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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sketching at District Energy in Saint Paul

There's a building on West Kellogg Boulevard next to the Science Museum in Saint Paul with a big, white plume of steam coming out of it that recently became an art project. The building is home to District Energy, a private, non-profit company that turns biomass into electricity, heating and cooling for hundreds of buildings in downtown Saint Paul. A while back, I sketched the District Energy building from a window in the George Latimer Library across the street. I wondered what sort of machinery was inside of the building that created that big billowing cloud  and whether I could sketch inside it.

I contacted the folks at District Energy and they were gracious to schedule two sketching sessions inside the plant. I had wear a hard hat, protective eyewear and ear-plugs as I sketched.   I love sketching machinery and all things  industrial, so I was very excited to find enormous machines of all types inside the building. The plant was clean and well-lit, but at times really noisy and really hot – definitely an extreme sketching experience! I want to thank Lisa Eng-Sarne and Nina Axelson for showing me all the amazing parts of the building and all the people who work at District Energy for keeping our neighborhood buildings comfy all year round.
The view of District Energy from the library.

Water pipes.

A big room with big machinery.

Photo of me and the finished sketch by Lisa Eng-Sarne
All three sketches were done on Strathmore toned paper with ink and colored pencils (mostly Prismacolor). I get all my art supplies for sketching at Wet Paint on Grand Avenue and Saint Paul.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Reminder: The Awesome Midtown Greenway Sketch-Out is This Sunday!

Many of my friends are artists and many of my friends are cyclists and some of my friends are both. The upcoming Twin Cities Urban Sketcher sketch-out on the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis  is an opportunity for urban sketchers and urban cyclists to enjoy each other's company. One thing urban cyclists and urban sketchers share is we enjoy the urban experience in an unhurried manner. We both explore the urban environment in a pleasant and convivial manner.

This sketch-out is not limited to bicyclists. The Greenway has a path for people who prefer to walk. For those who would prefer to stay in one place, there is plenty to sketch at the Midtown Global Market where we will all end up to look at each other's work at 3 PM. There is also a great deal to sketch within walking distance of the Midtown Global Market on Lake Street and the Midtown Global Market.

Bicyclists will of course, be able to range further from the Midtown Global Market. The Greenway stretches from Uptown to the Mississippi River. There is much to sketch in the neighborhoods along the way and on the Greenway itself. There's the iconic Martin Sabo Bridge and Lake Calhoun and there are lots and lots of cyclists (the Freewheel Bike Center is a good place to get a cup of coffee and sketch the passing parade).

For safety sake, find a place to sketch out of the way of bicyclists, walkers and joggers. Please do not trespass on private property, especially railroad tracks.

If you are a cyclist, please stop and say hello if you see a sketcher.

We meet 3 PM at the middle of the Midtown Global Market (where Salty Tart is). For non-bicyclists there's plenty to sketch inside the market. In case of rain, we all sketch in the market.

Midtown Greenway Sketch-Out
Sunday at 11 AM - 3 PM
Forecast: 46–63° Mostly Sunny

Salty Tart, Midtown Global Market.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bell Museum Sketchathon

As the Bell Museum prepares to move to its new home on the UMN St. Paul campus, there has been a flurry of sketching activity and events to document the museum's current home in Minneapolis. One of these events is the Sketchathon, an all night event where a sketcher can have a field day (or field night, as it were!) capturing the amazing dioramas without crowds or the pressure of closing time. My goal is to sketch all of the smaller dioramas around the perimeter of the museum.
20160415 Bell Museum - Greater Prairie Chicken
I started with the Prairie Chickens. My father tells a story that Walter Breckenridge, the creator/builder of this diorama, used to visit the Sausen family farm to draw the prairie chickens. I'm not even sure if this happened during my father's childhood or earlier in the 20th century. No matter the time, the story of the prairie chickens is one of the many tiny ways I feel connected to this museum.
20160415 Bell Museum - Lark Sparrow

20160415 Bell Museum - Wood Duck

20160415 Bell Museum - Gray Partridge
To add yourself to the map, go to this link and follow the instructions (Note: You'll need to sign in with your Google account first.)