Tests within Tests: And a Bunch of Fair Sketches Up on the Minnesota Public Radio Site

September 7, 2016


Above: 9 x 12 inch Canson Watercolor Board cut in half to 6 x 9 inches. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and Daniel Smith Watercolors, with Montana Acrylic Marker for background. Sketched from video.

The 2016 Minnesota State Fair is over and I've come away with a lot of sketches—yes mostly birds, but even that has a long story that goes with it.

I'm still scanning the sketches I made on my four trips to the Fair. It was a stressful 12 days which involved moving my father-in-law into long term care (we are still clearing his apartment, but he is doing very well) and some physical set backs for me (my arm and shoulder are holding up wonderfully, don't worry about them).

While I sort all that out I thought you might enjoy seeing this NOT-A-STATE-FAIR-SKETCH.

This is a test within what was one great big test—my Fair trips for 2016.

On my first visit to the Fair I took 9 x 12 inch watercolor boards. On my next two visits which were the sketch out days I took a Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media 7.75 x 9.75 inch soft covered journal, and on the final visit I took 6 x 9 inch watercolor boards (which were the large boards cut in half). 

That's where this sketch comes in. Between the first three visits and my last Fair trip Dick and I began moving C.R. to long term care, and I began to think about what I wanted to take on my final visit, because it was clear I wouldn't get more than one more trip in. I had really enjoyed working at on the watercolor boards but didn't want to deal with the weight (believe me I didn't want to carry anything!!!). 

I decided that if I cut the boards in half I could still take them but not have all that weight to carry. 

The above sketch, done while watching video I'd taken at the Fair, was an attempt to see if I could scale down my portraits to fit in the size board I'd be using. I thought it worked great so I did take these half boards on my last trip to the 2016 Fair.

While I'm still scanning my images if you want to see a couple of my sketches done at the Fair and many sketches done by other artists at this year's Eighth Great Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out you can go to Tracy Mumford's great article on the Sketch Out on Minnesota Public Radio News' webpage.

You can see more sketches from this year's Fair at the Twin Cities Urban Sketchers Facebook Page. 

We had great turnouts on both sketch out days. We had people working in a variety of media. We had (despite a little bit of rain one day) great weather.

I look forward to sharing more of my Fair experience as I get images scanned. I'll be putting things together into a short little video. But you will hear all the details, believe me because a lot happened at the Fair this year. Right now I have to get back to my father-in-law's old independent living apartment and continue clearing stuff out…

    • Cathy Inzer
    • September 7, 2016

    I am looking forward to your sketches and hope your father-in-laws move goes smoothly!

    • PeggySu
    • September 7, 2016

    What’s your advice on how to cut the w/c boards?

  1. Reply

    PeggySu, These boards, and in fact all the brands that I’ve used, have archival board structure (I don’t know if it’s cotton or what) so that are solid all the way through under that paper, and they cut easily with a utility knife and metal ruler if you like to cut that way, but they also cut well on a table top cutter.

    I have shoulder issues so I simply used a table top cutter with a blade you bring down to cut—it was a sharpened blade and cut through the boards easily. (No issues with my shoulder.)

    On larger boards I actually took them into MCBA and rented the large board sheers (a larger version of what I have at home) and cut them there in moments, again, saving wear and tear on my shoulder.

    If you buy a brand of watercolor board which uses some sort of thick board made of particles of I don’t know what, cutting with a board shears or table top cutter might be difficult and you’ll be left having to cut with a utility knife.

  2. Reply

    Cathy, Thanks. It will be nice to have everything put away, and CR settled.

    • linda welch
    • September 7, 2016

    Loved seeing all the sketches on the MPR site. Looking forward to seeing more of your sketches and hearing about your adventures at the fair. Best wishes on moving your FIL.

  3. Reply

    Enjoyed yours and all the sketched, thanks for the link! Love that rooster!

    • Julana
    • September 7, 2016

    I also think that’s a beautiful chicken. I hope your father-in-law is comfortable and has good caregivers.
    I am so tempted to sign up for your class.

    • Julana
    • September 7, 2016

    So I did.

  4. Reply

    Hey, Julana, I just saw that when I was going through my email. Thanks. I look forward to seeing what you do!

  5. Reply

    Thanks Linda, he seems to really like the new space. I’m relieved. We have to clear out the apartment by Monday though!

  6. Reply

    Thanks Jacki, I really like this guy too. He looks like he should have his own story.

    • Miss T
    • September 8, 2016

    Roz, that is one splendid rooster!

  7. Reply

    Thanks Miss T. he had a lot of personality which is why I video taped him to begin with.

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