Partner Sketching at Detcon

my sketch

Over the summer, I attended the North American Science Fiction Convention in Detroit.  What a blast!  During a drawing workshop, we were asked to pair up with another artist and practice sketching each other.  Part of the challenge of such an exercise is that the person you are drawing is not facing you the entire time, so you really have to concentrate on getting details down while you can see them.  You almost have to take a mental snapshot.

I thought it would be fun to include both the sketch I did of my partner and a photo of the sketch she did of me.  Afterwards, as we were talking, we realized that we had both quickly identified one feature about the other that we wanted to focus on.  The identifying feature that we felt we just had to get right.  For her, I wanted to capture her interesting nose.  For me, she said she was drawn to my big eyes.  You can see how people create characterizations this way.

Enjoy!  (especially on this particularly gloomy Friday)

sketch by Lisa J. Schmidt





When It Rains

Even the flowers cried in their beds…

This piece is displayed in tribute to the recent flooding disaster in Detroit.  A tragedy too close to home.  I know what it is like to experience flooding.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those who experienced loss.  Let us remember that the city is made strongest by the strength of its people.

Backyard Art

Recently, my neighbor (the artist) and I had this grand idea to decorate the path between our two townhouses.  I thought we should name it the “Rose Path” so we would be able to remember it.  My neighbor brought along some fresh and dried rose pedals to scatter, I supplied the rainbow sidewalk chalk, and off we went!  Here are some photos of our adventures and the messages we created.

lamppost decorated with rose pedals

scattering rose pedals along the path

Rose Path entrance on my side

Following the Rose Path…

Spotted! Our shadows on the path

Hats off to roses!

our messages: PEACE

our messages: LOVE

our messages: FOREVER

Rose Path entrance
on my neighbor’s side

I’m a big fan of community art.  It works on so many levels including beautifying the community and bringing people together.  Plus it’s just fun!  Of course you need to be respectful when you’re doing it.

Over the summer, my husband and I visited Bayfield, ON.  One of the coolest sights in the town is an old barn turned into an art studio for all ages and levels of art experience.  How cool is that?

Me at Kryart Studio in Bayfield, ON

Want to view community art instead of make it?  Check out my post on The Heidelberg Project in Detroit.  It brings a whole new meaning to the concept.  Artist Tyree Guyton turned the neighborhood where he grew up into a kind of wonderland.  It’s a living art exhibit.  I was saddened when I heard on the news yesterday that one of the homes, House of Soul, burned down.  Arson is suspected.  I truly believe artists will be the ones to rebuild the city of Detroit, even if it’s one art project at a time.

We should all support art in our own neighborhoods.  How will you help beautify your community through art?

The Heidelberg Project: Revitalizing Detroit through Art

I recently had the opportunity to experience The Heidelberg Project in Detroit.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the project, it’s basically one huge art installation consisting of a block of houses on Heidelberg Street in an urban area on the East Side.  Tyree Guyton is the founder and artistic director.  He displays found objects in creative and thought-provoking ways.

I’m always up for an adventure, especially one that involves viewing local art in the community.  So when a friend of mine suggested a visit, I immediately said “YES!”  But I had no idea what I was in for.

Follow me as I take you on a guided tour.  But beware.  This is only my personal view.  You have to experience it yourself to get the full story.  A couple of tips:  Definitely bring a camera.  You can simply drive by the project, but I suggest that you walk through it.  Total immersion.  Let yourself feel something.  You might even walk away feeling changed, as I did.

As an avid reader, children’s librarian, and author/illustrator, I walked through this exhibition feeling like I’d fallen into a fantasy story.  Think Return to Oz meets Alice in Wonderland meets And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street meets The Phantom Tollbooth

Here are some of my favorite houses!

Some of the recurring themes are:

Where can God be found?

The Taxi

The political commentary was endless…

There are many faces to the story being told.

Some provide comic relief

While others send a powerful message

Material and environment seem to coexist in some sort of beautiful irony.

There are very few words in this exhibition, so the words included have greater impact.  As an artist, I found inspiration here.

What I like best about the project is that it’s a work in progress. Nothing, not even fire, can destroy it. Perhaps that says something about the city itself.

I’m not originally from Detroit.  I moved to the metro area several years ago.  The city loomed like an enormous tin man.  But my first thought when I got here was that underneath all the industrial layers, it had heart.  Even now, I have to admit that Detroit still remains somewhat of a mystery to me.  At the same time, I support all of its revitalization efforts.  After all, who doesn’t love a good comeback story?

Sketch Friday at the DIA

brush pens on mixed media paper

brush pens on mixed media paper

brush pen on sketch paper