Saturday, December 3, 2016

December Sketchout - Bell Museum

On December 31st, the Bell Museum will close in order to prepare for their move to their new building. Let's take one last trip to this art deco beauty before it closes. The sketching opportunities at the Bell are wide-ranging: large dioramas, small dioramas, architecture, objects large and small in the Touch and See room, and people all over.  
Porcupine and baby #diorama! This was my last sketch at the @bellmuseum sketchathon (about 2am). I somehow thought a furry / spiky creature would be a simple sketch to end on. Ha! Delightful challenge. #urbansketchers #urbansketcherstwincities #porcupine
Sketch by Amber Sausen @ambersausen

Sunday 18 December at 12:00-4:00 at the Bell Museum. We'll meet and greet in the Touch and See room at noon. 

Bell Museum admission is free on Sundays.

At 4pm we'll meet in the main lobby for a show and tell of the day's sketches and a group photo. If people are interested, we'll walk to somewhere nearby afterward for a snack and socializing. (November's post-sketching outing to eat and continue sketching at Como Dockside was a delight!)
Sketch by Daniel Green @danieljverde

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Travel Journaling in Theme Park Captial

Frontier Airlines had a sale which resulted in an impulsive vacation to sunny Florida. $66 round trip tickets to a warmer place, I can't complain. But again the weather in Minnesota has been very forgiving this year. I have been keeping a travel journal since last December and absolutely enjoy sketching and writing down my experiences in it. But traveling with non-artists/sketchers also mean I can't spend as much time I would generally like at a given location. Thus I keep my travel sketchbook small. This time I was traveling with Deepak [the husband] and his mom.

Friday evening we left for the airport. And being Indian it's only natural we got to our gate way ahead, meaning I had plenty of time to sketch. Strolling around Concourse E I came across this adorable little bakery. So there i stood in a corner sketching their pretty display of cupcakes and donuts.

Angel Food Bakery in Terminal1 MSP Airport

It was Saturday and the only preplan we had was the Cirque du Soleil show late in the evening.While traveling I try to get a little bit done every day. The sketches are mostly on location and notes/journaling are usually done later in a restaurant or coffee shop. Spent the day at Gatorland, Kissimmee lake front park, and Disney Springs. Gatorland had a room full of parakeets which you could walk into and feed. The show was my first CDS show and it was mindblowing.

Parakeets at Gatorland, Spanish Moss hanging from Cypress tree and the lighthouse at Kissimmee Lake.

Sunday was perfect weather, the forecast said no rain and we decided to head to the pre-historic town of St.Augustine. About 2hrs drive from Orlando. Anastasia State park which is about 15mins from the town is great for camping and has a lovely beach. The town by itself is out of a Woody Allen movie, think cobblestone pathways with lively shops and awesome architecture.

Anastasia State Park beach and beach treasures.
Monday, we leave tomorrow so it's only right we visit at least one theme park for we were in Orlando after all. Spent the day at Magic Kingdom.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom
Like every vacation this came to an end. And as always I wished I had sketched more.

PAPER: Handbook Journal Co Pocket Panorama
PAINT: Winsor and Newton, Schmincke, Daniel Smith and Camel India
BRUSH: Niji Waterbrush and Isabey no.6 travel
FOUNTAIN PENS: Platinum carbon desk pen, Lamy Safari EF, Fountain Pen Revolution Jaipur flex nib
INKS: Platinum carbon, Noodlers Black Swan in Australian rose and Squeteague
LOCATION: Orlando and St.Augustine - Florida

Monday, November 7, 2016

November Sketchout at Como Zoo and Conservatory

In Como Zoo and Conservatory has been a fixture of St. Paul for over 100 years.  With beautiful mix of new and old architecture, the Conservatory houses hundreds (thousands?) of varieties of palms, orchids, ferns, and tropical plants. The Zoo has several  newly renovated exhibits that are must-sees: Gorillas Forest and Polar Odyssey. Based on the weather  and your hardiness you can choose to sketch inside or out.
As if that wasn't enough, the Minnesota En Plein Air: A Painting Exhibition is currently on display. It's sure to be inspiring!

Penguin sketch by Roz Stendahl

Sunday 20 November at 12:00-4:00. We'll meet and greet in the visitor's center corridor that connects the Tropical Encounters area to the Fern Room and Palm House. 

Free. There is a voluntary suggested donation of $3 for adults and $2 for children.

We'll meet in the visitor's center hallway again at 4pm for a show and tell of the day's sketches and a group photo.
Sketch by Roberta Avidor
Sketch by Ken Avidor

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Manchester Symposium sharing and October sketchout

The October USk Twin Cities outing will kick off with sharing by the five Twin Cities sketchers who attended the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester, England in July! We'll follow that with sketching around the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex in Northeast Minneapolis. 

In July, five Twin Cities sketchers attended the international Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester, England.  Lonnie, Stefan, Cris, Amber and Daniel will share some highlights, stories and skills from the workshops and activities they attended, as well as reflect on what it's like to experience a city with 500 of your closest sketching friends from 40 different countries. And they'll have their Manchester sketchbooks available for viewing. We can also discuss the 2017 Symposium, which will be held a bit closer to home in Chicago, USA.

After the Symposium sharing (around 1:30) we'll head out to sketch around the Grain Belt Brewery complex. The complex is made up of several buildings, including the brewery, keg house, bottling house, stables, and an office building. These now house the library, artist studios, architects' offices, housing, a coffee shop and the American Craft Council headquarters.
Sketch of the Grain Belt Brewery and Pierre Bottineau Library by Daniel Green
Saturday 22 October at 11:30. We'll meet to discuss the Symposium in the Pierre Bottineau Library meeting room. At 1:30 we'll head outside to sketch around the grounds of the library and the Grain Belt Brewery complex. We'll meet at the library entrance at 4pm for show and tell of the day's sketches. 


If the group is interested, there are plenty of restaurants and watering holes within walking distance if we want to continue sketching and socializing.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September Sketchcrawl on the Green Line Light Rail

Edited to change the location of our show and tell to Lake Monster Brewing from Surly due to a large event being held there on the 24th.

The Urban Sketchers Twin Cities September sketchcrawl will celebrate the Green Line light rail line between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

The Green Line light rail line connects the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Running through myriad neighborhoods and business districts, it joins sports venues to restaurants to neighborhoods to state governance. This our opportunity to capture the vibrant places along the line, it's unique and art-enhanced stations, and to sketch people as they use this newest addition to our light rail network. 

Saturday 24 September at noon. Choose your starting point -- either meet Ken Avidor at the Union Depot 
station or meet Amber Sausen at the Target Field station. 

The two groups (Minneapolis and St. Paul) will sketch at their respective ends of the line and then jump aboard at approximately 12:30. Ride the entire length of the line or jump on and off to sketch at stations. This will be a free form outing.

Riding the light rail costs $2.25 and a ticket is valid for 2.5 hours. Tickets are available for purchase at each station. (Keep your ticket with you after purchase; transit police may ask you to show your ticket or GoTo card at any time)

At 3:30 we'll meet at Surly Brewing Lake Monster Brewing to share our sketches and socialize. The closest stations to walk from are Prospect Park and Westgate is Raymond Avenue. You do not need to be 21 to enter the venue, but you'll need an ID if you choose to purchase beer. If you arrive late, just look for the group with a table full of sketchbooks!
See you on the 24th, sketchers! If you can't find us, call Amber at 612- eight one two-5014.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

At Last – the Minnesota Fair Sketchout!

8/27/16 rooster
(By Tina Koyama, Seattle)

Greg and I have been visiting his family in the Twin Cities annually for 30 years. During those decades, due to various family events, we’ve managed to time our visits to coincide with the Minnesota State Fair only a couple of times, and the last time was about 10 years ago – long before I began sketching.

Certainly I’ve been to our own Washington State Fair, and the last few years I’ve even joined Urban Sketchers Tacoma there. But I have to say, our fair cannot hold even a 15-hour votive candle to Minnesota. One of the oldest and biggest state fairs in the country, the Minnesota State Fair is arguably the best.

Ever since I started reading Roz Stendahl’s blog several years ago, I’ve been fascinated with her passion for sketching at the Minnesota fair – and for the fair in general. I could see that she worked very hard to organize a very special outing for sketchers in the area – bringing together not just urban sketchers but art groups of all kinds. Every year her sketches of animals at the event and eventually the sketches of other Twin Cities Urban Sketchers inspired me, and I became more and more determined to get to the fair again someday – this time with sketchbook in hand.

My prized Fair Sketchout button on my bag!
This summer the stars finally aligned, and we were able to make it to the fair again – and even better, I made it to the 8th Great Minnesota State Fair Sketchout! Since I had used the previous day with Greg’s family as a preview, I knew exactly which animals and attractions I wanted to sketch, so I hit the ground running! Before I took off, however, I joined Marty Harris, the current sketchout organizer, and an enthusiastic group of Twin Cities sketchers at the morning meet-up. I was proud to finally wear an official Fair Sketchout button (artwork by Marty)!

I spent quite a bit of time wandering slowly through all the animal barns. The chickens were so colorful, and the bunnies were adorable, but I think I had the most fun sketching a broad-breasted bronze turkey. Constantly twitching, his bluish-pinkish head had a bizarre texture that was very challenging to capture. It was fascinating to watch that thing that normally hangs down over his mouth lift up when he ate or drank. Eyeing me intensely, the tom occasionally turned around to display his rear end.
8/27/16 broad-breasted bronze turkey

In the Dairy building, I watched a demo of the Smart Masker Pro several times. This product would be 10 times faster than using an ordinary roll of masking tape, he assured us. Although he moved quickly, the demo guy made the same motions repeatedly, which made it easier to anticipate what his next gesture would be.

When the occasional drizzle dried up, I wandered around outside to capture the Sky Flyer ride (I stood on a bench to get above the crowds) and Fairchild, the fair gopher mascot, who is celebrating his 50th birthday this year.

Speaking of crowds, I learned afterwards that a record-breaking 140,000 people attended the fair on the Saturday Sketchout. (A second Sketchout was held the following Monday.) While London crowds completely overwhelmed me, for some reason, I wasn’t bothered by fair hoards. Perhaps eating deep-fried foods on sticks has a sedating effect. (By the way, if you think that making all these sketches kept me from eating, you would be very wrong!)
Spin Art -- something I hadn't
done in decades!

My only regret for the whole day was that I missed sketching Princess Kay of the Milky Way! At a previous fair, I had seen one of the princesses sitting for her butter sculpture (crowned and bundled in a down parka), and that image was seared in my memory. Where else on earth would I have the opportunity to sketch someone being sculpted in butter? Unfortunately, the sculpting schedule isn’t published, so by the time I got to the Dairy building, the sculptor was done for the day. Oh, well – it gives me a new life goal.

In the late afternoon the sketchers got together again to share sketchbooks, and that’s when I was delighted to meet Roz herself! After all these years of learning from her extremely informative (not to mention entertaining) blog, it was a thrill and honor to meet her in person.

8/27/16 rabbit

Ken and Roberta Avidor, two more Twin Cities urban sketchers whose work I follow, were also a delight to meet. In addition, I was happily reunited with Amber Sausen and Daniel Green, whom I last saw at the Manchester symposium only a few weeks ago.

I know I’ve said it before, but the single-best thing about Urban Sketchers is the amazing network it offers. Whether I travel around the globe or go to Minnesota, I can find sketchers to spend the day with. The Urban Sketchers world keeps getting smaller.

Many thanks to Marty for organizing a fantastic Fair Sketchout! I can’t wait to get to another one!

8/27/16 pig
8/27/16 hen
8/27/16 Smart Masker Pro demo
8/27/16 sheep shearing
8/27/16 bunny waiting to compete
8/27/16 Fairchild, the fair's gopher mascot
8/27/16 Sky Flyer
The Saturday Sketchout sketchbook sharing!
Tina, Roz Stendahl and Marty Harris
Daniel Green, Tina and Amber Sausen
Ken Avidor and Tina

Thursday, June 9, 2016

World Premiere of The Shining at MN Opera

20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-FinalDressRehearsal

I recently had the distinct pleasure of sketching the final dress rehearsal of the MN Opera's world premiere of The Shining, an opera based on the novel by Stephen King. As a full dress rehearsal, all the house lights were down. So all of my sketches of the show itself were done in almost full darkness, with only the lights from the stage to show me the shine of wet paint on the page. It was a new sketching adventure that I hope to repeat again in the 2016-2017 opera season.

The evening started with a preshow talk about the musical themes and development of the work. The way the score builds and breaks down echoes the madness into which Jack Torrance descends. Scary, thrilling, and heartbreaking.
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-PreShowTalk

Touring the Overlook Hotel. The boiler room; the boiler, "she creeps, she creeps."
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-SheCreepsSheCreeps

Danny and Mr. Hallorann, the hotel's cook, discuss the shining--their shared psychic ability.
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-TheShining

The inexorable draw of room 217.
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-Room217

Jack meets Delbert Grady, the former caretaker who notoriously killed his family and himself in the hotel.
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-CertainResponsbilities

Succumbed to the madness of the hotel, Jack tries to kill his wife, but she fends him off with a knife in the back.

20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-TakeYourMedicine

The ghosts of the Overlook Hotel, who have been the Greek chorus encouraging Jack's delusions, reprimand Jack's inability to kill ("take care") of his family.
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-VeryBadWorkMrTorrance

In the epilogue (I'll leave you to read the novel so I don't spoil the climax!), Wendy and Danny rest and recuperate after a terrible winter. Mr. Hallorann encourages Danny; "you're doing fine, little man. Just fine."
20160505 MNOpera-TheShining-You'reDoingFine
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