No, I did not fly to the tropics -- instead, Tina and I went to the Volunteer Park Conservatory this past Sunday for some warm sketching on a chilly day. We discovered that while 80 degrees sounds great in theory when it's 40-something outside, it's actually a bit too hot for comfortable sketching. Especially when it's also humid inside those big greenhouses.
The place was beautifully decked out in holiday decor.
They even had a train!
My favorite room is the one with all the cacti and succulents. The plant below does not normally grow with bright red Christmas ornaments on its tips.
I opted to artistically remove the ornaments in my sketch.
Instead of my usual ink with water-soluble colored pencils, I did everything in ink with watercolor paints. I found it a lot easier to get exactly the right color that I wanted, and was happy with the results.
After about an hour, I got acclimated to the heat, which is good, since we spent a good two hours sketching.
Plants are hard -- I tried to focus in on one small section, but even those were complex.
After doing those two drawings above in the palm/tropical rooms, I returned to the cactus room, which I liked best. Again, I chose to ignore the Christmas decorations.
This was a most enjoyable afternoon. The conservatory was relatively uncrowded, the subject matter was fantastic, and we even had a harpist playing holiday music for a while. A great place to go in the off-season, and an excellent sketch outing location.