Friday, September 15, 2017

God Bless America

When tragedy strikes we Americans rise to the challenge. It makes me proud and grateful to live in this country. I've been asking myself why we can't, or won't, work together on a daily basis. We have the "the right stuff" and I pray we learn to use it on the smaller things. Hate is a spiritual tragedy as real as physcial ones. It's just harder to recognize in ourselves.
9/11 Memorial

Painted on Long Boat Key. That's Sarasota in the distance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Where Did Summer Go?

Time does fly when you’re having fun. Years ago I read French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano. It’s one of my favorite books. I love the change of seasons and all it brings, the changing light and color, in season foods, special holidays.

Fall always seems to be a new beginning for me. Maybe it goes back to all those years of starting a new school year. I also like the realization that the fall "new" year resolutions can get a reboot in January if necessary!

Goodbye fresh peaches, barbecues, and sunflowers. Hello, falling golden-leaves, pumpkins, and mums!
“Live in each season as it passes;
breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit,
and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Where in the World…

Where Have I Been Lately?

8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium photo from the final day at the General Logan Monument in Grant Park. Can you see me?

I can't believe it's been almost six months since I've posted here! The reason (or excuse?) is the same as my last post, only now the missions have been accomplished! The Ten Years Ten Classes program in Chicago was a success. Many thanks to our talented instructors and egar participants!

In July the 8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium was held in Chicago. I was honored to be part of the local Chicago chapter organizing team. We welcomed 570 sketchers from 34 countries who came to Chicago to learn, to sketch, to share, and have fun.
I gladly put my years of grahic design to use for the cause – logo, badges, banners, goodies!

15' x 8' Banner

24'' x12'' Banner

30' x 8' Banner

Just for size reference!

Where Am I Going?

It's even harder to believe that I started this blog over nine years ago with the intention of taking a deep breath and to get back to drawing and painting. I've come a long way. 

For me drawing and painting have always been the pause that refreshes. In this chaotic, hurried, bring me, buy me, get me, take me, I want, world I plan to draw, paint, and share those simple graces in daily life that remind me to draw breath and smile. Come along?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

One Excuse from Me and Ten Reasons to Join Us

I know it's been a long time since I've posted here. Between the 8th Urban Sketchers International Symposium coming to Chicago in July and  Urban Sketchers 10th  Anniversary Celebration  "10 Years 10 Classes" Program starting in Chicago on April 15, as an administrator for the Chicago Chapter, I've been a little busy! I do hope you'll join us in April and again in July if you can. It's going to be a great time!

We are inviting all sketchers celebrate Urban Sketchers' 10th Anniversary by attending 10 on-location Chicago classes with our knowledgeable Urban Sketching instructors and, in the spirit of Urban Sketchers, sketch our world, one drawing at a time.

10 Reasons to Register for 10 Years – 10 Classes

  1. Join with other sketchers from around the world in celebration of Urban Sketchers’ 10th anniversary. #usk10x10 
  2. Be inspired by other artists, tools, and styles. 
  3. Warm-up and brush-up your skills for the Urban Sketchers 8th International Symposium. 
  4.  Can’t make the Symposium? Join us here! 
  5.  Explore Chicago with a different instructor once a week for 10 weeks. 
  6.  Learn a new skill or two and practice using it. 
  7.  Receive personal attention from talented instructors. 
  8. Artists like athletes, musicians, and actors, need to practice to improve and hone our performance. 
  9. Become a better storyteller through sketching. 
  10. Show and share your world one drawing at a time. #usk10x10

Don't miss out! Mark your calendar!
Registration opens on Wednesday, March 15!
Classes begin April 15!

See the course schedule here:

  • All registration information will be posted here on this blog.
  • Registration and payments will be taken through the Bookwhen site.
  • There will be options to use a credit card or a PayPal account. 
  • Choose all ten workshops and a 10% discount will be applied automatically!

Look for updates and information about 10 Years 10 Classes in Chicago here:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Museum Sketching

In the Catholic church,  today is the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple. It reminded me of this quick sketch I did of one of my favorite paintings at LUMA (Loyola University Museum of Art), Simeon and the Christ Child by Thomas de Keyser, a 17th Century, Dutch painter. This is a sketch where I was concentrating on the facial expressions, but the colors in this painting are deep and rich. Sketching in the galleries at LUMA is encouraged on Tuesdays when admission is free!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Do Blue and Yellow Always Equal Green?

This Christmas I received a Pocket Palette. I've finally gotten around to filling it! Though the palette will fit a maximum of fourteen pans, I decided to use only twelve.That leaves room for one square pan that I can use for mixing

There are so many beautiful colors to choose from when designing a new palette it's hard to whittle the choices down to twelve. Hard to choose, but I had fun playing with the paint to see what combinations would give the colors that pleased my eye. 

I fell in love with Daniel Smith's Cobalt Teal but wondered if I could make it work in Chicago's light. Experimenting with it and Ultramarine, Verdifer Blue, and Quin Gold, I discovered, yes it can!  One of the things I love about watercolor is watching the colors run together with a little push from my brush (either end) and the water. This was a fun and surprising exercise. I share my squiggles and splotches experiments here.

This is how I decided to fill the palette:

  • Quin Gold
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Quin Scarlet
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Verdifer Blue
  • Cobalt Teal
  • Sap
  • Olive
  • Mauve
  • Opera 
  • Buff Titanium
  • Ultramarine
                              …at least for now!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Celebrating Everyday Stories

A few days ago I talked about Urban Sketchers celebrating our 10th Anniversary with a worldwide offering of classes based on the theme 
  • 1. Little Stories
  • 2. Medium Stories
  • 2.Great Stories

Here's a little more information on the classes being offered in Chicago starting in April. Much more to come!

Keep up with Urban Sketchers Chicago!
Registration opens March 15!

FaceBook - Urban Sketchers Chicago
Twitter -      @USk_Chicago
Instagram - @USKCHICAGO

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Seven Simple Pleasures

I was tapped to join the FaceBook challenge to post one of my paintings/sketches every day for seven days and post them to my FB page. My challenge is complete. I thought I'd share the posts here, too.

I chose little paintings and sketches that focus on the little things that bring joy to my daily life. #simplegrace.

Day 1

Light and shadow play

Day 2
StreetWise vendor taking pride in his job

Day 3
 Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), Elephant Automaton Clock in the Baroque gallery.

Day 4

Fish knife, such lovely tiny details

Day 5

A touch of color to brighten a gray day in Chicago

Day 6
Car sketch that brings fall color to another gray-Chicago day

Day 7

Little truffles to spice up another gray day!

I hope they bring a smile to your face and encourage you to see the simple graces and joy in the everyday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Great Way to Celebrate Urban Sketcher's 10th Anniversary!

Just when we thought it couldn't get any more exciting for Chicago Urban Sketchers, we are commemorating the 10 year anniversary of Urban Sketchers! Urban Sketchers Chicago is happy and proud to participate in the worldwide celebration. Along with dozens of sister chapters and cities around the world, USk Chicago is introducing the first long-term USk course 10 Years -10 Classes

We are inviting our sketchers to attend 10 on location Chicago classes with our wonderful Urban Sketching instructors and sketch our world, one drawing at a time.

Join in the Celebration!

Chicago Classes begin on Saturday, April 15, 2017
Registration will open on March 15, 2017
You may register for all classes or select a favorite one or more.
Register for all 10 and receive a 10% discount!
Classes are limited to a maximum of 15 students.

More details to follow!

FaceBook - Urban Sketchers Chicago
Twitter - @USk_Chicago
Instagram - @USKCHICAGO

Friday, January 6, 2017


Each year I choose a word that sums up an attitude or encourages an action that I'd like to emphasize in my life. I've been doing this since I was in college. Some past words are grace, simplify, joy, draw, do, color, feed, marvel, savor, and intention. Do you notice a theme running through these words? I do. It's basically, a reminder to slow down and appreciate where I am. It's even more important today than those many years ago when I began with this tradition.

In today's multitasking world we seem to always be rushing from one thing to another often missing simple graces and daily little pleasures that are all around for us to see and savor. This year's word is "See."

It reminds me of a quote by one of my favorite poets.
"For how many years did I wander slowly through the forest. What wonder and glory I would have missed had I ever been in a hurry!"
  Mary Oliver (Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way)

Wishing us all a year of appreciating simple graces and ordinary miracles.