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Animals Ink and watercolor wash Painting Sketchbook Pages

Alameda County Fair Sketches

County Fair Sketches, ink & watercolor
Judging the Poultry Presentation (left) and other fair items (right), ink & watercolor

The weather was perfect, Cathy drove us in her comfy car, and the fair wasn’t crowded so it should have been a great day of sketching. There were some fine moments: watching the serious 4H young ladies (above) being judged for their skills at Poultry Presentation was quite charming.

But the day at the fair just wasn’t what I’d hoped. First we discovered that the livestock barn was completely empty and that’s where I’d planned to spend most of my time. Apparently they’d completed the “market” phase the day before and those animals were gone; the animals to be judged wouldn’t arrive until the next day.

Tilt-A-Whirl, ink & watercolor
Tilt-A-Whirl, ink & watercolor

On top of that, I felt like I’d completely forgotten how to draw, having ignored my sketchbook for the past week or so while focusing on a couple of large paintings. And then there was the very loud music everywhere. We found a good spot to sit and draw the Tilt-A-Whirl (above) but the loudspeakers were playing the same 3 Michael Jackson hits over and over at full volume and I still can’t get them out of my head.

Lemonade stand, ink & watercolor
Lemonade stand, ink & watercolor

I prefer to paint on site: I try to get the colors right in one layer, putting them down as I see them and then moving on. That’s not what I did here. I sketched on site but painted it at home (when I should have been sleeping) and badly overworked it, putting paint on and taking it off, repeat, etc. I got a great photo of some cowboys in front of the lemonade stand that I will make into a painting later, so maybe this was just good practice of what not to do.

Bunny, ink & watercolor
Bunny, ink & watercolor

The only animals at the fair were bunnies and chickens which didn’t interest Cathy. I can draw chickens at my friend Barbara’s house, so after a quick rabbit sketch, we wrapped up the day and headed back home in the rush hour traffic.

I have a couple of photos I’m excited to turn into paintings which made the jaunt well worthwhile, even if my sketching was less than wonderful.