Early February 2020, I flew out to California as part of the outreach program for my Where Did All the Animals Go? art and environmental education project, in partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free, to deliver workshops and build new partnerships in Orange County. It was an exceptionally exciting and fruitful trip where I got to share Biro drawing and amazing wildlife with over 70 children and adults as well as meet incredible people who I am looking forward to working in partnership with soon!
Drawing workshop flyer
CALIFORNIAN WILDLIFE BIRO DRAWING WORKSHOP 1
As part of the outreach program I delivered Californian Wildlife Biro drawing workshops to celebrate the array of magnificent species, many of which are endemic, that inhabit this beautiful state. There are 321 species listed as endangered and vulnerable in California, where the landscape is so varied you can surf and ski in one day!
Blue House drawing workshop
The outreach program kicked off on 5 February with a workshop for women of Laguna Beach, a stunning, bijou city where art and nature are treasured. The workshop was held in the home of my kind host and patron, Kirsten Rogers. Attendees created splendid Biro drawings of a variety of species including Tule elk, federally endangered gray wolves and Canada lynx. The work created in this workshop can be viewed here
Canada Lynx 2020 colour Biro drawing, Kirsten Rogers
LAGUNA ART MUSEUM
On 6 February, I visited sumptuous Laguna Art Museum which is dedicated to California art, to meet with Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education, Caitlin Reller Assistant Curator of Education and Kristen Anthony Education Assistant for an inspirational meeting, learning about the amazing educational work the LAM education team deliver and discussing my Where Did all the Animals Go? project.
Malcolm Warner, Executive Director of Laguna Art Museum
It was a joy to be given a personal tour of LAM by Executive Director Malcolm Warner, discuss art and see some of the museum's collection of Californian art including this painting by Joseph Kleitsch The Old Post Office. Malcolm is also the leading expert on Millais and has organized important exhibitions including Stubbs & the Horse exhibition at the National Gallery, London.
Huge thank you to the Education team and to Malcolm for the gift of the beautiful Stubbs & the Horse book and for taking time out to show me round!
Laguna Art Museum
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF LAGUNA BEACH WORKSHOP 2
On 6 February I also delivered a workshop at Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. It was an enormous privilege to work with the inspirational children and staff of Boys & Girls Club! Children from 5 years upwards created excellent drawings of native Californian species, brimming with passion and appreciation.
You can check out Rocko's expressive and tender ballpoint pen drawing of a Sea Otter mother holding its pup, and Malakai's brilliantly abstract drawing of a cougar, Carson's powerful great white shark, Ashley's hugely accomplished Island fox, and Rosie's beautiful gray wolf with the greenest of eyes here
Malakai with his brilliant Mountain Lion Biro drawing
Thank you to the brilliant Mar, Danny and all staff and children of B&G Club for your warm welcome and hard work, it was a very special day!
Main Beach, Laguna Beach
LAGUNA BEACH PAINTING COMMISSION
Following this workshop, I commenced research for a painting commissioned by Kirsten Rogers to feature aspects of the Rogers family life in California. Laguna Beach, Orange County, is situated beside the cerulean waters of the Pacific Ocean and has stunning beaches and coves with views of Catalina Island. Also overlooked by San Joaquin Hills, Laguna is one giant bouquet of beautiful flowers which reminds me very much of the island of Madeira. More Laguna images in this post here.
Danelle Hickman, Outreach Specialist, Ocean Institute
OCEAN INSTITUTE, DANA POINT
On 7 February I had the amazing opportunity to meet with the wonderful and effervescent Danelle Hickman, Outreach Specialist at Ocean Institute who took time out to give me a tour of the institute and discuss environmental education and Where Did All the Animals Go? project. Huge thanks Danelle for the personal tour of this amazing institute, a privilege to enjoy your time and knowledge. More about this visit here
Memento of Captn. Dave's Whale & Dolphin Watching Safari
WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCHING
Following the visit to Ocean Institute, I was fortunate to be taken on an awe-inspiring trip on Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari where we saw common dolphin, a grey whale, elephant seal and sea lions playing with Pacific white-sided dolphin. It was an indescribable privilege to be surrounded by these beautiful and majestic ocean creatures.
Nina Rogers with her Black Bear Biro drawing in progress
CALIFORNIAN WILDLIFE DRAWING WORKSHOP 3
I delivered a workshop on 9 February to a small group of super talented young artists of Laguna Beach. See Rosie's beautiful mountain lion with the greenest of eyes, Riggsy brilliant and powerful drawing of a Great white shark, Joey's fantastically characterful drawing of her dog Adelaide, Alec's sensational, big honey-loving bear, the symbol of California and Nina's astonishingly accomplished drawing also of a black bear in this workshop post here
Left to right: Marinta Skupin, Danelle Hickman, Kristen Anthony and Caitlin Reller
CALIFORNIA WILDLIFE DRAWING WORKSHOP 4
On 10 February, I delivered my fourth Californian Wildlife Biro Drawing Workshop to more inspirational women of Laguna Beach including Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education, Caitlin Reller, Assistant Curator of Education and Kristen Anthony of Laguna Art Museum, Danelle Hickman, Outreach Specialist of Ocean Institute and Staci Sutton Bina owner of Bala Shala.
California Condor 2020 colour Biro drawing, Susie Frosell
Drawings produced during this workshop were of an astonishing caliber! See details of this workshop here
The Broad Museum, L.A.
THE BROAD MUSEUM
The following day I made a trip to cathedral of contemporary art, The Broad Museum, Los Angeles. Not only is Renzo Piano's building beyond awe-inspiring but the collection includes superstar artworks by Warhol, Walker, Johns, Koons, Keifer and Beuys that I'd only dreamt of seeing until now! The photos in this post here are not just about the art but the people looking at the art.
It was also an enormous treat to see Iranian artist, Shirin Neshat's brilliant exhibition I Will Greet the Sun Again at The Broad. Beautiful and powerful imagery with many of the photographs covered with layers of poetry and Persian text.
"Neshat studies the specifics of both individual and cultural gestures and poses, often assembling and interviewing real people who have lived through some of the most turbulent events of recent history, including the Green Movement in Iran and the Arab Spring in Egypt."
More about the exhibition here:
Kobe Bryant mural, L.A.
LA STREET ART
After visiting The Broad, I was treated to a tour of L.A. street art with Kirsten Rogers and Kristin Hunziker, which included Banksy's girl on a swing and the recent mural in commemoration of L.A. Lakers star, Kobe Bryant.
More research on 12 Feburary, for commissioned artwork and a visit with Kirsten and Jolly Rogers to one of my favourite places in the Laguna Beach area, Crystal Cove State Park. Just off the Pacific Coast Highway, Crystal Cove not only has a breathtaking natural shoreline teeming with shore, cliff and marine wildlife but a historic district with divine period beach houses, and a preserved community centre built by Japanese farmers in 1927.
We saw Anna's Hummingbirds, Brown Pelican, Red-tailed hawk (we think!), White-crowned Sparrows, lizards and a Brush Rabbit. More about this visit here.
Rosie with her Moutain Lion Biro drawing
CALIFORNIA WILDLIFE DRAWING WORKSHOP 5
I managed to squeeze in one more Californian Wildlife Biro drawing workshop before the end of my SoCal trip! Rosie, Grace, Lily and Sammy, only had 40 minutes to make their ballpoint pen drawings before these extremely talented young artists had to scoot off to swimming club, yet it's clear to see how hard they all worked to make their amazing drawings which you can view here.
With Kirsten Rogers
Following this trip I'm delighted to announce the project team also has a new member, Kirsten Rogers our U.S.A. PR.
Highlights from a hugely memorable and productive trip, including perhaps the smallest drawing ever created in one of my workshops can be viewed in this post here
A monumental thank you to Kirsten Rogers for your amazing help and support! Huge thanks also to Dr. Malcolm Warner, Executive Director Laguna Art Museum, Marinta Skupin Curator of Education and her marvellous team, Danelle Hickman of Ocean Institute, the team & children of Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Stu News Laguna, and all children and adults who contributed the most outstanding drawings to the project.
Heartfelt thanks also for the overwhelming kindness I received from so many remarkable people and animals from amazing Laguna Beach.