Possibly our last accumulating snow of the season, Chicago was freshly covered in a light blanket of snow. Wonderful white canvases became available once again across the city.
This morning I made sure to walk above ground to enjoy the snow. Many Chicagoans avoid the snow by walking in the underground Pedway that goes directly underneath the 162-ton Picasso sculpture.
A few weeks ago, I drew some fun winter flowers on a round planter in the plaza with the Picasso sculpture.
With this snow, I thought it would be fun to draw some flowers again.
As I approached the plaza, a series of granite benches sat covered nicely in snow. The benches were a little too large for me. Their size was intimidating. My drawings can’t be THAT big.
Instead, I headed to the familiar round planter. The surface area is about eight inches wide. They worked nicely last time I drew in the snow.
I tried drawing the same flowers on the round planter, but the snow was just a bit too deep and fluffy to retain any lines. You just couldn’t see what the drawing was. The surface area was too small, the powder didn’t hold the lines. Thicker lines were needed in this type of snow.
A larger canvas was needed.
Looking beyond the planter, the series of large granite benches sat untouched. Stretching at about two feet wide and five feet long, these benches are a much larger canvas.
Ummmm, suuuuuure. I’ll draw on one. Gulp.
So I did. Ahhh, this was kinda nice. So much space to draw. I could make big flowers. Bunches of littler flowers. Wow. This is a nice garden!
Being very pleased with my little urban garden in the snow, the 50-foot tall Picasso stood watching.
Every morning and evening, I walk right by the Picasso. We are buds. The past few weeks I’ve made the habit of climbing up on his base, walking across, and then hopping down. A little urban exploration ritual.
Walking up to the Picasso (not onto the Picasso this time), his base was covered in snow. The surface was definitely too slippery to walk across. I know from experience (slipped once in 2019 and slipped again in 2020).
Instead of walking across the base, I walked beside the sculpture. Admiring the white fresh snow laying on the sculpture, the surface was beautiful. AND THE SIZE OF THIS CANVAS. GIANT!!!
Since Picasso and I are good friends, I was able to walk right up to him and make art.
I drew a few flowers on the large blanket of Picasso snow. It brings me so much joy to be making art with Picasso. His dark metal is a great canvas for lines, because the darkness contrasts wonderfully against the white snow. With every line made, a bit of Picasso shows through.
All along one side flowers grew. Now on a February winter day, a garden appeared on the Picasso.
This canvas so big, I could make big sweeping lines. The broad strokes felt like I was Jackson Pollock making broad sweeps across a horizontal surface. Only instead of abstract expressionism of splashes, I felt like Pollock making Matisse flowers.
As I walked away from the Picasso, I was happy that the Chicagoans who walk above ground, in the snow, will be able to enjoy this little unexpected garden.
I might have passed up on this opportunity. The snow wasn’t the right powder to make small drawings. I could have stopped right there, and continued walking to work like normal. But instead, I took the leap to the larger benches, which lead to the even larger Picasso canvas.
When I wrote the line, “I felt like Pollock making Matisse flowers.” Matisse might not be the best example to use. My flowers are more cartoony. I searched online for other artists who use flora drawings in their art.
Certainly Georgia O’Keefe uses floral imagery, but she doesn’t really draw the flowers. Her flowers are more shapelike in quality. I wanted flowers with lines.
On artsy.net, I found a few artists:
* Donald Sultan
* Alex Katz
* Bernard Cathelin
None are really known as well as Matisse. So I used Matisse.
There’s also Manet and his flowers in a vase. I saw these in person at the Art Institute a couple years ago. My favorite part of the show was the flowers in a vase. I always meant to publish a blog post about them. Maybe some day. I have that blog post in draft sitting waiting to be fleshed out. For now, here’s a link to the exhibit: https://web.archive.org/web/20200303191918/https://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/2822/manet-and-modern-beauty
Besides, I don’t put my flowers in a vase. I put them on corten steel.