Chicago, continued

Many people have told me what a great city Chicago is. It did not disappoint! I only experienced a small part of it and could have spent much more time sketching… there were so many great subjects, viewpoints and the architecture of course. Here are a few more sketches.


Finished sketch of the iconic “Cloud Gate” (aka “The Bean”) which has to be the most impressive piece of public art I have ever experienced.


“Spirit of Music” statue in Grant Park. A beautiful setting with lovely gardens, trees and the dramatic skyline beyond.


I was very excited when my friend and mentor, Shari Blaukopf, took me to the Lurie Gardens. They are the work of landscape designer Piet Oudolf and an absolute marvel! Check out Shari’s sketches of Chicago here.


This is an odd “panorama” of the scene near my hotel – a line drawing on the spot (standing up) and then coloured added later based on a photo.


Gino’s East is known for it’s deep dish pizza. And they had great beers on tap too! I couldn’t handle a deep dish on my own. But this fellow patron did. Turned out the bartender is a keen sketcher, so I hope he checks out the Chicago Usk group.



A river runs through it

As with so many great cities, Chicago is definitely enhance by the river that runs through it. It is very busy with boat tours and kayakers and there are wonderful pedestrian areas along parts of it. The day after the Urban Sketchers Symposium, my friend Shari Blaukopf and I found a relaxing, shady spot with a view of the DuSable Bridge (also known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge). I had trouble drawing believable boat shapes, so the river does not look as busy as it actually was.


Looking up

While in Chicago for the Urban Sketchers Symposium I made a point of finding good spots for great beer. One of them, Howells & Hood, happened to be across the street from this wonderful view of the Wrigley building with the modern Trump Tower behind it. It was fun to sketch this on a 2-page spread of my Pentallic Aqua Journal. Lessons learned from urban sketcher Stephanie Bower definitely helped me with the perspective.

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Outside my comfort zone

Collage. Not really my thing. So it was a push outside my comfort zone when we got to part three of architect William Cordero‘s workshop at the recent Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago. His workshop, Textures in the City: An Architectural Approach, involved identifying textures in the built landscape around us and using the textures as building blocks for our sketch. The last exercise involved collage — using a wee packet of pre-cut paper, we had to combine collage and drawing to interpret the scene. I found this challenging but also fun! But I got stuck at how to incorporate some line work. William came to the rescue (that’s some of his drawing at the bottom). The results from other participants were truly magnificent and creative, so much so, that I made a point of taking a photo at the final group critique.



Less strokes = more energy

I attended four terrific workshops at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago in July. The first was with Renato Palmuti, a wonderful illustrator/artist/sketcher from Brazil. In his workshop, entitled Watercolour Techniques for a Fast Cityscape, he had us work with a single neutral colour, beginning with a simple light layer to identify basic shapes, then a second mid-tone layer with more detail, and finally the darkest tones to add further definition and detail. He also emphasized “less brush strokes, for a more energetic sketch.” Thanks to his excellent instruction and inspiration I produced this sketch of the ornate Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. [Painted in sepia in a Pentallic Aqua Journal.]


Stormy weather

The skies have been filled with thunderclouds and stormy weather in my area recently. Yesterday, I had to stop and try to capture the drama unfolding in my back yard.

Sleepy Gaïa

Inspired by Shari Blaukopf’s post today (Patient Alice), I pulled out the goodies I also received at Usk Chicago and did a quick sketch of my cat. She is a very fluffy, long-haired old gal.

Source: Patient Alice

The swimming hole

Another sketch from Spain. I only had time for. Quick pencil sketch on location, then painted it at home with a photo reference. It was a deep swimming hole in a mountain stream in the Pyrenees. So refreshing in the 35C heat.