Earlier this summer I was exploring sites just east of the Blue Ridge range. In old neighborhoods and part of towns that I seldom cross through much less actually see.
Oak Street Cemetery Gate, Charlottesville
I was also up on the the Blue Ridge, south of Afton Mountain, and back into the Shenandoah Valley. Meandering a bit, both northward and to the south, I kept finding old places I wanted to re-explore and new ones that tweaked my interest … everything from old walled cemeteries entrances to beautiful vistas viewed from between road signs.
… an unfinished sketch of farmland in the Shenandoah Valley viewed from behind two road signs
But then, it was time to head to Chicago for the International Urban Sketchers Symposium. And when I got there, what can I say …
Wow! Three days of non-stop sketching, working with a few hundred other artists … all sketching in pencil, ink, and/or color! I think they may be part of my tribe!?
I took a couple of workshops and watched lots of demos. These took me out of my sketching routine; a big help actually. (Besides revitalizing my work, it is a great reminder what my students sometimes feel when I ask them to do something new!)
Interior, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, Oak Park Chicago IL
Under the “L” at Wabash and Congress
The first two sketches I made, I kept them pretty low key and simple. One, the interior of F.L. Wright’s Unity Temple done with a fountain pen and a fountain brush pen. The second, of the “L” seen from Congress and Wabash, I started using a light, loose pencil underdrawing but quickly substituted the pen to continue the line work. As I neared completion of the lines, I began to use the pen to lay in areas of dark. Before the ink could dry, I applied a wash to unify most of the linear elements into a cohesive whole. This wasn’t my only sketch of Chicago’s elevated train tracks, but I think it was one of the most successful.
As the next three days progressed, I was constantly pushed and pulled by the workshop leaders and by the shear vertical scale of Chicago’s buildings in the central loop and at the lakeshore. The camaraderie was great; folks were intensely supportive too. The local Chicago chapter did a marvelous job as hosts as well. assisting all the 500+ participants in so many ways.
Well, I have to go do some work in the studio now; I will post a few of my more color rich Chicago sketches as well as some from the trip home pretty soon.