I was recently asked to donate a piece of art to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. They will be hosting a fundraising event on March 24th called Sippin' for the Seven; this includes an art auction! I was happy to donate to this event because I have spent a little bit of time volunteering with this group and am so happy to help provide for these chimpanzees. These seven chimpanzees came from horrible living conditions in biomedical research and now live in an enriching enclosure, complete with access to the outdoors.
I have been trying my hand at drawing chimpanzees, but it definitely is a challenge. My first attempts at detailed drawings did not go so well so I decided to do a simple sketch in watercolors. I'm just about done.
I chose to draw a chimpanzee smiling in a characteristic chimpanzee play face. Unlike chimpanzees you may have seen in media, chimpanzees actually smile by covering their top teeth with their lip and showing only their bottom teeth (I recommend trying to smile like this right now; it's pretty fun). Unlike us, chimpanzees grin with both sets of teeth when they are scared. Sadly, many chimpanzees are trained by fear in order to produce the smiles used in media. Hopefully, this painting can help show what chimpanzee joy really looks like.
To learn more about the sanctuary and these awesome animals, visit their blog here.