|8/26/19 Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch
When we weren’t busy eating fresh corn on the cob and deep-fried pie ala mode at the Minnesota State Fair, we toured around the Twin Cities, mostly in Minneapolis. We’ve visited the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden several times, but this was the first time I went with sketchbook in hand. Since I was with family members, my sketching time was limited, so I was faced with a dilemma: The iconic Claes Oldenburg Spoonbridge and Cherry called to me loudly, but I was also instantly attracted to Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock, a giant rooster in a spectacular shade of blue! The latter, installed only a couple of years ago, wasn’t there the last time we visited. . . resistance was futile. The blue I used comes close in hue, but I didn’t capture the sheer intensity of that vibrant rooster’s color.
Checking back with my party, I saw that I still had a little time, so I made a quick thumbnail-size (about 3 inches across) sketch of Spoonbridge and Cherry with the blue rooster and the Basilica of St. Mary in the background. Even with color added, it took no more than a few minutes. (This thumbnail trick while traveling is one of the most useful lessons I picked up in Amsterdam.)
The newly enhanced Mill Ruins Park preserves the remains of historic mills, water power facilities and locks used by 19th century industries. I sketched the nearby Gold Medal Flour building on a previous visit, so this time I focused on the Great Northern Stone Arch Bridge. Crossing the Mississippi River, it is now used by pedestrians instead of trains. I enjoyed putting the glassy modern building behind it, which is more attractive than many newer buildings. I was surprised to learn that the Carlyle houses high-end residences instead of offices.
(Technical note: Those wet-in-wet clouds (above)? I did those with watercolor pencils – a technique I had much difficulty accomplishing when I was still using Stillman & Birn Zeta. You can see why I’m happy that I made the switch to Beta!)
The Weisman Art Museum has been around since the ‘90s, but in 2011, a major expansion was designed by architect Frank Gehry. Known for his organic, amorphous buildings, Gehry also designed Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (which I have attempted to sketch poorly several times) and L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (which I sketched a few years ago with a bit more success). While the rest of my party went inside to view the modern art, I stayed outside to attempt the wavy, highly reflective surfaces and crazy angles. Every time I looked up, the reflections had changed. The only good thing about sketching a building like this is that a critic would be hard-pressed to point out an angle or curve I got wrong (or right)!
Greg and his sister often like to take a nostalgia tour around St. Anthony Park, the St. Paul neighborhood where they lived as kids, so I indulge them – if I can get out of the car long enough for a sketch. This thumbnail shows the house they grew up in.
|8/29/19 St. Anthony Park neighborhood, St. Paul