Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

My granddaughter, Morgan, nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I was happy to accept. I'm also glad it was a small bucket!  A fun time for a good cause. 

Monday, August 18, 2014


What a fun afternoon riding the Chicago Water Taxi with Urban Sketchers-Chicago! There were two sketching-venue possibilities. One was to remain on land and sketch near the Wrigley Building or board the water taxi and ride back and forth to Chinatown. I chose to ride back and forth to Chinatown (twice!).

Once on the boat came the decision, do I sketch the boat and it's passengers or the moving scenery? I went with the scenery for most of the ride. So what you see here is a melding of ever-changing buildings and shoreline. That's Rich and Chris up in the corner. I sketched them the last ten minutes of the trip just before we docked at Michigan Avenue.

It was a good time but all that fresh air knocked me out!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


© Barbara Weeks 

Every Tuesday Urban Sketchers-Chicago offers sketching tips and tricks on their blog. Four of us take turns writing the Tuesday posts. This week it was my turn again. I figured I'd share that post with you too!

The Urban Sketchers manifesto says “we draw on location”. That may cause a little stage fright, at least it did for me when I first started drawing out in the open. Here are a few things I’ve learned.


What equipment? Keep your gear to the minimum. It’s easier to manage in small spaces, easier to keep track of and easier to gather up when the day is done. Check out the USk-Chicago  Pinterest board for sketch kit ideas.

© Barbara Weeks

Where? A coffee shop is a great place to sketch especially when you’re just starting out. So many people are busy on their computers, tablets or phones they don’t even notice what you’re doing. Added benefits - you have a comfortable seat, a table and something to eat or drink!
Outside, try to fine a spot where people can’t come up behind you. Position yourself with a wall, corner or post at your back. It gives you something to lean on, too.

What about the public? People are curious when they see people sketching. They are also usually very complimentary and respectful. Children are fascinated. If you don’t want to be interrupted wear ear buds and listen to music (or pretend to) and avoid eye contact.

© Barbara Weeks

Sketch with friends. There is a comfortability in numbers. The tab “Sketch Crawls” on the Urban Sketchers-Chicago blog’s navigation bar tells you where and when we’re meeting next. Join us.


  • Sharpened powers of observation.
  •  Learn to work quickly.
  • Teaches you to take risks and improvise to get the sketch down. 
  •  Overcome selfconsciousness and become a more decisive painter.
  • Have fun meeting and learning from other sketchers.
  • “Show the world one sketch at a time!”
© Barbara Weeks 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green

Our Monday sketch group finally met at Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, a.k.a. Lily Pond Park. We've been rained out here twice this year. It was cool and windy. The watercolor almost dried as soon as it hit the paper! I didn't do a lot of pencil sketching. After a few sighting marks I went straight for the paint.

This park is a hidden gem in Chicago. If you're in the neighborhood be sure and visit.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Selfie

This is the first self-portrait I've done in at least ten years! I discovered I'm getting old! It was a little scary to do but I had fun too. 2B Tombow pencil on watercolor paper.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thumbs Up

A quick thumbnail of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco as seen from Starbucks in the Persidio. Actually, I scribbled a few lines while waiting for my Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte and splashed on the color later. This little doodle is also exercise #12 in One Watercolor a Day!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Every Cloud's Silver Lining

Heading to San Francisco – Rain delay at O'Hare

Heading home to Chicago – Delayed departure in San Francisco
Another delay in Phoenix!

Recently, I spent a week in San Francisco. Let's call it a "working vacation".  My six month old grandson had surgery (all is well!).  I went to help with caring for his twin and five year old brother. Needless to say there was no time to sketch while on duty but the weather delays to and from SF gave me time for a quick sketch or two.