Over the Fourth of July weekend, we’ve been helping take care of a neighbor’s hens. We’ve learned several things: Chicken poop is hard to get off your shoes. Chickens are about as easy to herd as cats. Chickens do not like firecrackers. Chickens do not tolerate attempts to pet their glorious feathers.
So you learn something new every day! But these chickens were quite photogenic, and before the firecrackers started exploding right outside their fence, they were quite curious about someone who was silly enough to be wandering around the yard pointing a shiny little box at them. Not wanting to really get down on their level, what with the poop and all, I have some rather odd perspectives. This one is my favorite, but the resident art critic merely said, “That chicken needs a mouth.” Sigh… not everyone appreciates unique cropping and perspective.
When you begin to sketch feathers and wattles, the lizard connection is inescapable. The feather shapes overlap, like scales, making wonderful patterns even without the addition of the colors and textures of the feathers themselves. Even on a very plain hen like this, the colors are iridescent. And on the red skin (combs and wattles – and yes, I always have to Google the words for those because I missed Chicken 4H as a kid) the patterns are quite pronounced – diamonds, spirals, stripes – if you just look at it long enough and try not to acknowledge that the skin on my own hands is beginning to show that same “crepey” texture. Ew. I also noticed that the color of her eye is exactly the color of the egg yolk of a fresh free-range egg. Cool.