Art Shanty Projects

Last weekend, I attended the Art Shanty Projects at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. This is a large celebration of art within an “art village” on the ice. You can learn more here: I saw many outdoor displays that highlighted art, the environment, healing, and other subjects. Plus areas for artistic performers like song and dance. Parking was a challenge, and all ages came out to this event to look around, enjoy displays, and build community. In 20 degree weather, we’ve gotta find find ways to enjoy winter in Minnesota!

I was prepared to sketch in the cold. I dressed in so many layers, I waddled around like a penguin. I pared down my sketch kit to bare necessities and chose tools that I could manage wearing 2 layers of gloves. So instead of my watercolors, pens, and a brush, I chose thick markers and watercolor pencils that I could use a water brush with. And in the water brush I put a mixture of vodka and water so the water wouldn’t freeze.

Here are my materials….

I first sketched a display on Winter Birds in Minnesota with just watercolor pencils. Outlines of people, nothing special. Some photographer came over and wanted to take a picture of me sketching. Next, I went and stood at the edge of a crowd of people and watched some figure skaters swirling around on the ice to fun music. The crowd really loved them!

I saw a display “Free Store” which had hanging coats, scarves, hats, and mittens. People could come and take items they needed. I thought that was cool, so I sketched it and the 3 people manning the display. They sat behind it, dressed very warmly. One person had on a bear suit. The others had fuzzy mauve “Cookie Monster-type” fur jackets over their winter gear. I sketched with a marker and added watercolor pencil and water to the people.

I also sketched a shanty that related to healing, and you could pick up a hula-hoop and play with that. I liked the colors and wacky designs on the roof. Here’s the sketch:

I lasted about 75 minutes in the cold. Between the wind and sitting on a stool on ice, I was beginning to get cold. So I packed up and walked back to my car. It was a fun way to sketch, something different, and I and members of my group had some fun sketches to share of Art Shanties 2022!

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