pencil

How do you capture a hen doing the peck-peck-Mambo, a Silkie doing a tap dance, and a goat enjoying the bliss of a sunbath after too much rain?  Stand and sketch like crazy, pages and pages of pencil sketches until some of all that looking and scratching on the paper starts to make sense.

Barnyard Sketching workshop on Sunday at Rose and Thorn

That’s what I was up to again yesterday morning with another group of avid sketchbookers, and all of us thrilled to have such beautiful sunny weather.  The animlas seemed to share our enthusiasm.

pencil sketch in 9 X 12″ sketchbook

Usually I sketch with my Sharpee pen, but we all needed to warm up for sketching the constant motion of barnyard creatures.  THis little white and black polk dotted Polish rooster looks a little nauseous, but then maybe it was me feeling a bit shook up by following his movements with such concentration.

This was my attempt to sketch the short legged, pot bellied pygmy goats.  You can see here how I’m attempting to learn their “architecture” without the benefit of a pose.

Pardon the backside image here.  I was starting to get some of the aspects of this goat correct, but as always, lost the relative size of the head and body.  Heads always seem to carry more “weight” and it takes a great deal of concentration to counteract that tendency in a drawing.

Sharpee pen and watercolor in Arches Travel Book

Then we switched to pen and added watercolor in the afternoon.  This is Harpo again, the flambouyent rooster with the punk rocker outfit and temperament to match.  It’s actually hard to sketch any other chicken when Harpo is around.  We were focusing on designing the page to have positive and negatively painted shapes, leaving some white paper. I find there’s usually not time for so much paint application when you’re working in a sketchbook and have been drawing and writing.  And I just love the white of the paper.  Harpo is actually black and white, but he comes across as more colorful, so I painted him that way.

Sketchbooking is as much about storytelling as about drawing and painting.  If I write about some details of the day, it helps me to remember the whole sensory experience and this was a day (Saturday here) I would never want to forget!

To be continued . . .

-Susan Cornelis

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