Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sketching Mademoiselle Miel's Urban Apiary

Roberta and I are preparing for our next bike and sketching trip to Duluth in July, but we wanted to take a trip and sketch something right here in our hometown. We've explored and sketched a great deal of downtown St. Paul, but there's much above the street and skyway level we have not sketched.

Last year, Roberta and I attended one of the Science Museum of Minnesota's Beaker and Brush events called "The Amazing Honey Bee" with scientist Dr. Marla Spivak and Susan Brown (Mademoiselle Miel) who creates amazingly delicious honey/chocolate bon-bons. Mademoiselle Miels's honey bon-bons are chocolate confections filled with honey from local beehives. The bon-bons are delicious and artistic - some bon-bons are decorated with edible gold leaf.

I especially like the smoked honey bon-bons with a touch of single malt scotch.

The honey for Mademoiselle Miels's bon-bons comes from beehives in various locations including the  apiary we visited on a rooftop in downtown St. Paul with a wonderful view of the Mississippi River (to protect the bees' privacy we won't disclose the location). Madamoiselle Miel graciously allowed us some time to sketch the hives as she inspected the hives and performed routine maintenance on the hives in a white beekeeper outfit.

The bees were friendly and did not sting us as we sketched them.

Visit the Mademoiselle Miel website and blog to learn more about where you can get honey bon-bons and other fine products. Mademoiselle Miel has a new kitchen and showroom at 342 Kellogg Boulevard West in St. Paul across the street from the Minnesota History Center.

Click on the sketches to make them bigger:

Roberta's sketch of Mademoiselle Miel and her beehives.
Ken's sketch of the rooftop apiary.
Ken's sketch of the new kitchen and showroom.
Ken's sketch of Beaker and Brush talk at the Amsterdam Bar.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sketches from Brompton Bike/Amtrak Train Trip to New York City - Part Two (Roberta's sketches).

I stayed on in NYC to take care of Nu-nu, Eric & Katie's cat, while they were traveling abroad. I concluded that biking in New York was by far the best (and cheapest) way to get around. One can cover a lot of ground in relatively little time. And you develop nerves of steel dealing with the traffic!
I was able to explore areas of Brooklyn that I'd never bothered going to in my years of living in Manhattan.  Click on the sketches to make them bigger.


This mini accordion-fold journal was a fun way to do quick sketches. 

Four panels from the accordion-fold mini. (Top) A community garden thrives in a narrow space between two buildings in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. This is on a busy street. The founders have brought a slice of the sane & humane to an otherwise commercial area.
(Bottom) The new "Freedom Tower" that replaces the two World Trade Center buildings. I think it's an improvement over the clunky towers that once dominated lower Manhattan.  This drawing was done over a partial list of ingredients that were in a superb dip from a Mediterranean restaurant in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn. 

Sunday afternoon in Columbus Park in Chinatown.

Hot late afternoon in Abingdon Square Park in the West Villiage.

More West Villiage sketches.

The Astral (left) is one of the largest old apartment buildings in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.  The west-side bikeway (right) runs along the Hudson River. 

I'm intrigued with doing night scenes in watercolor. Not easy unless you're doing the painting from a well-lit space. In this case it was created while sitting in a frozen yogurt place. 

We go from Sunday afternoon in Williamsburg to daybreak somewhere in Indiana. This concludes the trip.