Tuesday, May 26, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch Haunted Stuff

SATURDAY:  May 30th, 2020

I followed Jin Kim’s “Haunted House” series of Facebook posts and thought - what an interesting idea!

It got me to thinking.  I believe after the combined shock of World War I and the 1918 Pandemic the world became fascinated with Spiritualism and related topics.  Ouija  Boards, Haunted Houses, ghosts, emanations, tarot cards, and seances were all the fashion.   

It might all be coming around again, and I thought we should get a head-start.  

I contacted Jin to ask if she thought it might be an good topic for our virtual sketch event.  You might be surprised to hear she thought it was a great idea.  Jin supplied a map of haunted locations where ghost sightings have been reported around the world. Scroll through the pages to see more locations.  Thank you Jin.

You can register now at our Eventbrite page:

REGISTRATION CLOSES at noon on Friday.   That afternoon everyone who registered will recieve log-in information for our Zoom Videoconferencing Virtual Sketch Event.
Start time is 10 AM EDT on Saturday.

To see Jin's global map of haunted places paste this address into your browser:

You are welcome to use any other source or material to put together your art piece.  
  • The Morning sketch will focus on haunted places.
  • The Afternoon sketch is haunted things, objects, images, tools moods.
  • Take this as seriously or as lightly as you like.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Tale of Two Sketches

Once upon a time in the "before" days, Labor-Day 2019 to be exact, my buddy Julie and I met up in the East Village with the intention of finding a scene to sketch side by side for a few unfettered hours.

After walking around for too long in the hot sun, we settled on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue A. The spot checked off all our boxes: Picturesque. Out of the direct sun. Bustling but not overrun with passersby. A mom & pop storefront for me. A bit of greenery for Julie.
Our lookout, on the corner of 7th & A

We had barely set up our stools by the curb, when character after East Village character approached. First up, a man with glassy eyes that rolled around in his head, who queried our every move. We answered succinctly, but he wasn't one for social cues, so as we mixed up the colors of our palettes, he stood inches between Julie and me, swaying back and forth like a pendulum, precariously close to the paint set-ups perched on our laps. Eventually, he gave up on our lack of attention and moved on.

Jullie deep in concentration on her composition
Next, an aging rocker with no side teeth regaled us with tidbits of his days as one of the first Sludge Punk Rockers, a music genre that apparently combines the darkness of heavy metal with the screaming vocals synonymous with punk.

Then along came a man named Cissy, pretty in pink from hot pink bob to rose-colored bra to magenta patent leather sandals. He shared his financial woes with us and his memories of the good ol' days in this never-a-dull-moment community.

Cissy, resplendent in pink

As each gentleman caller came and went, Julie remained steadfast on her sketch, but, with the exception of the stoned one who came precariously close to body slamming us, I rather enjoyed taking time out for the repartee with these East Village fixtures.

When we were finally moving and grooving on our paintings, a clean-cut, just out-of-college guy shyly came close. He explained that he had recently moved in to an apartment in the building beside us and looked out at the same view as our painting. Would we be interested in selling our work to him and his roommates, who would chip in together? Soon after he had gone, a well-put-together blonde woman sauntered by, noticing that her Pilates Studio was featured in both of our paintings. I half-joked that there was a bidding war on our work.

Shawne's sketch

The upshot? Julie sold her painting to the young man and his roommates and I sold mine to the Pilates lady, who offered to pay me half in cash and half in pilates sessions.

The studio had Shawne's sketch printed onto canvas, at the entrance

About a month later, after the cool down of one of these Pilates classes, I glanced out the studio's front window, struck by the way the late afternoon light diagonally sliced the facade of the building across the street. As my eyes settled on the view, I then noticed that I could see inside the apartment directly across from the 2nd floor studio. First the cheery red painted walls, then a whole gallery wall filled with artfully arranged paintings. I'm pretty sure if I stared at this view long enough, I would've spotted a beautifully rendered watercolor of a street scene from 7th and Avenue A, bearing the signature in the bottom left corner of one Julie Kessler.
Julie's sketch

Weekly theme: "Greeting Cards: IT'S COOL TO BE OLD SCHOOL."

It's Memorial Day and time to remember past and present heroes and all the special people in our lives.
Occasional Card by Paula Thompson

Missing celebrations in person? Suggested by Marianne, this week's theme is "Greeting Cards: IT'S COOL TO BE OLD SCHOOL." Let's energize a custom that is diminishing in modern society and paint a greeting card. Yes, a card. Perhaps a friendly greeting card (especially nice during this time of isolation) to brighten the mailbox of a neighbor, family member or friend. Let's remember our heroes or mark a special day: Bar Mitzvah, Holy Communion, Graduation, Shower, Wedding, Holiday, you name it. The possibilities are endless.

Christmas Card by MarianneMilzoff

Occasional Card by Alan Wernicke

Choose the people who matter most to you and create a unique piece of art for each. What a great way to acknowledge that they really matter to you. Sharing your work is part of a healthy creative cycle. It is a chance to practice and you’ll make someone feel good.

Take some time to create something straight from the heart, show your gratitude, offer encouragement or mark a milestone. People treasure and hold onto home crafted painted cards. It is akin to giving your own painting to the important people in your life. So... find inspiration from Google images, books or bring forth your own inner artistic abstract beauty and enjoy. Remember to share your creations on NYC Urban sketchers Facebook and to note that this is NUS, "Not an Urban Sketch".

Occasional Card by Paula Thompson

Some tips that may help:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

SATURDAY: Back to School and The Games We Played

Our next virtual sketch event will be this coming Saturday. May 23, 2020.  We start at 10:00 AM EDT for the morning session and at 1:00 PM EDT for the afternoon session.

The morning virtual sketch event “Back to School” will ask you to dive into your school memories, a rich source.  You can focus on any point in your education from the earlier years to college and beyond.  In so many ways the people we are today were formed by our experiences back then.  Plumb your memories for the meaningful moments of your past that centered around school, learning, and your social life at that time.  You are free to use any source materials you like and can make this as realistic, or as stylized as you prefer.  Feel free to add words to help explain the meaning of what you create.

Our afternoon has a different focus and could be called “The Games We Played”.  As children we would loose ourselves in play, totally absorbed by the fantasies we created.  Let’s return with an adult artist’s eye to show the games we played that filled those innocent times.  You are free to use any source materials you like and can make this as realistic, or as stylized as you prefer.  Feel free to add words to help explain the meaning of what you create.

The event is limited to 95 people.  Sign up for free using Eventbrite.   Registration will close at noon on Friday.  You will receive login information for our Zoom Videoconferencing on Friday afternoon.
If you need technical help - send an email to markleibowitz810@gmail.com, and we will assign someone to help coach you.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Weekly Theme: Let's Go Traveling

If times were normal, I would be getting on a plane this week to meet friends in Austin for our long planned "Great West Texas Road Trip:  We were going to do a 2,000 mile drive through West Texas and New Mexico stopping in Roswell, Marfa, Waco, El Paso and Carlsberg Caverns to name a few stops on our itinerary.  I was also going to take my granddaughters to Paris this summer and then go to Africa on an Art Safari in the fall. This was to be my Year of Travel.  So far I have gone nowhere. 

Parliament at Sunset.JPG

The Urban Sketchers Symposium was canceled, albeit for other reasons, so we didn't get to go to Hong Kong this spring. I am sure many of you had plans to travel this summer that have been scrapped as well.   

But we did get to go traveling this Saturday to Philadelphia, virtually.  The posts on our facebook page were so fabulous that I thought we should keep on traveling this week.  So our theme for the week is to "visit " the places you would have traveled if not for the confinement.  Oh, you didn't have travel plans this summer, no problem.  Where would you liked to have gone.  Or where have you gone before where you had a great time? 

By now we should all be pretty good about using Google Maps and other sites to be able to "go" anywhere in the world that your imagination can take you to.  

Go there!

Have fun!

Post your work!

Remember to mark it NUS!  

See you on Facebook!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Philadelphia Story

SATURDAY:  May 16, 2020.  
Event starts 10:00 AM EDT at our Zoom Page

If New Yorkers traveled many hours on an airplane to get there, and went through customs and had to exchange our currency - we’d be delighted at the incredible city we found.  Philadelphia is New York’s closest neighbor. It’s an easy car ride, a fun train trip or a delightful bus adventure to get there. However, with the virus looming over the world, it’s actually an even easier trip.

Registration closes on Friday 5/15/20 at 12:00 PM - Noon - EDT

Last year our sister city has hosted NYC Urban Sketchers and showed us their town. (Thank you Urban Sketchers Philadelphia.) We only skimmed the surface. We are delighted to be returning, armed with our new virtual tools for an even deeper exploration. There is so much to chose from:  

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is an art museum originally chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Artistic creations inspire curiosity, provoke emotions, and stir the senses. Explore this sampling of artists and makers whose work has beckoned visitors from all around the world to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a city where art is, truly, all around. Sculpture gardens, murals, museums, and installation art are scattered throughout the city. The Association for Public Art has cataloged the city’s art and created an interactive map. The map has clickable red and green pins (the green pins represent museums without walls) that you can tap to uncover creative gems. Each pin opens a link with a photo of the art, details about the piece, and notes about the area. Museums without walls often have a 360-degree self-guided tour option for independent exploration.

Albert Barnes believed that art should be viewed in terms of visual relationships such as color, line, or space. The Barnes Foundation has created a unique, online experience that allows users to peruse its art not by collection but by visual theme. Special for artists - you can use the interactive bar at the top of the page to choose colors, light saturation, spacial composition, and line style to explore paintings, jewelry, and artifacts that please the eye in similar ways.

The Rodin Museum houses the largest collection of his work outside of France. The collection includes nearly 150 bronzes, plasters, and marbles. Since sculpture is a three-dimensional art form, the museum has provided comprehensive photos of Rodin’s work from multiple angles and measurements to give viewers an idea of scale.

Art is not restricted to galleries and Philly has a thriving outdoor art culture. Mural Arts Philadelphia has produced more than 3,600 works of outdoor art. Browse murals across the city using an interactive drop-down menu divided by neighborhood. Each neighborhood has exhibits dedicated to the wall art in the area and provides photos, details about the work, and information about the project that commissioned it. Some of the murals are still in progress, so check back for updates!