Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chicken Study

Pen on Paper, 7 x 5 in.

It's been about one week since the Taylor Bridge Wildfire in Central Washington started last Monday. Our house in Ellensburg is several miles away from the fire zone. But our Kittitas Valley has been pretty smoky. Many roads are still closed for through traffic. I've been taking a break from plein air painting this week. Instead, I've been taking care of things around our house, including our pet chickens.
   One thing on my wishlist is to be able to paint chickens and other animals in my landscape on the spot, abstracted yet believable. I realized that the best way to learn abstracting shapes is to draw from life as much as possible.
   For the last few days, I've been trying to draw chickens from life while I'm hanging out with them in my studio or in the backyard. Ultimately, I want to be able to paint them from life. But sketching with a pen on a 5x7 sketchbook is overwhelming enough so far. Chickens usually move so quickly. I'm training my eyes and hands to respond faster. It seems as if there are moments when they hold a pose for me to draw..., but I'm not responding fast enough. The models for this series of study are the two little chicks we got this May: Sophie and Coco. They were perching on the garden bench. I realize I have a long way to go.

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