On August 28, 2003, my friend Tom and I went to the Minnesota State Fair. I believe this is the only state fair held in a major metropolitan area. The fair grounds are in St. Paul (what was once the outskirts of St. Paul and is now an inner suburb) near the St. Paul Campus of the Univeristy of Minnesota.
What started out as an overcast morning, developed into a sunny yet not oppressively hot day. Coming as it does at the end of August (the Fair closes on Labor Day) State Fair weather can be anything from hot and humid to delightfully crisp and cool. I prefer the latter, though soft drink vendors prefer the heat.
Wanting to travel light (Tom walks faster, way faster, than I do) I decided to do my fair journal on 6 x 7 inch cards made from 300 lb. watercolor paper. On these prepainted cards I wrote with a Pilot Varsity fountain pen. I used a Niji waterbrush to dissolve the ink lines into washes. A stack of cards, the pen, and waterbrush all fit neatly into my smallest fanny pack.
I'm lucky to have great friends who put up with my sketching, and Tom is one of the best. I don't like to keep my friends waiting, however, so I tried to keep all the sketches down to a couple minutes. That was part of the experiment for me, an experiment in simplicity: work fast, get what you can, and move on. I found the experience fun, liberating, and very appropriate for the State Fair. I'm already looking forward to next year's fair.
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Illustration © 2003 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved