My local bunny rescue/pet supply store Rabbit Ears, has a bunch of bunnies available for adoption including this litter of 6 week old babies and their mom. While I sketched them, they took turns sleeping piled together, eating from their big bowl of bunny chow, grooming themselves and each other, and dropping little bunny pellets.
I left the babies and wandered around the store, drawing rabbits in different enclosures. It’s hard to figure out bunny parts with all that fur hiding everything.
I think my favorite sketch is Lucy the Guinea Pig. I was surprised to see she had no visible pupils in her little red eyes.
The lop-eared rabbit’s name is Snickers. As soon as I started to sketch him he and his cage-partner Oreo got so busy grooming each other I couldn’t see his face to finish the drawing.
The first time I got to sketch Barbara’s chickens they were these cute little chicks. Now they’re full-grown laying ladies and hilarious to watch as they run about with their tiny bird brains. Barbara has built the most amazing Chicken World for them in her yard, where they can run free and eat bugs and organic greens, safe from predators (raccoons are a big problem here), or snuggle in their cozy nesting house.
The last time we sketched in her garden I sketched Gertie from the front. Here she is from the back. She is a wonderful, loving, and very furry pooch. Then I started trying to sketch the bunny Barbara was babysitting for her daughter. The bunny was so twitchy, didn’t hold still and so fluffy as to be seemingly amorphous. But I knew there were some basic shapes in there somewhere so I kept trying to find them.
In the sketch above I finally did find the basic shape of a bunny. In the first attempts below, not so much. (I love that phrase “not so much” even though I’m sure it’s become passé by now, along with “Really?”, “You think?”, “How’s that working for you?” and “Meh.” Don’t know where those came from but I still like them for their sarcastic yet humorous tone.)
Above are the first attempts at the bunny, in which I became totally frustrated but didn’t give up. I’m glad I got to draw him since shortly after our sketch night he passed away from a recurrence of a serious illness he’d fought several times before. I hope he has found a home in bunny heaven as nice as the one he had with Barbara’s family.
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.
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.
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.
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.