Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grey and little of pink.

For second time, I was fortunate to visit 3 buildings during the Open House Chicago weekend, presented by the CAF Chicago Architecture Foundation. Alex, one of the administrators of the Urban Sketchers Chicago group was the host this time. During this event people is allowed to come inside buildings that are normally closed to the public. Here's a map that I sketched the previous day to get familiar with the zone.
A4 Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook, Pen&Ink EF, Platinum Carbon Ink, W&N Watercolor Paint.
Our first stop was The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, a spectacular building dedicated to Mother Cabrini. I decided to make two sketches of every building, one from the interior and another from the exterior; for that I needed to manage my time very well so I worked small frames. Although the walls and ceilings were covered with frescos, I skipped them and focused in the overall building.
A4 Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook, Pen&Ink EF, Platinum Carbon Ink, W&N Watercolor Paint.
Our next stop was The Elks National Memorial, a monument dedicated to the members of the Order of Elks who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation during World War I. Again, I omitted the exquisite murals all over the walls and ceilings. The overwhelming architecture was enough for this sketcher, so I focused in the dome, the marble columns and the iron work of the windows.
A4 Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook, Pen&Ink EF, Platinum Carbon Ink, W&N Watercolor Paint.
 Here is a close-up:

The last building we visited was the Second Church of Christ Scientist. At this point I was cold and hungry. So I did only one sketch, and to be honest I was tired of the grey day and grey buildings too, so, to have fun even more, I painted this one in neon pink, yes, PINK, I like, pink, pink, hurray for pink.
A4 Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook, Pen&Ink EF, Platinum Carbon Ink, W&N Watercolor Paint.
After that we took the photo of the group and the sketches we made,  then off we went for a drink and food. It was a nice day and well organized. Thanks to Alex Zonis for hosting this event.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Ninety one years old. We got together to celebrate Joseph's birthday, my father in law. It was a fun night we spent at one of his favorite places, the Croatian Club with his favorite band playing live, Harvest Moon. This is the man who has been very supportive to me through the years, the very first person who ever paid for any of my painted doodles and he has it still on one the walls of his house. I tried to render his melancholy eyes and his beautiful smile (he still has all his teeth, never wasn't fond for sweets), when started to sketch the lips he close his mouth! Oh well. I added a little more of color at home, since it was a little dark there to see the real colors. This is my humble gift on your day, Happy Birthday Joseph.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My neglected survivor plant.

I bought a tropical plant 10 years ago. This plant has been a survivor after all it's been through. First, I don't know why did I get it knowing myself. I like how cozy a plant in a house can be but that involves maintanence. I rarely water it or fertilize it. I just do it when I notice (and it may take weeks for me to notice) that leaves are down or becoming yellow. Second, it's in a small planter, how can a plant grow this 7 feet tall in such a small planter? Actually the planter is disintegrating, literally. Third, it spends long winters with minimal water. Family have helped me water it during this periods to keep it alive but I've been gone for 2 or 3 months without help and thinking this will be the last time I see it alive, and when I return BAM!, it's still there! So I decided to sketch it, who knows how long this plant will live. I don't know if it will survive another winter in my absence, I hope so, as for now, I think it is a miracle.
5x8 in, Moleskine, pen and watercolor.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mexican truffle.

We made 20 checkpoints out of 24 in the corn maze. The farm is in Spring Grove Illinois, check their website here. The farm claims that it has the largest corn maze in the world. At the beginning it was overwhelming just thinking the word "largest", but once inside everything seemed smaller and doable. It took us two hours to do it, less time that it took us to drive there, since we got lost... but found our way. When we finished the maze we sat in a bench outside the maze to enjoy the view.
The interesting thing about this visit was the finding of fungus in the maze. This fungus grows sometimes in the earns of corn, and it's edible! It is considered a delicacy in Mexico and is commonly known as Huitlacoche. I couldn't resist to grab some to cook them. I can't wait for lunch.

A5 Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook, pen&ink and W&N watercolor.

Update: Although I had all intentions to eat this delicacy, actually I cooked it, it didn't taste right, it was bitter/sour, so I discarded it. Too bad, I was very happy to find it, not always things come out the way you want. 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pesdestrian Bridge Mistery

I received a pamphlet of the city of Shorewood by mail weeks ago. The front page showed photos of places and buildings in the Village of Shorewood. One of them interested me, it looked like a bridge. I wanted to find the location to sketch it. The photo showed a plaque on top of the bridge that I tried to read unsuccessfully with a magnifier, but I ventured to google what I could read. Fortunately I found it, and sure I went to sketch it yesterday. The bridge crosses the DuPage River. The plaque shows the name of the person who is dedicated to, David A. Barry, in 1986. I don't know if that is the year in which it was constructed or who that person is or was. Google didn't help this time.  I'm sure one day destiny will answer that question, if fact I could ask the Mayor (I hope no more awkward moments happen this time,see why here). He may know something about it. I will sure post any further updated information, but for now, I'll stick to the joy of finishing the last page of my sketchbook with a mystery. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beautiful feet

We are at the hospital for a routine test. The doctor is late so we are waiting for him. My husband is watching TV and I am sketching. My favorite part of this sketch are my husband's feet. When I contoured the feet I realized that we as humans, have body parts that are so weird, if you think about it. I can image an alien analyzing our body, asking itself: why do they have such long arms? e.g. The test results came out well. We are out of the hospital that same morning. We feel good.

A5 S&B Sketchbook, ink and color pencils.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Part 6 of 6. The tale of an electric toothbrush

Ink and color pencil

Every time that we travel I take with me my electric toothbrush fully charged. It’s midnight, the night is quite. A buzzing noise starts and my brother in-law and sister in-law woke up. We are staying at their home. They looked around in their quest to find what is causing it. They think is my brother in-law’s pager. It’s not (by the way we are in the guest bedroom; we don’t hear the commotion). Finally my sister in-law finds the electric tooth brush in the guest restroom near their bedroom.  She cannot turn it off. It’s alive and it has free will. Next day I took it to our bedroom. It’s late that night. The buzz starts again and it’s LOUD. I cannot turn it off. Bad night. Next day I wanted to turn it on somehow to drain the battery but I could not do it.  I asked my brother in-law to place it outside the house, but he gave it back to me thinking he fixed it. The tooth brush is back inside the house. It was probably a better idea than leaving it outside, the backyards of houses in the neighborhood are small and if this thing does the trick again it would wake up the neighbors, yes, it was THAT loud. The buzz starts again, I cannot believe it, how long this is going to last? I cannot throw it away, I want to exchange it. I’m stuck with it. Finally I wrapped it with a towel and put it in the living room under the cushion of a sofa. The living room is in the first floor and the bedrooms on the second floor. It worked. We slept well that night, either I chose a good place to hide it or the battery drained. Next morning my sister in-law comes up from the basement; she said she hear it again. Oh no, the beast is still alive. At this point I’m embarrassed with the whole situation. Fortunately we didn’t hear it after that day. My brother in-law searched the website costumer service for me. I exchanged it already for a new one, although the warranty was due several months ago! I love the United States; the customer service is the best. Here it goes, packed in the same envelope in which the new one arrived in. I kind of feel melancholy since this toothbrush did wonders for my teeth and gums. Farewell toothbrush, it was nice to use you.