Sunday, August 20, 2023

Green Lake Renovation (First “Botanical Palette” Sketches)


8/16/23 Green Lake neighborhood

An old brick building in the Green Lake neighborhood is undergoing a major renovation. A sign said the main floor, where I took yoga classes for a decade before the pandemic, is being turned into a restaurant space. Months ago when the work began, I thought that was all that was happening, but now I see that the upper floors are being gutted, too. I’m happy that the old building is being preserved – in that neighborhood, it could just as easily have been replaced with a modern box. (The writing you see on the wall is not graffiti – I was quoting the worker on the scaffolding.)

Color notes: This sketch and the one from the previous day (below) are my first using the botanical palette designed by artist Julie Thomas for Caran d’Ache. Despite its floral leanings, most of the palette is versatile enough that I’m enjoying it for urban sketching. I tend to lean heavily on my favorite primary and secondary triads, and this exercise is pushing me to use other colors while still keeping a limited palette. The only color that is giving me problems is the bright purple Fibralo brush marker. Since I use dark violet often as a shadow color, I chose it for that purpose, but it’s downright garish! If I don’t want it to take over the whole sketch, I have to dull it down in whatever way I can.

8/15/23 Maple Leaf neighborhood

The palette includes a warm gray, but after all the time I spent weaning myself off of gray for shadows, I don’t want to resort to that now. Alternatively, I might try mixing some of the complements . . . one of the greens with scarlet, perhaps?


  1. Nice sketch of the work being done on the building. I wonder what they will do with the upper floors. I'm glad to see they are preserving the building rather than replacing it.

    1. Yes, I'm curious, too, about what will happen in the rest of the building!


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