Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28, 2012

School's out for summer—and we started our break with a field trip! We sent an open invitation to join us for some cemetery sketching (kind of like cemetery driving—a proud Chicago tradition, and a great way to learn. Except that cemetery driving is no longer permitted here). Anyway, this week we met at Graceland Cemetery, arguably Chicago's most famous cemetery and home to many of the families who built this city. If you're interested in history, architecture, sculpture, landscapes or even a brief respite from the hectic city outside, Graceland is well worth visiting. Take our word!

About 12 of us showed up. It was truly wonderful to see and catch up with people we hadn't seen in a while. Also, it was a perfect day—not too hot, and with a lovely breeze. We got maps at the front office and set off to sketch. Most of us headed to the north end, where there is a "lake" with an island and beautiful willows (see the opening picture). This is also where most of the famous people are buried. Some of us spent as much time touring as we did drawing, but for all of us, there was no shortage of incredible scenery and material. See below for some of our sketches (and sorry about the quality. It's just a camera phone!).

We had such a good time, we plan to do it again. Stay tuned for details! We'll post them here and we'll send an email as soon as we pick a place for our sketching meetup—but only one, we promise. Add a comment if you have a site suggestion. Ideally, we'd like a public place (where we don't need permits), close to public transportation and with good parking. Other requirements include a variety of things to see and draw, and maybe a coffeeshop or restaurant nearby to catch up afterwards. Stay tuned for details about our next meet-up and be sure to join us.

All in all, we had a wonderful time. Join us next week. You'll be glad you did!

One more thing....summer is a great time to start blogging. Notice that we've added a new blog to our blog roll of friends. Drop by "Don't dream it. Be it." to see some amazing art.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21, 2012

It's graduation day—and here's our class picture to prove it. No caps, gowns or diplomas, just smiling faces and great art. That'll do! And maybe next time, we'll go all artiste and sport berets and smocks...keep watching to see if we do.

For now, here are our paintings. Just when things are getting interesting, it's time to say goodbye. Gotta love the giant fruits, not to mention the exotic vacation landscapes, water sports and scenes, people, pets, warm sunny colors, and another folk tale installment. Enjoy the art, but keep going for our vacation plans, a fun invitation, and a history lesson (but a fun one!).

You're invited! Yes, school's out for summer, but we're not going away. Until we return in September, we'll be meeting at Graceland Cemetery for some casual cemetery sketching. And you're invited! We'll be meeting on Saturday mornings at 10am (when Graceland opens). We'll meet at the first statue and spread out from there. We'll sketch for about 2 hours and share our sketches over lunch. Join us whenever you can and bring your sketchbooks! To repeat the details:
When: 10am, Saturday mornings through September
Where: Graceland Cemetery, corner of Irving and Clark. We'll meet at the first statue past the office, as marked on the map.
Who: Anyone—no skill required (despite what you see in the class sketch above!)

Back to the future. There must be something in the air. Both Ken and Greeta dug deep into their archives to revisit old paintings—with great results. First of all, Greeta found a half-finished painting of a boat and quickly finished it. Looks, good, doesn't it? Then, she found a portrait she was never completely satisfied with and repainted it She's much happier now. Sometimes it's good to let things mellow while skills and vision mature.

As for Ken, he found inspiration in an old painting of a trolley bus. See how he used elements of the old painting (below) in new abstractions. Who says you can't go home again?! Not us!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14, 2012

All's well with our world. The heat wave has broken, everyone's healthy, and there's so much happening, it's hard to tell where to begin.

No movie this week, so we'll start right in with the paintings. Scroll through and enjoy. We'll chat afterwards. Then, we'll share an important announcement and discuss an interesting art question.

The painting stories of the day, as you can see, were color and produce. Our beginners have moved to some of our favorite exercises—the three-way and the giant fruits. In terms of color, we seemed to be enamored of the warmer colors on the color wheel, exploring apples, cherries and warm green grapes. There was a great attraction to yellow, from Greeta's heirloom tomatoes to Isa's delicate orchids to Ken's neon trolleys. And what would summer be without scenery, stories, friends, families and pets? Wasn't this just the essence of summer?

You're invited! As our term winds down, Ken's had a brilliant idea for the long summer break. Inspired by the summer solstice sketching party, he's resurrecting an old class practice—cemetery sketching. Beginning in a couple of weeks, we'll be meeting casually at Graceland cemetery to sketch. There's something for everyone—nature, architecture and even people—followed by lunch. Anyone is welcome to join. Tune in next week for time and meeting place. Hope to see you there!

Who influences you?
Story illustration by John R.
Last week, we all pondered a very interesting question, "Which artists have had the greatest influence on you?" Since John asked the question, we thought it only fair to look at his inspiration first. Louis Binet is an illustrator from the 1700's. Like John, he was a story illustrator. Particularly inspirational was his habit of including a lot of the storyline in the illustration, even inventing bits! Also, if you look at this week's painting, you'll see another influence, Arthur Rackham (also an illustrator). Notice how the figures in the center of interest have been subtly outlined to draw focus? That's a Rackham characteristic. Yes, we can certainly see the inspirations—and we have to say that John's certainly chosen his art heroes well.