Butter cow? Ferris wheel? Pigs? Cotton candy? No shortage of things to paint at the state fair. This year’s plein air competition started on Wed. July 25, the first day of the fair with check-in at the Cox Fine Arts building on the south side of the fairgrounds. Unfortunately the parking passes they gave to competitors were for the north lot, so the day began with a trek to get canvases stamped.
I knew I wanted a midway picture because nothing says Ohio State Fair like lemon shake-ups, tents and rides. I found a sweet spot away from the crowds with reliable shade for several hours. This painting spent a long time at the ugly stage so there weren’t too many folks stopping to chat.
The best part of that day was when the All-Ohio State Fair Marching Band stopped right in front of me for a concert. They were awesome! You have to be young to do march and make music in the hot sun. I worked a few of them into my painting very quickly. It was hot and humid so I ate lunch and trekked back across the grounds before 1:30.
On the way out the first day, I checked out the Budweiser Clydesdales. When one of them gave me the most soulful look, I decided I’d spend the next day painting there. (Their tent was also a shorter walk from the parking lot!)
The next morning I asked one of the attendants about their schedule. I had to make sure they wouldn’t be leaving in the middle of my painting. They weren’t due to parade till 4:00. The attendants graciously let me work in their restricted area while one of them washed each horse’s feet. I had plenty of time to paint various horses in the same pose. The one in the painting is a composite. I had plenty of onlookers this time. Everybody loves the Clydesdales!
After the shampooing was complete I stayed to do a portrait. Ivan wasn’t into posing. It was interesting to watch all the work that the crew does to keep those horses looking good and feeling healthy.
On the last day I decided to pay for parking by the south gate so I could drop off frames at the Cox Fine Art Center.
I headed out to find some cooperative cows to paint. At the OSU Veterinary Medicine area they had dairy cows and three of them were due to calf soon. I did a jillion quick sketches up close but couldn’t get anything I liked. Then I stepped back and decided to include the vet student on maternity watch in the painting. This was a quick one.
So I framed and entered Spa Day and Maternity Ward and went home to put my feet up. There were some truly outstanding entries in the competition, but none of those award winners are on this page. No matter. I tried something new and had lots of fun.