Hal Higdon

Art - Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

The Ides of Summer

Connie Kassal, an artist friend of mine came up with the idea. On three days during the summer -- June 15, July 15 and August 15 -- a group of selected artists each would create some work of art. Connie instructed: "Three pieces, one based on each date and on what happens, what you experience, ideas you hear about on that particular date. Anything you can do as long as you can tie it to that particular day."

She planned to call the resulting exhibit, "The Ides of Summer."

I signed up immediately. Interestingly, on that first day, June 15, I was in Chicago doing promotional work for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, staying overnight at the Hilton Towers in a room overlooking Lake Michigan. That morning, I rose early for a short run through Museum Campus to Adler Planetarium. Returning, I encountered a stunning view of the Chicago skyline, bathed in light from the rising sun. There was my work of art for June 15. After completing my run, I returned to the breakwater carrying a sketchbook and a digital camera. I did several sketches of the skyline, but also took a number of photos to help me with details when I worked on the final art, shown at the top of this screen.

One month later on July 15, my wife Rose and I participated in a Sunset Cruise, a charity event that included a buffet dinner at Bridges, a small restaurant upstream from Millennium Park--Michigan City's Millennium Park, not Chicago's. Once wined and dined, we boarded boats and headed downstream toward the lake. Cruising slowly past the park from a vantage point that most non-boaters don't have, I decided it would be my second Ides of Summer drawing. I returned the next day with my sketchbook to a dock across the stream from the park and behind a building owned by the Department of National Resources. A DNR officer noticed me about to climb over a chain marked with a No Trespassing sign and wondered what I was doing. I convinced him that I was an artist, not a terrorist, and that I would remain no more than a half hour. The first drawing below is the result.

Inspiration for the August 15 art came because Rose and I enjoy cycling along Lake Shore Drive during the summer. We have a half dozen favorite cafes located within 8 to 14 miles round trip from our home in Long Beach. Two or three days a week, we bike to one of them for coffee and rolls. (The same bakery seems to supply all the cafes; My roll-of-choice is an almond croissant, since almonds supposedly are good for your health.) One of the our coffee stops is the Dockside Cafe at the Michigan City Marina, the scene you see in the second drawing below.

I chose black ink on white illustration board as my medium for all three drawings, which measure approximately 30 inches wide by 10 inches deep. You can now purchase a limited-edition print of one or all of the three drawings, each one of which I will number (up to a maximum of 25) and sign. The first drawing, Chicago Skyline, was selected for the 26th Elkhart Juried Regional 2004 Exhibit at the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart, Indiana. It and the other two drawings, Millennium Park and Marina, hang in my home and are planned for future exhibits of my work.

PURCHASING INSTRUCTIONS: The price for a limited edition print of the Chicago Skyline is $250.00 plus $25.00 shipping and handling. The price of the other two limited edition prints is $95.00 plus $25.00 shipping and handling. Or purchase all three for $350.00. For more information, contact Rose at Roadrunner Press. Or telephone 219-879-0133

Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Marina

Marina

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