Friday, February 22, 2013

Tiger Eye Journal & Cedar Cove Big Cat Sanctuary

Hi guys, I'm coming to you this week from Snow City, USA (aka Kansas) where we got about a foot of snow in 24 hours.  For everyone in the north that's probably no big deal, but down here we haven't had snowfall like that in years!  It is perfect hobby weather (granted you haven't lost power from down lines) and I'd like to show off another journal painting project I've been working on.

Like the journal I painted for my girlfriend's little sister in January, this is another book handcrafted by Jessie Alexander at Sweet Olive Books.  The journals are of exceptional quality and incredibly elegant, the perfect canvas to a bit of free hand painting!

My girlfriend, Harley, volunteers out at the Cedar Cove Big Cat Sanctuary in Louisburg, KS and has the opportunity to get up close to some truly beautiful animals.  One of her favorites is the tiger Mohan.  Since each tiger has unique facial markings she asked me to paint his on her journal.

It's a very different experience painting onto a flat surface instead of a model, but I like it!  To take the design a step further, I'd like add white tones and more shading.  The idea of its markings in isolation is a cool one, but I think it could use a little more context.

This was a fun experiment and Harley loves her painted journal.  I'm looking forward to doing more!


Here's the real Mohan at home in his enclosure at Cedar Cove.

Cedar Cove is located in Louisburg, Kansas, south of Kansas City on Highway 68 and is a great destination for an afternoon with the family, kids, or anyone else who loves giant meat eating carnivores.


There's more than Siberian Tigers out at the park, the lions Tonka (pictured above and below) and Shanta call the shelter home too.  Unlike most zoos where the animals are kept behind bullet proof glass, Cedar Cove lets you get a closer look at the lions, at times only a few feet away behind chain-link and hotwire.

(L to R) Shanta &Tonka


Kimar is one of the park's three white Bengals and the biggest tiger on the premises.  He loves practicing his hunting skills and will stalk you if you turn your back to him.  Thank goodness for iron bars and steel fencing.

(L to R) Mohan & Rajah

Here's Mohan (left) and his brother Rajah (right) who share a similar facial marking, note the slight differences.  These two have been together since birth and are the only two tigers in the park that enjoy the company of another big cat.  Unlike any of the other tigers, they're the only two who have access to each other's enclosure.  (Their mom doesn't like that they're still nearby and roars at them from time to time to get out of the "house" and leave)


The cats get special treats on holidays like Halloween and Easter, usually taking the form of pumpkins or other large gourds.  Filled with meat and slathered with juices, the cats roll their treats around and have a blast trying to get at the delicious filling (kind of like Zelda and a peanut butter filled Kong toy).

(L to R) Kiowa & Lakota

There are two non-feline residents at the sanctuary (not counting the two diurnal coatis they have as well) the brother-sister duo Lakota and Kiowa.  Interestingly enough, much like Shanta and Tonka the female and male lions, Kiowa is dominant over her brother Lakota.  Kiowa (grey) is seen here with Lakota (white).


The wolves are Harley's absolute favorites at the park, partly because she can go into their enclosure without fear of being eaten, and because they're sweet canines.  Much like a dog the wolves will roll over so you can scratch their bellies.  However, the wolves will challenge your dominance, and when that happens you have to assert your authority or things can get ugly.

Harley & Lakota

Obviously Harley has bonded well with the wolves!

For more pictures of the animals check out Cedar Cove's facebook page and be sure to pay them a visit if you're in town!

Thanks for stopping in this week, come back next week to see what I'm working on at the Monster Lab!


  1. We've been out there quite a few times. It's a really cool place. Nice job on the journal!

    1. Thanks Aaron! Cedar Cove is a great, they just got two new black leopards and two new white tigers this winter.


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