Tagged: urban sketching

Two days of very large turnouts marked the inauguration of Donald Trump to POTUS.

The demonstrations were peaceful by most accounts, though there were a few arrest on the night of the inauguration. So, Friday night, I went downtown to see what would become of a planned demonstration around the Trump Tower which sits beside theChicago River in one of the grandest public spaces in the U.S. of A. I was actually quite surprised and accepting of the building, for sure a large and unmistakably phallic structure from several vantage points. It’s large presence was well situated in the midst of Chicago’s downtown cluster, took full advantage of the immediacy of the river guaranteeing it’s inclusion on the armada of architectural tours popular with out of owners and locals alike. It was the later, unfortunate inclusion of very large letters spelling out the extremely well known developer’s name, that has made the already grandiose building more self aggrandizing and probably increasing the number of it’s detractors.

On my way to Trump Tower, I encountered a police barricade 1/2 a block north of the main entrance, just across from the House of Blues. The fellow in front of me identified himself as press, may even have shown a pass, so…”Evening officer, Don Colley, visual journalist writing for an independent blog”. The officer pointed to the next cluster of cops towards the bridge. I approached the one who seemed to be following me most closely and said, pointing a thumb over my shoulder,”The officer said to tell you I write for an independent blog…” and seeming either satisfied, indifferent, or not particularly impressed, she waved me on. I was on the north side of the river at the Wabash Street bridge and looking across saw the demonstration procession wrapping around the Trump Tower cordoned off a block or more in each direction. Hence, the less than informative view of the goings on as you look towards the bridge tower and the Church of Christian Scientists with the odd buttressed roof.

I got what I could from that view then strolled along the bridge to just behind the police line on the south end of the bridge at Wacker Drive. I got a good start on the drawing before an officer came over to inform me that while she liked my nice drawing, I wasn’t supposed to stop on the bridge and needed to head back or join the revelers. I said I understood but during the course of drawing in court, occasionally officers would permit me to sit in more advantageous spots and this was a particularly good vantage point, yes? She said she had to go back across the bridge and when she returned, I needed to have moved on. Fortunately, I got it done.

The following day I joined some friends and fell into what has been reported as a crowd of a quarter of a million participants for the Women’s March. The high spirited energy of the gigantic crowd was palpable and did not leave this observer untouched. A disclaimer perhaps should be that while I’m prepared to be objective should I witness things out of the ordinary, I was there not just to witness and record the event, I was there in full support of equal rights for Women and Planned Parenthood.

Pitt Pens and fountain pens in a Strathmore sketchbook.

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Bomber hats, fur lined hoodies, ear muffs, ski caps, high collars, and scarves upon scarves challenge one to show up to work, to the Opera, or a dinner date, with hairdo intact. No such problem for bald dudes like myself. Ink drawings from out and about on various sketchbooks and ledgers.

U.S. Grant

Drawn with Pitt Artist Brush Pens in a Strathmore sketchbook just before leaving St. Louis to take Amtrak to Lawrence, Kansas, I caught Ulysses S Grant standing proud and vigilant in the morning sun.

Cali Zephyr

Passengers on the Fall Trek. Above, a very nice gentleman gets his first look at the Rockies.

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Amtrak, Metra, CTA, Megabus, Trailways, Uber….as long as my hands aren’t glued to a steering wheel, I’ll make my way around the country and fill my sketchbooks. Fountain pens, juiced up with Platinum Carbon, Pitt Artist Pens, grease pencils, aka the white China markers, ballpoint, the rare color pencil, gel pens, whatever, in ledger books, watercolor pads, Stillman & Birn, Strathmore, Clairefontaine, Tomoe River Paper and then some. Drawing from life, from nudes, landscapes, urban environments, transit passengers, dead animals, cemeteries, laundromats, drawing out of my head and out of my mind….just answering the calling and feeding the obsession.

MSP airport

For the 5th year, I will head out across the country, this time trekking down the middle, from the mountains to the Mississippi, over the Oglalla and amber waves of grain, to sketch and share craft and discoveries with a whole mess of folks. To follow my journey, go to: doncolleysroadtrip.com.

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The trek began with an 8 hour layover at the Twin Cities airport and  a late arrival in gorgeous Bozeman. From there I made it to the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. Go. Hallowed ground. The markers indicating where the combatants fell give and amazing sense of the raging and rambling nature of the battle. From there, Sheridan, Wyo, and a long bus ride to Fargo, where the biplane was drawn at the Fargo Air Museum. The West has to be experienced by bus by car and by train with frequent stops.

All drawings executed with various fountain pens, Lamy Accent, Graf Von Faber-Castell Classic Ebony, using Platinum Carbon ink, grease pencil, and a ide array of F-C Pitt Artist Brush Pens in several types of sketchbooks: Strathmore toned sketchbooks, Moleskine landscape formate watercolor sketchbook, Stillman & Birn Epsilon, Tomoe River Paper sketchbook, and a ledger book from the 1950’s.

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