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MCBA Visual Journal Collective August State Fair Prep Meeting

August 20, 2009

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Above: Roberta Avidor (seated, blonde hair, dark shirt) and her fellow artist and husband Ken Avidor (standing in the blue, white, and black shirt on the left; her right) show artwork made at the Minnesota State Fair.

Monday, August 17, at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective, twenty visual journal keepers met to prepare for sketching at the Minnesota State Fair. Ken and Roberta Avidor presented past State Fair work (journals, as well as paintings) to the enthusiastic attendees.

Talk was fast and furious but Roberta and Ken offered several tips and suggestions:

•Roberta uses a collapsible stool and recommends always finding a shady spot out of the line of traffic.

•Later in the day, when Fair-goers are full of Fair food and weary it's a good time, an easier time, to try and sketch them. They tend to stay in one place or position longer.

•Position yourself opposite crowded food stands if you want to sketch people.

•The band shell areas are great places to sketch the performers and the audience members.

•Vendors and product demonstrators offer great sketching possibilities because they must stay in a narrow space and their movements tend to be repetitive.

•Stick with art materials you're familiar with—unless the point of the sketching trip is experimentation.

•Keep your supplies to a minimum for ease of carrying and use.

•Roberta uses watersoluble colored pencils (Derwent and Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer) to sketch and then adds washes with a Niji waterbrush and Sennelier pan watercolors.

•Ken uses a Rotring Artist Pen with a converter (instead of ink cartridges) filled with Noodler's black ink. (His pen has the regular nib, not the calligraphy nib—I just was able to find a photo of the latter.)

•Ken carries his colored pencils in a Global Pencil Case. The padding provides protection to the pencils and the elastic loops which hold the individual pencils prevents spilling and breakage. (See a photo of this case here, but search for a vendor with a price you like. This is also the brand of pencil case I use, and I suggest you consider it part of the purchase of any pencil set—to keep them healthy. Wet Paint carries these in a variety of sizes.)

•Ken likes to sketch in Cachet bound journals made with tan paper. (Wet Paint in Saint Paul carries these, call them if you can't find it on their website.) He likes beginning his sketches with the mid-tone already provided by the paper. He uses Prismacolor pencils to add color or simply to add highlights.

Many of the group members were considering sketching at the Fair for the first time. I made some tips and suggestions on where to stand in the barns and what materials to take. (Tuesday's post goes into detail about my thoughts on sketching animals at the State Fair.)

Anita7308 Left: Anita White with her "State Fair on a Stick" artwork.

Group member Anita White then delighted the group by showing her "State Fair on a Stick," which paid hommage to the many activities she enjoys and observes at the State Fair, from fantasy hairdos to the Midway (with rides and games of chance) to the variety of food treats.

Note: If you sketch at the fantasy hair booth be sure you are up wind or the colored hair spray will quickly do you in; I learned this in 2003! And if you don't know what a fantasy hair-do is—well at the Fair you're likely to see young girls with pink, purple, or multi-colored up-dos all sparkling with sprayed on glitter.

Member Carol Malkinson had just been to REI to pick up a collapsible stool I had recommended. She brought it in for other members to try out.

General discussion and journal sharing followed. As usual it was a great chance for people who keep visual journals to get together and share their excitement. The group is filled with artists of all skill levels—you really should think about attending!

The Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out will be on Tuesday, September 1. I encourage you to come to the Fair and sketch in your journal and then join us at our meeting times at 12:30 and 5:00 p.m. (More details to follow.)

The MCBA Visual Journal Collective's next meeting is September 21, 7 to 9 p.m. at MCBA. (Our meetings are always the THIRD MONDAY of the month, except we do not have meetings in May or December.)

In September we will be watching the "1000 Journals Documentary,"  as well as sharing all the work we produced at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair!

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