Sketching Chickens in the Garden

I have some new chickens – particularly pretty ones – so I am looking forward to running these courses in the summer. I run an art class in London every week and it always amazes me how people think they can’t draw and very quickly discover that in fact, they can. Everyone can draw, but it is a question of ‘unlearning’ and letting go of all the inhibitions about our artistic ability we tend to accumulate over time, and reconnect with the pleasure of drawing that most of us had as children.

I provide all the materials, so even those who already sketch or paint can try some new media such as pastels, charcoal, and ink and wash. The hens move quickly, so it is a question of capturing the basic shapes and movement rather than getting bogged down in detail. This freedom from being expected to produce a masterpiece (impossible to render in a matter of seconds with a moving subject!) is liberating as we tend to tense up and worry that we haven’t managed to do an accurate drawing if we have too much time and/or faced with a still life.

I love sketching my hens as they range in the garden, and it’s a great way to observe their behaviour and check they are in good health and getting on well; chickens are surprisingly sophisticated in their social interactions!

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