The Bean

Last time I visited Chicago I missed my chance to draw Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, so this time I decided that it would be the first thing I sketched.
Of course it's a daunting subject – a highly polished stainless steel surface reflecting the sky, the city and the crowds of people below. Yikes.
Surprisingly, though, once you start to draw you realize that's it's not as difficult as it looks if you simplify the shapes. I painted it in sections: clouds first, then trees, foreground and lastly the dots of people.
Even though the Urban Sketchers Symposium does not officially begin until tomorrow, there are already lots of sketchers here from around the world, and many have drawn "the Bean". Have a look on Facebook or Instagram to see the incredible sketches that have already been posted! And watch starting Wednesday July 26 for a live feed on the Urban Sketchers You Tube channel:

30 Comments on “The Bean”

  1. loisajay says:

    I think you captured it beautifully, Shari.


  2. Ineke says:

    Wow, this is amazing * bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julana says:

    It is fun to watch the #uskchicago2017 posts scroll across instagram, for those of us unable to come. Love your “bean”!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bernadette says:

    You so masterfully simplify complicated scenes before you. I admire your work and strive to achieve the freshness in my paintings that I always see in your work. Thank you as always for sharing.


  5. Richard Lee says:

    I live north of Chicago and know the bean well. You did it justice, Shari! Wish I could have attended your workshops.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alison says:

    Hee, hee. I saw a photo of the bean the other day and wondered “Has Shari ever sketched this?” Great sketch! See you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. TonyU says:

    That is so good! Have great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Helen Phillips says:

    Thanks for the info on where to see symposium sketches (what ever happened to Flicker?)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Judy Sopher says:

    Visited Chicago many times but never saw this. Love your painting of it. The other day I watched your Craftsy class when you painted the Denver station. Enjoyed it as much as the first time. It has inspired me again. I think I was getting too stiff and needed to loosen up. As always hoping for another class.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Been there – Love his work. I took one of my favorite photos of it, same position you were in. When I saw your painting of it, I was reminded of how much more I emotion and excitement I feel when looking at the painting of something, than the something itself. How
    fun! I bet the convention is physically like and olympic event!


    • Laurie, this was definitely like an Olympic event. I definitely need a holiday after all that running around. I am happy to be at my computer doing some scans today and getting back to writing on my blog. More sketches of Chicago will be coming in the next few days.


  11. Love your sketch of “the bean”! Also, I had a great workshop with Swasky there and then stayed for awhile and did another one of the bean! I had such a fabulous time at the symposium!


  12. Lynn Holbein says:

    I visited The Bean for the first time in June, and it was too complex for me to try to paint. I am in awe, Shari, that you did such an amazing job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn, you have to draw it next time you are there. Picky a shady spot where the benches are and sketch it even if you leave out the crowds. It’s so much fun to look at the shapes in the sculpture!


  13. Love your sketch of The Bean. You included a lot more people than I did…but I was there before any real crowds. The whole Symposium experience was so great!!! It was fun to see you there. Please add me to your list so I can see when you are doing workshops. I would love to do one with you that is longer than 3 hours.


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