Chicago Symposium: on-site workshop prepPosted: August 7, 2017
One of my favourite parts of going to an Urban Sketchers symposium is arriving a few days early, both to prepare for my workshops and also to watch to excitement build as sketchers arrive. This year in Chicago was my fifth time attending the event, so it’s become a bit like a college reunion, as one by one I find friends sketching on every corner of the city.
When I visited the city a few years ago, I didn’t have much time to draw, but this time I built in a full day to sketch in the location of my workshop (The Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park). If time permits, I like to do this so I can check out the light at different hours of the day, the views, the noise, and the people traffic. Thanks to great organizers at USk, my location was ideal for a workshop called “Trees and the City”. We were surrounded by a variety of greenery and had just the right amount of architecture to complete the picture. As for the people, it was a fairly quiet green space every day I was there, except for the initial prep day when I was surrounded by dozens and dozens of people staring at their phones. It didn’t take much research to find out that it was a Pokémon Go live event!
My first prep sketch was of the view north from the park, with the Prudential Buildings in the centre, the Trump tower on the left and the Aon Center on the right. As a resident of a smaller city, it was pretty difficult to wrap my head around the height of the Chicago skyscrapers, but I was a distance away so that made it a little easier.
My second sketch was a view of the pedestrian traffic along Michigan Avenue as seen from the park. I like painting from a shaded spot, so I often end up using trees as a framing device when I look at building facades.
Neither of these sketches came home with me, so the only photos I have of them are the quick shots I took on location. The first sketch went to the very generous couple who gave me a ticket to see the hit play “Hamilton” and the second one ended up in the silent auction on the last night of the symposium.