chicago drawings

And we’re back! :D

Before I went on the trip to Chicago, I made a (small) goal to make one drawing a day, based on whatever I saw on that day. It was intended to be a way for me to get back into drawing, but it had really unfolded into a time of reflection, relishing the day, treasuring quiet time shared with Mike, and thinking more about what I saw, learned and experienced and how I was moved by these things.

The drawings are in a notebook that Mike gave me. It has this quote printed in it:

The past is a ghost, the future is a dream and all we ever have is now.” — Bill Cosby


July 18 — we visited the Shedd Aquarium. We learned about how the health and well-being of life in the sea, in the sky and on land are all connected. I made this drawing at night in our hotel room. The words that came from the drawing: Corals, barnacles, kelp, seaweeds, jellies, one ocean.

day 1


July 19 — we visited the Adler Planetarium. Before heading to Millennium Park, we stopped at a Dunkins Donut for $1 iced coffee and free WiFi. Through the store window I was looking at the iron and wood structure of the elevated train tracks that run through the city, and the owl statue on top of the public library. Earlier in the day, we saw drawings of how early astrologists recorded, tracked, and made sense of the stars they saw in the sky. A volunteer told us about light pollution and how we don’t see stars in the city anymore. Still earlier in the day, when we were waiting for the bus heading to the Planetarium, we chatted with a man who asked us to help him out with breakfast and then started to tell us about himself. He said he got complacent. So, I guess this is kind of a prayer.

May we find our light again
Our North Star
May we rest in the knowledge and the faith that it is still here
Even when we don’t see it

day 2


July 20 — Visited the Museum of Science and Industry. Saw a film about the endangered coral reefs, and was amazed by the sea slug swimming. I suppose this is also a wish.

The humble sea slug dancing, sending waves rippling across the ocean, reclaiming space.

day 3


July 21 — we visited the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio that day. Really inspired by how he blended architecture with the surrounding environment, and his use of geometrical patterns that were inspired by nature. And in the front yard of his home there was a ginkgo tree — my favourite tree — the largest, tallest, most majestic ginkgo tree I’ve ever seen. Mike and I sat at a Starbucks before meeting up with a friend. I drew while he read blogs. Bliss.

Desire of the human heart to be attuned to the rhythm of nature.

day 4


July 22 — Visited the Field Museum. Most amazed by the bioluminescence exhibit. Learned about why certain creatures and plants glow (i.e. mating, discourage predators “I glow, therefore I taste bad!”, burn off excess energy, etc.). Also fascinated by prehistoric sea creatures, before the dinosaurs, in the Evolving Earth exhibit. Had a thought about making plushes of those creatures. 

The art of survival.

day 5



July 23 — On our last day in Chicago, we visited the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Being a social work student I have read a lot about Jane Addams and her work in textbooks. What the textbooks didn’t mention was that art forms of all kinds were thriving at the Hull-House. It wasn’t just a place that provided affordable shelter and food, childcare and employment, it was also a place where people’s minds and spirit were nurtured and energized by literature, music, textile art, pottery, painting, poetry. It reaffirmed my belief that the arts are also essential in helping people get to where they want to go. What I also did not know was that Jane Addams was a big fan of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the designs of William Morris, as am I :D The drawing was inspired by a historical photograph of the children at the Hull-House painting in the street in front of a stairway. It was drawn at the airport, waiting for our flight home.

Staircase to somewhere.

day 6



Our trip ended there. Too short of course :( But what I really valued was the experience of taking time to sit down and draw. And to think, to somehow find words to consolidate my thoughts, which made me feel quite a bit happier actually. Or maybe it was just because I was on holiday. Anyhow, I’m hoping to find more opportunities to do more of this at home.

Mike and I are in the process of compiling our photos of the trip — we took so many! With lots of stories to tell! Can’t wait to post them!

Have a happy rest of the week, everyone!


5 thoughts on “chicago drawings

  1. Lovely, lovely drawings! :) What a great way to remember your trip! I’ve been to the FLW Home & Studio. On my visit, there was a cat hanging around. He would come inside the gift shop most days to lounge in front of sunny windows.…usually on someone’s lap if he could manage it. They told us he would show up most mornings and leave in the evenings. He lived in another FLW designed house in the area, but would hang out there instead. I often wondered if he was FLW reincarnated…

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Chi-town!

  2. Oh, this was … 8 years ago, maybe? I’m sure kitty is too old to be walking down to the studio every day. LOL
    But it’s still a neat place to visit! :)

  3. What an uplifting post! Drawings are such a good way to capture the essence of a vacation.

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