Friday, November 23, 2012

Spreading the News!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a class in  Sketchbook and Watercolor Journaling at the Oak Park Art League this winter! In the seven session class I'll share the techniques I use in my "out and about" sketchbooks. We'll cover different types of journals, materials, speed and memory drawing techniques, page layout and quick journal style formats and tricks. We'll also talk about combining the best of two worlds – the richness of your hand drawn journal pages and sharing those pages with the online artist community.

I hope if you live in the area you'll join us!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Looking East

Sunday the Urban Sketchers Chicago contingent met at the Art Institute. I decided to sketch in a section that I rarely explore – the Asian collection. I didn't get far! I was almost immediately fascinated by these ancient Chinese serrated axes and disks. I sketched them with a Tombow 4B pencil and added the color from memory at home. No disrespect intended but I would love to hang any of them on a cord to wear as a pendant. I sketched them as they are displayed - the six pieces in one wall case.

I moved on to discover these "tomb guardians" from  480-221 BC. Made of wood and about ten inches tall. Their bases are about two inches thick but their bodies in some areas are remarkably only about 1/4 inch thick, beautifully delicate and strong at the same time! This sketch was completed at the museum.

The Art Institute of Chicago allows only pencil sketching. I throughly enjoyed working with the Tombow 4B and feel of the pencil on the paper.  The directness of hand, tool and material made me feel a connection with the ancient sculptors. Both sketches were done in my Stillman & Birn Gamma Series sketchbook. There are two spreads left in the book. I've loved working in it, time to get another one!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Caffeinated Mind

My last post mentioned Mandy Patinkin. His voice is incredible! That got me to thinking about some of  my favorite songs I've heard him sing. That got me to thinking about Coffee in a Cardboard Cup, a song from a musical 70, Girls, 70. That got me to thinking about Starbucks and how much time I spend there catching my breath and sketching while running errands. It's a very different take on coffee in a cardboard cup than the one presented in the song.

That got me to thinking about the song's basic premise and I still think it's a good one.
"The trouble with the world today, it seems to me,
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
The trouble with the affluent society
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
No one's ever casual and nonchalant,
No one waits a minute in a restaurant,
No one wants a waitress passing pleasantries
Like "How're you, Miss?"
"How're you, Sir?"
"May I take your order please?"
The trouble with the world today is plain to see,
Is everything is hurry up.
It's rush it through, and don't be slow,
And BLT on rye to go,
With coffee (I think she said)
Coffee (I know she said)
Coffee in a cardboard cup."    70, Girls, 70

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday at the CST

A long, long, long time ago I saw Sunday in the Park with George in New York, starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. It was fabulous. When we headed out to Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Halloween night to see CST's latest version of the show I must admit I was afraid. I couldn't imagine how it could live up to a show I loved and that had been further polished by fond memories. SURPRISE! Jason Daneley, as George Seurat, and Carmen Cusack, as Dot, did not disappoint - they were fabulous! The show was great. It was a night for treats.

The scribbled sketches were boxed and colored later at home. The CST logo is from the program.

When you're in Chicago be sure to stop at the Art Institute and see George Seurat's masterpiece, A Sunday on La Grande Jotte. It won't disappoint either.