On Saturday I went sketching with the MCBA Visual Journaling Collective at the Minnesota State Fair. I have to say I had a great time. It was hot (a drawback, but it is summer) and crowded (to be expected really), but it was interesting and fun. I found that I focused on the animals at the fair for my drawing subjects, not that there was a shortage of people or great things to look at. I figured can draw people nearly anywhere, as well as great scenes, but livestock is not as easy to come by especially up-close, and the cows never ask you why you have made them look fat, or think you suck if you get their face a bit lopsided. Animals just seemed like the less stressful choice for drawing.
This was also my first "big" location to draw in public at and I was unprepared for becoming a part of the fair exhibit as I drew.
My first stop was to the horse barn, and I found that as I stood in the aisle drawing this percheron named Dream, I attracted a crowd of around ten people watching me draw the horse. I had not experienced this before and it was a little unnerving. I was actually grateful that I am a teacher and used to people watching me draw and asking questions, so I was able to continue my sketch without thinking about the people looking over my shoulder.
These horses were beautiful, and the owners were excited by my work, so I went back again later in the afternoon to draw more of them but I did not have much luck.
The photo of my sketchbook shows my attempts at further horse drawings that day. The front on horse face had potential to be a great drawing. The horse was staring me down as I drew, we were face to face and he was not moving anytime soon, or so I thought. A man walked up with his young son to show him the horse, and the little boy had a bag of corn chips. One sniff and my perfect model was at the other side of his stall hoping for a chip. Drawing over.
The next sketch the problem was all me, I started drawing too big. I love the back section of this horse resting in the stall, the sense of shifted weight, but then we move toward the spiral binding and I run out of room and try to compensate for the gap in the page and it is out of whack and over.
I decided at this point (there is one more but trust me its worse than these) that I was out of "horse juice" for the day and needed a break and some water.
I went in search of fellow sketchers thinking to check in early (we were meeting as a group again at 4 and it was about 20 after 3), talk about drawing as we wandered toward our meeting place across the fair from the barns. I found no one and after having some water and watching people I decided I could wander to the cows and look for someone there, or maybe draw one more sketch, although I was certain I was done for the day.
While in the barn I came one a row of cows resting that happened to have a bench across the aisle to sit on, so with little hope of success I pulled out my book for one more quick one before our meeting.
I am so happy that I decided to go look at cows and was really happy I did not let the fact that I was getting tired get in the way of me trying one more drawing, because I got this sketch of Lola from the bench in before my meeting. I also took a photo of this cow and the two others laying next to her that I am hoping to create a watercolor from later.
Just shows that pushing for just one sketch more pays off, sometimes.