Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SATURDAY: Sketch the Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine


On Saturday Sketch NYC's Most Impressive Cathedral.  

In a city filled with skyscrapers, the Cathedral impresses with sheer size. Its detailed facade towers over Amsterdam Avenue, and the building extends a full avenue block to Morningside Drive. The Cathedral is more than 120 years old, and remains unfinished. 

Despite incomplete construction, it is the largest cathedral in the world, making it a global landmark. The Statue of Liberty could easily be tucked under the church's soaring dome.

Some of the modern construction includes this amazing capital above one of the massed columns surrounding one of the formal entrances on the West Front.

Rod Arroyo


Where:  1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, one block east of Broadway.

How:  By Subway - take the 1, B, or C Train to the 110th Street / Cathedral Parkway station.
          By Car - From the North and East sides: FDR Drive to 96th Street; west on 97th Street; north on Amsterdam Avenue to 112th Street

When: The action starts at 10:00 AM, but it will be good to see you whenever you arrive.

Lunch:  12:00, leave for Bistro Ten 18 at 1018 Amsterdam Ave

Afternoon:  1:15 back to St. John for more sketching

Show and Tell:  At 3:15 we leave for Mel’s Burger Bar, 2850 Broadway, b/t 111th St & Cathedral Pky - to share drawings, good stories and beer, coffee, tea or wine if you're so inclined (food too if you like).

Click to Enlarge
Can't find us?  
Call or Text Mark - 973-809-9128

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sketching at the Conservatory

The idea that we'd be sketching outdoors in mid February is too amazing to believe, yet, that's what we were doing this past Saturday at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

The first sketch however was done indoors in the bonsai garden.  The windows to the green house were open and the bonsais seemed as happy with the weather as I was.  Given that it was winter all the leaves were gone from this tiny old tree and it was easy to sketch the structure.

I enjoyed sketching the different roof lines.

This old tree was filled with burls, and bulges and interesting knotted shapes that were fun to draw.

At lunch I did a quick sketch of Tim.  It was his first time joining us sketching.

During Show and Tell at Tooker's Alley I was sitting next to Doug and did a quick sketch.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SATURDAY: Sketch Winter Above - Desert Below

February 20, 2016

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens - 
Steinhardt Conservatory

My eyes are hungry for GREEN
for the natural vibrant colors of summer. 

Escape the cold and discover the plants of South Africa, Australia, and Brazil! Join us sketching at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Conservatory where it's warm and the colors of summer are alive and waiting for you.

Colors that will soothe your eyes
Enjoy Nature's Tranquility

Winter Above Us

Desert Below


When:   The Gardens open at 10 AM and admission is free until noon.  

Where:  The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens,  150 Eastern Parkway,  Brooklyn, We will be in the Steinhardt Conservatory

Admission:  Free from 10 AM to Noon (incentive to come early.
From 12 PM on
  • Adults - $10
  • Seniors (65 and over) - $5
  • Students with a valid ID - $5
  • Children under 12 - Free
How:  Best Bet - 2,3 , 4, 5, B Subway,
          Close but not as convenient - Q to Prospect Park

         By car:  There's convenient parking behind the Brooklyn Museum which is adjacent to the Gardens.

Lunch: at 12:00.  We will eat in the Conservatory.

Afternoon:   1:15 - back to sketching in the Conservatory

Show and Tell:  3:15 walk to Tooker Alley 793 Washington Ave,  to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined.


Click to Enlarge

Can't find us?  
Call or Text Mark - 973-809-9128

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, February 15, 2016

On and Off the Grid: Portrait Party

The rules: Everyone in the group arranges themselves in a circle. Each is handed a  stack of paper, one sheet per number of participants. One by one, we sketch each other. When your name is called, you still as still as a statue for 10 minutes while all the other sketchers capture your likeness. Just when you think you can't hold that smile or not scratch that itch one more second, the next sketcher's name is called to model. At the end of the day, each sketcher has created 17 portraits. Here are mine:

Afterwards, we arrange all the portraits on the ground in a grid. Once laid out, follow any row horizontally and you see that artist's output. Pick any row from top to bottom and you can see each artist's take on a specific model. Much easier to see it than to explain it, so here:
the famous grid
It was insanely cold that day, even inside the atrium, but our cold-of-body, but warm-of-heart sketchers were troopers:
Paula, April, and Mark
lovely sketchers all in a row

the circle
Portrait artist, Anne Watkins, on a "busman's holiday"

Mary gets down to business
John says "cheese"
Part of the fun for me is watching the passerbys. (Or is it the passersby?) Either way, in NYC, there's never a dull moment.
 A group of doll collectors meet here regularly
A proud creations from the Den of Angels, the doll-collectors group
Hope they were on their lunch break

Lest we forget where we were, this sign downstairs reminded us who's boss

After the throwdown in the atrium, many of us headed off for a refreshment. We warmed up, shared our portraits (and the strategies and supplies employed for creating our portraits), and raised a glass together.

Josh & Emily apr├Ęs-toast

All in all, it was totally worth braving the cold for this.

portrait party

Thanks for organizing a great day, Mark....and what a workout--10 minute sketches. Thanks to everyone for wearing bright colors! I brought water-soluble oil pastels, a black watercolor marker and watercolors. All paintings were on the 9x12 inch paper that Mark brought. Here are portraits of a few of my favorite sketching companions:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Portrait Party....

As temps dipped to single digits in NYC, the registrants of the Urban Sketchers Portrait Party made their way to the 56th and Madison at the Atrium to draw each other.

Mark, who organized the event (Thanks Mark!), requested that we use a "bold" medium to that the images would have greater graphic impact in photos, so I opted to use acrylic.  I worked with three brushes, a half inch flat, a #12 round and a #6 round, all synthetic.

My idea was to block in middle values then break to shadow and highlight values in the next two passes over each portrait, drawing directly with the paint. Unfortunately, I didn't take my Payne's grey or a true red, so I had to improvise on the pallet, slowing me down somewhat.  I limited to primaries, burnt umber, burnt sienna and white, but had i the Payne's grey for the shadow values, I'd have not had to mix cobalt blue and umber as a substitute. Perhaps my addled memory will kick in next time round.

A goodly workout and challenge and fun to go after. Here are a dozen of the pictures I made.