Above: My favorite sketch from this year's fair. A white Bantam cock with gold neck feathers and a band of brown feathers across the top of his back and part of his wings. A very self-assured gent who watched me the whole time, rather unamused. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy Pen and Daniel Smith Watercolors on 8 x 8 inch 140 lb. Fluid hot press watercolor paper. Click on the iamge to view an enlargement.
People who attended the Fifth Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out on August 27, 2013 already know it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 103! In fact it was so hot and there was enough humidity in the air that I had trouble with my watercolor paper! It was very limp and didn't dry out quickly at all, and it was difficult to sketch on with any of the pens I bought.
But that's the fun of this type of field sketching. You just keep at it with what you have on hand.
You can see a more detailed write up about the sketch out here.
And Ken Avidor posted about the sketch out on Urban Sketchers Twin Cities. You'll see photos of some of the art work from other sketchers. I have a scan of one of my other sketches at that post. (A sleeping chicken; the heat made it easy to find sleeping chickens to sketch.)
I was able to go to the Fair for a couple hours on the first Friday, and a couple hours on the last Friday. It was hot on all those dates (of course the last weekend it cooled off but I couldn't go). My Fair journal for this year is rather small—about 8 loose journal cards per visit (I indexed them, but haven't even counted them).
Because of the heat I slowed down while sketching and I also spent a lot of time not sketching but just staring at the animals. (I swear sometimes I actually passed out standing up.)
So I think I learned a lot. The loose cards were a disaster because of my injured shoulder and elbow. Everytime I put one away I had to loosen my fanny pack and swing it around, then reverse the process and cinch it up. I was a basket case of pain by the time I got home. Next year I'll take a bound journal and just keep it out the entire time I'm sketching. (Deep pockets keep all my tools and pens ready at a moment's notice.)
It was also very clear to me (as it is every year, but especially this year) that all I really care about at the Fair is sketching the animals. I might make attempts at sketching the crowd and the buildings, but all the while the thought goes through my head, why aren't you in the barns?
This makes me an unsuitable companion for anyone interested in seeing anything else at the Fair. Unless they want to see it on their own. But it also makes me really happy when we have the sketch out because then I can see, through the eyes of the other artists, all the great things that I'm missing. I can eat my Dole Treat, get a brain freeze, and smile—happy that I know so many observant and talented folks!
Below: One of my favorite sketches from my short jaunt to the Fair on the final Friday. Same paper, but this time a Staedtler Pigment Liner.