Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Looking East

We met at the Art Institute on Sunday for our monthly sketch crawl. I sketched in the Asian collection, an area I rarely explore. Since the Art Institute only allows sketching in pencil I added the color to the axe and disk sketches from memory at home. The tomb guardians were completed on site. It was a fun afternoon. I throughly enjoyed working only with a Tombow 4B pencil and a Stillman & Birn, Gamma series sketchbook for a change. It was a connection with the ancients by working with hand, tool and material – nice.

Tuesday, November 13, 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 with Bob

Another round of sketches from Navy Pier where the Chicago Shakespeare Theater makes its home!

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 of treats.

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Return to Navy Pier

Last Friday, I returned to Navy Pier to meet three of my cousins for dinner.  I arrived early, so I went up to the Crystal Garden to relax and do a little sketching.  I couldn't believe I did not have one pencil or pen in my purse - what was I thinking?  But, I had my tiny Altoids watercolor palette, a water brush, and my little Moleskine watercolor book, so I sketched directly with watercolor.  I am not great at sketching with watercolor, but it helped pass the time.  I added lines with a Micron pen when I got home.

I also sketched the condiments in the restaurant while I was waiting for my cousins.  (I borrowed a pen from the waitress, and added the color at home.)

After dinner, we went up to the Crystal Garden - my cousins had never been there, so it was fun to introduce them to it.  And, I was craving the peace and quiet by then.  Navy Pier is fun - but it is so noisy inside, especially with a very loud band playing on the main floor.  The Crystal Garden is like another world.

Catching up and reminiscing - it was a perfect evening!

Crystal Garden

Harry Caray's condiments

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finally got off the couch...

and went out sketching today. Parked my car in a parking lot at Cermak and Central and spent about 2 hours sketching this. 5" x 7" Pencil and watercolor.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My first post!

Hello!  I joined Urban Sketchers Chicago in May, and I am so happy I found them!  I love the fact that an Urban Sketcher can travel to all parts of the globe and find sketching friends everywhere.

That said, my sister and I traveled all the way to Springfield, Illinois last week.  I did not meet any urban sketchers, but I did a little sketch on the train.  Maybe next year we will go farther afield - but there are always things to sketch, even from the kitchen window!

On the train

View from kitchen

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sketch Outing at Navy Pier, Chicago

Sunny and almost 70 degrees. I used Tombow water soluble brush markers for this sketch of the Pier and boats. Here's a link to the history of Navy Pier: Here's a morsel from the history website.

In 1942
Pilot training orientation commenced at Navy Pier. Eventually, 15,000 pilots were qualified for military service, including a young airman named George H.W. Bush, the future President of the United States. As many as 200 WWII planes still rest at the bottom of Lake Michigan as a result of accidents during training.

The importance of being Frank

Frank Lloyd Wright, that is...

This is a sketch of Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oak Park IL. We sketched it at our September USK Chicago meet.

I almost did not publish this one. It is an OK sketch, I've done better... But this one was liked and commented on through the roof on various Facebook groups because it is Frank Lloyd Wright. The name and the structure are so important and recognizable that even I got to ride on the coattails of his fame with my little sketch. Not too bad of a sketch though...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thank Frank

These are little sketches done at our recent USk Chicago meet. So much to see and so much to take in, I opted to sketch some of the details on the Chicago Avenue side of his home and studio. The first is one of the sculptures above the walkway to the hidden door. The second  is of the tourists and the reliefs that line the walkway. The third is a detail of the reliefs – the repeated stork motif and lastly a rough rendition of the logo.

Now I must go back to Oak Park and actually sketch Wright's glorious buildings! There was so much to take in at once.  In a five block area there are about seven houses designed or remodeled by Wright. What a feast for the eyes and imagination. The overall feeling of his work is monumental but his attention to detail is what really amazed me. It was a quite a day!

And thanks to the visitor from Manchester UK who took our picture! Safe and happy travels!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Belated Introduction -

My name is Carole Hennessy and I am a watercolor artist living in Chicago. I am out regularly to sketch and paint with Barbara and the Monday Sketch Group but have not yet been able to make it to one of the Urban Sketchers outings. I was always a studio painter until 8 years ago when I finally decided to try some plain air work and figured out what worked best for me. Now my outdoor works helps to inspire my studio practice. I enjoy the challenges working on location brings and the interaction with my fellow artists and the public. The painting shown here is from a recent visit to Olive Park, what a lovely day!

51 of my recent small watercolors will be part of an exhibit opening at the Chicago Artists Coalition Gallery, 217 N. Carpenter St, Chicago, on Friday, September 14 thru October 2. The opening reception is Friday from 6-9 pm. The gallery will be open weekdays 9-5, Saturdays 12-6 and also on Sunday, September 23, when we will be doing demos. Mine is scheduled for 12-1 that day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to the Bean

It was"back to the Bean"in more ways than one. This week our Monday sketch group met at the Bean in Millennium Park. I've sketched there several times this summer so this time I chose a different point of view. I sat with my back to the sculpture. A beautiful day, great company and sketching – a delightful start to the week!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gamla Stan means The Old Town

Continuing with my great Stockholm Sketching Adventure here are some sketches from Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Gamla Stan means The Old Town, and it is indeed very old. Many structures there date back to 1600′s, with some going as far back as 12th century.

I sketched this sitting in a cafe on the intersection of three streets, Norra Bankogrand is the street in the sketch. It leads to the piers, there between the buildings, and Baltic sea.

I was so lucky to be able to get together with Nina Johansson, and we sketched in the Old Town in Skeppar Olofs Alley. The first mention of this little street goes back to 1587. I was sitting on a stoop behind Nina and was able to get her into my sketch.

We only had 30 minutes in the Skeppar Olofs because we were meeting Ed Harker at the Stortorget, the Big Square in Gamla Stan. Ed is a sketcher from Bath, England. At Stortorget we sat in a cafe sketching, and my view just happened to be The Swedish Academy and Nobel Museum - the place where they make decisions on Nobel Prize winners every year since 1901.

In Gamla Stan any direction you face there's going to be something beautiful and historically significant.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sketches of Stockholm

I was incredibly fortunate to have traveled to Stockholm last month - August 2012. My husband was invited to present in Stockholm University, and I just had to come along. This was my Great Stockholm Sketching Adventure. I went with a goal to sketch. And sketch I did. I almost finished the sketchbook I took with me and brought back incredible visual memories. It will take several posts to share them, so I better start.

Here we are in O'Hare waiting to board our plane.

This is Södertörn högskola - South Stockholm University - where Lou was a keynote speaker at a conference titled "What is Empathy and what do we need it for?" The incredible giant basalt rock is a centerpiece of the campus.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meanwhile Back at the Bean

Cloud Gate, a.k.a.  the Bean, in Millennium Park in Chicago is a go-to-place for tourists and artists alike. Watching as people experience the Bean for the first time is great. It brings out "the kid in the funhouse" in everyone. As you can see from Alex's post, it was a fun outing for Urban Sketchers Chicago to meet with Miriam from Munich. What a great time! Thanks to Alex and Miriam for setting it up!

Our Monday sketch group was there yesterday but sadly, I couldn't make it. (Um - maybe not so sadly since it was raining all day.) I've sketched many of the features of Millennium Park but I figured I'd post sketches from a few past outings to the Bean. Different size sketchbooks, different types of paper, different levels of success but it's always worth the trip! I highly recommend it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sketching with Miriam

The Bean - Sketching with Miriam in Millennium Park

We have hosted our first visiting Urban Sketcher! Miriam Ben from Munich Germany was in Chicago on a business trip and wrote to me about sketching together. I was delighted! To me half of the fun of Urban Sketching is meeting other sketchers.

I put a call out on USK Chicago FB. Miriam had some air travel delays (air travel grrrr!) and finally arrived a day late. The four of us - Barbara, LuEllen, Martha and myself - met Miriam at the Palmer House and took her to sketch to Millennium Park, to The Bean. Officially it is Cloud Gate sculpture, but I don't know any Chicagoan who uses this.

Miriam, it was wonderful meeting you! You must come back, we'll sketch some more!

Here we are sketching.

Alex, Miriam, LuEllen, Martha and Barbara

And here there are suddenly more of us!

USK Next Generation: Giola, Lucia, Robin and Pablo

A group of kids got very interested in what we were doing. Pablo discovered us first, but wanted to keep this discovery to himself. He kept sending the rest of the kids back their parents. But Giola, Lucia and Robin would not be deterred and milled around. Then they wanted to draw with us. Sheets of paper and pencils were produced and shared, and we were in business! Then Lucia wanted to paint! Then the others wanted to paint! No problem! Paint we all did.

Miriam was fast and made a delightful sketch of the young artists.

Our sketches

Tourists photographed us several times as a local curiosity: "Look, Mike! Chicago artists! Quick, take my photo with them!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hello Out There!

Barbara Weeks here-
I've been sketching and drawing ever since I can remember (Thank you Dad!). Being part of the Urban Sketchers' network is a great experience for me. I find inspiration in the work of my fellow sketchers as well as motivation to sketch more. Drawing regularly on location helps me see the marvelous daily beauty that exists all around us whether it's in a chaotic city panorama or the little detail in a single leaf.

Thumbing through old sketchbooks, trying to decide on my first image to post here, I came across this sketch done quite a while back. It's of a pocket park just south of the main entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue. It seemed a good example of "showing the world one drawing at a time",  showing those little gems that sometimes I hardly even see until I sit down to draw.

And this is me. I chose it because I sketch so often while waiting…

I hope you'll join Urban Sketchers Chicago often in discovering our world!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And we are off!

Urban Sketchers Chicago blog is started! I can't begin to explain what it means to me, how important this is, how long it took to get to this point, how much self-doubt, how many sketches done alone, how many people helped, how many hopes and dreams... The tale would be too long anyway.

Urban Sketchers Chicago is here, we are on the map, in real life and online. We are off to do great things, draw great drawings, and show our world - one drawing at a time.

And in this spirit, here's my little part of Chicago. This is where I live, in one of these buildings in the background, and this beach - the Hollywood beach - is my backyard.

And to continue to introduce myself: I am an artist and an Urban Sketcher. With the help of numerous people I started Urban Sketchers Chicago group in April 2012 - one of the best things I've ever done. My thanks and never ending appreciation goes to Gabi Campanario, Marina Grechanik, LuEllen Joy Giera, Kate Johnson and most of all to our own USk Chicago Correspondent Barbara Weeks whose generous help and remarkable talent got us to this place today.

Here's a self portrait I did for The Sketchbook Project 2011 and shamelessly use since then.


Urban Sketchers is an international group of sketchers dedicated to drawing on location and showing you the world one sketch at a time! Gabi Campanario created the international Urban Sketchers blog and inspired us all to get out and draw! We thank him for his help and blessing in starting Urban Sketchers - Chicago blog. 

Check back here soon and meet the Chicago correspondents and see our corner of the world one drawing at a time!