One of my favorite sketching activities is a trip to our State Fair. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic closed that opportunity and forced me to look for alternatives. That’s why I jumped at the suggestion from a few of my art buddies for a physically distanced visit to Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, Vermont.
This time of the year the cows are usually on the State Fair prize circuit. I was happy to have them home and posing for me.
The sunflowers were in bloom and the breeze was at my back as I sat on the orchard’s hill looking east. I found I didn’t miss the Fair quite as much as I thought.
(Just a quick explanation… this book is made with 130gsm Gutenberg and has pre-painted pages which I just drew right over. They were prepared with dilute acrylic paint and acrylic ink so there was no fear of bleeding.)
Once I got though the mass of children on a school expedition I made a bee-line for the poultry barn… I have a real soft spot for those birdies… especially ducks! These are Runner Ducks! They’re known for dropping eggs everywhere as they go about their day!
Poor page planning on my part… I hate it when the eye ends up in the gutter!
There was a steady stream (no pun intended) of heifers and their humans walking to the river to cool off and grab a drink. I was so excited to catch them I put my first sketch upside down in the journal. Sheesh! I had to do another!
Lots and lots of cows!
After a quick stop to check out the vegetables and the cake testers (no, they don’t spit it out after tasting like the wine tasters do… they swallow all the goodness) I stopped back in the poultry and rabbit barn. Don’t you love their topknots?
Most of the children had gone so I had enough breathing space to pull out my paints.
The chicks are only 3 days old!
And no… I was NOT a participant other than visiting the fair but one of the volunteers was so taken by my journal that he gave me a ribbon!
Put it in your calendar… it always starts 10 days after Labor Day. If my calculations are correct that’ll be between Thursday 15 September and Sunday 18 September 2016. I’ll be there!
I love Fairs! Where else is there a multitude of creatures just hanging around begging to be included in my sketchbook.
A couple of warm-ups and I’m ready to go!
Sometimes there are so many to choose from… I decide to sketch as many as possible. (Check out that Lamancha goat! I was astounded to learn they’re born without external ear flaps… pinnae.)
I even go one to pose for me after his turn in the show ring.
Sometimes humans are interested in my work… the cows? Not so much! ( I thought Holsteins were only black and white. Not so! These red and white girls are Holsteins too! )
There’s still time for you to take your sketchbook and get in on the fun. New Hampshire’s Hopkinton State Fair is open tomorrow and Monday. If you’ve missed your chance at your nearest fair I highly recommend you start planning for next year… I know I am!