RozWorks.com Visit my website to view journal selections, paintings, and book arts projects. For the most recent information on classes and workshops please click on "Classes" in the categories list of this blog.
Danny Gregory and I Discuss Visual Journaling Sadly a two part podcast from May 2008 made with Danny Gregory, author of "An Illustrated Life," is not currently available. We talked about journaling, art media, and materials…If this becomes available again in the future I will let you know.
Finding Bits of Time Ricë Freeman-Zachery, author of "Creative Time and Space," talks to me about finding time to be creative. (Taped October 23, 2009.)
The Fair opens tomorrow, Thursday, August 27. What better way to begin your enjoyment of the Fair than with a concert of Woody Guthrie songs, sung by Charlie Maguire and Paul Metsa. See the details in the above image.
Above: the meeting location for the Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out. If you aren't familiar with the Fairgrounds stop at an information booth, pick up a map and look up U26/27 on the official Fair map. Copy this image to your computer and print it out so you can take it with you as a reminder, or call it up on your smart phone if you're all digital now.
BOOKMARK THIS POST.
It's all set, it's almost here! The Fair opens on Thursday and runs through Labor Day. Go as many times as you want, but if you're a sketcher, be sure to make plans to attend on
Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
We'll have a meeting a 4:30 p.m. at the location "B" on the above map.
If it's raining on the day, go into the Agriculture/Horticulture building and move to the center hub of the spoked hallways. We'll meet there.
Join intrepid sketchers spread across the Fairgrounds, sketching everything that takes our interest. The Sketch Out is free (you have to pay your own Fair admission). All skill levels are welcome. (I recommend if you're bringing a child along to participate that you forego sketching and watch the child.)
All Skill Levels Are Welcome! If you don't come out and sketch live subjects you'll never get better at sketching live subjects. And where else are you going to find this many live subjects, in one place, at one time???
Each year we have people from the MCBA Visual Journal Collective, Urban Sketchers—Twin Cities, and MetroSketchers. And a bunch of non-affiliated sketchers who just can't help but join in the fun of capturing the "Great Minnesota Get Together" on paper.
Go early in the day and sketch your heart out, then bring your sketches to our meeting. Come later in the day to the meeting, planning to sketch afterwards. It doesn't matter, just get yourself to the Fair to sketch!
Sketching is an exciting, fun-filled way to experience the Fair in an extraordinary manner—by pausing in the crowds and chaos to take time to really observe closely.
If you are wondering what there is to sketch at the Fair, or you are unsure how to prepare and what to bring, I suggest you go right now to myMinnesota State Fair Round Up.
On that blog page you will find posts on how to sketch in public, sketch at the Fair, what to sketch, how to prepare for the event, how to dress, and how to pace yourself on treat consumption. You'll even find posts about whether or not you should bring a folding chair and suggestions for chairs should you decide to bring one. Other supplies and tools are also suggested. I want you to have the most fun at the Fair as possible—and I want you to get some sketching done.
Look, I can't make you have fun, but for the past six years I've tried to provide you with at least one really great opportunity to do exactly that. An opportunity to produce what might end up being your finest work! So come and join us for a seventh year of adventure. You'll end up with some great stories and fun sketches.
But wait, there's a button.Who doesn't love buttons?
Above: The love letter I wrote for the "Love Letters from Artists" show listed below. Stonehenge gray paper, with rubber stamped text and gouache sketches—though my Sean Connery sketch is one I had turned into a custom rubber stamp years ago. I have it in a bunch of sizes. You can't have too many Sean Connery stamps. The S.C. image was done on a piece of gray Stonehenge and then a white border was added with poster paint. It was affixed with photo corners, just because I wanted to do that. The piece had to fit in a 9 x 12 inch envelope, so I created the piece so that it would fold just below "more than you." When the bottom folds up you can read up to "there are 3 things I love." In that way there is a little bit of a surprise, or reveal, for the recipient. Though not really, because if you read the earlier post where Dick and I discuss this letter, he was not surprised by the content or the tone of my love letter. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
You can read about the show at the above link and about a discussion I had with Dick about the letter I produced.
The show closed Saturday. There was a lovely closing party with a good turn out, despite the high heat which really got to me (I cycled in the early morning before the sun came up!).
I promised you that I would post the letter, after the show was over. Above you'll see my love letter to Dick.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the show, either for the opening, closing, or just to view it on your own. I hope you had fun seeing all the different varieties of love letters. And if you were there when I was, I really enjoyed speaking with you.
Above: About 6 x 6 inch square of white Stonehenge. I did a quick sketch using a Pentel Sign Brush Pen (about 4 mins.), of Dick. Then I ran away and got some Schmincke Pan watercolors. I only used the Indanthrone Blue (Dark Indigo, PB60) but there are areas of gray tones, that's the ink bleeding. It actually held pretty well on this paper. But you can see it bleed about his right eye (on our left) and under the chin, to name two places. I worked with a "real" brush—a filbert. The background was added at the end—Montana Marker. I was squinting and sketching without my glasses because I couldn't stand wearing them one more second. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
What did I learn today? Don't be too quick to put your sketch on the scanner! You can see where I smudged the paint on the left (our left) side of Dick's nose.
OK, I already knew that. I learned that the Pentel Sign Brush Pen (which has a funky solid, hard but pliable tip of some sort) doesn't bleed all over, but it does bleed. And so for lighter colors it might bleed too much. Maybe this year at the Fair I should just work monochromatically?
R: Dick don't move all around, you started with your head back a bit you need to keep it there.
I notice a slight annoyance in the eyes, Dick rarely shows annoyance.
R: Does it hurt?
D: It's a little uncomfortable.
Dick never complains. It must really be painful. He barely registers any emotion, so I don't know whether to give in. I decide not to.
R: Just a moment or two more. Rest, but don't go away, while I go get some paint.
I run through the house looking for the right palette and return a minute later.
About 3 minutes later, I flip it around to show him.
R: I like it. I just made vague shapes where your eyebrows are and then ignored them.
D: Yeah, that's you're new technique?
We laugh. I really don't think Dick realizes that his eyebrows are poised to take over the world.
I have some more pens to test on the watercolor paper I purchased to take the Minnesota State Fair this year (I can't bind because my arm and shoulder are in bad shape again; but you know what, I didn't want to take a casebound book this year anyway.)
If I can't find a pen that dries quickly enough on the watercolor paper I got, so that I can paint quickly, I'll probably default to Stonehenge and use my Faber-Castell Pens and such, and just give up the idea of this funky "brush-tip."
Note: Stonehenge is a lovely paper that I enjoy sketching on. It is a printmaking paper, but lots of folks draw on it, and I like to paint on it. I especially like the grays and kraft brown for gouache, but I'm not going to use gouache at the Fair this year, and I really wanted to use a watercolor paper. We'll see.
All of this happened after a long, long day of computer work, punctuated only by a brief escape to Wet Paint. This is the time of year they see the most of me. You'd think I was preparing to go to France!
The Minnesota State Fair begins Thursday, August 27.
The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out is Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
Come and talk paper choices with me at the meeting! I'm looking forward to seeing your sketches.
Above: I walk into the Swine barn first, every time I arrive at the Fair. Faber-Castell Pitt Calligraphy marker on watercolor paper card. 8 x 8 inches. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
The first thing I do when I get to the Fair is walk into the Fairgrounds entrance near the Swine Barn, then walk into the Swine Barn and start sketching. There is NOTHING like the fun of the first sketch of the day, unless it's the second, third, fourth,…tenth…nineteenth…
Pigs are very colorful and I love exploring those colors.
Sometimes I get interrupted while sketching. On this day the farmer and a friend both found me. Interruptions sometimes mean the washes dry out so you can't work them how you planned, or the animal moves, or is taken away to be judged.
And it's all OK, because all you have to do is walk down the row and find ANOTHER model.
Are you ready for the Fair yet??????
The Minnesota State Fair starts on August 27, 2015.
The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out is Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
Left: Pile of buttons for this year's Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out. The artwork is by Ken Avidor, avid State Fair Sketcher and one of the folks responsible for first starting this sketching fun. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
The Minnesota State Fair is getting close. The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out Day is Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
(I will post a map with the meeting location closer to the day. We get together at 4:30 and share work. For some that's the end of a long day, for others they are just starting and will sketch the rest of the evening.)
It's actually starting to feel like MNSFSO around here because THE BUTTONS HAVE ARRIVED!!!!
I'm really thrilled and happy that Ken Avidor agreed to furnish the art for this year's sketch out button. It was on a sketching trip to the Fair in 2004 with Ken and Roberta Avidor that the idea for such a sketch out came about. We were sketching together and Ken said, "We should get more people out here to sketch," and so I started working out how to do that.
Know how I know it was 2004? Because I keep a visual journal, silly! When I look at the sketches in those pages I am reminded of how in the cow barn I walked off to sketch and when I returned with a study of a cow's eye, Roberta Avidor had drawn the entire inside of the barn, floor to arching ceiling, with cows and farmers, all recognizable. This still makes me SO HAPPY—that I know amazing artists. I laugh from joy even as I type this. Over the years Roberta's influence has caused me to stretch a bit and look at scenes upon occasion, but I do remain focused on eyes, and jotting down conversations of strangers. We all have our passions.
It took a couple years to get things organized. I made my yearly trips to the Fair and thought how a sketch out might work and be organized where there is so much to cover…It helped that I realized a lot of the members of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective (which I coordinated at the time) were interested in sketching out. We had a good core group to add to.
We were able to reach out through UrbanSketchers—TwinCities. Marty Harris, a local artist and veteran Fair sketcher helped spread the word and bring more sketchers to the outing. Folks from MetroSketchers, always up for another sketch out, joined in too. It has become a fun group of artists, of all skill levels, working to capture the various faces of the Fair, from the people and architecture to the animals and Midway. And of course the food!
We didn't have a button for our first sketch out in 2008, but in 2009 I wanted some way to mark the event and Roberta Avidor agreed to provide art for the first button. We've had a button every year since. Because I love buttons. I really can't help myself.
How do you get a MNSFSO button? You come to the Sketch Out. (Tuesday, September 1, 2015). You might find me before the meeting in the animal barns, but you will definitely find me at the meeting. I'll have buttons with me. Ken Avidor will have buttons with him.
You can also get a button if you see me at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective in August. Monday, August 17, 7-9 p.m. (I don't know what the topic will be that night, but the meetings are always fun so you should just come.)
This year is the final MNSFSO for me as organizer. Family obligations make it difficult for me to plan for meetings and events. In the past couple of years, several sketchers have stepped up to "chair" the meetings (thank you Ken, Marty, Suzanne, and Liz), because it was doubtful on any given day that I would be able to attend. I'm really grateful for their help and enthusiasm. I've been able to attend and I'm relieved, happy, and grateful about that as well. But it's time for me to let go of making plans.
Marty Harris has agreed to organize future Minnesota State Fair Sketch Outs. He's an incredible artist who loves sketching at the Fair. And I know everyone is going to love coming out to work and share their work under his leadership. I look forward to continuing to attend as a participant—free of the worry that I need to be somewhere at a certain time in case I'm called away.
Because it is my final MNSFSO I went a little crazyand made a parting button series. It sums up what I feel about the Fair, it's a bit silly, and a bit sad, it's totally Roz (without the focus on cow eyes). Sketchers at the meeting will be able to have one of these too. Who knows when I'll have another occasion to make a button?
For me, life is most fun when I'm sketching, but I really like buttons too!
I hope you will all come out and join in the sketching fun this year to make it the best MNSFSO ever!
Something wonderful happens when you go out into the world and meet it with a sketchbook and get your impressions down. It doesn't matter if you sketch like Eugène Delacroix, Robert Crumb, Alan E. Cober, or you just picked up a pencil yesterday.
Being in a mass of humanity, with your ears and eyes open is a great way to open your eyes to the diversity and silliness and sweetness that exists in the world.
Of course it never hurts to have animals to sketch! And Corn Dogs to eat!
This is life drawing with a capital LIFE!
Mark your calendar
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
We live in a great state. We celebrate this once a year. Be part of it.
And wear a button!
And if you have never been to the Fair before and wonder how you might approach sketching at such an event and have no idea what to expect, I suggest you have a look at my Minnesota State Fair Wrap Up Page, which contains links to some of my favorite posts about the Fair. I write about how to make a plan, how to pack your gear, what gear to take, how to dress for success (artistic success), how to sketch live animals, how to make spin art—in short everything you need to know to have a successful trip to the Fair. There is NO REASON you shouldn't join in this fun. I look forward to seeing you there.
Above: Something you won't see at this year's Minnesota State Fair, because of the bird flu epidemic. But it's fun to remember last year and fun with pigeons. Anyway, this is why we have to PLAN what we are going to sketch at the Fair. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
On Sunday evening's walk, I chatted on and on about which journal and paper I'd be taking to this year's State Fair. None of this really matters to Dick, but he's happy to walk along and let me verbalize my plans.
The one thing Dick and I did agree on is that I won't be binding before the Fair. That means no hard-covered Japanese lined journal.
I could cut journal cards, but that is stressful for my right arm too—and the goal is to be all set to go with no injuries!
So no journal cards either.
I'm now looking at a couple choices of commercial journals, all wirebound. It's odd for me to use a wirebound journal, but I'm looking at 9 x 12 inch sizes and thinking of it as the same as if I carried a stack of journal cards. (Except that I'll be holding them all at one time; I usually only hold 3 journal cards in my hand at once.)
The great thing about working on a 9 x 12 inch sheet is that I'll have lots of space to work big if I want to, or fill a page with lots of little sketches.
Now I'm debating Hot Press or Cold Press. I have a preference for smooth paper so it will probably be Hot Press. We'll see.
Meanwhile I'm trying to get my plan for the days I want to go and the events I want to see.
I usually make a plan by going to the Minnesota State Fair website and looking through the lists of entertainment and judging schedules, to see what I might want to look at and sketch while I'm there.
Then I print out a map and mark a little course for myself. It's like going on a road trip, except I'm walking. And there will be corn dogs!
That's the plan right now. But you do need to be flexible whenever there are crowds and crowds of animals. I could end up going with a small 5 x 8 inch journal and one pen. Probably not going to happen, but I never really know until I leave that first morning.
Speaking of first mornings, one of my friends is performing at the Fair this year on the opening day: Charlie Maguire. He'll be performing at 1 p.m. with Paul Metsa. They will be singing Woody Guthrie songs. Location: AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion (corner of Dan Patch and Cooper).
I haven't gone to the Fair on opening day in at least a decade, probably longer. But now that there are no birds to sketch (because of bird flu) my plan has to revolve around other events. It will be great fun to see a friend sing and see what the Fair is like on day one!
Now, before you think you're too busy, or too old, or too mature, or too anything to go to the Fair, I want you to think about all those sketching possibilities and then make a plan.
Left: My 2005 Minnesota State Fair Journal. 8 x 8 inch journal cards made from 300 lb. Hot Press Fabriano Artistico Watercolor paper, prepainted with acrylic washes. The portfolio was made to size after the Fair, when the thickness of the stack of journal cards (and the CD of photos I took) was known. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about which journal I should take with me to the Minnesota State Fair for sketching. By "which journal" I of course mean, which paper, size, and format.
I'm still having shoulder problems so I'm not binding much. There are journals like the soft-covered, sewn-signature Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal, that I've taken to the Fair before. That's a good standby.
But I think what's holding me up is that I haven't come up with a plan for this year's Fair. Each year I think about which media I want to work in, and that somewhat dictates which paper I'll work on, and that tells me whether I'll be binding a book, and so on.
This year there will be no BIRDS at the Fair (except for the resident pigeons hunting for scraps of Fair food). Bird flu in Minnesota has been devastating to the farmers. Bird exhibits have been banned this year to prevent further spread of the disease.
I'm trying to think of what I'll focus on in my sketching. Goats and sheep leap to mind. Of course there are people. Lots and lots of people.
What will I enjoy taking with me?
It might be that this year would be another great year to take journal cards. I simply can't decide. I am going to have a couple options available. Next week I'll case in a Japanese Lined journal of the type I love to work in while in the studio. They have paper covers so they need support if I'm going to carry them around the Fair. I'll also prepare some journal cards. Then I can go either way.
How many cards to prepare? Well I look at past sketching numbers and work out how many sketches I get done in an average day at the Fair and then I prep that many cards for each day of the Fair I'll attend (I usually go 4 or 5 times). Then I add in another day's worth of cards for extras, in case I get into speed sketching. I always end up with exactly the right number of cards. (I think I have an internal switch control or something.)
If you are wondering which journal you need to take to the Fair (or other event) and want to read more about how I pick a journal, you can read the following post "Journal Size Matters."
The image for that post seems to be broken, and I might not be able to find it and fix it before this posts, but it's just a series of books that are the different sizes I use. Here is a post which shows some of the different sizes of journals I make, so you can get a visual idea if you are new to the blog. I don't use the landscape journals. They end up with landscape artists.
Left: Here's a little blast from the past, a Guinea Fowl sketch I made at the 2009 MN State Fair. I'd taken a limited range of watersoluble color pencils. I mostly used them dry as in this example. I worked on 8 x 10 inch journal cards made of 300 lb. Fabriano Artistico, Hot Press watercolor paper. Click on the image to view and enlargement.
One of the most important things I think you can do to get ready at to go sketching at the Minnesota Fair (or any Fair or Royal Show you live near) is to get your gear together.
For me gear almost always includes pens and watercolors, so that means palettes and waterbrushes, some paper towels, and a journal that will take wet media.
But there are also other items that every sketcher needs to stay comfortable and work efficiently throughout a long day of sketching.
I think this same gear can be used for any other day-trips or sketching vacations (though for the latter you'll need to take additional supplies in your luggage to avoid running out of art materials).
I can't remember when I got my blue fanny back from MountainSmith. I know I was using it in the 1990s. It replaced other packs that were less comfortable, or simply worn out. I've been using it for almost 20 years. During part of that 20 year period that pack was also the "bag" I carried daily, as I ran my errands around town. But around 2010 I stopped carrying it daily because I was looking to lighten my daily load. I have a smaller fanny packs and other bags to use for daily jaunts. This has been a fantastic fanny pack and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I even bought another MountainSmith pack last year. It's vertical and holds about the same materials, but is more accepting of some journal formats. I think I might just have to get another one of these horizontal packs before they stop making them!
The Bagalini shown in the other post is no longer with me, it really didn't hold up to the demands of constant hard use, but I did tend to over-fill it, as it was just a little too small. A host of other bags have auditioned for its role over the years.
Finding exactly the right bag is difficult. I recommend you take your current bag and all your sketching gear with you when you are shopping. Fill the candidate bag up and put it on. Jump up and down and walk a bit in that area of the store. See how it feels.
Wear similar clothing to what you'll wear on the day, when testing a bag. This is particularly important if you are going for a full back pack and intend to wear a wide-brimmed hat that extends backwards. The last thing you want is for the brim of your hat to hit the topmost extension of your back pack all day long, while you try to sketch live subjects darting all about!
Store trial is much more efficient than buying a bag and taking it home, only to return it. Some bags "look" big enough or just right, but a zipper lining turns out not to accommodate a sketchbook or brush box, and it can be immediately ruled out.
Even after you have purchased it I still recommend you take it for a sketching test drive to a short event, like a 2-hour trip to the zoo. This will help you work out all the organizational glitches with a new bag, and help you learn your new storage system, so that you'll be able to work effortlessly at the Fair.
Oh, and before I leave the topic of gear bags I should mention that some of my friends use photographer's or hunter's vest's. The large array of pockets helps you stow a lot of gear. I don't care to wear these (I tried one out in the field when I was tracking with the girls). I find that all that weight on my shoulders pulls me down, and greatly diminishes my ability to sketch for long periods of time. But everyone has different tolerances and they might be just the thing you're looking for. Find them at any large hunting or camping store. Be sure to allow enough room beneath them, for the layers of clothing you'll wear on the day. (For instance on sunny days I wear a t-shirt AND a light weight "sunscreen" shirt. Those shirts can also be purchased at camping and hunting supply stores.)
The Fair starts August 27. The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out is on Tuesday, Sept. 1. That doesn't leave you a whole lot of time to sort out your gear if you aren't already prepared.
Take some time this week to get organized, so you can test your media and tool selection on a trip to the zoo or other sketching outing. Then you'll be all set to hit the ground sketching, at the Minnesota State Fair.
Left: Sheep sketch made at the Minnesota State Fair, click on the image to view an enlargement.
Everything is focusing on the Minnesota State Fair right now.
My "Drawing Practice: Drawing Live Subjects in Public" class goes live TODAY.
You can still register up until 10 p.m. tonight. (I had to change the registration time because I realized you would need time to do your homework for today.)
If you would like to spend the next 30 days building a durable sketching habit, working on approaches to build your accuracy, silencing your internal critic, and getting out sketching in public, there's still time to join in.
For the next month I'll be in class seeing what the students do. But I want to make sure that everyone reading the blog is also getting ready for their Fairs or outdoor activities, so I'm going to share my favorite posts about the Fair through July. I hope that will get you out sketching live subjects wherever you live!
And of course the SEVENTH Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out is just around the corner. Artist Ken Avidor did the art for this year's button and I am excited for everyone to see it. (And will post it as soon as they arrive.)
SAVE THE DATE REMINDER: The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out will be on Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
I will post more details about the meeting and a map to the meeting location closer to the day. Get out there and start getting ready. (I'm thinking of hitting a county fair or two!)
This will be the last MNFSO I organize. I hope you can all come out, sketch your hearts out and show me the Fair through your eyes.
Don't worry, there will still be a sketch out in 2016 and beyond; it will just be taken up by another local artist who is totally committed to sketching at the Fair. I could not be happier. (And of course I'll still be coming to the Fair.)
In other Fair news, I and several of my friends, have made it into round two of the Fine Art Judging at the Fair. What that means is our digital entries were deemed worthy of a look in person. So in a short while we'll have to drop the artworks off at the Fairgrounds for the judges to judge. We're crossing our fingers. (Each artist can enter one piece of artwork.)