Wednesday, 20 May 2015

And the Last One ...

Okay so this is the last post (I think ... lol) from my holiday. This time it's about art.

As I mentioned I took a lot of photos that I could used to paint from - hundreds in fact. Still here are a few, it gives you an idea of the beauty of the area. I've also included a spread of watercoloured sketches I did. I think in all I painted about 15 quick ones to use as colour and setting reference.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Mogo Zoo ...

Rather than write about everything I thought I'd just post some photographs after a brief post.

The Zoo is committed to the survival of endangered animals and provide world standard facilities for over 200 animals of more than 42 rare and exotic species, including the White Lions of ‘Timbavati’. Mogo Zoo also boasts the largest collection of primates in any private zoo in Australia.

I have to say I was really impressed with Mogo Zoo - it's only small but it has a great variety of animals, especially primates. They had primates from the tiny Pygmy Marmoset, the smallest true monkey in the world through to the mighty Western Lowland Gorilla.

The silverback, Kibabu, was enormous!

I spent some time sketching him and his troop while they ate after being fed a selection of vegetables. He seemed very taken with the tomatoes and the celery. I noticed none of the others came anywhere near him when there was food nearby. That is except for one little girl who the keeper told us she could get away with a lot from her father.

The lion and lioness stretched out on the raised platform were enjoying the morning sun although the lion was more interested in the Red Pandas who were enjoying their breakfast in the next enclosure. He didn't take his eyes off them until they retreated into the trees once they'd finished.

The agile Silvery Gibbons were racing around their enclosure, swinging and jumping with great gusto. It was only when got closer to me I saw she had a tiny baby, 3 weeks old, hanging on for dear life!

No need to write anything more about the wonderful Meerkats and the experience I had with them. I'm still grinning to myself when I think about it.  Two of the young males are off to breeding programs - one is going to New Zealand and the other to Taronga.

Just a few photographs from the 103 I took ... lol ... enjoy!


Friday, 15 May 2015

Mill Beach on Beagle Bay...

Finally sorted out my photographs from my recent week away. I took 954 ... and I would have taken more but my storage card filled up and I had to buy another so that was a few hours I missed ... lol.

Most were for reference for painting and probably wouldn't be of much interest to other people but I did take some 'scenic' type ones.

I thoroughly enjoyed the break, the location was perfect. I did manage to get a lot of painting done - the works were quick watercoloured sketches that I'll use when I paint the 'real' ones.  They're ideal for colour reference and setting.

My villa was ideal.  The staff gave me the one on the very end right against the Murramarang National Park. There was a grassed area then the natural bush, perfect for me.

Every morning and evening Eastern Grey kangaroos came down to feed on the grass as well as rabbits. Guests were under strict instructions not to feed them but still the kangaroos came very close.

I'd noticed that the mob that fed outside my villa was the same one each day. There was a big male in charge and then his harem and young 'roos. Three of his ladies had joeys in their pouches but they were obviously very young and never poked their heads out. One of the youngsters was still having the occasional milk top-up from one of the girls who already had a joey in the pouch.

If you look carefully at the photo you'll see the bulge that was her joey while the youngster fed.

While I was painting one day the male decided to check me out.  I tried not to make any sudden moves as I picked up my camera. He checked out my paints then decided to check out me!  I kept still as he put those sharp claws on my hand and knee.  He stretched up to sniff and touch my face with his nose then sat back on his legs.

After maybe 6 or 7 minutes he went back out to his harem satisfied I wasn't a threat to them I guess.

Inside the villa was a large family room with couch, table and four chairs, kitchen and television which I never bothered to turn on.

The bedroom was large and had two couches with a large ottoman between them.  The front was a vast window which I kept uncovered the whole time. It was amazing to lie in bed and see the stars at night then watch the amazing sun rises in the mornings.

The bathroom was big too. It was elevated and had double basins, shower, two person spa and separate toilet.  The wall between the bathroom and bedroom was glass and you could lie in the spa and see the view outside.

There was also a big skylight so at night you could see the stars. Nice to lay back in the spa and look up at the night sky.
 The area was perfect for an artist. The sunsets were spectacular and the views lovely.  My villa was on the corner of the bay so I had a sandy beach directly in from, the main beach swept round the bay to the left and then on the right was a rocky outcrop.  
There was never a large surf running as the way the bay was it was sheltered a little. Of course on a windy rough day it would have been much higher. I was lucky with the weather as well especially after the horrid few weeks in Sydney. The sun shone each day and even when a few clouds rolled across the sky it didn't detract from the warmth of the days.
I drove down through Picton Road and Wollongong then on the way home I came via Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls. Took a few snaps of Hampton Bridge - it such a beautiful area. 

Of course I had to stop at the Kangaroo Valley Fudge shop. So many delicious fudges - think I bought one of nearly every I called into Fitzroy Falls to stretch my legs and have a pit stop. Didn't take many photos as it was so cold - around 15 but there was a strong wind blowing which made it feel like 10!

I'll post about my Mogo Zoo trip another time.
Panorama view from the verandah of the villa