This weekend I wanted to sketch geese, so I packed up my sketching things in a rucksack, grabbed my bike and cycled off to the field I pass on my run, where two plump geese normally roam free. But it was not to be; on my arrival the geese were nowhere to be seen. My suspicions are that they have been ‘enjoyed’ by their owners.
It was time to be adaptable. I’d come out to sketch, and that was what I was going to do, regardless. So when the horses which also live on that pasture came over to the gate to say hello, I knew (with a feeling of trepidation) that I’d have to try to draw them.
I’d never properly drawn a horse. In fact I’d barely even looked hard at one. These two girls were friendly and hung their heads over the fence until they understood that I wasn’t going to hand-select them the finest grasses, and that realisation came about ten minutes from my arrival. I had to work very quickly indeed, which is a bit of a strain when you haven’t drawn something before and you’re not at all familiar with the shapes. The best I could do was a few hasty fineliner sketches before the pair wandered off to the far reaches of the paddock and left me filling in some of the gaps with watercolour. The effect is rather cartoony, and not what I had in mind!
As I hopped back on my bike to leave, I was flagged down by a little old lady who normally waves at me when I run. She’d been secretly watching me sketching and asked to see what I’d done. Edna was very discerning in her comments, and told me that she was top of her art class at high school, although she’d never drawn as an adult – her years as a farmer’s wife didn’t leave space for art. Now 80, she told me that still gets out in the garden and hand-feeds the local wild deer. She’s spry as a bird, and she gave me a tour of her woodland behind her bungalow, and made sure I admired her lovely new owl box. I came away very happy that the morning’s sketching had brought a new acquaintance.
However, since I was sure I still needed to know much more about equine anatomy I searched for photos online and made a few practice drawings in ink using a brush pen. I can see some improvement over the morning’s watercolour sketches, and I’m a little more comfortable with the shapes now, although there’s still a long way to go. I get the feeling it might be a while before I have the courage to sketch any more horses.