Calming Art Vlog - The Process Behind My Orangutan Painting

A calming art vlog sharing the process behind my painting of an orangutan. I often start my zoo animal paintings by visiting the zoo and taking photographs of the animals. I find that going there and spending some time really inspires me. On this day, I decided to go see the oldest orangutan at Sedgwick County Zoo, which is in Wichita Kansas. He is my absolute favorite great ape that lives there.

I love his calming energy, and it gave me lots of motivation to paint him. When taking reference photos, I always try to zoom in as close as I can to capture the animal's facial features well. Sometimes I have luck and get the perfect photo to base a painting on, and sometimes I don't. But happily this time was a success. I was able to take a beautiful headshot. I always print a photo out, do an underdrawing which is just a very basic outline so I will know where everything is laid out on the canvas. Then I look at the photo while I paint. I use completely different colors than the animal is in real life, but to me these colors represent the love and joy inside each animal's soul. I like to think I'm painting what they look like on the inside along with what they look like on the outside. This is my artistic vision.

Ultimately when a viewer looks at my finished painting, I want them to really connect with it on a deep level. I want them to feel something emotionally from it, whether that be peace, joy, love, or inspiration.To me that's one of the most amazing things about art in general. You're able to communicate the essence of an experience without using words and when you are successful it can be such a meaningful experience for the viewer. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which has given me tendinitis in many of my joints. Needless to say, I have bad days sometimes. But painting never fails to cheer me up.

On days where I can't paint, and that I'm having to just sit there and rest, connecting with animals, learning about them, and deciding which one I would like to paint next, helps me get through the bad times. These beautiful creatures that we share the planet with are so inspirational to me. There's something about spending time with them, whether that's in person or in spirit while I'm painting them, that is so soothing. It fills me with hope and gives me strength when I'm really down about my health situation.

I think that's why I've painted 300 animals so far and why I have the goal of painting every animal in existence. It gives me something beautiful to dedicate my life to and to work toward. And I hope watching this art vlog can provide you some motivation or inspiration as well :)

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