Zoo Sketching

Yesterday I paid my first visit to the Houston Zoo. I'm always inspired by James Gurney's and Aaron Blaise's animal sketches, and I wanted to do a few of my own. zoo_paint

The longer I watched Smaug, the less repulsive he looked. I noticed the subtle shifts in color on his scales. I will never be a reptile enthusiast, I can appreciate that they have their own unique ferocity and beauty.

(I still hate snakes, though. When my dad pointed out a bronze cobra statue in front of the reptile house, all I saw was a huge serpent shape. I leapt backwards and shrieked. Then I realized it was only a statue, not a giant cobra escaped from its enclosure.)

I knew I'd have to work quickly, because animals move around. I wasn't prepared for two other problems, however:

1) People. I sat at a distance so I wouldn't block anyone's view. But this meant my view was constantly being blocked by kids throwing themselves against the glass or fence, yelling, "HEY MONKEY," or "HEY SMAUG." Or couples taking selfies. Or entire families. Next time I'm taking a spot beside the enclosure and staying there.

2) The sheer discomfort of juggling pencils, brushes, and paint while sweat and sunscreen is trickling down my arms. As I've discovered with museum sketching, supporting a sketchbook, drawing AND holding pencils is uncomfortable and frustrating. Add a watercolor palette and water, and I knew I'd have to work sitting, not standing. Another reason my view was frequently blocked by a parade of people.

Gurney uses watercolor pencils and water brush pens to save on some of the hassle. Before I attempt this again, I ought to buy some. And whenever the Nomad Satchel finally becomes available for order, I'd like to get one. I missed their Kickstarter, but supposedly more will be for sale during the second half of 2015.

In other news, this week I finally got a smart phone and joined Instagram. Come follow me there! I'll be posting in-progress shots.

instagram @paigencarpenter on Instagram.


Watercolor study of a camellia.   In Victorian tradition, the camellia symbolizes perfection.Camellia

My scanner has died and my digital camera is on its last legs (it has a smear on its lens and turns everything blue). I used the camera to photograph this, then tried to tweak it back to its true colors with Gimp. Hopefully later this month I'll be able to borrow my brother's fancy camera and fix all this.

Tunnel in the Trees

More plein-air painting: a watercolor sketch of a tunnel under some camellia bushes at the end of my street-- the perfect place for children to make a house, or a secret fort. Yesterday it started raining, so I painted under an umbrella until my hands froze. TreeTunnel_PaigeCarpenter

Yes, bushes are that green in January in Florida. And I love that fire hydrant.

The Hart's Cry

Watercolor on illustration board. 22" x 14".

Fáeth Fiada, the hart's cry. Based upon a legend of St. Patrick. He and some of his early Christian followers were attacked by druids. He prayed to God, who sent a mist that turned St. Patrick and the Christians into deer. They escaped the druids into the forest.

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through a belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation...

I arise today Through the strength of heaven; Light of the sun, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind, Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth, Firmness of the rock.

-The Lorica of St. Patrick

Query Letters & Painted Deer

Yesterday I mailed the first query letter for my novel.  The agent I'm contacting has represented some wonderful books, so I'm hoping to get a "Please send more" response.  Hoping.  Then again, I think authors are supposed to get, like, twenty rejections before an acceptance.  So...I took a photograph of the letter when it was all pretty and ready to mail, then I realized that it wouldn't be smart to post the photo on the internet because A.) My address was visible, and B.) The agent's address was visible. Instead, please enjoy this in-progress photo of my St. Patrick's painting.

IMC Day 7

In which famous and not-yet-famous artists play soccer:

The guy leading the charge for the soccer ball is Donato Giancola.

And I am painted as Jane by Julia Singh (that's me in the photo reference at the top left):

And I continue to paint snow and flowers.  Right now I'm much happier with the snow than the flowers.  The ugly blur in the bottom center is where I'm erasing  a tulip:

Pumpinkin and Goodman Gobbles Puppets

Pumpinkin is back for another Halloween!

He has been improved with glittery buttons and brad joints.  Pumpinkin loves candy corn, spooky nights, and the Danse Macabre.  He is for sale in my Etsy shop.

Last year, Goodman Gobbles escaped becoming someone's turkey dinner!  Can he escape again this year?  Or will the hungry pilgrims finally catch him?!  Goodman Gobbles is for sale in my Etsy shop.