Showing posts with label Barbara Weeks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barbara Weeks. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: the Poetry of Speed Sketching

A Japanese poetry form, haiku focuses on moments in the environment and connects them to the human condition. They are concise, using only the number of syllables that can be said in one breath. They are expressive, capturing those fleeting moments for us to appreciate. Sounds like Urban Sketching to me!

Many of us Urban Sketchers carry a small sketchbook with us wherever we go. We capture fleeting moments of our days while waiting in line, catching a quick cup of coffee, on the train or bus. Whenever and wherever we can we draw our connection with the world around us.There is a need to be fast and concise!


1. Think Small - about the size of a credit card or smaller.

This is a 2.25” x 2” sketch of the view from Starbucks in the Presidio in San Francisco. It's the Place of Fine Arts. I scribbled a few lines while I waited in line and threw on the color when I got back to my car. Pencil and watercolor. Total Time: 3 minutes

2. Keep It Simple - avoid details and the need for perfection. Think simple shapes and values.
This is a 3” x 4.5” (a little bigger than a credit card) sketch expressing a bitter cold evening at Navy Pier in Chicago. Simple shapes and 3 values. Pencil and watercolor. Time: 5 minutes

3. Focus - what catches your attention? Pin point your subject.

About 1x 2.5” sketches done during a long airport wait for a rental car. Continuous line drawing–I filtered out the chaos all around me and focused on the disgruntled and bored people sitting across from me. Gray, fine point Sharpie. Time: 1.5 minutes each

Hint: If you spend more than five minutes on these small sketches you may be putting in too much detail.


1. Focus

2. Improved drawing skills

3. Increased spontaneity and freshness in your sketches

4. Rapid planning of ideas for larger sketches or future paintings

5. Great for fast travel sketching, especially when traveling with non-sketchers

6. Confidence

7. They're fun

About 2.5” wide sketches done in the car on a road trip to Ohio. Continuous line, 4 values, simple shapes, watercolor and pencil. Time: I don’t remember but they helped make the long ride go quickly!

Poetry of speed sketching –capturing fleeting moments in time and recording a reaction to them. I call them Tone Poems.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Take Us Out to the Ballgame

Today we met at Wrigley Field to sketch. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me how we are all looking at the same thing but see and interpret it so differently!

The Cubs were playing the Brewers. The crowd was large and loud. Cubs won. Harry must  be happy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This Urban Sketcher Went to Market

Whole Foods, Lincoln Park: Despite the snowy, gray day we had a good turnout for our January sketch meet. So many scenes to sketch! I've been to this Whole Foods many times but never on a Saturday afternoon. It was a madhouse mixture of fun, comradery and business and not just USk Chicago sketchers. Sketchers and shoppers alike seemed to be enjoying themselves. Not only did we have a great time sketching but we also continued out work on the plans for Chicago Sketch Seminar coming in June. 

Part of the USk Chicago group at Whole Foods
For more information on the seminar don't forget to check out:
Urban Sketchers Chicago Instagram: #uskchicago
Follow up in Twitter: @USk_Chicago

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Join USk-Chicago in Adding to Chicago's Art Story!

To add to the great announcement about our June 7-8, 2014, seminar location here’s a little color commentary about the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts. It's a not-for-profit art club and academy founded in 1895. It’s been located in an 1870’s circa mansion in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood since 1921. Many well known artists have been associated with Palette and Chisel including Fred Larson, Charles Russell, William Merritt Chase, Alphonse Mucha, Walter Ufer, and Richard Schmid, to name a few.
Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts offers non-instructed open studios with live models as well as classes and workshops for all levels of experience in many aspects of realistic art. Today, as well as throughout it’s long history, it is a respected institution for representational art in Chicago.

Stay tuned here and to FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for further updates! We hope you'll join us in adding to the Chicago art story!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunshine and Sketching – An Urban Sketcher's Delight

Lincoln Park: Today was the perfect day to sketch outside. There was more than a touch of fall in the shade but the sun was golden and warm. Time flew by! I usually don't sketch the architecture. People and other living things are what catch my attention. Today, I think, I had Urban Sketchers Chicago's next Sunday's architectural sketch crawl on my mind and so the Conservatory caught my eye. It's a little over worked but I had a fun doing it and that's what urban sketching is about for me!

I'm down to the last pages in my Stillman and Birn hardbound Beta Series sketchbook. I really love the hardbound book but no one seems to carry them around here. If you know where I can find them please let me know!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Zoo Do

Lincoln Park: I couldn't make it to the July sketch crawl with USk Chicagol at the Lincoln Park Zoo but I was there on Monday. School is open and the children have returned to the classroom so the zoo was almost empty! There's a lot of construction going there - big plans to make a great place even better.
Two year old Sahar's mane is just growing in and in between quick naps he proudly strutted his stuff!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Surf's Up!

There are beach hazard warnings today in the Windy City. I was running some errands this morning and had to stop and take a look. This is a quick 4 inch square sketch I did  at Oak St. Beach. It's hard to believe it's just one block off the Mag Mile. "My Kinda Town Chicago is"!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sizzling Chicago

Buckingham Fountain: It was hot and hazy afternoon at Buckingham Fountain. I'll bet it was 90+°. There was one little spot of shade by a concession stand and it was just that - only a spot but it was enough! A large lemonade, a sketchbook and a few sketching friends made for a nice afternoon despite the heat.
(I have no clue what happened to the upper right hand  corner of the scan.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

For the Birds

Peggy Notebaret Nature Museum: I couldn't make it to the USk-Chicago meet at the zoo on Sunday but did get up to that general area on Monday. Cool breeze, shade, silly geese and a duck–all in all a delightful afternoon.

This is evidence of why I sketch instead of taking photos!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Déjà Vu

Chicago is a beautiful city, known for its architecture, lake front and colorful neighborhoods but for me, sometimes, it's the little everyday touches that catch my eye and make me smile. They say it's the little things that make a house a home. Maybe it's the same for cities!
I wish I had a dollar for every time I've painted or sketched these light posts all around the town.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On the Road and Back Again

Ohio Turnpike: When riding along the highways in the midwest I always think "The sky is so big and the trees are so small!" Since I was a passenger on a recent road trip I did a little sketch of the fast moving scenery.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Morning Sunshine!

Chicago: After all the rain and unseasonable cold at last the flowers and I could enjoy the sun coming up on the deck. Ah!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicago's Secret Garden

Lincoln Park: The Monday sketch group and several USk Chicago members met at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. The park, a.k.a. Lily Pond Park, is a hidden gem. We've been sketching there annually for the last four years and it never disappoints.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday in Old Town

Old Town: The Monday sketch group met at Nookies in Old Town and then headed out into the cool 50° temperature to sketch. I love my Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook. It takes watercolor and ink nicely. I love using pencil in it too. By exerting a little discipline I steered clear of sketching people and tried to expand my horizon by sketching buildings for a change – well, A building!

The name of this florist on Wells Street is Green and it's window expresses my feelings. I'm so glad to be seeing color banishing the gray Chicago winter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let the Sunshine!

Chicago: The Monday sketch group went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory yesterday. When we planned it we figured if it was gray and cold we could go inside and paint the spring flower show. Yay! The sun was out and it was 60°! I probably spent more time looking at the sky and smiling than sketching!

This is done in a Stillman & Birn sketchbook. The Beta series is a favorite of mine. It handles the watercolor well and I love the way the pencil feels on it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Food Glorious Food!

Chicago: 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!

Rick Bayless doing a cooking demo at the Good Food Festival

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On the Road Again…

Somewhere, OH: Last weekend my daughter, two granddaughters and I took a road trip to Ohio. This stretch of highway always amazes me. It's the same but still ever changing. Along with the sound of the tires on the road it sets up a very soothing rhythm. 
We went to celebrate at a bridal shower for my niece. I only did one sketch. Too busy gabbing and eating I guess. We had blue skies, gray skies, sun, snow, rain and a very good time!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Have Good News and…

Chicago, IL: Recently my daughter-in-law and I were lamenting the fact that "our" Starbucks closed. It was the one we both seemed to stop at when out-and-about…not that there aren't at least four others equidistant from my place. The good news is it didn't close. It only moved two blocks north. The better news is it serves wine in the evening!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

Urban Sketchers-Chicago met at the Garfield Park Conservatory yesterday. We had a good turn out – more than fourteen of us! I haven't been there since the Chihuly exhibit ten years ago! In the gray Chicago winter, enthusiastic sketchers, sun and color made for a great day!

It's a great group – all ages and levels of experience. I was using the Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook - just love it!
"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"  Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Telling the Story

So many Urban Sketchers capture their cities in the architecture but for me it's the people. There's nothing like people-watching in the city. It gets my creative juices flowing! So many stories, each unique and yet somehow universal.

While most of USk Chicago sketched in the Cultural Center I ventured across the street to
the rink at Millennium Park.  Despite the cold it was filled with skaters. There were tourists and locals, novices and pros, kids and the forever youngs and of course the speedsters. HA! When you're trying to sketch them they're all speedsters!

After sketching at the rink for I while I went back to the Center to meet up with the others and to finish up the color on my sketches. What a great group! It was a fun day!