Left: Pile of buttons for this year's Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out. The artwork is by Ken Avidor, avid State Fair Sketcher and one of the folks responsible for first starting this sketching fun.
The Minnesota State Fair is getting close. The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out Day is Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
(I will post a map with the meeting location closer to the day. We get together at 4:30 and share work. For some that's the end of a long day, for others they are just starting and will sketch the rest of the evening.)
It's actually starting to feel like MNSFSO around here because THE BUTTONS HAVE ARRIVED!!!!
I'm really thrilled and happy that Ken Avidor agreed to furnish the art for this year's sketch out button. It was on a sketching trip to the Fair in 2004 with Ken and Roberta Avidor that the idea for such a sketch out came about. We were sketching together and Ken said, "We should get more people out here to sketch," and so I started working out how to do that.
Know how I know it was 2004? Because I keep a visual journal, silly! When I look at the sketches in those pages I am reminded of how in the cow barn I walked off to sketch and when I returned with a study of a cow's eye, Roberta Avidor had drawn the entire inside of the barn, floor to arching ceiling, with cows and farmers, all recognizable. This still makes me SO HAPPY—that I know amazing artists. I laugh from joy even as I type this. Over the years Roberta's influence has caused me to stretch a bit and look at scenes upon occasion, but I do remain focused on eyes, and jotting down conversations of strangers. We all have our passions.
It took a couple years to get things organized. I made my yearly trips to the Fair and thought how a sketch out might work and be organized where there is so much to cover…It helped that I realized a lot of the members of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective (which I coordinated at the time) were interested in sketching out. We had a good core group to add to.
We were able to reach out through UrbanSketchers—TwinCities. Marty Harris, a local artist and veteran Fair sketcher helped spread the word and bring more sketchers to the outing. Folks from MetroSketchers, always up for another sketch out, joined in too. It has become a fun group of artists, of all skill levels, working to capture the various faces of the Fair, from the people and architecture to the animals and Midway. And of course the food!
We didn't have a button for our first sketch out in 2008, but in 2009 I wanted some way to mark the event and Roberta Avidor agreed to provide art for the first button. We've had a button every year since. Because I love buttons. I really can't help myself.
How do you get a MNSFSO button? You come to the Sketch Out. (Tuesday, September 1, 2015). You might find me before the meeting in the animal barns, but you will definitely find me at the meeting. I'll have buttons with me. Ken Avidor will have buttons with him.
You can also get a button if you see me at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective in August. Monday, August 17, 7-9 p.m. (I don't know what the topic will be that night, but the meetings are always fun so you should just come.)
This year is the final MNSFSO for me as organizer. Family obligations make it difficult for me to plan for meetings and events. In the past couple of years, several sketchers have stepped up to "chair" the meetings (thank you Ken, Marty, Suzanne, and Liz), because it was doubtful on any given day that I would be able to attend. I'm really grateful for their help and enthusiasm. I've been able to attend and I'm relieved, happy, and grateful about that as well. But it's time for me to let go of making plans.
Marty Harris has agreed to organize future Minnesota State Fair Sketch Outs. He's an incredible artist who loves sketching at the Fair. And I know everyone is going to love coming out to work and share their work under his leadership. I look forward to continuing to attend as a participant—free of the worry that I need to be somewhere at a certain time in case I'm called away.
Because it is my final MNSFSO I went a little crazy and made a parting button series. It sums up what I feel about the Fair, it's a bit silly, and a bit sad, it's totally Roz (without the focus on cow eyes). Sketchers at the meeting will be able to have one of these too. Who knows when I'll have another occasion to make a button?
For me, life is most fun when I'm sketching, but I really like buttons too!
I hope you will all come out and join in the sketching fun this year to make it the best MNSFSO ever!
Something wonderful happens when you go out into the world and meet it with a sketchbook and get your impressions down. It doesn't matter if you sketch like Eugène Delacroix, Robert Crumb, Alan E. Cober, or you just picked up a pencil yesterday.
Being in a mass of humanity, with your ears and eyes open is a great way to open your eyes to the diversity and silliness and sweetness that exists in the world.
Of course it never hurts to have animals to sketch! And Corn Dogs to eat!
This is life drawing with a capital LIFE!
Mark your calendar
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
We live in a great state. We celebrate this once a year. Be part of it.
And wear a button!
And if you have never been to the Fair before and wonder how you might approach sketching at such an event and have no idea what to expect, I suggest you have a look at my Minnesota State Fair Wrap Up Page, which contains links to some of my favorite posts about the Fair. I write about how to make a plan, how to pack your gear, what gear to take, how to dress for success (artistic success), how to sketch live animals, how to make spin art—in short everything you need to know to have a successful trip to the Fair. There is NO REASON you shouldn't join in this fun. I look forward to seeing you there.