Exotica

Last week was the Tunbridge World’s Fair, tucked into a hollow in Vermont’s Green Mountains. There’s always plenty of cows, goats and swine at this country fair. It has THE BEST prize-winning cakes, jams and pickles, huge pumpkins and incredibly clever scarecrows.

I’ve documented all this in my sketchbook over the years but this time something special caught my eye. A bird. Not just any bird… a vibrant, colorfully feathered creature. Not a fancy chicken or even a Guinea hen… a pheasant maybe?

I could have taken a photo and walked on… but what’s the fun in that? Instead I drew this glorious thing with feathers, annotating my sketch with all the pertinent info. I had already decided that adding paint here would be a disaster… I’d do it at home.

My comprehensive notes allowed me to complete the spread without even looking at the two reference photos I quickly took before moving on.

He’s beautiful, he’s exotic. But what IS he?

Google to the rescue. It seems he’s a cross of two Asian pheasants, a Golden and Lady Amherst’s hybrid.

And a well positioned lens view through the cage.

Next summer be sure to make time in your busy schedule to visit one of your local fairs. You never know what you’ll find.

Tunbridge World’s Fair 2015

Yes, another fair! The Tunbridge World’s Fair!

(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!

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Poor page planning on my part… I hate it when the eye ends up in the gutter!

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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!

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Lots and lots of cows!

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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?

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Most of the children had gone so I had enough breathing space to pull out my paints.

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The chicks are only 3 days old!

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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!

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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!