Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pickled jalapeno peppers.


It’s time to crop vegetables. The popular vegetables of people who grow vegetables in the area are tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and peppers among other. My friend J gave us fresh jalapeno and serrano peppers this year. My intention was to try to do something different than last time. I always have cans of peppers in my pantry that I buy in the supermarket, so I thought why not trying to make pickled peppers. I studied a career related to the food industry. I don’t remember how it is done since I was in the University, what I mean is that I don’t remember the amounts, temperatures and times of the procedure, so I asked someone who knows about it. My college friend R, who lives in another country now, has been preparing Mexican food where she lives. It’s hard to find Mexican ingredients in that country. I contacted her through Skype and she shared me the recipe. We had a good chat, even our husbands joined the conversation! This sketch is the result of that preparation. The one on the left is one of the three cans I made, and the two small ones are gifts from my friend J. The product came out very good, tasty savory pickled jalapeno peppers Mexican style.  The look is not what is supposed to be because I used ground cinnamon and ground clove instead of whole spices therefore the liquid came out color brown and with some sediments. I .  don’t . care. The adventure of home making my own pickled jalapeno peppers was a joy. Cheers to my friends J and R who made it possible!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The two crowds in Evanston.


I am so happy to see that the Group of Urban Sketchers Chicago is growing. A big crowd of people showed up today at the sketchcrawl in Evanston, IL. The feel of camaraderie was great. After few minutes trying to find a view to sketch.....in the shade, I ended up here, under the shade of a pine tree. After some minutes another crowd showed up, my friends  the insects joined the fun. Under me, hard working ants were climbing my limbs. To my side, flies and mosquitos let us know they were present and to end, from above, spiders in every size and color came down  graciously to rest on my sketchbook. They walked from one end to the other, like inspecting what I was doing to finally give me their approval and leave. Even the pine tree gave me its opinion! A drop of sap fell in the paper, I could lick it but it would look so gross. The pine tree made a statement, it said here! Make a mark here! Or perhaps it was just crying of laughter because the insects were all over me. Back to the sketch, I would prefer to erase those grey clouds since I think the sketch turned out darker than I wanted, but it was a sign that the rain was coming since I drove home while raining. Safe back at home I think it was good sketching, with a good crowd of sketchers and over all a good day. Amen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nobody puts my baby in a corner.


We visited Starved Rock State Park located South of Utica, Illinois. I felt like if we were in a hurry to do outdoor activities before the summer ends. So I sat down to sketch this view. Then a couple of Asian young man, asked me if I could take a picture of them with this view as a background. They went down the stairs to the deck, turn around, posed for the picture, checked the photo I took and left. Boy were they in a hurry. That request left me thinking I should enjoy the view. So I did. We are on a rock called Lovers Leap, on the left is the Starved Rock, at the center the Plum Island which is closed to public visitors since it became a sanctuary of the bald eagle. We overlooked the Illinois river. All of these I absorbed. Not in a hurry.



Then we crossed the Illinois River through the bridge and went to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center just across the big rocks we just visited to see the view from far. What can I say, it is beautiful. After that we went to the restrooms and this beauty was across the restroom doors, no information whatsoever was displayed about it. So yes, I sketched it too. Nobody puts my baby in a corner. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lockport, Illinois


Lockport is a town next to I&M Canal, Illinois and Michigan Canal. This canal connected the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. It was the main transportation of goods before the train. The economy in this area grew up in the 1800’s and little towns like Lockport flourished next to the Canal, including the city of Chicago. The buildings in the historic site are well preserved, therefore the main street is charming. I have visited this town before, my husband and I come to eat at a restaurant we like; also a friend and I came to buy fabric for quilting, one of her hobbies. This time I was there specifically to sketch it. The indoors of the buildings are amazing, highs ceilings, old wood floor, lots of carved wood details. The sketch shows the corner of IL Route 171 and IL Route 7. The lower right corner of the sketch shows Route 7 going down to bridge which crosses over the I&M Canal. I saw several cargo ships, very tempted to sketch them but I’ll have to leave that one for another day.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Heat wave


The heat wave continues in Illinois. Our prayers were answered to stop the rainy months that ended in the middle of July. Like every year everybody craves to go outside and do outdoor activities. In our family gathering, young adults and kids walked to the beach, meanwhile I found shelter in the shade of a big tree. I had enough sun in the past two weeks, so I gave my skin a break. I sat in a chair, took my sketch tools out of my bag and sketch the members of family left, men only. Something happens when I'm sketching, I'm aware of my surroundings but at the same time I'm not aware, I could hear them talk but I wasn't really paying attention, I was lost into my paper, my pen, and the dance of lines and spaces I was creating. I didn't feel the heat of the sun, the wind, or hear the boats. I gave my mind a break as well. I LOVE SKETCHING.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Coal City.


So, like every summer, everybody enjoys outdoors after 6 months of cold weather. Water activities is a favorite. This time, we went to Coal City beaches. I tried to apply what I learned in the past Seminar by Urban Sketcher Chicago, and sketch more people to make my sketches alive. Life is good. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

USk Chicago Sketch Seminar 2015

Was it fun!

This is the second time I attended this annual Seminar in Chicago. I had great fun and learned things. First I took a morning workshop called Capturing People in Motion by Angie Hauch. This is an attempt to improve my skill to sketch people, let alone people in motion. First we had 15 minutes to warm up. I sketched my team mates.
 
 
 
Later we sketched people in motion. We had to get the idea that we will have only 10 or 15 seconds to capture people, the best approach to give us more time, was to sketch people coming to us or walking away. The instructor insisted in us using charcoal to loose up. It's a media I don't normally use, "keep an open mind" I remembered Barbara McCafferty Weeks. I understood right away why charcoal. This media doesn't let you to be caught in drawing detail!
 
 
 
I did several sketches of people, one per page, the I realized I was going to fast through the pages of my sketch book, so I switched gears to pencil and smaller sketches, got it!
 
 
 


 
Lots of people with dogs! I think the 4 dogs came out so cute!
 
Then we incorporated the surroundings to the people, we went to Connor's Square.
 

 
After lunch I attended a workshop called Sketching With Color Pencils by Mark Jones. I'm always use ink in my sketches, but this time I went for graphite. The blend of graphite and color was surprisingly beautiful, not too much contrast, however I harden edges and corners as the instructor recommended. 
 
Great day, fun and full of friendly people.