Animals in Art: Derpy Llamas & Curious Owls

Abigail captured a photo all bird-watchers dream of. “I got a pretty good shot of it because usually he’s hiding in the box,” Abigail said of the inquisitive barn owl peering into her camera lens. “I was kind of just trying to capture the personality of the owl,” she said.

The photo was taken during a field trip to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, where students had opportunities for closeups with fierce raptors. Students’ photos were featured on portfolio displays during Open House in Animals in Art last evening.

The displays were divided into three sections: 1. Trip to the Raptor Center; 2. Research on chosen animal; 3. Trip to the Minnesota Zoo.

Avah, also known by her animal name, “Llama,” said the main board included the facts and research about their chosen animal. “I’ve always had an interest in llamas,” Avah said. “They’re kind of derpy.”Displays also included poems, like the one in which a student compares herself to her chosen animal, the moose. How I am like a Moose: Neither me or a moose like eating a lot of meat. We both can become aggressive when angered or startled.

Animal sculptures mounted on styrofoam blocks were a fun take-home project for the kids. Avah proudly showed her derpy llama constructed of brown duct tape and foam pieces, with pipe cleaner grass and roses.

Whylee, aka “Ray” – short for Stingray – moved a plain piece of paper over a photograph of a lemur. The lemur picture was divided into one-inch squares. Whylee positioned a cutout on the second paper over the lemur. The hole isolated a square of the photograph so Ray could focus on re-creating just that small image.

“It really shows you how you’re putting things so they’re not all over,” Whylee said. The technique helped him to create a precise re-creation of the photograph. “I’m pretty happy with the outcome of my lemur picture,” he said, proudly holding the two pictures side by side.

Whylee learned a lot about his spirit animal, the stingray. “Their venom is actually used as an antiseptic,” he said. “They are born fully formed, and their jaws can crush mollusks.”

Sydney, or “Shark”, completed her display and watched a honey bee live cam online. But it was fairly boring, she said. She really wanted to watch the live broadcast from a shark cam.

“My favorite type of shark is the Blacktip Reef Shark,” Sydney said. “I like its features. I really like the black tips on the fins. It kind of pops out.”

The live cam broadcast of sharks was down, so she resorted to shark videos. As the first shark swam ominously onto the screen, she instantly came alive, squealing with excitement.

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