Sunday, August 13, 2017

On the Terrace, August Meet Up

USK Madison had a great sketching meet up on the Terrace of the University of Wisconsin Union, located on beautiful Lake Mendota in the center of town. Lots of people were out enjoying the weather and a few of us were glad there were clouds to help us sketchers who avoid the sun.

Thanks to Mercedes' husband for taking the photo, we're all here!

So glad two new folks joined us today, Rebecca and Mike (Mike wins the award for longest commute from Milwaukee). Also a big welcome back to Elsie who we've missed. Also in attendance, Mercedes, Gretchen, Pat, and your fearless reporter, Ruth.

Elsie makes us jealous
Elsie shared some of her sketches and cool tools from the Chicago Symposium...

Gretchen shares with Rebecca
We all shared our sketchbooks with each other - what's more exciting than that?

Mike looks happy
I think Mike was happy he came....I hope everyone comes back again. I saw a few jealous people watching us sketch. After all, nothing better than sketching with like minded people.

Enjoy these last bits of summer...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

USK Symposium 2017 - One Sketcher's Experience

Note:  I revised my previous note as it was way too whiny because I was still in so much pain from all the walking I had to do with the Workshop Pass.  This one is a bit less self-pitying!:

Here are few photos from the symposium.  Gabi's speech on the first night was the highlight for me.  It is really amazing what he started with that first sketch of his street in Portland.  It was nice to meet Liz Steel and Nina Johansson but the pace of their workshops was so fast that there was no time to actually speak to them.  For me Virginia Hein's workshop was the best of the ones I managed to attend.  She is a bit older than Liz or Nina and paced her workshop accordingly so it was much more enjoyable for someone like me.

I wish I could say I was glad I attended the symposium but I just physically could not keep up.  The Workshop Pass was not designed for anyone with a physical handicap or disability and required much too much walking and did not allow time for people to take other transport because the locations were kept secret until the last moment and sometimes changed at the last moment.  I did not feel the organizers really cared about someone like me who looks able bodied but is far from it as the result of a drunk driver hitting me while I was standing on the side walk a couple years ago.   When you pay an extra $300 for the Workshop Pass you sort of want to get your money's worth which in my case was just impossible.  It was very rushed and I found there was little time to interact with fellow sketchers.  In the end I could barely walk by the 3rd day and went home one day early while I could still get to the bus on my own.   Instead of socializing with other sketchers as I had looked forward to, I was in so much pain after the workshops that I had to go back to my room.  If I ever went to another symposium I would just get a Basic Pass and pick one activity a day that required walking and leave more time for just hanging out.  I heard the drink and draws were really fun and I regret not being able to get to those in the evening.  I think USK - Madison should have a drink and draw once in awhile if there is interest it that?

So even though it was not a good experience for me overall, at least the WEATHER was great and I learned some valuable sketching tips. We also got a bag of very nice freebies from various vendors.  And Stillman and Birn have come out with a great new black paper sketchbook.  Blick does not have them yet but I think they said Jerry's did.  I definitely want one for the Uni Posca paint pens.

Gabi Campanario - founder of USK

Gaby's first sketch in Portland, OR

Virginia Hein (right) -  workshop painting light & shadow in watercolor

Swaga from Seattle at Virginia's  workshop

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Drawing in Trempealeau, WI

While many USK folks convened in Chicago, my daughter and I held our own symposium of sorts in nearby Trempealeau along the Mississippi River. It was my first time seeing this amazing river and the weather was amazing.

View from Little Bluff Mound, the Mississippi

Lots of sketches to share when we meet again. 

The river and the locks from Little Bluff Mound, micron pen and watercolor

and from my daughter, view of the dock at lunch
Look forward to hearing all the details of the USK Symposium, I bet it was fantastic!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Group at the Chazen

A lot of great work was done by our sketchers at the Chazen Saturday:

Samurai at Chazen July 22nd

We had a good session at the Chazen starting with sketching in the current Samurai exhibition.  Ten sketchers showed up did a bunch of great sketches.  Mike and his wife had recently returned from a trip to Colombia and we  really enjoyed seeing his beautiful ink line drawings from there.  I sketched with watersoluble graphite and added some color with Derwent Inktense pencils later.

8 x 10 Soft Cover Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Early morning ferrying to Stockton and Michigan Islands on Lake Superior.
These are two of the Apostle Islands.  I used a stub of a #2 pencil and my sketch pad. ... while sitting on the upper deck with the chilly winds at my face..

Friday, July 21, 2017

USK Symposium 2017 Chicago!

  You can follow events in Chicago live via You Tube.  Several Madison sketchers will be attending the symposium.  I am pretty thrilled to be meeting some of my favorite USK correspondents and taking workshops with them.  There will be one open sketching event from 2:30 to 5:30 PM on Saturday July 29th at George Solti Park in Grant Park just south of the Art Institute.  All other events are ticketed and have been sold out for several weeks now.
  USK Madison will have a special meeting on Sept. 17th at the downtown library so those of us who attended can share our experiences and sketches.  That meeting is open to the public.  It will be in the first floor conference room from 2 to 4 pm.  

Saturday July 22 - Zoo Cancelled due to weather - Chazen Art Museum sketching from 11 am to 1 pm

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My favorite painting at the Chazen:  Children Dancing on the Strand by AE (George William Russell)
Sorry for the short notice but due to these last torrential rains I changed the zoo tomorrow morning for the Chazen instead.  Please note the Chazen does not open until 11am so we will meet in the lobby then.  They allow us to bring our own sketching stools but they only allow graphite for drawing inside the museum.  I sometimes use watersoluble pencils and add the water to the drawing later on.  I will reschedule the zoo when it is dryer and less humid.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Concert on the Square Evening --
With the crowd, the capital and an ever changing sky above; I had silently wished I had brought my plein air supplies.   So I borrowed some blank copy paper and a #2 graphite pencil ...  and here it is
Unpacking some things from the most recent move I found this sketch from almost 10 years ago - one I discussed at the recent Brittingham Beach outing.  Most memorable aspect - the criticism of a builder who pointed out the central tower as 'crooked' - and here I was so proud of the effort previously.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Art Fair on the Square

And while you folks were over enjoying the breeze at Brittingham my daughter and I were doing the rounds at Art Fair on the Square around the Capitol. Sunday was a smart day for sketchers to go, with plenty of people but not jammed packed.

AFOS, 6 x 12 inches, watercolor paper
Each summer for the past 4 years I have made a small sketchbook out of a 20 x 30 inch piece of Fabriano watercolor paper and make one small sketch about the day. It's a nice way to document my daughter's visit. This 6 x 6 book was folded "maze" style and I used watercolor and a micron ink pen for this sketch. I'll bring it to our September library gathering to share.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Brittingham Boats July 9th

It was very breezy but pleasant at Brittingham Boats yesterday and everyone had a good time.  We enjoyed meeting Teddy!  This is a good place for sketching and the boathouse had plenty of chairs and picnic tables available. And some really good strawberry ice cream bars.
Reba sketching

Plenty of shade

James and Teddy

The group and Teddy

My sketch

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Period Park - July 1st

This little park was a perfect place for sketching on a warm sunny morning.  We were joined by one new sketcher today - welcome, Cindy!!  We had lots of discussion about sketching materials.  I used Uni-Posca paint pens for the first time this week.  They are fun and the colors really pop on black paper.   I got a set of 15 basic colors online but later today discovered that Artist and Craftsman has them even cheaper in their downtown store. The paint has no odor and is sort of like gouache in a marker pen.  Thanks to everyone who came out today and did some excellent sketching.
Reba, Pam, Pat, Cindy and Louise with our sketches
Beautiful well-tended garden
My paint pen sketch in a Derwent black paper sketchbook

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sketch Date - Saturday July 1st - 10am to Noon - Period Garden Park

I scheduled an extra Saturday sketching date for Saturday July 1st for Period Garden Park at 110 E. Gorham St.  There are several nice benches but you may wish to bring your sketching stool for access to a little corner of the garden or some of the great old houses nearby.  If it is raining or seriously threatening to we will cancel and reschedule for a nicer day.  I plan on getting a bite to eat downtown after and if anyone wants to join me that would be great.    NOTE:  If it is raining or seriously threatening to rain we will postpone this location until July 22nd instead.  Check blog for updates.

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Memorial Union Terrace June 21st

Mercedes sketch of me with my pastels
It was a beautiful evening for sketching on the Terrace and 2 new sketchers joined Mercedes and I.  Welcome Lindsey and JP!!  It really is one of the best places in  Madison to sketch on a nice summer evening.

Sketches for the evening

Later I went over a bit west of the Union Theatre to paint the sunset over Picnic Point.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Just Added: Extra Sketching Date: Evening Sketching at UW Memorial Union, June 21st, 5 to 8:30pm

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Evening on the UW Memorial Union Terrace

So far the forecast for Wednesday evening is great so I decided to add an impromptu sketch date at the Memorial Union Terrace from 5 pm to sunset.  I plan to arrive early and set up my easel for sketching pastels.  If anyone is looking for me I will have my cell phone 920 421-2623.  I am going extend an invitation to the Dane County Plein Air Painters group, too and some of us are members of both groups.

If the forecast should  change drastically and it is raining or likely to I may not go at all as I was really hoping for an opportunity to sketch the there with a nice sunset as the backdrop.  But this is the Midwest so weather is very changeable as we know!

Open Mic starts at 8pm and there are some FREE art events happening also.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Follow up from Urban Sketchers outing to the West Madison Milwaukee Road Depot outing.

It was fascinating to see how everyone found their own subject and viewpoint at the depot.  My eye was drawn to the mechanism of the rail car 'truck' (or bogie) that rail cars ride on, while Epiphany(?) sitting near me sketched a wooden wheeled cart that, sitting closer to me than the bogie, I never even saw until I looked at her finished sketch !  (the tricks of perception!)

I made my sketch in pencil but later wondered what it would look like with a water color wash - essentially silver/gray or B&W image.  So here are both.  The pencil sketch looks more like a technical drawing or blueprint while the 'colored' version is more of a life image illustration.  I still can't decide which I like better ;-)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Memorial Union

 Small sketch I did this morning at the Memorial Union. I painted it at home.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The  plaque on the outside of the Madison Train Depot  reads:
Milwaukee Road Depot    1903
This sketch done Saturday evening - shows one of the high arched doorways of the Neoclassical Revival styled building...

USK Madison Afternoon at the Depot

The old Madison Train Depot Building was the perfect place for our USK sketch group on a warm and breezy Sunday. Shade under the roof, cross breeze, old train cars and Porters Coffee Shop...what more could we ask for?

Chris and Salvor escape the heat, good idea to bring folding chairs too...

James and Epiphany draw the train car...Epiphany enjoys some juice from Porters Cafe

We had a great showing of 14 people, four of them for the first time. Welcome to new friends Lili and her son Sizhe, Epiphany and Liz, we hope you join us again. Returning once again were USK sketchers; Jean, Tsumugi, Michael, Deb, Reba, Chris, James, Salvor, Gretchen, and Ruth.

USK Madison Sunday afternoon in June at the Depot

The depot, located on West Washington in the heart of Madison,  gives you plenty of room to spread out yet still sketch together. Along with the trains there were plenty of bikes to practice drawing as Motorless Motion Bike Shop is located in the same space.

Several of us remarked how we had never been there and we all vowed to go back another time.

Happy summer sketching and stay creative.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sketching Sunday June 11th - Madison Train Depot Building

We will meet for sketching from 1 to 3pm at the old depot at 640 W. Washington Ave.  There is a parking lot off W. Washington right next to the building.  Also an excellent coffee shop, Porter.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cows on the Concourse

Five sketchers (none from Wisconsin) gathered together by the Capitol to see what all the fuss is about Cows on the Concourse. What a great time we had and the grey skies of the morning turned into sun. Plus we learned a lot of good cow facts from the Moo Experts on duty.

Tsumugi, Kenia, and Mercedes staking our claim on the sidewalk.

Tsumugi brought her friend Kenia (we hope you come back again!) and Sorval, Mercedes and Ruth were also in attendance. We certainly caught people's eyes with our setup near the cow tent and even interested the photographer from the WI State Journal (note the big camera to the left of Tsumugi in the photo).

Ruth draws an Ayrshire calf

Tsumugi does a pencil drawing of the calf with two children

I think we all commented how good it felt to forget the obligations and stress from the week and just get together and draw. Look forward to seeing people next Sunday at the train station and stay creative.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I went to Chicago during the weekend. Here are some quick sketches, it was a fun way to rest for a few minutes.