What a month it’s been. Working out in the Bay area, wedding in Texas, lost a book project, banged my heels up on a granite dance floor, and the heat from Texas followed me home to Illinois. Ducked into the First Slice Pie Cafe on Ashland to escape the heat and grab some chow before skirting over to Rosehill Cemetery to draw trees & tombs. Banged this drawing in with a Visconti fountain pen juiced up with Platinum Carbon and took the Pitt Pens to it later ala coloring book.

 

Sat under the trees for a 4 1/2 hours.                          Managed to fend of a colony of ants.

One day in particular was just beyond the predictable. Early in the morning I dropped my girlfriend off at the airport Midway in south west Chicago. Due to congestion on US 55 I chose to head back north up Cicero Ave. I recalled on a previous trip some interesting sites in a part of Chicago that has not been tarted up with gentrification and luxo lofts. In the 3000 block of north Cicero, just above Wellington, is Chicago Meat. A tidy mart with a trinity of life sized bovines on the roof, just above the entrance. I pulled the car over, pushed the seat back, and produced the drawing below.

 

When I returned home I couldn’t recall the location, address, or name of the business, so I went on line to Google Maps and searched block by block with their function that allows one to virtually drive down the street. When I saw the store with the animals on top, I wanted to see if I could get close to the location I had drawn from. But, I was headed south and on the wrong side of the street. Seeing a double arrow on the screen that pointed directly across the street towards the store’s front entrance and drive way, I clicked on the arrows and zoomed right up to the entrance where one door was open. Wild…I thought. I could see right into the first aisle of the store. And oddly enough, I had another arrow on the screen pointing towards the beckoning door and aisles of food beyond. I clicked on the arrow. In to the store I was swept. This wasn’t just the magnifying function that I had used numerous times to get a better take on hard to read addresses. I was actually in the store. I mean virtually. I spun the camera around and looked right back out through the doors. As the view rotated 180 degrees, I could read all the brands on the cans and boxes of food. There she was with red bandanna on, a familiar face looking back at me from bottles of syrup and boxes of pancake mix as witness to my virtual slip through the mirror. I could also see that someone was at the check out counter. I turned the camera around and followed the arrows on the floor as they steered me throughout the store. Horns and stuffed animal heads displayed throughout the store, along with rows of metal racks hung from the ceiling in testimony to the routine slaughter that was/is the nutritional legacy of Chicago Meat.  In short order, I wound up back at the front doors through which I had entered. (If you want to see this for yourself here’s what you do: Go to google maps, search for 41.935732,-87.746561 – that’s the latitude and longitude of the front door of the store. Zoom all the way in. That will  put you in street view. When you get to street view you’ll see a set of double chevrons pointing at the front door of the store. You’re on your way, enjoy the trip.)

That afternoon I headed over to Rose Hill cemetery to work on a drawing of the grounds before I hustled downtown to make a life drawing session at the Palette & Chisel. First I stopped in to a pie store on Ashland to have a quick lunch where I drew the younger man working on his computer.  

After drawing for a couple hours in Rose Hill I hiked over to the Red Line. Took that to the Palette & Chisel where I squandered the talents of model Melissa and only managed a couple of passable drawings. After that I boarded the #22 bus on which, with her fidgeting and the bus hurky-jerkin’ along, I managed a better likeness of the passenger seen in the lower left hand corner on the page following Melissa’s seated pose than 3 previous hours of intense scrutiny. At some point a young woman with an intense pink dreaded hairdo got on the bus and sat next to me. We exchanged hellos and to my surprise it was the same woman I had drawn a week earlier, on the page above sitting in front of the gentleman with the woven skimpy brim. I told her she was in the book and showed the drawing of her. She was quite amused. ( This also happened to me in Portland. See post “In Portlandia I Were” )I found out that she ( let’s call her Lady K ) designed costumes for the theater and other events. About this time a fellow across the aisle from Lady K, who was both smitten and a few sheets to the wind, started muttering sugary nothings in her direction. The spunky pink toped gal was having none of it and snapped out, “That’s enuff!” and “You really need to stop!” I whipped out a quick likeness of the transit Lothario to Lady K’s amusement. You can see the sketch above. Fairly soon after that, as the bus neared my neighborhood, Lady K said goodbye and went to the front of the bus to disembark. Our little friend held back a bit then got up and followed., whereby I noticed a bottle of beer in each of his 2 front pockets. As she got off, he swept off the bus and immediately I could hear Lady K’s voice telling him to return to the bus. The bus driver left the door open and was making inquiries as to the situation. I got up and hopped off the bus to see what was developing. Our friend seemed to decide it was best to walk off his evenings enthusiasm and up Clark Ave he set. LK thanked me, said she was cool, and into the night she stood. I gave thumbs up to the waiting bus driver who closed the doors, waived and drove on up Clark. I walked on up Clark the remaining 3 blocks and as I turned to head down my street I saw the dejected romantic trudging a block further up Clark probably wishing he was still on the bus. At least he was getting the benefit of stretching his legs.

 

 

Drippin’ Wet in June

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