At the end of the Green Line, a building that would say “Welcome to Lowertown”

Roberta and I live in a loft in the Union Depot and we are always encountering lost, bewildered and confused travelers. Very often, they step off the Green Line and ask us where the Amtrak station is or the bus terminal. This should come as no surprise as the train and bus platform is not visible from the Green Line platform and there is no sign on the colonnaded building identifying what it is or what is inside. People have told me they mistook the Union Depot for a bank or office building. Continue Reading

Honoring Saint Paul legend Leroy Neiman

When I was a kid, I watched the Olympics on television and they had this artist with a big mustache painting a big canvas. That painter was Saint Paul native Leroy Neiman. Whenever there was a dull moment or a break in the action, the announcer would ask, “What’s Leroy Neiman up to?” and the cameraman would pan to the painter daubing the canvas with bright pigments. Somehow, Neiman was able to finish the painting just as the games ended. It was real performance art. Here’s a YouTube video showing Neiman painting. Here’s another one. Continue Reading

The ruins of Saint Paul

‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.” Continue Reading

Transit sketching

I have been thinking a lot recently about transit sketching and how the new Green Line LRT will change my transit sketching habits. I like sketching people, but finding people to sketch in the Twin Cities is often a problem. Streets can be devoid of life as if a neutron bomb went off. There are people on the street, but hidden from view in vehicles. If you want to sketch people in the Twin Cities, I suggest taking your sketchbook on a bus. Continue Reading

The mortality of cars

I love sketching people, but very often people are in cars and I hate sketching cars. But, cars are a big part of the landscape so I sketch cars. Cars all seem to be screaming for attention with designs which for the most part, reminds me of flashy athletic footwear. The only time I really enjoy sketching cars is when they are damaged or totaled. A car wreck in a rural setting can be picturesque like this rusty hulk up north near International Falls [above]. Continue Reading

The forgotten fountains of Saint Paul

Someday I will travel abroad and sketch the famous fountains of Rome and Tivoli. However, there are fountains right here in downtown Saint Paul, maybe not as famous, but every bit as wonderful, in a Saint Paul sort of way. What Saint Paul fountains lack in artistic splendor, or even water, they make up in bleakness and pathos. They are eminently sketchable fountains. Continue Reading

My ten favorite indoor places to sketch in the Twin Cities

Twin Cities sketchers, cooped up for months can rejoice that the brutal winter of 2013-14 is over. The bad news is we still face at least a month of cold, damp spring weather. So today’s post is about ten of my favorite interior places to sketch in the Twin Cities. Missing from this list are buildings that I am saving for future posts that are both sketch-able inside and out – The churches, the Capitol, Landmark Center and some others. I am also saving coffee shops for another post. Coffee shops are awesome for sketching. Continue Reading