Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sketching Along the Promenade

My thanks to Jim for all his organizing of today's locations!!! You did a great job!

We were sketching along the Battery Park City Promenade which had some wonderful views.
Our day started at the northern end of the promenade by River Terrace. We were joined by a sketcher visiting NYC from Germany. Don was able to do sketches at two places along the promenade before he left to meet up with his wife and son. Here he is sketching by River Terrace.

I was able to do two sketches at that location. I liked the view of the garden in front of the view across the river to New Jersey and also the view of the boat in the water. Doesn't that look like a good way to relax in a crowded city?

Our next stop was by the Potato Famine Memorial. Having been to Ireland last year I appreciated how close the area looked to the Irish farmland.

Here is Jim doing his sketch.

I did my sketch of the memorial against one of the typical NYC buildings. I liked the contrast of the stone ruins against the glass of the building.

At this point we were joined by Kay. This was her first time sketching with us on Saturday.
We were off to get lunch for a picnic and then moved down to the North Cove Yacht Basin.
Who knew there was a NYC Sailing School??? There were lots of sailboats and yachts, but I wanted to sketch the view with the red Colgate sign across the river.

Everyone was very busy sketching.

Around 3:30 we did a throwdown of our sketchbooks. It is always fun to see what everyone has created during the day.

And here is our group photo...left to right we have Mark, Jane, Jim, Amy and myself.

Mike, Jane, and I decided to do another sketch and went a bit further down to Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park. It had some interesting views.

You could see the Statue of Liberty.

This time I sketched the view towards the land.

Around 5 Jane led us to the train so we could head back to Penn Station and home.
It was a great day.! Thanks to everyone for making it special.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 30, Saturday: Battery Park City Promenade

Meet: 10 a.m.  Chambers Street at River Terrace in Battery Park City (see map in the Calendar)

Subway: 1, 2, and 3 to Chambers Street station; ascend to Chambers Street and walk 3 blocks
west to Nelson Rockefeller Park entrance (Chambers x River Terrace)

We will take in the park, gardens, and the NJ waterfront across the Hudson.  We'll visit the unusually configured Irish Potato Famine Memorial, and later walk to the North Cove Yacht Basin.

At 12 pm, we'll get a brief lunch, and at 1 pm we'll stroll farther south on the Promenade to reach the South Cove area. We'll finish with a throw down at 3 pm.

All levels of drawing expertise are welcome, there is no attendance taken.  Join us even if you come late.

To find us call Jim at 201-981-4927.

Monday, August 25, 2014


This was such a great location, I could have used another 6 hours sketching here! The first sketch is a panorama of the new World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Bridge.

For this next sketch, I was a human shield for Santi...sitting in the middle of the street just to get the view of the Empire State Building!
The last sketch of the day finished just as it was starting to sprinkle.

 The sign said to stand in front and take a picture!
 This was the first time I was grateful for a fire hydrant taking up half the block! It made for a great view!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sketching DUMBO

The sun never really came out and it was a more beautiful day for it.  Dark clouds added drama to the fantastic views of the harbor and the city.

The River Cafe with the Manhattan Bridge above
and the Williamsburg Bridge in the distance

Our second stop was the view of the bridge from the corner of Water and Washington Streets.  As we setup to sketch on the narrow side walks passing people stayed to watch and look at the view.  There were 25 Urban Sketchers and soon there was an equal number of tourists taking photos of us and the incredible view.  Then a photographer and model setup 20 feet from us to do a shoot.  The tourists photographed that too.  It was quite an event.

At lunch I drew a quick picture of Jan Finlayson who was visiting us from Adelaide, Australia.  It's so great meeting Urban Sketcher  from around the world, -  complete strangers who share a passion.  We all enjoyed her company.


At the end of the day the remaining sketchers gathered to share drawings and pose for this photo in front of the carousel.

After, about ten of us went to a bar nearby to continue talking and sketching.

Last chance to sketch Santi since
he's going back to Barcelona later this week
Still Life with Beer

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Sketching Day at DUMBO

Brooklyn seems to have some great locations and DUMBO was one of those.

We met at the former lighthouse right by the bridge. There were so many views to paint.

Rayle, Shawne, and Mark were busy sketching in front of me.

We will soon all be experts at sketching bridges...we seem to have done so many.

Lunch breaks are a good time for sharing.
We all checked out Santi's sketches of NYC.

Then we were off again. We stopped to do a quick sketch and everyone found seats.

I did a few mini sketches directly in pen.

Then it was on to Water Street and Washington Street.

We all found spots on the sidewalk and in the street....luckily there wasn't too much traffic 'cause everyone was busy looking at the view, not the cars.

Susan and I stayed in that area to sketch another view. 
Sorry we missed the throw down but my car was parked near where we were sketching and it would have been a long walk back. It was a great day!

Wishing Mark and Rayle a great time at the symposium in Brazil. I can't wait to see what you sketch there.

Adios to Santi!!! It was a pleasure sketching with you these last two weeks. Maybe we will see you in Barcelona some day. Let us know when your book comes out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SATURDAY Sketching DUMBO - August 23, 2014

The coolest neighborhood in ultra-cool Brooklyn

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was a waterfront area filled with big warehouses for the goods being brought into the city.  Over these tough bones, a new hip sensibility has taken over.  Now one of the coolest neighborhoods in ultra cool Brooklyn, DUMBO  (an acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass")   is filled with incredible views of lower Manhattan, bridges and waterways.  It’s abounding in great restaurants, cobblestone streets and cavernous spaces .  Tucked between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, this neighborhood is begging to be sketched.

The Old Lighthouse
Jane's Carousel
Our first sketch site will be the Old Lighthouse (now the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory) at Water and Furman Streets (see map). This spot has sweeping views of the river and the bridges.  Across the street is a small park where the River

Lunch:  We'll break at 11:30 to purchase lunch.  There are many stores in the area that can provide take-out.  One suggestion is:  Bridge Fresh for take-out food - 68 Jay St - Located at Water St & Front St.  We'll meet at noon for a picnic lunch at a shady spot in the vicinity of Jane's Carousel

Second Sketch:  1:00 PM
The View at Water and Washington Sts.
We'll sketch the view at Water and Washington Streets.

Third Sketches:  2:30 PM

Zakka - 155 Plymouth St (bet. Jay and Pearl Sts.)  The domain of the design nerd.  The Japanese word "Zakka" refers to the design phenomenon of seeing the beauty in something mundane. 
Remember the kid who always had the coolest toys? Imagine if he opened a Japan-centric boutique packed with Godzilla dolls, foldable cardboard sculptures and vending machines selling Yujin miniature characters. The shop also offers T-shirts from local artists as well as books and magazines on art, design and culture, with a particular focus on the ever-changing world of Japanese subcultures

Jacques Torres Chocolate - 350 Hudson St.
Foodies and chocoholic heaven.  You can see chocolate chefs at work through a glass window, stop for a treat, and buy wonderful small packets of interesting chocolates for gifts for the kids and family. Across the street, there's a fine French bakery, too

Throw Down:  3:30 - 4:00 PM.  We'll share sketches and compare notes from  at a site to be determined

For a Complete Map of DUMBO and our Sketch Sites:  Click on this Link

The three ways to travel are by car, subway of ferry.  For many reasons the ferry is the most attractive solution.

By Car:  Get there early, or the parking will be impossible.

By Subway:  Be prepared to hike.  DUMBO is at sea level and the subways are all up hill and a long walk
  • A/C train to High Street, exit onto Cadman Plaza West. Walk left, toward the overhead highway; the street changes name to Old Fulton Street. Walk down the hill and bear left as you approach the East River. Continue on Fulton to DUMBO's Front Street to get a sense of the neighborhood.
  • 2/3 train to Clark Street, take the Henry Street exit. Walk left on Henry Street. Go left on Cadman Plaza West/Old Fulton Street and walk downhill to the entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park, located at the bottom of the hill, at the waterfront.
  • F train to York Street, walk one block down Jay Street toward Manhattan, turning left at Front Street. Take Front Street until Old Fulton Street, turn right. The Turn left on Front Street. Proceed straight until Old Fulton Street. Turn right. The entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park is located at the bottom of the hill, at the waterfront.
By Ferry:

Walk to the Ferry from 2, 3 at Pine St and William St.  To join us at 10:00 AM you should be there for the 9:35 ferry

To find us, call Mark 973-809-9128

There are no fees or attendance taken. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday Urban Sketchers in Union Square

Date : Monday August 25th

Place: Union Square, south west corner on 14th St near University Place at the steps of the subway entrance with the round roof.

Time:  11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Union Square with a Green Market, statuary, vendors and chess players will offer a rich environment for sketchers on Monday morning.   There will be no official contact person. Gather at the meeting spot, decide where and when to gather for lunch and enjoy the day.  There are no rain-date plans.

NOTE: IN SEPTEMBER THE WEEKDAY GROUP WILL MEETING ON THURSDAYS.  The next meet up will be on Thursday September 4th at the gardens surrounding the Museum of Natural History.  Meet up spot will be by the subway entrance on the south west corner of 81st Street and Central Park West.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sketching at the Morgan Library and Museum - 8/27/14

Come Sketch with us at the Morgan Museum…

A Dialogue with Nature:  Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany


Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection

Wednesday, August 27th
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch in the Morgan Café at 12:30 p.m.

Meet in the Engelhard Gallery (Dialogue with Nature).  Only 10 sketchers are allowed in a gallery exhibit, so we will have to split our time between the two exhibits.

After the gallery sketching, if people like, we can sketch, after lunch, in the café. 

A Dialogue with Nature

Engelhard Gallery on the second floor

Draw from drawings, watercolors and oil sketches from 18th century Europe, when landscape drawing was coming into its own as an art form.  Prior to this time, it was only used for technical purposes – to depict a house for sale, or for military purposes.  Artists began to paint outdoors as tubes for water color were just invented.  Themes of spirituality, turbulence (possibly a reaction to wars and revolutions occuring around them), and terror (as Frankenstein was written around this time) abound.  Artists represented are J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, Carl Philipp Fohr, and Caspar David Friedrich, among others.

This exhibit ends Sept. 7th, 2014.  (An image is available at

Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection

lower level

Artists, using oil paint on paper, re-visioned landscape painting by starting with the sky, “reducing land to a mere strip in the foreground,” (or eliminating it) and letting the sky determine the palette of the entire painting.  From France, Germany and Scandinavia, artists (not all well-known) focused on, nay captured, the “changing effects of light,” and the quickly moving, and altering, shapes of clouds.  These sky studies are small and moving. 

This exhibit ends Dec. 28, 2014.

Materials allowed: 
Dry media only – pencil (no pens or charcoal), Caran D’ache, creta color ok – as you add the water later. 

$18 Adults
$12 Children (13–16)
$12 Seniors (65 and over)
$12 Students (with current ID)
Free to

The Morgan Museum is located between 36th and 37th Sts. on Madison Ave. 

I can be reached at 347 306 0473. 
Please RSVP if you would like to join us. 

All skill levels are welcome. 

Thank you,


Karen Kraskow

Tuesday - Tips and Tricks

More great tips from Marc Holmes - Montreal Urban Sketchers

A Simple Trick for Planning a Sketch : Connect the Dots

JUNE 22, 2014
14June22_USK MTL Botanical_01
Just back from sketching with Urban Sketchers Montreal. Here’s my morning drawing from the Chinese pavilion at the Jardin Botanique.
This one turned out to be a useful example of what I call “Marking Extents”. How to design the page with small dots measuring the height and width of key objects, and their internal landmarks (doors, windows, floors, etc).
After the break – A few process shots that might explain:
14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 01
This is not a blank page. Zoom in and have a look.
All those small dots and dashes? These are measurements describing the two Chinese gazebos.
14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 01_annotated
I spent about 10 minutes making these small marks, so that when I begin drawing, I have a mental map to work from. My main goal – to avoid going off the top of the page. And you can see I’ve barely succeeded. The taller of the towers is going to get uncomfortably close to the top. But! This is an honest example of me sketching. I like to be reasonably accurate – but I’m not the type to allow measuring to slow me down. You can use this tactic with much more discipline – it’s possible to be perfect. Mostly I’m just ‘eyeballing’ so it’s close enough to keep me happy.
14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 03
Once I begin actually drawing – I can put it down very quickly – taking maybe another 10  minutes to finish the whole drawing. Maybe less – sorry, didn’t time myself this time :)
14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 05
So this is the ‘final’ drawing – just enough to begin with the color.  In the past I might have wanted to do a very precise under drawing in pencil. These days, I’m feeling I don’t need that support structure. I still recommend students try to get the best drawing possible – but when I’m having fun, drawing for enjoyment, this is how it’s turning out these days.
14June22_USK MTL Botanical_01