Tag Archives: puppy sketches

Getting Acquainted

sketch of little boys and huskie puups

“Getting Acquainted”, pencil sketch by Kerry McFall copyright 2014

Getting out in the world can be so Life Confirming!  Sometimes it’s not the spectacular landscapes, or the fabulous architecture, or the breath-taking performances that mean the most, although those are richly rewarding.  Sometimes it’s just being on the path, at the moment when two Husky puppies encounter two little boys, that warms your heart and makes the memory.

Last week I was walking along the path at Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colorado), camera in hand, having one of my “Overdose on Awesome” moments.  I had been gaping at rock spires the colors of fire, almost dizzy as I turned from one overwhelming vista to another, when I saw these little ones.  Whew, I thought, something on a human scale.  The grownups who were with them were hanging on to leashes and waistbands to be sure nobody got rambunctious, but I’m pretty sure they would have done fine on their own.  I suspect that both the puppies and the boys had encountered members of these species before, because they all approached the opportunity with cautious optimism and wagging tails.  I had a brief opportunity to snap a quick shot and then fade back into the background, and I was lucky enough to catch this rich moment, so full of possibilities!  And of course, after awhile, I got to pet the puppies too!

Oddly enough, this got me started thinking about my mother, and the topic that she keeps pushing away, which is that she should no longer be living alone.  She refuses to live with “all those old people” (she is 84) in retirement facilities.  I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s my conclusion: senior residences, or nursing homes, or whatever you call them, should ALL include a day care center, and be across the street from a park with a playground and/or open spaces.  Even if you were not able to stroll across the park to meet the new toddler or play frisbee with the puppy, you could at least see the fun and chuckle. You could watch the sky change and see the birds fly overhead.  You could get acquainted with people of all ages, maybe read to the kids in daycare, and not be restricted to just conversations with those “old people” about which of the residents went into the hospital this week.  Let’s hurry up and get this going! It is absolutely worth a fortune to see or participate in encounters like the one above.

Technique Notes: I grabbed my journal this morning and started scribbling.   I added just a touch of pale pink and light blue colored pencil, and then thought, Dang, I wish I hadn’t done this on lined paper!  But as always, sketching in my journal, instead of on “nice” sketchbook paper, takes away the pressure to be so careful… and as often as not, the results are better than on “nice” paper!


All over the map this last week or two… this must be what squirrels feel like when they’re about to cross the street.  If there has been any theme it has been small fluffy animals – kittens, chicks, and most recently puppies.  I’ll just blame that on my friends and their adorable little critters.  But there have also been landscapes, lettering, botanicals, and urban areas that caught my eye, so here they all are.

A word about small fluffy animals – I’m learning that it only takes a few lines to age them drastically.  The puppy for example – I really struggled to keep him a baby, all soft and round.  The result is a very pastel, low contrast piece, which might make a nice greeting card at some point, but it won’t knock anyone’s socks off.

And a word about the Bungalow style, which is part Art Nouveau, part Craftsman, part coloring book.  I am always really drawn to these styles, maybe that’s because I like to use line so much.  Thick, dark lines with nice solid color fills, bold negative spaces, unabashed contrasts.  I used the American Bungalow magazine from the library as inspiration for these studies – it’s a pleasing publication, partly because of the lovely high quality paper it’s printed on, and partly because of the focus on “human sized” homes, although most of the homes probably have at least three times the square footage of our tiny cottage.