The first in a series of posts by MABA resident artist Barry Van Dusen
Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Princeton on March 11, 2015
After a long, cold winter (February the coldest and snowiest ever recorded in Eastern Massachusetts!), this mild day in the 60s was my chance to get outdoors and start my Museum of American Bird Art residency, visiting Mass Audubon sanctuaries across the state! I started close to home at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton. The trails at the Sanctuary were still deep in snow – impassable by anyone without snowshoes or skis, so I wandered the cleared paths around the barns, and checked out the new work being done on the foundation of the horse barn.
I knew the sheep would be good models to draw, as I had worked with them before. Most of the sheep in the Wachusett Meadow flock are of Merino and Coopworth lineage, but I found the petit Shetlands, which are a recent addition, especially attractive.
Shearing time is still a few weeks away, and the animals are heavy with wool. When the Shetland ram “Hickory” and the ewe “Willow” struck a pose side by side in the strong late-winter sunlight, I recognized the opportunity for a good watercolor!