Sketching My Chicago Haunts

  • Between Cruises
  • Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, Chicago

When I cruised through Asia and the South Pacific last fall, I captured my memories in sketches instead of photographs. I did the same on my recent Voyage of the Vikings cruise.

So I asked myself, why not compile a sketchbook of my memories at home?

Right now home is Chicago, where I have spent the last three summers to escape the Texas heat. It’s also where I discovered Urban Sketchers, a global group dedicated to sketching on location. The Chicago chapter’s seminars and meetings inspired me to put ink and watercolor to paper and learn to enjoy the experience of sketching as much as the results.

Through sketching, I see my world from a fresh perspective.

So I started my Chicago Haunts sketchbook to capture some more of my favorite memories. In actuality, I’ll never complete this project.

This week I drove south along Lake Michigan on a quest to find a perfect location for sketching the Chicago skyline. In my previous sketches — from the north — the sun backlit the skyscrapers, resulting in silhouettes. This time I wanted the iconic buildings bathed in sun, but alas, the clouds rolled in. 

I found my new perspective of the familiar buildings from a lakeshore path in Hyde Park. The stiff breeze drove waves against the rocky shoreline and eventually drove me back to my car. I filled in some details and added watercolor at home.

I seldom include my sketches in this travel blog because I usually publish posts before I complete the sketches. So today I thought I would show you some of my favorite Chicago Haunts. This post is for those of you who have asked to see more sketches.

My neighborhood

My apartment building is more than 100 years old. I am exploring the idea of sketching maps, so I started with my Logan Square area, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot also lives (and the Chicago police sit outside day and night. I can see the dome of Saint Hyacinth Basilica from the front of my apartment. The Norwegian Church is a landmark on the square.

My favorite eateries

I’ve only started on these. L’Patron has the best tacos. The Freeze is a summer draw. Brew Brew is the closest local coffee shop.

Favorite city scenes

I have dozens of these, so it is hard to pick just a few. The Bean, of course. Harold Washington Library and the Art Institute. Some river views. The last one is of my nephew’s lacrosse tournament (they won!) at the University of Illinois-Chicago in the shadow of Willis (Sears) Tower.