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The First Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out

Above: A video of the first Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out made by Ken Avidor. Read below for more information and if the embedded video doesn't work go to You Tube. Tuesday, September 1 was discount day at the Fair ($9) and the inaugural Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out. Sure a lot of us sketch […]


Flexible Intent: Sketching at the State Fair


Above: Second journal card from my first visit to the 2009 Minnesota State Fair. The card is 9 x 7 inches and is 300 lb. hot press Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper. I used Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils dry. I started sketching the top left drawing of a goat pilfering food from the next pen and then noticed the lovely goat two pens down. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I've written before in my "Journal Superstitions" series about using the whole page (or in this case card) and not worrying about being perfect. I've also written about composition. I find that sketching animals provides immediate reminders of the need to keep moving and to simply get something down on paper. I wanted to post this card to encourage you to really push at the Fair, and keep sketching whatever is in front of your eyes that appeals to you. Don't worry about composition, just get something down on the page.


Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out

 Left: Map details for our two meeting locations. Tuesday, September 1, 2009 is the Minnesota State Fair Sketchout! Join with other artists to capture the sights and scenes at the Fair! Here's how it's going to work: BeginShow up at the Fair at anytime you want and get sketching! (Come with a sketching friend, bump […]


Minnesota State Fair Prep—#8: Information and Inspiration


Left: Minnesota State Fair: An Illustrated History, by Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky, image ©Coffee House Press. Read below for more details.

I can hear the groans of faithful readers as they click on the blog today, “Another Minnesota State Fair post? What has happened to Roz?” Well, this is after all a blog about my enthusiasms—but I have saved the best in the “preparation series” for last (notice I didn’t say “last Fair post”!): information and inspiration.

It’s time you looked at what other people are writing and thinking about the Fair. And there is no better place to look than Minnesota State Fair: An Illustrated History, by Kathy and Linda Koutsky. (Disclosure: the authors are my friends, but even if I didn’t know them I would have to own this book and give it repeatedly as a gift to people who haven’t yet caught the Fair bug, or who have but don’t know about this book.)


Minnesota State Fair Prep—#7: Sketching Animals (or People) at the Fair

050829CCow Left: Sketch of a cow from my 2005 State Fair Journal. Pen sketch with gouache wash on prepainted 8 x 8 inch square cards made of 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper. This cow was in the birthing barn and I stood on bleachers to look down into its pen. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This post continues the Minnesota State Fair Prep Series begun on August 12.

Everyone who knows me knows that the big draw for me about the State Fair (no pun intended) is the way you can get up close and personal with the animals and sketch them. There are huge barns filled with pens and stalls, each filled with animals competing to be the best in their category.

Everyone who knows me also knows I’m a carnivore (just take me out for barbequed ribs if you want to understand what this means). Yes I am sketching animals that I eat. I don’t have a problem with this. If you do, please stop reading and come back to my blog on another day. (Some of my friends are vegetarians. I was a vegetarian for 18 months once. It isn’t going to happen again. I deal with my carnivore nature and my love of animals by asking questions and by supporting humane farming practices.)

I have a great deal of respect for Minnesota farmers. They work hard, in difficult situations, to create a living for their families, supply quality food for the country’s citizens, and deal with the vagaries and risks of farm life. I have had wonderful conversations with farmers about how they work, how they raise animals and crops. When I am at the Fair and talking to them I believe my role is to listen and learn. In all the years I have been going to the Fair I have never met a farmer who didn’t respect his animals. I have been privileged to hear stories about families who have farmed for generations.

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