Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gowanus Canal - Saturday, September 27, 2014

(This is a compilation of two blog posts.)

Part 1:

Another Saturday off found me having breakfast in Penn Station before I walked the long crosstown block to the F train which took me to Brooklyn. Hey! Wasn't I there last week also? When I was a teenager I was forbidden to go to Brooklyn. The only thing/place forbidden to me in those days.

The NYC Urban Sketchers spent the day with a plein air painters group and volunteers at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. Things are being cleaned up and the neighborhood is thriving.

Still. Someone joked that if you fall in the canal you will glow in the dark.

After the first two sketches I couldn't stand the hot sun a minute longer. I found a large patch of shade just on the other side of an old school bus.

I sat on a stone wall and sketched and chatted with the artists already there. I learned about corbels but refrained from drawing any.

Intermission now. We were being treated to free barbecue and I spotted some Dunkin' donuts. Veggie burger and a donut. Yum. Stay tuned.

(Process and Apps Used:
iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
#1&4 - Pen & Ink and ArtRage
#2&3 - Gridded notebook and Pilot V-ball pen, drawings photographed using iPad and then imported into ArtRage for painting #5 - ArtRage only.)

Part 2:

After lunch we all spread out and headed in the direction of Whole Foods (ladies room and free beer samples) and the streets around the canal. It was tough finding shade. The sun seemed to be following the path of all the streets leaving small nooks and crannies of shade. I stood on one small bridge looking toward a turquoise bridge just a block away and sketched the view. A quick sketch and then I had to scurry into some shade down the block to do the painting.

This little oasis of shadow was occupied by a gaggle of sketchers and a plein air oil painter. At one point a woman pushing a stroller with a toddler and infant squeezed in and took refuge for a few moments. The toddler had a notebook and pencil in his hand! All up and down this street and every parallel street were clumps of painters with easels or sketchers huddled on little folding stools in slivers of shade.

At 4:00 everyone converged in Lavender Lake, a really nice neighborhood bar/restaurant. All the shady tables (theme of the day) out back were taken so we stayed inside and had something to drink and nosh on, talked and shared our drawings. And of course, most of us continued to sketch.

I happened to have a piece of charcoal, yes, I did, so I drew Michael in my totally inappropriate notebook. My fingers were black from wiping off his face. Tell me something: I have drawn multi-hundreds of iPad drawings and never once does my palm touch the screen, but, as soon as I pick up a stick of vine charcoal my hand just happily rests on the paper smearing everything. What's with that?

Just before leaving the bar I did this quickie. Jessica was from the Gowanus Conservancy, a plein air oil painter who stood on the bridge in the sun, uncomplainingly, with her easel and who got us all together for a great day of art making.

And then! What a lucky person I am! Susan drove me back to my car again!

(Process and Apps Used:
#1,2,5: Pen & Ink, ArtRage
#3,4: Gridded notebook and Pitt Brush Pen (3) and vine charcoal (4), drawings photographed while in the bar using iPad and then imported into ArtRage and painted while sipping my ginger ale.)


  1. Great sketches! I'm feeling inspired to get ArtRage software. And, thanks for the details about your process :)

  2. Another set of great sketches! I just noticed the textured backgroun looks like watercolor paper, so cool!

  3. Pat, you really got a lot done while you were there. Looks like a fun day...sorry I missed it.


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