The Donkey Work of a Plein-Air Sketcher

The other day, before going swimming, we had to do some chores in Garrucha, a town, well, a fishing port actually, nearby. Going to the bank, going to the notary, going shopping, stuff like that…

Kevin, knowing how much I hate it and consequently how dangerous it is to live close to me in such moments, had the wisdom to propose doing it all alone, I should take my sketching book and make some sketches while waiting for him. What wouldn’t he say anyway to see the thunderclouds disappear from my face! He didn’t need to say it twice, the smile was back on my face, the sketch book in my hand, he was happy, I was happy. So simple can everyday life be… when one has the right partner!

We parked the car by the seafront in Garrucha. My first thought was that I could do some seascape, or draw some half naked sunbathers, but my eye was caught at once by the blue wooden gate of a house on the other side of the sea promenade. This gate looked so happy, somehow, with so many flowers and stuff around it, that I forgot the sea and the sunbathers and chose to sketch it. Well, here it is.

As I often do when I sketch, I started with the stuff which most attracts me, in this case the gate, and then gradually build the rest around it.  You see what I meant with a happy gate? With all these flowers and leaves and bricks and windows and pillars dancing around him!

The little girl with the ice cream was not really there, it was much more a vision, a vision of myself when I was a little bit smaller and still had dark hair… I lived in a happy house too… and still do!

Kevin came back much earlier than expected. Too early to go to the swimming pool, he proposed to head there, but to stop on the way among fields.

“You could draw the donkey”, he said, “at least he never moves, easy to sketch!”

What a great idea again! For some days there has been a donkey by the side of the road,  a lovely immobile donkey, the perfect subject to sketch.

We drove there, and here he was again, standing alone in the same position as he had been standing for days and nights! I went out of the car with my sketching book, kept a respectable distance from the animal, and started sketching.  Starting with the ears as it is what most fascinated me in that subject, then the rest of the head, then starting the line of the back, then…

Then suddenly the bloody donkey started running like crazy towards the car!  I couldn’t believe my eyes! Well, in case you wonder why the bloody animal moved after an entire existence of perfect immobility I will explain: Kevin -probably bored by this total ‘bucolicity’ around him, had suddenly started to sing some loud rock. Perhaps the donkey thought that Kevin was calling him, or he loves rock, the fact is that he became incredibly excited and started wildly running towards the car. Good for the car that he was tethered and could not go too far!

So much for   “The donkey does not move!”

Needless to say that I was quite angry,  having just started to sketch.  But well, I couldn’t help noticing the humour of the situation and joined Kevin in a good laughing party..

I added the rest of the donkey as best I could, the rest of the back, the tail, the four legs, the landscape around… and this is the result

Judging by the expression of  the eye -can you see the spark of excitement in it? -, I must have caught it right in the moment when he heard Kevin’s voice and  was about to jump around! Sorry if he does not look really like a donkey,  not my fault, any complaints should be addressed to Kevin… or to the donkey!

Well, in the meanwhile, the donkey has become my friend. We stop and I caress him everyday we come by now. Kevin doesn’t  even need to sing rock any more to animate him!

And I  have even given him a name: Donky.   🙂

And even made a portrait of him

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