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Sketching at the Poutry Barn is the most challenging for me. There is of course the amonia smell. If it's hot and calm outside for a couple of days it can be difficult to work inside this barn. The other difficulty is the closeness of the rows of cages. Standing still to draw means people are going to move in front of or behind you. The best solution is to stand right next to the cage and hope the bird isn't annoyed with you. (Ducks will cheerfully splatter you with their drinking water!) The goal is to be as flat as possible.

This year, in keeping with having only the journal cards to keep track of I downsized to a very small fanny pack that held the cards, my money, and my art supplies. (I only ended up using two 0.5 pens, but it was good to have the other items on hand.) This small fanny pack, which also contained a cell phone and small digital camera (neither of which I used this year, but which are also good to have around), made me a good deal flatter than the bustle of a pack I usually wear.

Having already warmed up on swine and cows I was set to really focus on some quick moving fowl. This elegant and curious rooster caught my eye. The red comb came up into a triangular plateau on his forehead. I had never seen anything like it. His body was feathers of white with streaks of black: quite stunning.

The fact that he was curious meant that he spent most of his time moving back and forth in front of me, presenting his head in a similar fashion so that he could squint at me with his eye. (It's that "eyes-on-the-side-of-the-head-of-a-prey-animal" issue.)

The drawing went so quickly (you could immediately see what I was drawing), and so well (you could immediately see what I was drawing) that a crowd of a dozen people formed around me and watched. Thus I was reminded of the benefits of crowds, if they are watching you THEY stop the traffic and protext your view.

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Illustration © 2007 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved