Monday, June 30, 2014

Color Header!

Here's the new, fantabulous color edition of the Chicken Scratch blog header...

Chicken Dance! Oreo the Matador...

Oreo is coming on a bit too strong with his new love interest, a Silkie hen named Esmerelda. He can't help but show her his love dance, and unfortunately, he can't control his neediness, which makes his date run away!
We hope he can settle down a bit and quit scaring her away, so they can have some cute little Blue Silkie chicks...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Portrait of "Pepper" in full color

This Chicken Scratch is unlike the others, as it is not from life. So, it's not a true Scratch.
However, I am beginning a regular feature on the blog, wherein I paint a color sketch of one of the chickens here at Painted Acres. This is to highlight them, and also the notion that I paint chicken portraits in any media, which are available for commission any time (just email me at for details).
Portrait of "Pepper," sunbathing (mixed media, mainly acrylic, on illustration board):

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scratchin' and a Preenin'

Drawing Silkie chickens almost never gets tiring, because of the incredible variation in their tone and texture, which makes for interesting and challenging rendering, especially when drawing from life.

Drawing Runner Ducks, on the other hand, also never gets tiring, but for entirely different reasons. They're always moving, and their bills and necks provide difficult shapes to draw (especially when they're moving!).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Foghorn Leghorn Rant!

Some of the best colorful country colloquialisms of America's Rooster, Foghorn Leghorn.

Yesterday's and Today's-- a Portrait of Oreo, Sketches of the Ladies, and Buddy

Once again, a portrait of our "Blue" Silkie, Oreo:
Quick Contour Doodles of "the Ladies" (as we call our large hens):
 Today's Scratch: Portrait of Buddy, face and tail, and a quick sketch of Cream, one of his wives:
Materials Note: today I bought a KOH-I-NOOR Hardtmuth "Toison D'Or" 7B pencil, and I think it was easier to do a little shading with.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Scratch of the Day

Fairy House, SOLD!

One the fairy market for only a day, the cute little mansion sold!
This morning, our daughter found that the yard sign was gone, and in its place was a sprinkling of fairy dust! At the house itself, more fairy dust adorned the place, and a conspicuous "SOLD" sign was posted on the fence for sale sign. WOW! They loved the place so much, they had to move right in.
 Fairy dust sparkling on the leaves of grass where the sign once stood.
 More fairy dust, and a "SOLD" sign, too! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Duck doodles...

I didn't have a lot of time on this Fathers Day to sketch any of the critters in detail, but I managed to spend a few minutes following the ducks around (they rarely stand still for any length of time to allow one to finish a drawing!). It's all good practice, however, even if there's no refined product for the day. In time, benefits in line and expression will be reaped...
And speaking of ducks:

Fairy House!

Well, we must have put some good improvements into our back yard, because we suddenly noticed a fairy house in the back, near the fence.
Actually, it was the latest creation of Kate, our youngest (nearing 8). She made the house with almost no supervision (super genius)!

This place not only has location, it has a new fence, a stone walk way, a nice deck on the roof, and a cute little mossy hill.

(I wonder, if more fairies move in and build houses, they'll suddenly make a fairy HOA?)...

Kate just added two signs, letting all in the fairy world know that there's a great new house for sale in a great neighborhood... (the one on the fence reads, "for sale mansion.")
& here's a sign a few yards away, pointing "down the street" to the fairy house:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NomNomNomNom.... Strawberries!

We brought our Silkie hens, Holly and Stella, in from the rain last night, and while they sat to dry, we fed them some juicy strawberries. Boy, did they like them!

Buddy (and Stella), A Study

Followed Buddy the Silkie rooster around the yard today, getting some quick drawings done of him.

I also managed to get a quick drawing of Stella done, minutes before a downpour made us scramble to get the chickens back in!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Color Scratch!

Today's Scratches are a bit of an attempt to do color-- at least a color outline-- using colored pencils.

I saw our Rhode Island Red, "Scarlet", dust bathing, looking like a big ball of feathers, so I did a quick line drawing and added a little tone to her:
Our Silkie hen, "Holly" was next, and she was a bit more difficult. She is a very light-toned Buff Silkie, and so it's hard to get the color right. I used three different pencils on her outlines...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Peeps Has Got His Crow!

Mr. Peeps crowed for the first time the other day, and yesterday, I thought I'd try to capture his earnest if not fully realized attempt at a crow. Like a teenage boy, his voice is changing!

Videos-- Penny for your Dreams, and Mr. Peeps Comes of Age

Penny, our Delaware pullet, was sun bathing today, with her neck feathers all poofed out, and I had to get a video of it:

Then, I was watching the ducks and chickens free range,minding my own business when, to my left, a ruckus was occurring only inches away.
When I looked to see what the fuss was about, I saw Peeps and Buddy squaring off:
Buddy was chased off, Peeps turned around and I turned my camera off. IMMEDIATELY after that, I had to turn it back on again, because Oreo came up and it was on again, like a gang scene out of a 50s musical.
Oreo and Peeps face off, but with comic results:
Peeps, our cockerel Delaware shown in the videos, has been coming of age lately.
He crowed for the first time three days ago, and his feathers are really starting to mature. I can imagine that in a few short weeks, he'll be the proverbial cock of the walk...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chicken Contours: Delaware Quick Draw

Using a Derwent Graphic 6B pencil today, on the usual Canson 50 lb. Sketch pad...

I think the pencil is a whole lot better than a 2B or HB at getting a wider range of line weight and value. And it's easier to do a gestural contour line with it, as your hand can glide more freely across the surface.
I will continue my search for the best combination of pencil and paper and, in the meantime, I hope my eye will grow sharper and my hand, quicker.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Silkie Sketch for Blog Header

Today's Scratch is for the new header. I will make a new one in color some day, if more of the scratches are done in color-- yet it's fitting to have it in pencil, as "chicken scratches" are pencil sketches, after all.

Dust Bathing Ladies

Simple Scratch again from yesterday. Doodle practicing gesture drawing while the ladies dust bathed. I spent so much time running around mediating disputes between the rival gangs/broods of our chickens and ducks, that I only got a few minutes to draw! It's all good practice, though.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting a Line on Shading

In some of today's Scratches, I tried to use drawing pencils of varying softnesses, and to incorporate shading and value gradations. What I seem to have achieved is still a lot of middle tone. Perhaps I need to go 6B or softer to get darks that aren't forced...

If you'd like to see a great sketcher at work in this regard, go see Victor Ambrus' book Drawing Animals. It's a wonderful compilation of his sketches from life of animals as he observed them. We're all duffers compared to him when it comes to sketching from life, and maintaining energy in line while incorporating value and focus areas...

Monday, June 2, 2014


More gesture drawings.
The process reminds me a bit of figure drawing class, when they'd have us draw the model doing quick gesture poses, the model changing pose every minute. You'd have to keep a lightning hand and quick eye in order to capture something of truth about the pose.

And just like those classes, Chicken and Duck Figure Drawing has models that move constantly! So a lot of the drawings end up looking like scribbles! But, with practice, the drawings can sometimes have a bit of energy and life to them-- life that can be lacking in the more extended poses, which allow for too much "tightness."