Friday, December 14, 2012

Volunteer Park Conservatory

12/14/12 Black Velvet ink, water-soluble pencil, Zig marker, S&B Alpha

Celebrating its centennial this year, the Volunteer Park Conservatory was dressed up for the holidays with the Seasonal House filled with poinsettias, nutcrackers and a Lionel vintage replica train (the grand prize for a raffle benefitting the conservatory).
Each display house, which has its own climate control, is crowded with thousands of species. My favorite today was the Cacti and Succulent House, where the serrated and spiny leaves of exotic succulents give them a somewhat monstrous look. Names like Euphorbia ingens monstrose reinforce the look.
12/14/12 Black Velvet ink, Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook

(Technical note: A while back I was given a Stillman & Birn Alpha hardbound sketchbook in the 4” x 6” size. I generally use the 5½” x 8½” size, which is a convenient tradeoff between size and portability. But knowing that the conservatory is crowded and thinking that I would be focusing on individual plants rather than larger views, I decided to give the smaller book a try. It reduced the bulk and weight in my bag considerably. Unfortunately, that’s about all I can say about it that I liked. The full page spread is half the size of the spreads I’ve grown accustomed to, so it felt teeny-weeny. It cramped my style. Maybe someday I’ll be invited to a soiree where I’ll need to tuck a tiny sketchbook into a tiny evening bag. Until then, I’m shelving it.)


  1. I love your sketch! I feel the same way about sketch books. I keep trying the smaller ones and I always go back to 51/2 by 81/2.
    Have a super day!

  2. Great sketches. I like the nutcracker amid the foliage. That sounds like a fun place to festive!


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