Old and new – animal portraits I have done

The general consensus seems to be that many of you to enjoy the series of small pen and ink/ watercolor animals I have been doing lately. I want to say thank you for all of the encouraging words but it has gotten me to thinking about how my artwork has been changed by time and experience.  I got out of graduate school in 1977, but hadn’t created much artwork in the several years following my disastrous art experiences in college.  With a degree in ethology, it was quite natural for me to go back to animal art when I finally had the inspiration and time to do it.  I did a lot of ink drawings with a nib pen back then.

Another giraffe

A couple of ago years, when I set up my permanent studio and picture wall, I looked over the animal art I had done in the late 70’s and early 80’s and I was surprised at the life and flow in them.  I had moved off of the nib pen when I started doing architectural work because it was a lot easier to use the technical pen for the more elaborate drawings.  No constant need to refill the nib and a much more even flow for the multitude of straight lines.  Periodically, I would do an animal portrait but not very often as I concentrated on the architecturals.  Over time, I think I lost the feel for  the animals that I had had and was generally disappointed with my efforts.  It was distressing if I thought about it so I generally didn’t.  I think this new (to me) technique has allowed me to recapture some of the old feel and I am enjoying the sojourn back with the nib pen and the animals.

Pastel and pen tiger

I accepted a house commission last week so I am off of the animals for a while.  With nothing new to show because of the architectural, I’ve picked a few of my long ago animals to post.  Feel free to compare them with the new ones.  I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Mr. raccoon


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeanetteraleigh
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 12:52:57

    My favorite is the raccoon. They are all well done.


  2. ruthsartwork
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 12:58:26

    Thanks. I think he’s cute. I did him in 1977 as one of the first things post grad school. A looong time ago.


  3. Sandy Lewis
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 14:25:30

    Those are so great, it’s hard to pick a fav but the raccoon just looks like he should be hugged and cuddled


  4. ruthsartwork
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 16:23:42

    He was fun to do.


  5. Cindy D.
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 20:36:21

    These are great! It’s really neat to find old stuff and see how different things can be. All great but I love the giraffe most, that cute expression! Love all the watercolors recently, though I haven’t been commenting. (I managed to get away from blogging for way too long – but hopefully learned my lesson!)

    I think it’s cool to have a very different subject matter or style as a change from doing the same types of things over a period of time. I hope your wrist is all recovered and better than new!


  6. ruthsartwork
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 21:17:30

    The giraffe is one of my favorites too. I have him on my picture wall. He has such a regal expression looking down on us. I do like the way the new animals are turning out.

    My hand is improving every day. It is still stiff but I am gently working it and hope it will improve over the next month.


  7. Sonya Johnson
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 21:25:02

    Isn’t it fun to go back and look at older works from time to time? It’s like visiting an old friend, with the feelings of nostalgia. Like you, I have a few of mine framed and hanging in my bedroom.

    It’s great that you shared these. I like the giraffe, but I think my favorite is probably the raccoon – it has a loose, spontaneous feel to it that I love in any kind of art!


  8. ruthsartwork
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 21:50:37

    Sometimes I look back on something I did and wonder how it happened. LOL


  9. Anne Jutras
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 07:47:17

    Beautiful work, Ruth! I particularly love the raccoon, the tiny details are impressive.


  10. ruthsartwork
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 15:42:39

    Thanks Anne. I think he has expressive eyes.


  11. lesliepaints
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 16:08:00

    These are absolutely drool worthy, Ruth. The giraffe with the dropped ears says,”Come on over. I’m friendly.” The tilt of the tiger’s head draws me in and it is my favorite of the three. The raccoon is posing, for sure! Very excellent!


  12. ruthsartwork
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 19:33:00

    These are three of my favorites. I did them 30 years ago and sometimes I wonder who did them. That is why I am enjoying the wet ink/watercolor technique. I think it gives me back some of the spontenaity that I felt I was missing.


  13. Sketchuniverse
    Feb 22, 2018 @ 01:14:04

    Reblogged this on sketchuniverse and commented:


  14. journalingart
    Feb 26, 2018 @ 23:22:15

    I love them all.


  15. journalingart
    Feb 26, 2018 @ 23:23:57

    You did a nice job on them.


    • ruthsartwork
      Feb 27, 2018 @ 08:22:21

      Thanks! I did a lot more animals, back in the day. Now, they are a nice change of pace from the architectural work.


      • journalingart
        Mar 01, 2018 @ 12:37:20

        i have only recently started using my doodles and art to create coloring pages. I think its a lot of fun drawing and creating, even more so than coloring. 🙂


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