Chicago Art Weekend

abbydora design artwork
My boyfriend and I took a long weekend to visit friends in Chicago. It was our first visit to this mid-west city and our friends, Kirk and Tracie, were amazing tour guides. We hopped buses, “L” trains, and pounded the pavement to see the sights.

custom handmade stationery
It turned out to be a great art weekend. Chicago is home to one of my favorite paper stores, Paper Source, so of course, it was on our list to see. It was great fun to fill my shopping basket with brightly colored envelopes and not have to pay shipping!

Then later on, while waiting out a rain storm in a coffee shop, I casually looked out the back door to see a giant Dick Blick art supply store. Fate stepped in, I swear. I don’t have one of these stores in Rochester and as it turns out they are a wonderful supplier of art boards that are treated to either paint directly onto or you can mount prints to them. I took a few to experiment. My suite case was becoming heavier and heavier as the weekend continued.

The climax of this art weekend was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a museum that surprised me with its collection. They have several gems in their galleries. As an artist it’s always a thrill to stand in front of the original painting that you have studied for years and only seen as a 3″ x 5″ rectangle in a book. Seeing Edward Hopper’s Nighthawkes caused me to have such a moment.

Edward Hopper

The painting is so much larger than I imagined! I think I could stare at this painting for 15 minutes and not be board. Hopper has created a very compelling visual story. Who are these people and why are they at this diner?

Another favorite artist of mine is Toulouse-Lautrec. I’ve known him for painting cabaret girls and the night-life of Paris, but I didn’t know he also went through a circus phase.
chicago art museum
I love how the horse is painted and the perspective Lautrec created.

Finally, in the education center at the museum was a small exhibition of the children’s book paper illustrator, Steve Jenkins. He creates beautiful illustrations of animals and insects with cut paper collage. The detail of these creatures is amazing. Here are a couple of my favorites.
fish illustration

children's illustration

These illustrations are used in non-fiction picture books that share with young readers amazing animal facts.

Phew—what a weekend! My thanks to our hosts for their great hospitality and for trekking along to all the art stores and museums. D and I really did love seeing Chicago and I’m sure we will be back—next time in warmer weather!