Today, Philippe and I spent part of the afternoon walking around the Kansas City Zoo, so that became my nature hike for today. I was, at first, enamored with the kangaroos, who are not behind a barrier of any kind, but allowed to roam free and take the same path as the visitors. They seemed mostly bored by us, and never hopped over to say hello, but we were fascinated by them. Yet, when we spotted this African grey crowned crane and Philippe said it looks like it’s permanently dressed to attend a party, so that settled my choice and we have a quick little doodlewash of that instead. Beyond the elaborate party dress, what struck me most were the lovely colors. Maroons with pale and vibrant yellows meeting silverly blues. If one is ever looking for the perfect color combinations, or simply new ides, look no further than nature. Even when it seems a surprising color choice, things always look lovely and balanced somehow. Nature is simply never wrong. I’ve no idea if crowned cranes ever actually attend a party, but it’s comforting to know they’re costumed appropriately should they ever chose to do so.
The weather was perfectly mild today, so it was a lovely walk that amounted to a few miles, as the zoo is rather large. Though I love the walking and the gorgeous and lush trees and animal scenery, my favorite part is taking the Sky Safari ride. This is like a ski lift that sails over the top of the African section of the park. It’s so slow that it feels like you’re just floating in place and the effect is incredibly relaxing. I’ve not sat still that long this entire month so it was a real treat! When I was a kid, going to the zoo was one of my favorite experiences. It was a fraction of the size that it is now back then, but still felt so expansive, because I was so much smaller. In the years since, it’s grown up with me to remain just as large, if not larger, and more incredible than I first imagined it to be. This is my favorite part about going. It’s one of the few memories of childhood I can relive again with all of the same amazing memories and even some incredible new ones thrown in for good measure. Today, I truly got to be that little kid again, and that’s one of the best days ever!
Despite all of my stories about childhood, I don’t actually live in the past. I just long for the feeling of it. The simplicity of things, without all of the stresses and concerns that so-called modern life has created. We can do things now that would have seemed impossible back in the day, and that’s awesome. But back in the day, we never really felt like we were missing anything. We weren’t sitting around talking about how we wished our phones could talk to us and tell us where to go next. Instead, we might simply go for a walk, finding a new trail that could lead to new possibilities. This is why I love painting and sketching so much. It’s not a modern invention. It’s an age-old practice of capturing the world as we see it, using tools that have existed for generations. In a world filled with advanced technologies, it’s comforting to know that the original inventions can still produce wonderful things. If we just take a moment out of our now busier-than-ever day and sketch a little something, the world will be a happier place. No rules or expectations, just a fun little break, where even a trip to the zoo can make something new appear in that sketchbook, on an unexpected nature hike.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Gamboge, Quinacridone Rose, and Maroon Perylene. Da Vinci Watercolors: Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!