Dog-walk Sketching: Stress.

It’s stressful sketching an old log with with my dog about. Debarking wood is one of his hobbies, which means he could make the log worthless as a sketch subject in moments, any second.

Dog leaping rotten birch log in the woods.
I’ve finished the sketch and he’s just leaping the log to get me to put his stick into action. The log remains in the wood with its bark intact.

Sketch stress of having the dog.

Potential doggy destruction of my subject is one stress point. A constant pitiful whining if he’s bored is another. And having to regularly pick up and throw his stick is only a mild stress point since I can lose my ‘place’, but in return it gives me reasonable intervals of peace. Digging on the other hand…

Digging transforms the view.

Digging is an obsessive occupying force for my dog. And in this case his digging was going on right beside and behind my subject. Consequently I had to speed draw and leave the background to last.

The on-going stress was that no matter how fast I went my drawing might never get finished because if his dig direction changed flying dirt would obliterate the log.

The drawing done, but in a rush.

Anyway, the drawing got done and a drawing done is always worth it. But rushing to get it done before any potential destruction might descend, and worrying about dirt, subsidence, and debarking had its effect on the quality of the end result.

Biro drawing of a rotting birch log.
Quick biro sketch of a rotting birch log on the dog walk with the note ‘Dog dug a hole trench’.

The sketch is not as good as it should be but that does not matter. Every sketch, good or bad, is practise. And every practise informs the next drawing. Life long learning, that’s what keeps us ‘alive’.