Month: August 2018

The Stately and the Modest

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bakken 1As an urban sketcher, I have developed an interest in sketching all types of structures and interesting architecture. Some things are stately and some are more modest. I was waiting for my daughter’s appointment the other day in a parking lot and noticed this bright blue Port-A-Potty sitting behind a truck. I liked the shapes and colors and it was a challenge in perspective, so I decided to sketch it. This modest structure is normally an object of scorn—who really likes to go in a Port-A-Potty? There’s nothing nice about it, but I wanted to sketch it. I sat on my stool and worked away. I was finishing up when I felt something crawling on my big toe. I looked down and shrieked, as a large cicada was sitting on my toe. I kicked my sandal off and the cicada too!

On Sunday, I sketched with the Urban Sketchers at the Bakken Museum on Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. “The Bakken, previously known as The Bakken: A Library and Museum of Electricity in Life and known in the past as the Medtronic Museum of Electricity in Life, is the world’s only library and museum devoted to medical electricity”(Wikipedia). This stately old home (looked like a mansion to me) had beautiful lush grounds and amazing architecture.

bakken2After finishing our sketches, our group likes to lay our books out so others can look them over. We chose a piece of the lawn in the shade. After I laid out my book, a large green caterpillar inched its way across the sketch, getting delighted laughs from its onlookers!


I noticed the green skin was the same color I had chosen for the grass in my sketch!


I find beauty in stately and modest objects no matter what they are. Beauty can be found anywhere, even in a Port-A-Potty and green caterpillar!



Twins Territory

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Last night I went to the Twins baseball game against Detroit. We parked a distance away and walked several blocks, coming across people in Vikings hats/braids and purple shirts who were leaving from a pre-game. As we got closer to the stadium, we saw blue and red and knew we were in Twins territory. Winding our way past the statues and ticket scalpers, we finally got through security (yes, my bulging purse with sketching supplies got rifled through). We finally found our seats in the outfield to the right of Minnie and Paul and settled in around a crowd of people. The evening was perfect—hot, but not too hot, a slight breeze, and as the sun set, the temps went down a little. I sketched things around me— a family sitting below my feet, the stadium across from me and then the guys a distance away, staring at screens and getting drink refills. Everyone around us was having fun. Food vendors came up and down the rows and I decided to sketch a lady eating a hot dog. I clapped and yelled with the rest of them after finally putting the sketchbook away. I didn’t pay much attention to the game until then! It was a great time to watch and sketch baseball and I enjoyed it very much.

Wait Time is Sketch Time

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I watch people while waiting. Many places I wait, I notice literally everyone around me is staring at a smartphone. I may look at my phone a little bit, but I’d rather use wait time to sketch. Here are a collection of sketches I’ve done over the summer while waiting on my teenager. The first one is a prize machine at the dentist. You sit still, you get tokens to get a prize. It’s an interesting shape and brightly colored, so I had to sketch it. The next sketch is while sitting in the car waiting for my daughter to finish her music lesson. A large black party bus was pulled up to the church for a wedding party that was letting out. I had never sketched that before, so went ahead as people were filing out and boarding the bus.


While taking the youth group to a local puzzle room event, I didn’t do the room, but went outside for fresh air instead. The puzzle room was located in an old house, which had interesting architecture, so I sat on the grass by a busy street and sketched the house. I liked the little sign on the left as well.


Finally, just a few days ago, I waiting during an appointment. The office building parking lot sits right near a train track, so I sat in the shade of a tree and sketched my surroundings. No trains came by, but I enjoyed the plane traffic overhead and worked on the challenging one-point perspective of the train tracks. I find sketching calming and relaxing and it was a beautiful day to be outside. When people find it challenging to find time to draw, I think we need to just have our books at the ready. There are always interesting things to sketch–in coffee shops, restaurants, at the doctor or dentist, train station, airport, and a myriad of other places where we find ourselves waiting. I find it opens my mind to see things I don’t normally take the time to look at, things most people pass on by. Happy sketching!


Sketching People Who Don’t Move

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people 2

I have been in an airplane the past week and decided to pass some time sketching passengers. These can be easier to draw than most people because they are seated, belted in, and can’t move very much! I drew a couple guys and found it relaxing to draw the seats as well. As my pen moved over my paper, I felt calm, even during a little turbulence. Another flight got me sketching. A large bald man sat a few feet away and stuffed orange ear plugs into his ears. Our plane sat on the tarmac with a slight delay, so instead of getting worked up, I sketched. He slept during the flight, so I had no trouble sketching him.

people 1

Finally, I sketched other people who didn’t move—-mannequins! I had taken my sketch book to the mall but didn’t have time to sketch. I was waiting at H and M and sat on a display table (which I was asked to move from) and noticed these shiny black models with no faces. They were kinda creepy, but were immovable and wore brightly colored clothes with interesting textures, so I went for it! The store was busy and noisy, but it’s amazing how drawing can help you get into a relaxing zone and I do zone out my surroundings. I was so relaxed and focused that I wasn’t paying attention to the ripped jeans my daughter threw into the “purchase pile” and discovered them when I got home!



A License to Draw

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I have been trying to draw more. It’s hard to make time, but I know there is time and I have many excuses. A great book by Danny Gregory, “Creative License”, is my new go-to place to be inspired to draw. He is fun, honest, creative, and has scads of ideas to get you to put away the excuses and just plunge in and draw! I did a few drawings of objects around my house. Drawing my life is interesting. Even just a few minutes a day (which I don’t always do) is providing comfort and peace in a time when my father’s health is deteriorating. Danny provides a structure similar to getting a driver’s permit—basic fundamentals of drawing and practicing daily. Then on to scads of ides of what to draw as you gain confidence. I highly recommend it for beginners and advanced drawers alike. I find it very inspirational!

dgregory book.jpg

Finally, I took my sketchbook to the pool in July. I decided to sketch people I saw, which is challenging for me. Looking furtively out of sunglasses, propping my book on my knees, I try to not be obvious. One lady with a floppy hat that covered her face was a great subject. I just draw things that catch my attention, or I like the pose or accessories. Enjoy!

pool hat

The Hudson Marina

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A few days ago I enjoyed an evening sketching in Hudson, Wisconsin. This beautiful river-side town boasts a nice park right on the waterfront, so I parked and looked around for things to sketch. The day was winding down, blue skies and evening sun setting, breezes, and the activity on the river was all around me. Large yachts, cruisers, ski boats, and sail boats moved slowly around the river or were anchored together in the middle of the water where people talked and radios blared. I sat at a picnic bench by the marina and noticed the St. Croix Sailing School sailboats parked nearby. I liked the look of the row of boats, the sunlight was bouncing off their ends, the other parks in partial shadow under the trees. Sometimes I notice patterns and shapes that are interesting and that’s what I choose to sketch. After I sketched the waiting sailboats, I turned the other direction and looked out into the marina. A group of adults sat in the back of a boat and on the dock and sipped drinks and chatted. Near them was the dock and other large boats were parked. I watched a guy in a smaller fishing boat and he stood on the dock and talked to others. It was so relaxing that evening, everyone seemed to be having a nice time! There’s something about boats and water….I love to sketch them.