Sketching with Urban Sketchers Chicago

I recently sketched at the Chicago Cultural Center with the Chicago Urban Sketchers Group. It was a delightful afternoon; I have always loved the Cultural Center, which used to serve as the main branch of the public library. It was particularly special to visit last Sunday because Preston Bradley Hall, which houses a 38’ diameter (!) Tiffany dome was open to the public. It was a lovely afternoon to spend time in a beautiful space, chat with my friend and fellow Urban Sketcher, Jackie, and make a couple sketches.

Sketching in Preston Bradley Hall

Sketching in Preston Bradley Hall

It also fun to visit the Cultural Center to sketch because my partner Gregg and I were married there last fall. We wanted to have a simple, low stress, but special wedding celebration. As such, we decided to marry in a civil cermony at the Cultural Center, followed by a lunch reception with our immediate family and friends at a nearby restaurant. It was a celebration just right for us! One of the great things about marrying at the Cultural Center was that we were able to take photographs with the beautiful building as a backdrop. Our photographer, Mariah Karson captured some wonderful family portraits on the grand south stair. I was thinking of those photos as I made a quick direct watercolor of the large arched window that frames that stair.

Direct watercolor at the grand stair

Direct watercolor at the grand stair

I went to my first Urban Sketchers meet up last summer and hope to attend many more. It is a local chapter of an international organization, which according to the Urban Sketchers website, it is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering a global community of artists who practice on-location drawing.

Family portrait at the Cultural Center Grsnd Stair

Family portrait at the Cultural Center Grsnd Stair

It’s really great to plug into such a talented group of artists and, through social media, to see the amazing work of artists around the world. The Urban Sketchers group began in 2007, when Seattle-based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario created an online forum “for all sketchers out there who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner... always on location, not from photos or memory.” I’m really looking forward to the Chicago Seminar coming up in June! 

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