in America when people did a lot of journals with sketches and poetry. A nice time to have lived.

I enjoyed your sketches very much and am glad to see it. As a visitor said to me yesterday, something like: This digital age is so temporary. Turn the electric off and it disappears. Everything.

He was looking at some of my early wood carvings and said they were something people could see with or without electricity and would be around for hundreds of years unless the termites got to them.

Vickie said...

Fun post and wonderful sketches! Matty is very lucky.

Ginnymo said...

What a great post and such nice memories to keep. It will be fun to look at them in the future. Matty will get a kick out of showing these to his own children someday.

NatureStop said...

Wonderful sketches!!

Laure Ferlita said...

Kuddos to you both for getting out there and sketching - crowds are very overwhelming to me! The rewards more than make up for it though!

Great sketches and it looked like a whole lot of fun!!!

Shelley said...

I love your sketches of the animals - makes it more personal! Zoo camp sounds like fun - why didn't they have cool things like that when I was a kid??? LOL!!

Janice K said...

What a great idea. I wish we would have had something like that here when my son was young. He loved to draw. That would have been a really fun summer activity.

Thank Matty for sharing with us. He does really well.

Mary said...

What a wonderful idea and great way to go through a zoo! Love the manatee drawing! The Cincinnati Zoo is such a great place.

Cindy said...

Hi Kelly. Great sketches. Looks like the talent runs in the family. Really nice. Have a wonderful weekend. ~Cindy

Anonymous said...

Kelly, that White Tiger is absolutely brilliant. Your sketching is really professional now.

Adrienne Zwart said...

I've tried sketching before. I even had a special pencil for it--I wonder where that is.

I wasn't good enough to dare showing the results to anyone, but I totally agree with you that it helps connect you to the moment. Yours are lovely, and Matty's are great, too!

Creative Cards said...

Well Matty's done a fabulous job...I can't draw for the life of me. I can do stick people though!! LOL....

holdingmoments said...

A great talent you both have.
Drawing/sketching; something I wish I could do. I can't draw a straight line lol

Heather said...

Fascinating. I really enjoy both of your sketches, but I also enjoy your description of the sketching process. I used to draw a lot when I was younger, but I was very much a perfectionist about it, and I have to wonder how I would do if I tried sketching at this point in my life. I've thought about sketching birds, especially in the winter when they are so present at the feeders. Maybe I'll give it a try sometime...

quarksparrow said...

I love going to that place -- where you're so absorbed in your work that the people around you just dissolve. Kudos to you for getting Matty out there sketching from life. There's such an honesty and responsiveness to this sort of drawing.

Montanagirl said...

Great artwork! The sketches are really good. Sounds like a good way to spend a day!

Kelly said...

Elaine...thank you. Matty thanked me for taking him down to just sketch. We're going to do it again!

Sue...yes!! Give it a try. It doens't matter how they's how you feel as you're sketching and how you feel when you go back and see them. Do it!

Abe...thank you. I have several old published journals (painting and text) from artists. One of my favorite is Edith Holden's "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady." I love it. I wish I could do more of that... show us your wood carvings. I'd love to see them.

Vickie...thank you (I'm lucky to have Matty...he's fun and loves animals!) :-) are so right. He loves showing us his sketchbooks, I can imagine how he will show his children. I will be sure to save these and protect them.

Nature...thank you!! Matty is a brave kid. He told me to publish them so other people can be inspired to get out there and sketch!

Laure...the crowds were overwhelming. I was surprised, but getting lost in the animal did make the people fade away. I was impressed Matty (being so young) was able to do that. thoughts exactly!! I would have loved to have gone to zoo camp!

JK...thank you so much. It would have been great for your son. Thank goodness they have these programs now. He will carry it with him forever, and it has led him to chosing a career with animals. He either wants to be a vet, a research scientist...a trainer..etc., etc.

Mary....the Manatee is my favorite as well. He really capture how it floats in water. Thanks!

Cindy...thank you very much!! :-)'re so nice. My goal is to paint and draw more and more. At least one a week. I hope....practice, practice, practice!

Adrienne....I be they are better than you think. Everyone is their worst critic. It's hard to release sketches, because they aren't always the greatest, but if it inspires someone to get out there...then good. Find that pencil!!! :-)

Crista....well, if you can do stick people, you can do stick birds! :-) then just tack a few feathers on them and you're all set!

Keith....thank you! I can't draw a straight line either ;-) If I try to be neat and precise...oh my gosh, I can't do it. I'm a very sloppy drawer. Just start scribbling and see what happens! should do it. I was a perfectionist too and never felt my art was good enough. Even though I was accepted in DAAP at UC, I didn't think I was good enough so went another direction. But doesn't matter how it look, it's how it feels. You've got to pick that pencil back up and give it a try!! We can talk about this more when I visit on Sunday! I can't wait!!

Jo...thank you so much. I love your bird sketches...all are so beautiful and capture the energy and spirit of your subjects. Your outdoor sketches are inspirational.

Mona....thank you. It was. It totally opened up a new world.

Jayne said...

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. :c) You can see where Matty gets his talent!

Kelly said...

Jayne...Matty will fly past me some day. Glad I can guide him. Thanks...

Uncommon Depth said...

Reminds me of when I was taking art classes in high school and we did a day at a zoo. One of the exercises was 2 minute sketches. I have one of a lion that I still like. Great experiences for both of you.

Kelly said...!! Two minutes is about all the time you get too. I'd like to see your sketch!

FAB said...

Hi Kelly. Please thank Matty for sharing these 'fab' sketches.
I still have a few 'hiking' log books from way back & they certainly bring back some interesting memories.
P.S. The Lorikeet post was great & Matty has obviously found his 'calling'. Lol FAB.

ShySongbird said...

I did enjoy that Kelly, I so wish I could draw! I too have the Edith Holden book and love it, when I first got it I was inspired to have a go but was no good at all :(

I think to encourage Matty to sketch, probably with people looking over his shoulder, is a wonderful way of giving him confidence (something I have always lacked) in his own abilities. Well done both of you!

Dawn Fine said...

What a nice thing to do together! Great sketches!

Chad said...

I love the sketeches! Very neat post!

Gabrielle said...

Yay Kelly! Glad to see you sketching! I've loved it when I've gotten the chance to sketch at a zoo or an aquarium. Matty is right that it really helps you remember the animal.

chelle said...

I think i have a picture of the serval with his tail in his mouth from an evening at Tunes and Blooms this spring. I'll have to send you a copy. Cute kitty.

The sketches are awesome and inspiring!

Anonymous said...

nice pictures..

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