Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunk in Michigan's Copper Country

This is a sketch that I did Sunday when I was in Michigan's Upper Peninsula's copper country. The sketch is of a dredge that was one of two that was used in the early 1900s to recover stamp sands from the bottom of Torch Lake in Lake Linden, Michigan. Stamp sands were the by-product of crushing rock from the Keweenaw Peninsula's copper mines to extract copper.  Two large stamping facitities, now abandoned and in ruins, are on the shore of Torch Lake. As was done in that day, the stamp sands were disposed of by dumping them in Torch Lake. The dumping ultimately resulted in a toxic lake...caused by the copper that remained in the stamp sands.

As the mines began to play out and shut down, mine owners realized that they could reprocess the stamp sands and extract the copper that the sand still held. So the Calumet and Hecla mining company built two dredges to suck stamp sand from the lake for reprocessing. This dredge lies partially sunk, rusting, and in ruins close to the shore of Torch Lake. The other dredge sunk in the lake, where it remains today.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

RAGBRAI stops in Cedar Falls

RAGBRAI coming into Cedar Falls

RAGBRAI is the annual, weeklong bicycle ride across Iowa.  It's been going on every year in July since 1973. The ride starts on the western side of the state at the Missouri River and ends on the eastern side at the Mississippi. It takes a different route each year, traveling backroads, stopping each night at different towns along the way. This year my hometown of Cedar Falls was the fourth overnight stop. On Wednesday, July 22nd, 15,000 cyclist peddled into town from the west on 27th Street. 

I found a spot to set up my easel. It was a perfect, not too hot day for bicycling along the verdant Iowa countryside. It was a lovely day to dabble with my paints in the open air. This was about noon. Many riders waved or called out to me as they passed. A few stopped to see what I was up to and chat. It's not just Iowans that ride RAGBRAI. I  talked with people from New York, Missouri, Oklahoma and Illinois. When I told one man that I was part of an international group called Urban Sketchers, he excitedly shared that he'd just purchased Marc Taro Holmes book The Urban Sketcher.

At each stop, the RAGBRAI tribe is welcomed with facilities for overnight tent camping. Each town offers their own version of a party atmosphere with live music and food booths. The Cedar Falls campus of the University of Northern Iowa became the epicenter for all things RAGBRAI on Wednesday. And then in the morning, the bicycling horde packed up and peddled out of town, heading southeast for Hiawatha. The end of this years ride will be Davenport on Saturday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ruby Ann the Water Color

Thought I'd post a watercolor version of Ruby Ann. This sketch was done from a different angle than the black and white sketch I posted earlier. Didn't have time to put this piece up on the blog 'til today. So here's Ruby Ann in her colors of rust and falling apart.

Sunday In The Park, St. Louis

Looking North at Park Avenue & Mississippi, 07/19/2015, watercolor, Canson 140lb cp, Michael Anderson
Lafayette Park is at the center of one of the oldest and most elegant neighborhoods in the city. A broad sidewalk and an elaborate wrought iron fence surround all four sides of the park. Runners and people out walking, many with their dogs make a continuous parade. Today I was panhandled by a man needing bus fare.
 Park Avenue Sidewalk, 07/19/2015, watercolor, Canson 140lb cp, Michael Anderson
As I left Park Avenue Coffee another customer asked me about the artists in my painting group, "Is it a class? I have seen them before. It is cool they are here." Some residents now recognize our painting group and they are always welcoming. Life in the city.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Next Virtual Sketchcrawl coming up Saturday 7/18

It's that time again--hope you can join us!

A sketchcrawl "in real life" is normally a group of art friends getting together to share the fun of sketching, wherever they are. In our small group, we meet up once a month on the 3rd Saturday, sketch a few hours, and then eat and share our sketches. Some groups are large, some are small, but we often wish we could meet with a larger pool of artists.

So since we are an online community, let's do a virtual sketchcrawl!

Let's meet up, wherever we are, to sketch! Then post to the Artist's Journal Workshop group with VIRTUAL SKETCHCRAWL or #virtualsketchcrawl in the title. We're here:

We're a big regional group, so any time of day you can manage it is fine!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Adam & Eve in Tower Grove Park, St. Louis

Adam & Eve in Tower Grove Park, St. Louis, 07/12/2015, 7" x 9", watercolor on Canson 140 lb cp, Michael Anderson.
I took my sketching kit to the weekly outing of the Missouri Plein Air Painters Association in Tower Grove Park. The park is a large swath of urban landscape that once was the private garden of wealthy St. Louisan, Henry Shaw. It includes several ponds, some planted with lotus and waterlilies. After completing a couple of ink sketches I launched into the watercolor study above. A passerby stopping to look at each of the painters works in progress commented that my page looked like the Garden of Eden and said "you even have Adam & Eve!" One of my MOPAPA friends responded "That is your title." And so it is. Perfect for a Sunday morning in this earthly paradise.
Lotus plants, Precise V7 roller ball pen, Faber Castell Artist Pens

Plein air painters, Precise V7 roller ball pen, Faber Castell Artist Pens

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Finally, a truly urban sketch from me!  I spent an hour on a gorgeous summer day at Union Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri....with my dog!  Yes, they allow dogs!  We were the only people ones there so I was glad to have the company.  I'd often heard that it's a great place, and was so glad to finally experience it.  If you plan to go, Google for information because, among other things, it's closed weekends!
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