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Archive for October, 2010

Denim and Silk

You can be forty and trim and youthful and live in a gated community.  Who knew.  You can look like a college track star and have four beautiful children and have ten-foot-high burgundy raw-silk curtains in your sunroom, which also has a swimming pool in it.  Not only that, but all your friends can …ditto, mostly.  The bar looked, well, like a bar. The cake was three-tiered, the wine glasses were the size of soup-tureens.  The livin’ was obviously good.  So, this surprise party for the husband’s 40th birthday in Mundelein last Saturday was definitely on the grand side, though all the guys wore jeans with shirts hanging out (every one of them) and the women kept the jewelry low key and somehow the plates disappeared without any servants in sight.  The jokes were flying and the humor was pointed since these guys were all buddies.  The kids brought me chocolate-dipped strawberries while I was drawing.  Pretty nice cozy little party…in a spectacular sort of way.

Thank you, Mary and Mark.

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In this economy, it’s important to start every sentence with ‘”in this economy.”  That’s a line from a recent New Yorker cartoon.  It’s true, the economy has been effecting everyone for the past two years, including entertainers like caricature artists.  But, as a member of that group, I can now report that “in this economy” things are looking up.  People are again waking up to the fact that what we do—we caricature artists— is liven up a party in a most personal, hilarious way and, in the case of a business event, we boost morale.  It’s that simple.  Getting a drawing of yourself that looks like you but in a slightly goofy way will lift your spirit.  That may sound mysterious and unprovable, but I see it all the time. Saw it, for example, last Friday at a retirement home in downtown Evanston, The Mather.  The party was for the employees, the chefs, culinary workers, housekeepers, maintenance crew , accountants, receptionists and people in marketing, human resource and then, finally, the director of the whole operation.   Was this necessary?  No.  These people would have continued to report to work just as punctually as before and done their jobs just as conscientiously.  But when your boss throws you a party with fine food and fun cupcakes, music to dance to and an artist who will give you a picture of yourself, you will feel uplifted.  Oh, wait, I do have proof, I have pictures of these lovely people looking happy with their caricatures.  I drew twenty–five people that sunny afternoon.  A few of them are pictured below.

The Mather employee party was in the Mather garden under a white tent.  We had one of those October afternoons with a crisp blue sky and orange foliage all around.  Just two hours for an opportunity to take a breather from your work station and enjoy the fact that your boss appreciates what you do.  This is important.  If you’re an employer, please, take note.

I love seeing the reactions. That’s an important part of my work. And I’m pretty sure these drawings are framed by now.  They will be a source of enjoyment and inspiration for a long time to come.


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The lobby at the Evanston YMCA is not some stainless steel walk-through.  It’s more a feast for the eye, with wood paneling and carvings and—for this occasion—festive lights.  For Arts Week we do need to get festive, people.  I have a certain bias here, granted, but participating in art is essential to human happiness.  There, I said it.

It was late afternoon on Friday.  Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, and whole families crossed the mosaic floor to get to their work-out stations.  The pool at the Y is well attended, so that, not surprisingly, on the way out, there was a lot of wet hair.  No matter, I can fluff that up.  I drew twenty-one kids and four adults in two hours.  We sat in carved chairs with brocade-ish upholstery and chatted while I drew. Everyone was in good spirits.  The proximity of art will do that for you.  Also, haha, vigorous exercise.  Now, three days later, I enjoy recalling the names with their musical vowels and romantic historical references:  Eloise, Lucinda, Annabel, Sylvi, Emelina, Matias, Vanessa, Florencia, Holden, et. al.  All in all, a good work-out in the name of art.  Thank you, Shun.

www.khilden.com

 

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The sun came out a little, but not enough for me to shed any of the four layers I counted on to keep me from shivering.  Can’t draw when you’re shivering.   By the end of the month I’ll be wearing gloves to draw.  Artist for all seasons, here!

Ridgeville is a park in south-east Evanston.  It’s small and the field house is an old residence.  Folksy.  And most of the folk seemed to know one another.  There was no frenzy, fall or otherwise.  It was just very cozy, despite the chill, with the musicians on the plat form played Beatles songs and such.  They were all kids and all accomplished musicians and singers.  Nothing tentative here, they gave it their all.

And hey, Jude, it was good.

http://www.schoolofrock.com/evanston/concerts_school.php

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