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Archive for April, 2013

13Lovely6b

The Jump Zone in Schaumburg was jumpin’ with kids under six.  13Lovely6I don’t know if there were organized games to keep the kids busy or else these huge blown up castles ‘n’ things were fascinating enough in themselves, but the kids were kept super busy.  So busy, that—even though it was a two-year-old’s birthday party—I drew mostly adults.  The adults gathered around my table and got more and more into getting a drawing.  The hilarity built.  So much so, that I even drew a couple in a bathtub, which is a bit risqué for an early evening party, I know, but the kids were elsewhere running and jumping in this large 13Lovely8space.  Btw, I only do the bathtub drawing when the couple shows pride (amazement?) in how long they’ve been married.  If it’s over forty years—and you’re jovial about it– it’s into the tub with both of you.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13HumaneSociety10b

We’re AT not ON Bourbon Street. It’s a huge eatery-entertainment complex in the Marionette Shopping Center on 155th Street.  The South Shore Humane Society was hosting an 13HumaneSociety10animal adoption party earlier this month and I was there for five hours to draw the kind people who came.  People did walk around with dogs wearing “adopt me” bandannas and I drew some, but the adoption activity was centered in another room and so I ended up drawing mostly people.  Here are a few of the many I drew that afternoon.  Thank you, Jana!  I hope to be back next year.

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I can highly recommend two fellow entertainers at this event:Nick Connell, balloon twister : nick.balloons@gmail.com, 860-992-6967

Bob Hunt, juggler, stiltwalker, etc.: circusboy.com, 708-499-9880.  His interaction with the audience was wonderful, especially with the kids.  Here’s nine-year-old, Terry, who picked up some excellent juggling tips from the master.

13HumaneSociety19All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13BuddTemple5b

The Midwest Buddhist Temple on Menominee in Chicago held an all-day Mind/Body seminar two Saturdays ago. There were yoga 13BuddTemple5sessions and instructions by a dancer on how to properly sit and stand in our everyday lives.  We need to take care of our bodies.  I had been asked to participate because I’m in the laughter business. I’m one of those who believe that if you want to be healthy, in addition to eating well, sleeping soundly and, yes, sitting up straight, you also need to embrace laughter as part of your life.  Laughter is therapeutic.  It dilates the arteries and thus sends a rush of oxygen to your brain and to all cells of your body.  I was hired to do a talk-‘n’-draw. (Hm, I think I just coined a new word.) On the Art of Caricature, there’s enough to talk about to easily fill an hour, but the schedule of the day ended up only allowing a few minutes. As it turned out, since zennies are a reflective, introspective bunch, questions came up while I was drawing.  I like that.  But I didn’t stop to expand on the topics that were raised; I only promised to go into them later.  Among the topics that the people I was drawing mentioned were sarcasm, awkwardness, isolating features, and how to learn this art.

This was a group of people with a robust sense of humor—oh, yes, make no mistake about Buddhists.  There was much hilarity and curiosity.  When I finally did talk, I chose to expand on one of the words that had come up:  “sarcasm.”

I told the story of how I found my start in the business of drawing caricatures.  It was the summer of 1989, August. I went to the Gold Coast Art Fair and found myself spending a lot of time hovering around a caricature artist named John Murawsky.  He was good. I studied his technique and kept track of the $20 bills he shoved into his pockets.   Being a lover of faces, a life-long limner, and hard up for cash at the time, I decided to practice drawing caricatures.  “I can do this,” I said to myself and went home to draw faces from high school yearbooks and from newspapers.  Politicians are not my favorite company but they kept making headlines with disturbing decisions in high office. I drew them anyway, for the simple reason that there was a steady supply of pictures of them to work from.  And also because their faces were famous and therefore I had to get the likeness.  I drew every day.  The same face, over and over.  Piles of paper accumulated.  The waste paper basked had to be emptied all the time.  Then I discovered something:  I couldn’t be angry with these people while drawing them.  I could start out not liking a certain politician (not naming names here), but by the time the drawing was done, all that anger was evaporated.  The drawing process requires such concentration—and empathy!—that any other emotion would get in the way and therefore has to go.

The Art of Caricature is widely misunderstood.  When I draw, people stand around me and I often hear them comment to each other that a caricaturist takes one feature, like your nose, and exaggerates it.  This is not true.  If I focus on your nose, for example, and make it either humongous or itsy-tiny, the drawing will look grotesque but will not look like you.  To get a likeness—and I do have to get a likeness—I have to consider all the features and how they relate to one another.  Not only that, but I have to understand how the culture I live in interprets the symbolism associated with the various features.  For example, a big nose on a woman is not desirable, but on a man it can be super macho and therefore , shall we say, a big plus.  Actually, this is a bit of a tangent that I may get into another time.

So, no sarcasm.  None of it, at least not in my work.  This is not to say that I overlook your big nose or your teeth (to take a couple of popular examples).  I really do go for these specifics, but not out of sarcasm. It’s the opposite.  I exaggerate your nose and your teeth as a CELEBRATION of your individuality.

Drawing as fast as I do is only possibly because of the empathy with which I see you.  Drawing is energizing for me. If I had to deal with the interference of sarcasm, that would slow me down and I would get exhausted.  That wouldn’t be any fun. And it does have to be fun—for me.  You laugh when you see the drawing and that’s therapeutic for you, but all the while the process of drawing has been good for me, too. Intense concentration and empathy are probably good for everyone. I recommend drawing for everyone, even for people who grumble, “and I can’t even draw a stick figure.”  (Even for politicians.  Especially for politicians.)

When you draw, the concentration of seeing scrubs out your brain.  Ahhhh!

This was an invigorating event. Thank you, Susan.

Dear Katherine, thanks so very much for a great session.  It was really enjoyed by everyone.  People who had their caricatures done and who were there on Sunday were just raving.

Thanks again.  It was amazing watching the process.  I liked what you said about needing to be completely open and accepting of what you were seeing to be able to do it.

See you soon. Thanks again, Susan.——————————–

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All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

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13EvanstonChamComm8b

This was a “Business After Hours” event, sponsored by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and the Evanston Community 13EvanstonChamComm8Foundation.  The focus was on the arts in Evanston.  Musicians and actors performed.  As a visual artist, I represented the Evanston Art Center, where I teach painting and drawing.  Appropriately enough, this event highlighting the arts was held at the Evanston Dance Center, where the class rooms are spacious and as mirrored as you are now imagining them to be.

I love this town. This being Evanston, where I’ve lived all my adult life, people were both sophisticated and casual, professional and personable, refined and communicative, serious and witty.

13EvanstonChamComm5 I drew, among others, a writer, a Northwestern football coach, an “officehead,”   and a travel agent.  I drew the owner of the travel agency playing the tablas, which are his passion. He leads this post with his great face and alert eyes.

The “officehead”  was passionate about organizing small business owners’ paperwork, but she was also a passionate biker , holding the world record for speed, which she set a couple of years ago in Utah  on  a vintage something-something BMW.  See?  That’s Evanston.  Everybody you meet has a lot going on.

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Thank you, Mary Beth.  Thank you, Nora.————————

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13Smoldt1B

To draw at these parties, I sometimes drive fairly long distances, like to Milwaukee and Northern Indiana.  No problem.  Plainfield, though it looks far from Evanston on the map, is a smooth, easy drive down 294 and 57.

13Smoldt1We were celebrating the 14th birthday of a tall basketball player named Ashley.  She was one of many of that precise description: tall, fourteen and very athletic.  It was a sleepover in a well-appointed large but cozy house. I liked the art on the walls–that always makes me feel at home.  Anyway, I drew everybody in full color and in the chosen sport in two hours, including the tennis-ace mom and the handsome kid brother.

Thank you, Donna. Happy Birthday, Ashley!———————-

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All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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