Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Of sheep and dogs (and cats)
Over the weekend we went to the Vashon Sheepdog Classic, a three-day event at Misty Isle Farms on Vashon Island. We were just there for the day, but we got to see some super smart dogs at work herding the sheep over the course.
The course was laid out over rolling hills. The dogs had to run about 300-400 yards to find their sheep, which they couldn't see at the start. Then they herded a group of five sheep through some gates and back to the shepherd, and then dog and handler worked together to separate two from the group of five and then finished by getting them all into a pen. The sheep presented their own challenge. They came from the mountains of Eastern Washington and were used to roaming in flocks of thousands and had not been exposed to herding dogs except in large groups. But most of the dogs rose to the challenge and performed amazingly.
The venue was very pretty and spectators had good views of all the action. There was also a sheep-to-shawl exhibition going on during the competition. Carders would take freshly shorn fleece and card it for the spinners, who spun and plied the yarn and handed it off to some weavers, who were weaving a shawl to auction off at the end of it.
At home, I've been doing some lessons from my art books. This book features cats and dogs in a variety of styles and media: watercolor, acrylic, oil and ink.
I love doing step-by-steps, especially in a new medium, because I learn so much in the doing. This particular exercise is by Claudia Nice, who works in mixed media, mostly pen and watercolor. She provides lots of tips and tricks for anyone interested in following along.