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Daily Sketches: Wildlife

February 2, 2011
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Coyote (2011) by Jamie Kapitain. Ink and watercolor sketch.

I am a landscape painter and patrons occasionally ask why I don’t have wildlife in my paintings. It’s a logical question considering our natural anticipation for spotting wildlife when out in the landscape. When I’m hiking in an Ontario forest I’m always hoping to encounter a deer or maybe a fox. You can read about an exciting wildlife encounter I had while sketching in Georgian Bay here.

It is true that you will not see deer grazing on the edge of a forest or a fox hunting on the snow in my work. It’s not that I’ve made a conscious decision to exclude wildlife. I have a keen interest in wildlife having learned to identify them, observe their behavior and design their habitat in university. The truth is that I’m consumed by the landscape itself and have not yet felt the need to add its inhabitants.

Red Fox Hunting (2011) by Jamie Kapitain. Ink and watercolor sketch

Barred Owl (2011) by Jamie Kapitain. Ink and watercolor sketch

You will however, see wildlife in the pages of my sketchbook. Part of my studio routine is to execute at least one sketch daily to sharpen my eye and jump start my creativity. I often take this opportunity to spend fifteen to thirty minutes sketching anything that is not a landscape. I think of it as cross-training just like a basketball player might go for a run or lift weights to improve his basketball game. So while I have no paintings of a hawk or bear to share (there may be some in the future, you never know), I can display some of my wildlife sketches.

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