Saturday, December 31, 2016

Weekday Sketchers Go HOT

(Go to Hot Houses that is)

Winter is here but Urban Sketchers are HOT.  This week we go indoors to the Hot Houses at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. With several different environments from desert to tropical we should be busy for hours.  Get your green paint out of winter storage and come along!  

The prediction is for a temps in the high 40's, allowing for some outdoor sketching for the hale and hearty among us. There is a cafe in the Atrium for lunch or bring your own.  Bring a stool. Admission is free durning weekdays in the winter. 

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TIME: 10:30

We will meet at 10:30 in the central court between all the hot houses. Then each person can move to the location they like best. We will meet for lunch at 12:30 back in the Central Court.  There is a cafe in the Atrium.



NOTE: the hot houses are along Washington Ave.  If you walk around to the back of the Brooklyn Museum when you get out of the subway and walk across the parking lot, there is an entrance to the BBG.  Walk past the Japanese Gardens to the green houses. 

PLEASE RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us? Call Raylie at 201-978-6387. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Coming in 2017 we will have wonderful opportunities to sketch together.  Here are two dates to put on your calendar.

Wednesday January 4th:  

As mentioned, we will be mixing up the meeting dates for the Weekday Sketch Sessions in the new year.  Watch for the location in the next post.

Thursday January 12th: Chinese Brush Painting Workshop

One of our own sketchers, Victoria Chang, will conduct a two hour workshop on how to use the ancient art of Chinese Brush painting in traditional and contemporary creations.  After a demo all will have the opportunity to try their hand using this very expressive art form.  

Thanks to the New York Public Library for allowing us to use a classroom in the new 53rd Street Branch directly across the street from MOMA.

The program is free but space is limited. We can accommodate only 25 people, so please RSVP to Raylie Dunkel at Details on meeting time, materials list and exact location will be sent to all who register for the program. 

Monday, December 19, 2016


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There will be a short break in the schedule for the Weekday Urban Sketchers.  We will resume meeting again the first week in January.   Watch for the postings about scheduled events, workshops and sketch crawls on either Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. 

No matter what you celebrate this season, do it with gusto and joy.  Let the New Year bring us the ability and energy to accomplish wonderful things, create beautiful pictures and deepen our friendships. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

SUNDAY: Sketch the view of Houston St.

The weather on Sunday December 18th is doing what it does in December.  It will be the shortest sketch day of the year, but Joy Hecht has come up with a great indoor toasty-warm sketching plan.

Start time is 11 AM:  We’ll be sketching from the upstairs seating area of the Whole Foods at 2nd Ave and 95 Houston Street - good views of 2nd Ave, Houston Street, Chrystie Street, plus interesting inside views of the market and the seating area.

Of course plenty of lunch options at Whole Foods.  The Second Avenue stop of the F Train is the closest.  Broadway Lafayette (B,D,F and M) is a short walk.  (See Map below)

Show and Tell:  3:30 will be at the PAULANER Brewhouse around the corner at 265 Bowery - not a Sport’s Bar as Joy pointed out.

NOTE:  This is our last sketch event together for 2016.  
Thank you to Joy for stepping in to run things in my absence.  

Happy New Year and a Fantastic Holiday Season to one and all.

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If you can’t find us
call or text Joy at 202-494-1162

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome.

Sketch Lighting

A recent conversation with Leigh Marcos, the Content Manager, at LED Wired led to her organizing her thoughts about proper lighting for sketching:

How Lighting Affects Sketching
Without light, the only art to appreciate is sculpture, but even sculpture has a visual component that exists due to the effects of light. The changing qualities and angles of light alter the perception of all artistic media. Reflected light shapes, colorizes and gives texture to the world. Light also controls the perception of art from the chiaroscuro of Rembrandt to the perceiving of crosshatching in a pen drawing as shading. Here is how different lighting effects artist sketches.

Golden Hour Lighting

Natural Light
Whether outdoors beneath an open sky or through a window into a studio, sunlight is a continuous variable. Atmospheric phenomena from clouds to dust along with the perpetual travel of the Sun across the sky continually alters the angles, intensity, color and quality of light. Sketching outdoors requires quickly establishing the angle of light and placement of shadows while the basic structure of the sketch is laid out. Artists may be limited to short periods of time to capture details that light is revealing before it changes. The colors of the Golden Hour are an example. Also, the variability of outdoor light color, such as the Golden Hour light, can greatly affect how colors are perceived in sketches.

Artificial Light
Electric studio lighting can be incandescent, fluorescent or LED. Halogen bulbs are incandescent but are made differently than regular incandescent bulbs. Regular incandescent light bulbs have a tungsten filament that is subjected to electrical current. Resistance creates heat that emits a warm orange-yellow light. Nitrogen-argon is usually the gas inside the thin glass bulb. Halogen uses a tungsten filament inside a tough fused quartz bulb that has bromine in the enclosed space. The filament can burn hotter without burning out, and the extra heat makes the light appear whiter.

Fluorescent bulbs do not have filaments. Gas inside the fluorescent bulb is excited by electricity and glows. They can flicker and many give off a greenish tint. LED lights emit light from its basic structure, which is the photon. Light-emitting diodes can be made to give off any color temperature of light and color. Plus, LEDs only require a fraction of the energy to operate as incandescent bulbs require.

Color Temperature
Regardless of the type of artificial light used, the color temperature of the bulb is important. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins (K). Artists should strive to sketch in a studio that is illuminated in a neutral white light of about 5000K. Cooler-colored or warmer-colored lights will alter color perception. Colors will be warmer (redder) under warm light, and cooler (bluer) under cool lights. This can greatly affect how a finished sketch looks in another environment. A high Color Rendering Index (CRI) is also important, but the bulb, or LED, must also be color neutral.

Galleries choose neutral light to display art. Artists should create sketches in bright, diffuse color-neutral light. This way, the art will look the same in a gallery as it does in a studio. Though the artist cannot control the patron's lighting where their sketches will be displayed, informed patrons will also likely display fine art in their homes and offices under color-neutral lighting conditions.

Leigh Marcos,
LED Wired

Cloisters Update

If you are planning to join us at the Cloisters on Thursday December 15th, please be aware that the cafe is closed for the season. There is no food service inside the building and no nearby delis or take out restaurants.  Bring a snack with you if you are planning on spending the day sketching.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekday Urban Sketcher do the Cloisters at Christmas

Beautiful at any time of year, the Cloisters in Fort Tryon park is particular magical at Christmas time. The Cloisters is a division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a collection of Medieval architecture, sculpture and decorative arts is one of NYC's gems. Join us for a trip to another time and place in this most decorative season. 

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TIME: 10:30 AM

                           Note: we will meet in lobby by the information desk

TRANSPORTATION: The A train to 190th Street.  Take the elevator to the upper level exit and enter Ft. Tyron Park.  Follow the path to the building. The entrance is on the eastern side (away from the Hudson River)  of the building at the roadway level. It is about a 10 minute walk from the subway station. 

NOTE:  The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which charges and entrance fee.  If you are a member you will have free admission.  If you are a member at a level that includes guest passes, please ask for one so that we can give it to someone who is not a member.  If you are not a member you can elect to pay whatever you wish: a few dollars should be sufficient but even a quarter will get you in.

Also remember that there are NO wet media allowed in the building.  You can use any dry medium and activate the color with a water brush that has its own internal reservoir. Bring a stool. There is a cafe in the building where we can have lunch. You can purchase something or bring your own lunch and sit at a table to eat it.

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us? Call Raylie at 201-978-6387.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

SUNDAY: Sketch the Hispanic Society

If you don’t know this museum - you will be amazed! 
It’s a little known NYC gem housing one of the world’s finest collections of Hispanic art.

The Museum and Library collections, which cover nearly every aspect of art and culture in Spain – as well as Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines – into the 20th century, are unparalleled in their scope and quality outside of Spain. Paintings by El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and Sorolla; masterworks of sculpture; and outstanding examples from all fields of the decorative arts offer visitors a panorama of the arts of the Hispanic world.  The collection also includes the Vespucci Map of the World

Admission is free although they ask for a donation.  (Personally on my last visit I felt more inclined towards generosity than I usually do at the NYC tourist mega- museums.)


When:  Sunday December 11th - starting at 11 AM

Where:  The Hispanic Society of America.  613 West 155th Street, on Audubon Terrace, Broadway between 155 and 156 Streets (see map below)

By Subway:
   -  The #1 Train Stops at 157th Street - one block away (Best choice)
   -  The A & C Train stops at 155th Street and is a longer walk 2 Avenues away

Lunch:  12:30 -  Directly across the street at the Restaurante La Libertad, 3764 Broadway.  Great fresh food, reasonably priced -  Latino/Salvadoran/Modern Cuisine.

Afternoon:  Back to the Museum for more sketching

Show and Tell: 3:00 off to At the Wallace, at 3612 Broadway (between W 148 and 149th) to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined.

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If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

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

Monday, December 5, 2016



Located in the beautiful Beaux Arts Building that was the Customs House, the Museum of the American Indian will offer us an opportunity to sketch unique architecture and artifacts .  One of the current exhibit Circle of Dance features beautiful, colorful costumed figures that should make great subjects for our drawings.  The second exhibit of the artifacts of Indians of Central America will give us plenty of opportunity to work on ancient artifacts.  If weather permits we can move outside for the afternoon to draw the outside of the building and Bowling Green. 

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                          SOUTH SIDE OF BOWLING GREEN

TIME: 10:30 AM


 4 & 5 trains to Bowling Green
1 train to Rector Street or South Ferry
R (& W on weekdays) trains to Whitehall Street
J & Z trains to Broad Street
2 & 3 trains to Wall Street

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us? Call Raylie at 201-978-6387.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Saturday: Sketch the Exquisite

The world famous Sotheby’s not only auctions off works of art and other valuables, they also display them in many floors of galleries that are open to the public.  The sketching views from the upper floors are fantastic.

Where:  Sotheby’s  New York City, 1334 York Avenue - On the east side between 71st and 72nd Streets

When:  On Saturday, December 3rd, we will meet in the lobby at 11:00. (The galleries open at 10:00, if you want to get there earlier.) From 11:00 till 12:30, pick your spot and have fun sketching.

Lunch:  12:30 we’ll head up to the Sotheby’s café on the 10th floor for lunch, chat, and sketching (of course).

Afternoon:  1:30 - return to the galleries or the lobby,... or try your hand at the views off the roof outside the café, if the weather is inviting

The Sketching Views are Fantastic

Show and Tell:   3:00 reconvene in the lobby, for a short walk to Finnegan’s Wake Pub, 1361 1st Ave on the north west corner of 73rd St. and 1st Avenue, to share drawings, good stories and beer,  or wine if you're so inclined (food too if you like).

Directions to Sotheby’s:  (see map below)
The nearest subway stop is the Lexington Avenue local stop at 68th Street (the 6 train).
The express trains (the 4 and 5) stop at 59th Street and 86th Street.
 The 72nd Street crosstown bus will take you right there; the 68th Street crosstown will get you to 68th and York.

 If you’re coming by subway and the weather is bad, you can hop onto the 68th Street crosstown at Lex and 68th Street, instead of walking the four rather long blocks from the subway to York Avenue.

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If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Collage Workshop

On the 19th of November, a group of local urban sketchers gathered for a workshop on collage, led by Joy Hecht.  Joy began doing collages last winter, and found them to be a very satisfying medium for conveying a sense of place - for her, much more effective than watercolors and ink.   Here's a couple of examples, from Paris, Newfoundland, London, and New York (in that order - yes, I travel a lot!).

La Butte aux Cailles, 13ème arrondissement, Paris

Kayak excursion, Minchin's Cove, Newfoundland

Camden Market, London

72nd and Broadway, NYC

The workshop participants met at the Winter Garden, looking south over the Hudson River and the Jersey shore, with a glimpse of Lady Liberty in the distance.  After a brief presentation on techniques and materials, the members of the group got to work, producing some lovely results!   Here's a few examples of their work and some photos of the group at busy cutting and pasting.  I'm afraid for one of these I don't know the name of the artist - I hope she will identify her work!  

By Ying Zhou, I think:

 By Elissa Gore:

By Liz York:

By Meredith Stone:

Artist unknown, alas:

By Susan Louie:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekday Urban Sketcher Go Fishing

Join us on Thursday for a sea voyage and fishing expedition! 

First we will meet by the Sea-Glass Carousel to sketch the beautiful etherial images of the glass fish as they rotate and glow when the carousel turns.  We will then take the Staten Island Ferry across to the St. George Terminal to sketch the real fish in the enormous salt water aquariums in the terminal.  Along the way there will be plenty of opportunity to sketch the people on the ferry, the Statue of Liberty  and the Manhattan skyline as recedes and enlarges on each leg of the journey.   Bonus sites include the views of the waterfront from the ferry terminal, the view of Manhattan from the St. George terminal and the murals in Staten Island Borough Hall across from the terminal.  Bring your lunch, stool and lots of blue and green paint!

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             NOTE: If it is not raining we will meet at 10:00 to sketch the Sea-Glass Carousel.

                          If it is raining we will meet inside the Ferry Terminal and sketch the views of the waterfront from inside the terminal.
                         11:30 AM TAKE THE FERRY TO STATEN ISLAND

                         2:OO PM RETURN TRIP TO MANHATTAN


SEA-GLASS CAROUSEL is located at the south end of Battery Park near the intersection of State Street and Water Street.

STATEN ISLAND FERRY TERMINAL: located at the southern tip of Manhattan along Water Street.

TRANSPORTATION:  1 Train to South Ferry Station.  The exit from the subway will be on the plaza in front of the Staten Island Ferry and right in between the carousel and the ferry terminal.

Please RSVP Directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Note: While an RSVP is not required doing so will mean we will be looking for you at the various locations.  Looking for us?  Call Raylie at 201-978-6387. Bring a stool.  Bring lunch if you like or there are vendors in the Ferry Terminals.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Saturday: Sketch St. Paul's Chapel

The forecast is predicting a gorgeous day 
in the mid 60’s 
and we’re going to be outside -
sketching St. Paul's Chapel!

St. Paul's Chapel is an Episcopal chapel located at 209 Broadway, between Fulton Street and Vesey Street, in Lower Manhattan. Built in 1766, it is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan and also the oldest public building in continuous use in our town.  It was built on land granted by Anne, Queen of Great Britain. When it was completed it was the tallest building in New York City. It stood in a field some distance from the growing port city to the south.

The chapel survived the Great New York City Fire of 1776 when a quarter of New York City burned following the British capture after the Battle of Long Island.  George Washington, along with members of the United States Congress, worshipped at St. Paul's Chapel on his Inauguration Day, on April 30, 1789.

September 11, 2001
After the attack on 911, which led to the collapse of the twin towers, St. Paul's served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site. For eight months, hundreds of volunteers worked 12-hour shifts around the clock, serving meals, making beds, counseling and praying with fire fighters, construction workers, police and others.

The fence around the church grounds became the main spot for visitors to place impromptu memorials to the event. After it became filled with flowers, photos, teddy bears, and other paraphernalia, chapel officials decided to erect a number of panels on which visitors could add to the memorial. Estimating that only 15 would be needed in total, they eventually required 400.

St. Paul's Chapel is a site that touches the heart and soul of New York.


When and Where:   We’ll meet at 11 AM in front of the Church at 209 Broadway (b/t Fulton and Vesey St.)

Lunch:  12:30 PM.  Our special plan is to walk along Vessey St. to Brookfield Place where we will meet the Collage group Joy Hecht is running to join them for lunch.

Afternoon:  1:30 PM We’ll sketch the waterfront with great views of the Hudson, the Jersey Palisades, boats etc.

Show and Tell:  3:00 PM at The Dark Horse at 17 Murray St (b/t Broadway & Church St) where we will share drawings, good stories and and a snack or refreshments if you're so inclined.

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If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekday Urban Sketchers Crawl West Village

The weather is looking very good for Thursday so let's take advantage of one more outdoor event this year: a sketch crawl of the West Village.

The area west of 7th Ave and below Christopher Street is one of the oldest neighborhoods in NYC.  Its beautiful tree lined street evoke another era which we will capture as we move around the neighborhood and past icons landmarks.
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Leroy Street
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Barrow and Commerce Streets (Meeting Point) 

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Cherry Lane Theater (Commerce Street) 

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Edna St Vincent Millay House

TIME: 10:30 AM


Note: we will meet here and work for about one hour then move on to another location. We will break for lunch in one of the pocket parks nearby.  

TRANSPORTATION: 1 Train to Christopher St/Sheridan Sq.  Walk south on 7th Ave 2 blocks to Barrow St.  Turn Right and walk west 1 1/2 blocks to the intersection of Barrow and Commerce. 

Please respond directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us? Call Raylie at 201-978-6387.  Make sure to bring a stool with you. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SATURDAY: Sketch the Myrtle Promenade

This Saturday we’ll explore downtown Brooklyn.  We’ll start the day at the Brooklyn MetroTech area.  Possibly New York’s answer to Silicon Valley (…we’ll see).

We’ll meet at the Myrtle Promenade which is in the heart of the heart of the MetroTech complex in an area called “The Commons".

In the afternoon we’ll enjoy sketching two blocks away in Brooklyn’s Civic Center - the Columbus Park area that includes the the modern Brutalist style Brooklyn Supreme Court and classic old Greek Revival style Borough Hall building.


Where:   We’ll meet at the corner of Jay Street and the Myrtle Promenade in the center of the MetroTech area.  See the map below for details.

When:  Starting time is 10 AM, but if sleep is more precious than sketching time - come when you can, … we’ll be there.  Bring my cell phone below if you can't spot us.

How:  By Subway
-  Jay Street - MetroTech Station, A,C R or F train
-  Borough Hall, 2,3,4 or 5 train
See map for easy walk.

Lunch:   12:30 Break for lunch.  Bring your own or take a short walk to Forno Rosso:  327 Gold St for pizza.

Afternoon:  1:30 - we’ll be sketching the Civic Center area and the court buildings.

Show and Tell:  3:00 PM for the Social part of Urban Sketching.  It's a short walk to the Brooklyn Brewhouse:  229 Duffield St. b/t Willoughby St & Fulton St where we will share drawings, good stories and and a snack or refreshments if you're so inclined.

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If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekday Urban Sketchers Capture Last Leaves of Fall

This has been a beautiful fall.  The trees have been in full color and have retained their foliage long into the season.  It could be over in an instant so let's take advantage capturing this fall's beauty before it is gone. And, what better place in NYC to find big beautiful trees than Central Park. 

This week we will meet just inside the gates at the Conservancy Garden at the north end of the park. From there we can choose the manicured horticulture inside the garden or the wilder views along the Harlem Meer just beyond the garden's gates.

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TIME: 10:30 AM

LOCATION: Central Park Conservancy Garden
                        5th Avenue and 105th Street

TRANSPORTATION: 2, 3 Train to 110 St/ Central Park North or  6 to 103 Street

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us? Call Raylie at 201-978-6387.  Bring lunch.  There are lots of benches in the park so you might not need to bring your stool.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SATURDAY: Sketch Woodlawn

If the dead could sing - you'd hear them at Woodlawn Cemetary.  One of the largest cemeteries in New York City and a designated National Historic Landmark.   Founded in 1863 it has the character of a rural cemetery. Built on rolling hills, its tree-lined roads lead to some unique memorials.  The late autumn colors should be fantastic

It is the final resting place of the famous and infamous as well as some of the greatest names in music including:

Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, WC Handy, Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Herman Melville, Fiorello LaGuardia, Bat Masterson, FW Woolworth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Joseph Pulitzer, RH Macy,  Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, ...  and others.


When: 10 AM -  Starting time, or whenever you arrive.

Where:  We'll meet at the Main Entrance:  Webster Ave & 517 East 233rd Street, Bronx.  Take my phone number to call or text if you're late and want to find us.

Lunch:  12:00 - We'll leave Woodlawn for a bite at Katonah Pizza & Pasta at 4307 Katonah Ave

Afternoon:  1:15  PM - Back sketching at Woodlawn

Show and Tell:  3:00 PM for the Social part of Urban Sketching.  It's a short walk to the Rambling House:  4292 Katonah Ave where we will share drawings, good stories and and a snack or refreshments if you're so inclined.

If you can’t find us

call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome.