Field Trip Saturday: Art Fair on the Square

On Saturdays, we’re always trying to think of something fun to do that’s outside our neighborhood. Sometimes, we go to the farmers market. Other times, we go downtown for a slice of pizza and a dose of people-watching. Sometimes, in Fall, we hit the hiking trails.

This Saturday was the 55th annual Art Fair on the Square, where 450 juried artists set up booths around the Capitol Square. Going to these outdoor art fairs is one of my favorite things to do, so this one is a highlight for summer.

art fair

Over the years, we have discovered a few favorite artists, such as photographer John Scanlon, from whom we have these three photos of European sidewalk cafes hanging in our kitchen.


Last year, we found a new artist Kinaloon who screen prints beautiful notecards.

Kinaloon screenprinted notecards

The people-watching is always fun at these types of events. We noticed a couple idiots taking pictures of artists’ work, which is so uncool and often posted as a no-no.

I wanted to share more of our favorites from this year’s art fair (with links to their websites where you can see their pictures of their work):

  • Alitas Jewelry, which had a steampunk feel since it was made from reused steel hardware parts.
  • I loved Justin D. Miller‘s work, surrealist paintings and art. We were drawn to his Trees, Night, and Houses galleries, and loved this After the Quake piece.
  • We also loved Andy Van Schyndle’s work of Wagalabagala, paintings with a fun mix of fantasy and reality.
  • Iona Handcrafted Books were absolutely gorgeous, especially the ones with the handmade watercolor paper.
  • Another artist we loved was Xavier Nuez, who photographed of bleak urban settings with really long exposures and cool lighting.
  • My husband’s favorite vendor was the Jackson Junge Gallery, with paintings of the best whimsical scenes you could imagine, personifying adult beverages.
  • Bruce Holwerda‘s paintings were my favorite of the art show! The artist describes his work as “whimsical surrealistic subjects in a fantasy world.” I loved the Seeking Heroes piece the most.

Over the past few years, I have grown to appreciate a wider variety of artists, thanks to all that I’ve learned in my art and design classes.

Such a great day full of fresh air, good food, and creative inspiration!

Thanks for stopping by!


Field Trip to Farmers Market

We got up early on Saturday morning to get to the farmers market before it got too crowded. It turned out to be a perfect trip. Luckily, we got there in time to get a breakfast teddywedger (a cornish pasty or meat pie) before they sold out. They have other combinations, but the breakfast version with eggs, cheese and Canadian bacon is THE best!

breakfast teddywedger

It was great to see the community vegetable garden has been plotted out and planted.

community vegetable garden

There was an abundance of fresh-cut spring flowers.

another bucket of tulips

more tulips

bucket of tulips

There are always lots of gorgeous plants to put in your own garden.

purple geraniums

hanging plants

gorgeous begonias

We don’t usually buy much to carry home, and just enjoy eating our way around and people watching. We always buy 2 monster cookies from the Amish farmers, and our new discovery is the Chicago Mix of caramel and cheese kettle corn from Ernie’s Kettle Corn food cart. It’s so good, we have to buy our own bags so we don’t have to share!

I don’t know exactly what it is about farmers markets that we all love so much. Fresh air. Fresh produce and bakery. Outdoor shopping. Dining al fresco. Bringing city peeps and farmers together in an urban scene. Makes me feel like doing a whimsical illustrated map of our favorite stops along the farmers market (similar to the set I did last year).

Thanks for stopping by!


Field Trip: Botanical Gardens in Winter

It’s been 4-5 months since I’ve seen green leaves, so our field trip to the botanical gardens last weekend was just the ticket to get a boost of nature, a taste for spring and a rejuvenated perspective.

Olbrich palms

I haven’t been drawing or painting much lately, or spending any time in my sketchbook, which kinda makes me sad. One of my favorite things to draw is leaves, so it was especially wonderful to see all sorts of different hues of green, different sizes and shapes of leaves, and lots of tropical plants in the middle of winter.

Olbrich green leaves

I was off to such a good start with my sketchbook this time last year. I was experimenting at least once a week, and bursting with ideas. I guess inspiration strikes when it strikes.

Olbrich furry leaves

Last semester, I spent so much of my free time working on design projects and illustrations for class that I didn’t make much time for personal exploration. And now I’m having a hard time getting back to that zone.

Olbrich ruffly leaf

It’s a difficult time of year to find inspiration in nature because the first place I would normally go, our backyard, is covered in snow. Most of our vegetation is dormant, and it’s cold and windy outside. It’s that time of year when cabin fever starts to set in and spring fever starts to creep up. I’ve been searching so hard lately to spot my first robin. I did spot a flock of young cardinals this morning, which was a great sign.

Olbrich wrinkly leaf

Because I spend a good part of my week in class, another part immersed in design projects, and another part researching, brainstorming and concepting ideas for projects, I’m finding that I don’t have a lot of creative energy left.

Olbrich chenelle tree

I really miss my sketchbook and my sewing machine. I think they are both creative outlets that help feed my primary creative focus these days – design school.

Olbrich white flowers

This might sound crazy, but I’m hoping to make a little less time for homework in order to make a little more time for my other creative outlets, illustrating and sewing. There’s plenty of inspiration right here in these pictures to get me started.

Olbrich coffee plant

I think most people might call it balance. Hope you’re having a good week so far.


A Field Trip to the Butterfly Exhibit

I went on a field trip recently to see the butterfly exhibit at our botanical gardens.

I took some pictures of the specimens they had on display before going into the exhibit. (Don’t freak out over all these butterflies pinned down inside these cases. I don’t think they were killed for display in these specimen cases. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway 😉

It’s amazing how many butterfly species there are in this world!

It was such a thrill to see these beautiful, fascinating, delicate creatures up close!

Butterflies can be so hard to photograph because it seems like they never land.

It helps to have just the right plants to attract them.

And they are so good at hiding under leaves.

I was inspired by all the different shapes, sizes, and colors, and came home with lots of new ideas and fresh inspiration.

Thanks for stopping by!

A Field Trip to the Art Museum

I went on a field trip recently with my mom to see the Posters of Paris exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

It’s such a cool building, with beautiful views of Lake Michigan.

Guests aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the main exhibit, so I bought a souvenir catalog of the history of these posters.

We studied henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in my first Design Fundamentals class. I adore this style of art and posters, with bright but flat colors and bold, often hand-rendered typography and playful, sometimes risqué images.

(photo from Wikipedia)

My favorite posters were designed by Jules Cheret for Loie Fuller, a Folies-Bergere performer.

(photo from Wikipedia)

I always enjoy spending time in downtown Milwaukee, having lunch at the Public Market, checking out Broadway Paper, and shopping in the boutiques.

It’s fun going on field trips like this every couple months with my mom.

Hope you find something to inspire you this week! As always, thank you for stopping by.