Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Thank you for your visits and comment throughout the year. You are all greatly appreciated. It's been an eventful year. I'll fill you in soon!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not Just Another Day at the Field Museum

Bird Habitats – Field Museum Chicago
Last Sunday, Urban Sketchers-Chicago went to the Field Museum to sketch. What a day it was! When we planned the outing to the Field we didn't realize that the Bears would be playing the Ravens at Soldier Field which is right across from the Museum. The buses, trains and parking lots were jammed, noisy and loud! And, I might add, fun. This was only the beginning of our adventure.

 It seemed we no sooner settled into sketch the Bird Habitat when we evacuated to the lower level. A tornado watch had been issued (that means a tornado had been spotted near by) and for safety's sake we were asked to stay in the Siragusa Center, the Museum's indoor picnic area. During our forty-five minute stay everyone celebrated a fellow evacuee's birthday by serenading him with Happy Birthday. We sketchers also worked on our barely started sketches from upstairs. It wasn't until later that I realized that I had totally missed a unique opportunity to sketch this rare urban experience in the Museum.

After we were allowed back upstairs we were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the Zoology Department.  Giraffe vertebrate, elephant pelvises, assorted creepy rodent pelts, it was quite a sight and experience. Thank you, Rebecca!

USk-Chicago had an exciting time but my thoughts and prayers go out to those in our area whose day was filled not with adventure but with tragedy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Poetry in Motion

The Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty

This is an early sketch for a series of ballet illustrations I'm working on. It's in the reject pile but it's one of my favorites and I'll use it sometime I'm sure!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Urban Sketching in Chicago

Lyric Opera - Corner of Madison and Wacker -A peek at Madame Butterfly set

Chicago Temple -  W Washington Street

The Palmer House Hotel -  E Monroe

Last Sunday, Urban Sketchers-Chicago joined the (CAF)  Chicago Architecture Foundation to tour and sketch. What humbling fun! We walked to three different venues, toured one and sketched all three, in three hours! Whew!

While I was disappointed in my resulting sketches, the day was great fun. I came away with a smile, some new sketching friends and resolved to brush up on my rapid sketching!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunshine and Sketching - An Urban Sketcher's Delight

What a gorgeous day in Chicago! Our Monday sketch group chose the Lincoln Park Conservatory as our sketching destination today. We figured we'd be ready for what ever the Chicago weather had in store. It won't be long before we'll be limited to inside venues. The was a touch of fall in the air but the sun was warm. Time flew by!

I usually don't sketch the architecture. People are more likely to catch my attention. But today I decided to give it a shot. It's a little overworked but I had a good time doing it. For me, that's what urban sketching is about – enjoying sketching the moment.

I'm down to the last to pages of my Stillman and Birn hardbound Beta series sketchbook. I prefer the hardbound but no one around here carries them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Look What I Found!

In the spring we were in California for a wedding. We drove from Malibu, the site of the wedding, to San Francisco to visit family. We made many stops along the way to enjoy the sights.

While I was doing a little computer file maintenance I came across these sketches that I never posted. They're not all winners but the sights and the trip were!

At the Santa Monica Pier

The Page Museum, a.k.a. La Brea Tar Pits -The bird skeletons intrigued me, so elegant in a strange way

This looks like fall but it was spring and these were the colors I saw.

Vermeer is one of my favorites. I was delighted to catch this exhibit.
Like I said not every page is a winner! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Too Hot to Roar but Not to Draw

 The Lincoln Park Zoo is under a massive redesign. It's a beautiful place that they're making even better. The noise didn't seem to bother Sahar, the lion, or the four Monday sketchers who showed up to draw on a HOT (90+°) September afternoon.
With school open now the zoo was almost empty. It was a very relaxing afternoon. We had a great time chatting about methods of sketching and ideas of what to draw. There may be one or two new converts to Every Day Matters (EDM) list. 
Sahar is about two years old. His mane is just growing in and he's very proud of it. In between his quick naps he strutted his stuff around the enclosure.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Good Morning Chicago!

It's been a very long time since I've been in school or even had kids in school but for some reason, for me, the new year still starts in September! The good thing about this is all my resolutions can get a reboot in January! 
This is a 5 minute sketch done while I sipped my second cup of morning coffee.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Old McDonald's Farm

A couple of Saturdays ago this urban sketcher left her studio to visit an urban farm! In an old meatpacking plant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago there is a wonderful place called The Plant. Its mission is to repurpose the old plant into a vertical farm (I love that term) and food business operation. 
The Plant-Outdoor Garden

When it is fully operational one-third of The Plant will be an aquaponic farm system. It's a circle from fish to vegetables to fish. The fish in tanks produce ammonia-based waste that is broken down into nitrates that are fed to the plants growing in water beds. The plants absorb the nitrates and clean the water. The water the goes back to the fish. The idea is to sell both the fish and the vegetables to local markets and restaurants.  The other two-thirds of the building will house sustainable food businesses.

This is just a hint of what is planned. Right now there's a bakery, a tea brewery, a mushroom farm and the aquaponics has begun. There's an outdoor garden and a roof garden. It has a long way to go but The Plant will have a renewable energy system that will use more than 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet its energy requirements. About 125 jobs will be created. There are retail and restaurant spaces planned. Go, take the tour. See the future and be inspired and amazed!

There were nineteen people on the tour with Barbara, our guide. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


Urban Sketchers-Chicago met in Chinatown yesterday. I started the day's adventure on the water taxi from Michigan Avenue to Ping Tom Park. What a perfect day for a half hour ride on the Chicago River!

The group met then spread out to sketch. Some of us went to the square with the zodiac sculptures. Surprise! When we got there there was a festival – a perfect day for that too! It was buzzing with people, costumes, dancing and karate, balloons and food. It all took place in front of an altar with a statue of Buddha filled offerings of incense, food and flowers. The general mood was fun and reverent. I wish I knew more about it. From what we could gather it was just a Chinatown summer celebration –

Friday, August 16, 2013

At Our Backs

It's been awhile since I've posted, not because I haven't been sketching but because I haven't been scanning. This sketch is from the backlog. It's from the recent Monday sketch outing.

Seven of us met at the south end of Belmont Harbor. We had a good discussion about painting clouds and greens as well as quiet time to paint. The winds were at our back - good fortune - the rain held off until we were packed up and leaving!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Déjà Vu

Chicago is a great city, known for it's architecture, beautiful lake front, museums and colorful neighborhoods. For me, often it's the little things that catch my eye and make me smile. They say it's the little things that make a house a home. Maybe the same holds true for cities!
I wish I had a dollar for every time I painted or sketched these lamp posts! They're all around the Chicago. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On the Road and Home Again

We made a quick trip to Ohio last week for a family wedding. Since my daughter and son-in-law did all the driving (thank you, thank you!) I spent a lot of time gazing out the window and watching the world go by. It reminded me of twenty-nine years ago when we moved to the midwest from the east coast. I kept thinking, "The sky is so big and the trees are so small!" I still think that and I still think it's beautiful.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mm Mm Good!

Many of Chicago's restaurants and chefs work with our urban farmers to bring local produce to the table. Everyone wins–the restaurants, the farmers and people like me, the consumer. Our Green City Market in Chicago adds another link to the chain. Every Wednesday and Saturday at the Market in the summer, chefs give demonstrations to teach and encourage the average consumer to use locally grown food at home. Good idea! How many times have you bought something at a farmer’s market, or from your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and thought “Now what?”

Today, Chef Heather Terhune (did you see her on Top Chef?) ran a chopping station. She happily chopped whatever-you-bought at the market, explaining the tricks-of-the-trade as she went along.

Despite the iffy weather the Market was crowded so the people watching and sketching was the icing on the cake for me!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Morning Sunshine!

We've had so much rain and unseasonable cold here in Chicago! At long last the plants and I could enjoy the morning sun on the deck. I didn't know how much longer they would hold up with out some good sunshine. I didn't know how much longer I'd hold up for that matter! This is a quick sketch of a corner of our "back forty".

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Urban Sketching at Camp Nana

The Monday sketch group and several Urban-Sketchers Chicago met this week at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.  Lily Pond Park, as it's also known, is a beautiful zen-space that few people even know exists. I hate to be selfish but I'm rather glad.

This year our annual sketch outing to the pond coincided with Camp Nana. Camp Nana is the time between the end of school and the beginning of real camp when my granddaughters and I happily (well most of the time) share each other's daily adventures at work and play. On Monday the girls were introduced to urban sketching. They took to it like ducks to water. Geese and goslings, ducks and ducklings, Nana and granddaughters and Urban Sketchers, we all had a marvelous day at the pond.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Date Night

This is a quick sketch from Twelve West, a local  nightclub in Chicago. The band was Rhythm City and this is Conrad Black – Motown and Soul - great for dancing and great for listening!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Sketching Outside!

Our Monday sketch group met at Nookies in Old Town then ventured out into the still-chilly Chicago spring. The temperature was in the 50s but the sun was glorious! This is a sketch of a florist on Wells Street. It expresses my sentiments after the long gray winter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun

A couple of years ago one of my granddaughters taught me a song with a line in it "Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me." Well yesterday I could have sung it all day!  Our Monday sketch group went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory to sketch on the off chance it might be warm and sunny enough to sketch outside. If not we could sketch the spring flower show going on inside.

This is done outside in the glorious sunshine, in my Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook. Love it! Today it's back to gray and rain. Ah, but yesterday there was sunshine and sketching!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Food…Glorious Food!

For many years I was the art director for Food Product Design and Culinology, two business-to-business magazines that are concerned with bringing good tasting and healthful food to our tables. As a city folk, my husband and I frequent the Green City Market and belong to a CSA.  He shops. I sketch. So… needless to say, I was delighted when one of my sketches from these outings was chosen for farmer ID button for the Good Food Festival in Chicago. Bob and I attended the Festival in March–he shopped, I sketched.

I really enjoyed hearing Chef Rick Bayless talk about his involvement with local farmers to use fresh and local ingredients at his restaurants. We all win in that scenario–the farmer, the restaurant and the consumer!

I'm looking forward to further involvement as Urban Sketcher meets Urban Farmer!

As Chef Bayless spoke he did a cooking demo - a delicious spinach salad!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Remains of the Day

I have no idea where March went! It just flew by! This is a quick sketch of the remains of the last day of March - Easter Sunday. It was a marvelous day filled with prayer, family, friends and chocolate.

Note the color of those shells- I forgot to buy dye so we improvised with food coloring. The colors were bold and bright. Just my speed. I think we'll improvise again next year! It did make a mess and get all over your hands. LOL.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Have Good News and…

Not long ago my daughter-in-law and I were lamenting the close of "our" Starbucks, the one where we both seemed to gravitate to when out running errands etc. – not that there aren't at least four others the same distance from my place. The good news is it didn't close it just moved two blocks north! The better news is in the evening they serve wine!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

Urban Sketchers-Chicago met at the Garfield Park Conservatory today. I haven't been there since the Chihuly exhibit ten years ago! In the gray Chicago winter, sketching, sun and color made for a great day!  
"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"  Percy Bysshe Shelley

Saturday, February 9, 2013


The paperwhites have made great progress. The bulb on the right is still struggling but it's getting there. Me too.

Like my last post, these sketches are done directly without pencil lines. I've been using a Cheap Joe's American Journey watercolor sketchbook to try out some new things–experiments that are a little different (some not so little) than I normally work. In some cases I'm revisiting my roots and playing with abstracts. We'll see how it effects what I usually do. I'm enjoying expanding my horizons! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

50 Shades of Clear

Now that all our Christmas decorations are down everything looks so drab. The gray Chicago winter is no help. I was walking by a local florist shop, Christine Noelle Design, and couldn't resist the call to buy some bulbs to force.  I decided to try a no line-drawing approach to record them in the simple but lovely cellophane-bag packaging. In the end though I couldn't resist putting in the penciled frame to ground the watercolor on the page.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Marvel is the Word

Each year I choose a word as a theme for some daily trait I'd like to cultivate. This year MARVEL is the word. There are so many WOW moments that pass me by each day because I just wasn't paying attention. I think it came to me when I was browsing on Pinterest and saying to myself "Wow, great, gee" at so many things that people took the time to notice and post or pin. So, thank you to the people of Pinterest for the inspiration!

We went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at Navy Pier yesterday. This thumbnail records a Wow moment for me. The color, the light and the shadows looked just like the temperature felt…Brrr.

May your 2013 be a journey of marvelous moments!