USk Symposium in Chicago: almost time to register!

Tomorrow, February 11, is early bird registration for the 8th Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium which is taking place in Chicago from July 26-29, 2017. If you haven’t attended one of these events, I encourage you to consider it. It’s the biggest group of sketchers you will ever see in one place and although it’s stimulating, exhausting and completely overwhelming, it is always the highlight of my year. I have a feeling this year’s event will sell out quickly, so if you are contemplating going , make sure you are prepared before registration opens. There are 36 workshops, 30 demos and 5 lectures to choose from when you register, which can get really confusing.  To help you navigate the process, my friend Suhita has written a great post about how to make your choices. Have a look at the full list of workshops here, and take a look at the schedule too.

I’m thrilled to be teaching at an Urban Sketchers annual symposium for the fourth time. My workshop is called “Trees in the City” and I’ll also be doing a short demo on using a limited palettes in watercolour. In celebration of (or to practice for) this I went out today to sketch some trees. That was clearly not a good idea on this really cold day, because even in my car, my paint turned to slush. I had to resort to turning on the seat heater on the passenger side for a few minutes to keep the palette warm so I could finish the sketch. Clearly not an eco-friendly way to paint. I have a feeling it will be warmer in Chicago this summer and I hope to see you there.


26 Comments on “USk Symposium in Chicago: almost time to register!”

  1. TonyU says:

    Congratulations on another Symposium Shari. So good to have special things to look forward to at this time of year.


  2. joantav says:

    Hope to see you again at the Symposium…will try to get into one of your workshops. This post made me smile. Luckily it isn’t that cold here that my paint turns to slush, but I did have a water brush do that once. My “mobile studio” was quite cosy today while I painted a snowy scene. This came out great no matter that you had to use the seat warmer. lol


  3. Vodka in the water (if not in the artist) is a good antifreeze …


  4. Vicky Porter says:

    What a dedicated sketcher you are! The tree lovely. I hope to glean some of your skills in Chicago. Fingers crossed.


  5. Oh i love it! -using the heated seats to thaw one’s paints-. and so i guess listening to the car radio while you paint isn’t really cricket either but i do. Do you?


  6. gaelle1947 says:

    Despite all the snags you wrote about during the making of this painting, it is absolutely stunning! Beautiful homage to a proud old tree that’s survived many a cold winters and a tribute to your own tenacity! All the best at the symposium.


  7. miatagrrl says:

    I’m already looking forward to Chicago! See you there!

    – Tina


  8. rosjenke says:

    Congratulations to you and all the lucky painters who get to paint with you. I’ll look forward to seeing all the posts on our workshops.


  9. Jos VanBerkel says:

    Don’t feel bad about using the seat heater nor the radio. They run off your battery which is recharged when you run the car anyway. Your not using any extra outside energy.

    And, early bird registration for the symposium is now full. Disappointed! Do you know if I might be able to register next week under full price or does this mean the event is full? Thanks if you can provide an answer.

    And, of course your tree is great as is most things you do. Enjoy your posts and hope to cross paths sometime.


    • HI Jos,
      Thanks for the info about the car. I have, on several occasions, drained the car battery by having the radio, the wipers or the seat heaters on! I can’t win.
      As for the symposium, next week the registration will open again and there will be more spots. This was only 1/3 of the available passes. So I suggest that you try again and then maybe we will cross paths. Go back to the website and see what time it opens, and good luck!


  10. Judy Sopher says:

    Your trees are super and so is this painting. While I enjoy winter, I doubt if I could be out painting as you do. I will think about the Chicago Symposium but I have just had eye surgery and don’t know when I will be able to do much traveling.But I am still sketching at home . Keeps me going.


  11. Sharon Nolfi says:

    Your painting is lovely! The registration process for the Symposium is an intensely competitive exercise that leaves many people disappointed. Registration was closed by 8:02, with hundreds of people competing for a small number of spots. I think the event should expand so that all who want to attend can do so. Setting up intense competition just to participate just doesn’t seem in keeping with the values of the organization. It’s also quite discouraging to new sketchers who want to be more involved.


    • HI Sharon, I am sorry to hear about your frustrating experience. You are not alone, there were many disappointed sketchers. But that was only a percentage of the available spots and regular registration opens on February 18. I hope that if you try again, you’ll be successful. Last year early-bird registration sold out quickly but when regular registration opened there were sufficient spots for everyone who wanted to come. I hope it will be that way this year too.


  12. marcia pugsley says:

    Shari, I am registered for your workshop at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago – what supplies are you asking registrants to bring? I can’t find any supply lists by the instructors on line and would appreciate being prepared. So excited to be joining all the urban sketchers in my most admired for architecture city – Chicago!!


    • Hi Marcia, I did put a supply list in my proposal but I guess it was never shared. We are lucky. My workshop will be sponsored by Winsor & Newton so you will receive five tubes of artist quality paint. I am currently out of town but I will send you the list this week when I return.


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