Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Fabulous Fox, St. Louis

Although the city block on Grand Avenue is anchored on either end by the spectacular Craft Alliance gallery and the excellent City Diner, the Fox pretty dominates the street with its grand marquee and elaborate facade. Impossibly ornate both inside and out, the theatre is a venue for top name musical acts and touring Broadway shows. While in City Diner for coffee to go I heard the server manning the counter ask the couple next to me if they were from the show. The gentleman said "Yes we 're rehearsing the music for Priscilla and we are sounding good!" I walked across the street to take advantage of the very unusual 65 degree morning temps for some urban sketching in the nearby vest-pocket sized park. Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert opens it St. Louis run tonight. Next up, The Book Of Mormon which according to posters along side the box office is "the greatest musical of the century!" No matter how good the show is that seems to be overstatement until I remember that Oh yea, we are still at beginning the 21st century.

Fabulous Fox, 01/29/2013, Pogo stylus, Brushes3 for iPad. Drawn on location with slight modifications, signature and date added later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Midway Plaisance

This is a long overdue post from December USk Chicago meet. There were only four of us at the Logan Art Center - a new addition to U Chicago campus on Chicago South Side. The Center is located on a boulevard called Midway Plaisance that looked like this on a gray December afternoon.

The second sketch I drew looking down from the Penthouse on the 8th floor of the Art Center. This brick building that looks old enough have an interesting history (although I don't know it) is located on the south side of Midway Plaisance. Currently it houses School of Social Services Administration - how prosaic for such a fairytale architecture.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Travelling in Fort Worth

A great part of my job as an architect is to travel and do building survey's or to get building permits etc. These are quick trips, usually solo or one other person with free time in the day or evening to wander interesting places.  Recently I went to Fort Worth. I was downtown and no car, but a great city to walk in.  I am on a mission to get better at people, so on this trip I gave myself a challenge to draw 30 people.  An airplane technical problem and extended stay helped make this possible!
I would wander around my area, find a discreet place where I can see but not be overly seen, pretend I am drawing the room and try to catch expressions.
The watercolor and sometimes gouache was added with my tin kit onsite

 The convention center is basically a big concrete spaceship with a beautiful park next door. This is a pretty rare sketching opportunity and I enjoyed it.

 The bottom sketch is in a very very dark jazz venue calle the Scat Club. I was basically drawing by one of those little yellow battery powered candles so the quality of sketch and color was anyones guess while doing it.

In the airport there was a group of young Japanese guys. Some were wearing the white air filter masks and one bought a very white cowboy hat. I just had to draw that!

I thought I would share the journey!
James Nutt- Minneapolis

Friday, January 25, 2013

Where shall I meet you?, St. Louis

During baseball season anyway the best answer to that question has always been and forever shall be "at the Musial statue." Sadly Stan The Man passed away last Saturday night. A public visitation was held Thursday at the New Cathedral on Lindell Ave. His private funeral will be televised this Saturday followed by a processional to the statue where family members will place a wreath. A brief paragraph cannot contain all there is to be said about Stan Musial. He had a monumental total of 3630 career hits. Remarkably exactly 1815 were at home and exactly 1815 on the road, only one of many statistics that reflect his consistency as a player. Sportscaster Bob Costas once noted with gentle irony that the only thing Musial ever did was sustain a 20-year career of baseball excellence and human decency.

The inscription on the base of the statue reads "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight." Musial has said that at first he did not care for the sculpture because it didn't look like him. So many people pose in front of it for pictures, even entire wedding parties often gather there for photos, that he came to appreciate it's special significance. Although this watercolor was done in 2011 it seems right to repost it at this time. Videographer Joel Anderson produced a piece appropriately called Urban Sketching of the painting the image. By the time we arrived at the statue that morning people were already beginning to show up for a Cardinals game later in the day. Even members of the city fire department drove up to the spot for a photo shoot of a new fire truck. It has already been written that St. Louis is not the same place without Musial. That may be true but St. Louis is certainly a much better place because of him.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Marcia Milner-Brage's colorful art of metro area on display at Hearst Center

Drawing the Town AnnouncementCheck out this link to the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier features article about my exhibit:

Marcia Milner-Brage's colorful art of metro area on display at Hearst Center

Scavenger Hunts!


Our first scavenger hunt subject is your favorite restaurants or cafes!  A few people have added their posts...please, let's have more.

We just ate at one of my longtime favorites, A Streetcar Named Desire...I've eaten there since it was in their original location, on Main St. south of the Plaza.  (I won't even TELL you how long ago that was, but dinosaurs roamed the earth.)  It really WAS a streetcar once...and it still has wonderful burgers!

What will February's scavenger hunt subject be??  Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tell Me a Story

So many Urban Sketchers capture their cities in the architecture but for me it's the people. There's nothing like people-watching in the city. It gets my creative juices flowing! So many stories, each unique and yet somehow universal.

It was a cold, cold day in Chicago today but the rink at Millennium Park was filled with skaters. There were tourists and locals, novices and pros, kids and the forever youngs and of course the speedsters. HA! When you're trying to sketch them they're all speedsters! Some told their stories in their skating style and some made fashion statements.

I used my Stillman & Birn Beta prefect-bound sketchbook for the first time. Love, love, love the fresh white heavy-weight paper that takes watercolor beautifully and it lays flat when open!

38th International Sketchcrawl, KCMO


We had a wonderful time and a good turnout for our Union Station many interested watchers, as well, who shared their own stories of this magnificent old building.  It stood empty for years--I'm so grateful it was saved and is full of life and beauty again.

Imagine designing this place...I started out setting up my sketch stool so I could sit comfortably wherever I wanted, and craned my neck looking up at the chandeliers...

You don't see this kind of detail any more...
It was a warm January day, so I sat outside on a bench and sketched the Liberty Memorial, across the was backlit and in deep shadow so the forms were very simplified.  Made me try a David Gentleman approach!

We always share food and journals and good talk afterward...Harvey's restaurant, in the station, had paper table covers, so of course I sketched as many of us as I could!
Here's the crew...less two of us.
Don's gorgeous sketch, which I hope he will scan and share...
I didn't manage to shoot Jeanette's sketch from the day, but her journal is an absolute joy...I get lost in it!

Malinda sketched Harvey's from the balcony!  Next time I think I need to branch out, what a great view!
I hope your day was as satisfying as ours was!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

38th International Sketchcrawl

Today is the 38th International Sketchcrawl--anyone have plans to go out?

Let us know!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One Room School

We actually had snow Sunday night. So yesterday morning I drove over and did this sketch of the old Beckley Road school sporting a coat of snow. The one room school dates way back and is on the historic register. It's an all seasons scene stealer...very pretty to look at. In addition to being a school the building has, at various times, been an antique shop. These days it mostly stands empty.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Out and about this past week...Independence and Liberty, MO

I'd been wanting to sketch the old waterworks in the town I grew up in for ages--it's now their Community Center!  The original spring is just down the hill and to the left.  We parked in an awkward place, off the street and in the grass, so I worked FAST and added color from memory.

I loved the tall windows with their arched tops...later we ended up at Costco and I sketched my fellow shoppers as usual.

A day or two earlier, we were at Liberty Hospital to have J. checked out...always interesting gadgets in those places!  (The bird list it from my sketch on the facing page...)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside!

We went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at Navy Pier, Chicago, yesterday. This thumbnail records a Wow moment for me. The color, the light and the shadows looked just like the temperature felt…Brrr.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Skiing Caberfae Peaks

My wife and I spent New Years and the New Years weekend at the Caberfae Peaks Ski Resort, Cadillac, Michigan. Caberfae Peaks is one of the oldest ski areas in the country. The area's history dates back to the late 30s when the Peaks opened for business. I've been skiing at Caberfae since I was in high school...which is getting to be a very long time ago.

For the past 16 years I've been a member of the Caberfae Peaks Ski Patrol. My oldest daughter and her husband are also patrol members. As a patroller I take care of injured skiers and snowboarders. However for the past several years I've been the lead hill trainer for the patrol. As such I spend the majority of my time these days teaching our new patrollers how to ski and how to transport injured patients off the hills via rescue toboggan. I'm also a certified professional ski instructor. So winter is a very busy time for me.

New years eve afternoon I was off shift and had time to grab my sketch book and do a quick sketch of Caberfae's Shelter chair lift. The Shelter lift services the area's beginner and intermediate slopes and is quite busy most of the time.

Because I didn't have to patrol 'till Sunday, we drove up to Cadillac Saturday afternoon. Early arrival and day light give me time to quickly sketch this view of the cross country trails that run behind the hotel where we stayed for the weekend.

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