Sunday, October 15, 2017

Back at Olbrich Gardens

USK Madison met today, Sunday, at Olbrich Gardens and none too soon; several of us remarked on the much needed sense of peace and calm the garden gave us, both inside and out. What a wonderful day.

We had 10 people turn out, including new member Sally (gosh I hope I have that name right Sally) regardless, she had a good time and said she would be back. A few brave souls (Louise among them of course) braved the cold, most of us stayed inside with the canaries and orchids and soaked up the warmth.

Jean sketching the indoor tropics

Cindy shows a very cool bag she bought....I forgot the name - "Darcy", perhaps?

The Crew show off their sketches

My watercolor, Stillman & Birns, micron pen and paint

A great way to spend the day...see you in November for World Wide Sketchcrawl day!

Friday, October 13, 2017

UW Arboretum Saturday October 7th

I think there were at least 4 of us at the Arboretum on Saturday.  I came late but did sit outside under a tree in the wind long enough to sketch this with watercolor pencils.  There is an article about it in this week's Isthums.  The clouds parted for a few minutes for a glimpse of blue sky.  Hopefully next week we are due for more sunshine.
Arch created by Mike Burns for the Horticultural Gardens

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Liquor Store Signs

There are so many amazing liquor store signs in Madison (hey it's Wisconsin...) that I decided to do a sketchbook series of some of them. I have 5 picked out to do so far, my first I did a week or so ago near the corner of Regent and Park, aptly named Regent Liquor.

My always favorite Stillman and Birn spiral sketchbook and some watercolor paint.

Next up, University Ave.
Stay tuned

Monday, October 2, 2017

prompt.jpgIt's that time of year again - Inktober!

This is NOT an official Urban Sketcher activity but it is fun and I am going to try to do the list above with various pens.  If I do any that are actual urban sketches I will post them.  As always please feel free to post any urban sketching on our blog whether you use ink or not.  Happy Sketching!!  (See website attached for more about Inktober):

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Urban Sketching in Spring Green and Wausau, Wi.

This month I went to Spring Green to see a play at American Players Theatre and also to Wausau for the annual Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.  Had a great time at both and thought how lucky we are to have these wonderful things in our state.  Birds in Art was great this year and I also enjoyed seeing many paintings in their permanent collection that I had not seen before.  A new wing was added a few years ago and now they are rotating many of the works collection that they did not have room for in the past.  I highly recommend seeing this show which mostly is paintings but also sculpture and some amazing wood carving.  I love staying at the Stewart Inn which is a great B&B not far from the museum.  The owner said the best rates are to be had on Sunday nights as fewer people stay over on Sundays.  My favorite room there is actually the smallest and least expensive one.  All the rooms have gas fireplaces and that felt good this morning.  I also swam at the Wausau YMCA which has a great lap pool.  I went downtown and had a latte and did the sketch below.  Perfect fall weekend!!
La Prima Coffee Shop, Wausua, Wi

Patio at House on the Rock Resort, Spring Green, Wi
Related image
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Musem's Sandhill Crane outdoor sculpture

Friday, September 22, 2017

USK - Madison Meeting at MPL - Sunday Sept. 17th

Last Sunday USK Madison had it first informational meeting among it's members but was also open to the public and one or two people stopped by to see what we were up to.  Those of us who went to the annual symposium in Chicago in July discussed our experiences there and some of what we learned at the various excellent workshops we attended.  Elsie said she had been in contact with a board member and they said they will be working to make registration easier next year as well as making an effort to be more mindful of and helpful to sketchers with mobility issues.  The Drink & Draw events in the evenings were a highlight for some of us and I think we might have those on occasional in Madison, too.

We also discussed places we might go sketching in the future and for the November 11th International Sketchcrawl.  I will also be looking into how we post our work on the Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl site and will share that info with everyone next month.  Because there is a home football game with Iowa that day I suggested we go somewhere to the east with our sketchcrawl and because a newer member from earlier in the summer suggested the main street in Sun Prairie might be a good place I will check that out next week.  We could avoid football crowds and traffic there.

Several members discussed the importance of USK in their artistic lives and how they feel they have benefited from participating in group sketching and doing more drawing on their own.  Everyone agreed regular sketching from life makes for a richer life in general.  Some of us brought sketchbooks from our travels this summer which were so much fun to see. Ruth's "maze sketchbook" was really amazing.  She's been making one every summer for a few years and capturing great family moments in them.  She said it was made out of one 22 x 30 sheet of 140 lb cold press watercolor paper folded and torn so that is makes one accordion like sketchbook.  Then she attached it to decorated mat board at the ends for a great looking customized sketchbook.  I can't wait to try one for my travels this fall.

I think we enjoyed having a block of time to talk to each other about many sketching related topics while not simultaneously trying to produce sketches.  I think it is probably a good idea to have a membership meeting at least annually.  So many people had great ideas and great sketches to share and we don't always have time for that when we are working away in our sketchbooks.  Thanks to everyone for coming downtown to the meeting and see you all soon.  Please feel free to add any comments below!!
Elsie demonstrating her new sketchbox from Geurilla Painter

Ruth's "Mazebook" front cover

The Mazebook open - every page filled with great sketches

From left front clockwise: Elsie, Deborah, Tsela, Jan, Cindy, Ruth, Gretchen, Louise and Chris.

Sketch from Deborah's summer travels

Cindy's Amsterdam sketch

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Biergarten at Olbrich Park - Saturday Sept. 9th

Jean, Rebecca and Mike on the shores of Lake Monona

My sketch with Uni Posca paint pens on Stillman & Birn Zeta softcover
It was a beautiful day so the Biergarten was open for business and quite a few people were hanging out in the perfect late summer weather.  It's a great place to sketch on a warm day and we will go back for sure.

Monday, September 11, 2017

USK Madison Share This Weekend

Hey I'm pretty excited, we're headed to the downtown Madison Library for a group share this weekend. Fall completely energizes me (yes I know it's technically summer, but I've moved on.)

I'm hoping those who were able to get to the BIG Chicago International Symposium will be sharing details of workshops, materials, and of course LOOONG walks. The weather was great though.

softcover Stillman and Birns, watercolor

I remember as I was at my own personal "Satellite Symposium" (well, my daughter came along) that same weekend. I'll bring that sketchbook along to share.

6 x 6 inch cover, corrugated cardboard with acrylic paint

Also coming is my annual Summer Sketchbook, one I make, family focused.

Slow summer for sketching? Bring your materials along and let's see what you have in your sketchbag...nothing better than seeing what you might have that I haven't seen yet. And, as always, there will be plenty of time to draw outside or inside at the library.

Sunday Afternoon, Downtown Library, first floor conference room....see you there!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Henry Vilas Zoo August 26th

My sketches of one of 3 turkeys who live at my house and the Griz at the zoo
Elsie sketching American Bison
Reba in front of the Glacier Grille
We had a nice cool and uncrowded morning at the zoo.  Elsie and I sketched some bison and other sketchers drew everything from Red Pandas to Penquins and Giraffes to Rhinoceros.  We also admired Wendy's Italian sketches and Elsie's sketches of her trip to Nebraska for the eclipse earlier this week.  Welcome to Carole's friend, Jan and we hope she will join us for more sketching in the future.  A suggestion for a new sketching venue was the beer garden near Olbrich Gardens so I will be checking that out this week and hopefully we can give that a try next month.
Left to right:  Pat, Gretchen,  Polar Bear,
Wendy, Jan, Elsie and Reba

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

Image result for chazen art museum
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