Thursday, April 28, 2016


Taken from the Akron Beacon Journal, By Betty O'Neill-Roderick

What a day we have planned!  
Start the day with a glorious ferry ride across the East River.  The Manhattan skyline is to your back and the three bridges are there on your left as you head to Brooklyn.
(Pop Question:  Can you name the three bridges in the order they appear heading uptown?)

Sketch by Joan Tavolott

We land at the DUMBO Park by the lighthouse and will sketch the views of NYC, (Manhattan is always seen better from Brooklyn.)

Photo by Joan T

In the afternoon we'll sketch one of the most iconic views in all of New York - the view at Water and Washington Streets

Ferry Sched

What:  Sketch DUMBO ((Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass))

Where: We'll start at the Ferry in Manhattan  at Pier 11.  a) Skip the Ferry and meet us at the lighthouse at 10:30. b) arrive late and take the next ferry - bring my cell phone # so you can find us

When:  Meet at 10 AM. Arrive on time to get a ferry ticket. The Ferry costs $6 for a one-way trip.

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

-   By Ferry:  Meet at Pier 11 on the NYC Side (see map)

-   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.

Lunch:  We'll break at 12:15 to purchase lunch - or bring  your own. We'll meet at 12:30 for a picnic lunch at a shady spot in the vicinity of Jane's Carousel

Jane's Carousel near the picnic area

Afternoon:  1:30 - Sketching the Streets of DUMBO at the corner of Washington and Water Streets

Sketching the View - Photo by Joan T.

Show and Tell:  3:15 off to The Bridges -at 66 Water St to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined.

Click to Enlarge

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, April 26, 2016

WEDNESDAY: Sketch the Irish Hunger Memorial

Maureen will be hosting an event on Wednesday, sketching the  Irish Hunger Memorial.  It is a moving site and an fascinating place to sketch.  The Memorial is located at the North End Ave & Vesey Street & North End Avenue, NYC

Starting time is 10 AM

If you can’t find the group call or text Maureen at 917 855 1803

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SATURDAY: Sketch Old and New

The Cooper Union

Photo by By I, DavidShankbone

Photo of Abraham Lincoln
 taken February 27, 1860
in New York City
by Mathew Brady,
the day of his famous
Cooper Union speech
Cooper Union's original older building is an Italianate brownstone building. It was the first structure in New York City to feature rolled-iron I-beams for structural support.  The building was the first in the world to be built with an elevator shaft, because Cooper, in 1853, was confident an elevator would soon be invented. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and a New York City Landmark in 1965.

On February 27, 1860, the school became the site of an historic address by Abraham Lincoln on the question of federal power to regulate and limit the spread of slavery to the federal territories and new States. The Cooper Union speech galvanized support for Lincoln and contributed to his gaining the Party's nomination for the Presidency.

Photo: By Beyond My Ken

41 Cooper Square completed in 2009, stands in stark contrast to the original building.  It is one of the architecturally greenest buildings in the city.

Also highly sketch-able within one block
-  The Astor Place Subway Station is among the original 28 subway stations and a Registered Historic Place in NY.
-  The Astor Library is one of the original libraries making up the
-  New York Public Library. Housed inside the Astor Library Building  home to Joseph Papp’s Public Theater,

What:  Sketching Old and New at The Cooper Union

When:  Saturday starting at 11 AM

Where:   Start at 30 Cooper Sq - Meet at the old building on the corner of East Eighth Street and Lafayette St.

  By Subway.  The #6 train to Astor Place or the N, R train to 8th St - NYU, are both very close.

Lunch:  12:30 - Bring your own or opt for street food and street dining

Afternoon:  1:30  Back to sketching.  Until 3 PM

-   There will be no Show and Tell this week, but we will have a quick throw down to share our work
-   Bring a stool if you have one.
-   Nice sunshine if forecast - bring a hat and water.

Click to Enlarge

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

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

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Platinum Carbon from a brushpen

A question from Mark regarding fountain pen ink resulted in this post. He’s very good at getting such results.
His question: “Do you have a waterproof black ink that you could enthusiastically recommend?”
Well! Push my dork button, why don’t you.
I’m a fairly recent convert to fountain pens. By recent, I mean 2009. Before that, I used gel pens, almost anything else that didn’t contribute to wrist pain like ballpoints and my death grip did. And fountain pens opened a range of colorful ink possibilities, all suitable for writing but nearly all water-based, and probably fugitive. I wanted fountain pens to draw with, so I needed ink that wouldn’t shred or clog the feed. And could be put into a new favorite (as of 2009), the Pentel Pocket Brushpen (thanks, Craig Thompson) — and! most importantly! — could hold up under another rediscovered obsession (2009 too — a magical year): watercolors. 
All the pretty colors. So pretty, and probably fugitive.

To my rescue came Russell Stutler. And his strange frankenpen (from Jenny Ortuoste: “The term “frankenpen” is used by fountain pen collectors to refer to a pen that incorporates parts from other pens – say, a cap or a barrel. The prefix “franken-” comes from the fictional monster cobbled together by Dr. Frankenstein.”). And his favorite ink for said frankenpen, Platinum Carbon.
Platinum Carbon ink was the answer to nearly all my demands. Even at the hefty price of USD $20+ per 60 mL bottle, it was worth it to me to keep at hand: it was dark, it had little shading, and it stayed put under watercolors.
But it does have a few caveats besides cost.
It doesn't like staying in a pen. So if nib creep bothers you, Platinum Carbon will push all your nib creep buttons, all the time.
Depending on the kind of pen you put it in, and the kind of paper you slap it on, Platinum Carbon can muddy your watercolors. If you've got a pretty fine nib that tends to write dry, the greater the chance Platinum Carbon will dry quicker on the paper. If you've got a wet writer, or anything thicker than a fine nib, prepare to wait a while before adding watercolors. Or get blotter paper to carry with you to help it. Paper towel tends to spread ink and not really blot, but others have done fine with them, or a tissue. I've not had the same graceful luck.
Once you put it in a pen, keep using that pen until Platinum Carbon has run out of it. Platinum Carbon requires more maintenance because it's a pigmented ink, so the pigments, fine as they are, can clog and damage the feed if left to dry for too long. Damaged feeds means a dud pen, or a call to a nibmeister. The Platinum Century 3776, though designed to let Carbon ink stay there with irregular use, does have its limit, though I try not to find out what that is. Clean any pen inked with Platinum Carbon as often as you can — and let it give you another reason to get *more* pens.
Brushpens are another thing. I like Platinum Carbon in them, but I’ve yet to experience clogging as I usually wear down the brush tips before any sort of cleaning happens. I assume the same rules apply, but your mileage may differ.
Platinum Carbon ink has been my choice above and beyond others I’ve tried, including Sailor Nano Kiwaguro, which to my eye presents more shading even in the finer nibs I prefer to use. Noodler’s Heart of Darkness was an old favorite, but a bottle turned rancid and I was overwhelmed by the strong chemical odor every time I wanted to ink up a pen. I like my ink to lie flat and catacomb-dark, to emit only the slight musky scent of ink and little to no strange chemical perfumes, and to prove itself unperturbed by anything smeared or slathered on top of it.  
There are other waterproof alternatives, such as DeAtramentis Document, Diamine Registrar’s, or iron gall, inks. Each has particular properties that invite just as much, if sometimes more, caution as Platinum Carbon, so read and research carefully on the care and feeding of these inks if you want to try them and make them part of your regular sketchkit. 
Platinum Carbon and watercolor.

Still interested in fountain pens and how you can incorporate them into your own kits? Here are some resources:

If you’ve any questions, please leave them below and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. If you have links to resources to share, please add them below! And if you have favorite tools you love and think others may find helpful, write a post. Cheers and happy sketching!

SATURDAY: Blossom Sketching

Visit Brooklyn's Botanic Garden 
during cherry blossom season 
and witness an exuberant display 
that changes day by day.  

It's easy to forget from year to year just how stunning this display is 
and what a treasure it is to sketch.

Watch this wonderful video to be reminded.

Cherry Blossom Time-lapse at Brooklyn Botanic Garden from Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Vimeo.

Photo by LaurieAnnie


What:   Sketch the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Where:  By subway enter at 150 Eastern Parkway,or side entrance near car parking at 990 Washington Ave.

When:  Saturday, April 16th, at 10 AM.

Admission is Free on Saturdays between 10 AM and Noon.

Meet:  Meet at the Sundial (the Armillary Sphere) in front of the Administration Building (see photo) --->

-  By Subway: The 2,3 to Eastern Parkway Bklyn Museum station, or (not as close) the 4,5 to Franklin Ave Station.
-  By Car:  Attended parking (for a fee) is available at 900 Washington Avenue.

Lunch: 12:30,  Meet at the Sundial and walk to the cafeteria, or picnic outdoors.

Afternoon:  1:30 - Back to sketching

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.

The Cherry Blossom Areas

Click to Enlarge

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, April 12, 2016

Sketching at the Met

Although I loved the Vigée Le Brun exhibit I was much more excited about the people coming to see her paintings.

It's not that anyone was actually posing, but they generally paused in front of the paintings for a moment either lost in thought or busy reading the art notes on the wall.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

SATURDAY - Sketch the Met

Not the weather we hoped for.  
Sketching outdoors is out  - as winter weather lingers for at least one more weekend.

However Urban Sketchers love the Met.
  • Sketch the tourists.  
  • Sketch the art lovers.  
  • Enjoy the art.  

A unique show will make this visit a winner.

Vigée Le Brun - one of the finest painters of the 18th century is featured in her first retrospective.  Eighty incredible works including paintings and pastels never seen in public.

Click to see the video to learn about her life and times.

Or click here if your browser won't let you play the video

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue

When:  Start time is 10 AM.  Meet at the Information booth of the main hall, on the nine o'clock side (left side as you enter)  (see map)

Lunch:  12:30 in the Cafeteria - Ground floor, with access from the first floor behind the Medieval Hall and from the second floor at the rear of the European Paintings galleries

Afternoon:  Meet in the European Sculpture Hall (see map)

Show and Tell:  3:15 off to  Carlow East at 1254 Lexington Ave, b/t 84th St & 85th St to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined.


  • Pay what you wish, despite what the signs say.  Be generous if you can.
  • Enter at 81 St - it's less crowded Buy your ticket there and come up to the Great Hall to meet
  • Rules about sketching are unevenly enforced, mostly they don't want you to block traffic.  Pencil is always okay.  Waterbrush and watercolor are often tolerated. They don't want open water.
  • Bring a stool. Most times they're okay to use.
  • Guards will search your bags as you enter.  Backpacks are not welcomed but a shoulder bag is fine.

Less Crowded Entrance at 81 Street
Click to Enlarge
Meet at the Info Desk in the Great Hall (left side as  you enter)
Special Show in Gallery 199 right side feature in Orange
Afternoon in the European Sculpture Garden - marked in Yellow

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, April 4, 2016

Sketching the Easter Bonnet Parade

I can now cross this event off my sketching bucket list. So many hats, so little time! This group is an entourage of 7 people. The come in matching outfits every year.

These guys came with their hats and jackets covered with glued on jelly beans and candy corn in Easter colors.

Harriet is a milliner . Smart lady. She comes every year in one of her creations. Good publicity. This had was so huge it was hard to miss her.

 Polka dot paper bags filled with peeps.

Husband, wife, and nephew. He was dressed in a morning suit. We were having a pleasant conversation while I was sketching. Unbeknownst to me , until afterward, I was filmed sketching them.</a>
You can see me sketching from the 4 min to 4min 29 sec mark.
If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck... it must be a duck.

This guy moved so fast that I sketched him coming and going. He has been participating in this event for 40 years. He used to live in the village, but now lives in Miami. He leaves his morning suit at his friends apartment in NY and flies up just for the parade.

One of my favorites of the day. An American Bulldog , rescued and adopted last November... all 65 lbs of her. Built like a tank and a tail that didn't quit. She donned rabbit ears. Her name is Brisket.

I didn't bring my stool. I figured it would be too crowded and limit my view. I sketched directly in ink and ended up sketching over 50 peeps. Color was added from memory at home. I can't wait to go back again.

Weekday Sketchers at Lincoln Center

Iconic architecture, dramatic views, fountains, reflecting pool...and a lawn.  Lincoln Center offers sketchers multiple possibilities to capture cityscapes, people, parks and sculptures.   Weather permitting we will be outside.  If not we can work looking out from an atria in one of the buildings.

DATE: Wednesday April 6, 2016

TIME: 10:00 AM

LOCATION: Lincoln Center Broadway and 65th Streets

MEETING SPOT:  We will meet by the fountain and then decide where to start sketching. 

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Running late? Call or text Raylie at 201-978-6387.