Tuesday, October 27, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Spooky Stuff

It’s our Halloween Party!

Time to face our fears 
with sketch book in hand -
the ghosts and haunts await us.

This event was created by Cecelia Evasco

For our morning you might consider a virtual visit to Salem, Massachusetts, home of the witch trials. More than 200 people were eventually accused. Thirty were found guilty and 19 were executed by hanging. The stories the accusers told would raise the dead.

But if witches aren’t your thing, no worries. You might want to stop by Amityville, NY to enjoy the company of the murdered family whose ghosts are said to haunt the house on Ocean Avenue. The murder told detectives: "Once I started, I just couldn't stop. It went so fast".

And for your afternoon entertainment Cecilia is leading us to the Abandoned Places.

Cecelia's Special Halloween Website:  https://5f94d51718895.site123.me/


  • The virtual sketching event will be this Saturday (Halloween) and starts at 10 AM EDT
  • Registration closes on Friday at noon EDT.
  • On Friday afternoon if you registered you will receive the login info you’ll need to participate.

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Weekly Theme: Patterns in Nature

"To understand is to perceive patterns" 
- Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher

Did you know: Nature also likes to stay in order?
In art, a pattern is a repetition of specific visual elements. The dictionary defines "pattern" as an arrangement of repeated or corresponding parts, decorative motifs, etc. a decorative design. Patterns in nature are regular forms and symmetry found in the natural world. Most often they are based on mathematical models. Some examples include: symmetry (snowflakes), fractals (tree branches), spirals (flowers), meanders (river bends), waves, spheres, tessellations (honeycombs), cracks and spots and stripes on animals and birds.
Chicken feather pattern.jpg

Thanks so much to Susan Skorneck Chavez for suggesting this week's theme of "Patterns in Nature. " There are natural patterns everywhere - your choices for inspiration are endless: stripes on a bird or zebra, seed heads, the branches of trees, conifer cones, etc. Once you start noticing patterns it’s hard to stop

What can this exercise do for us?  Not only can it hone our powers of observation, it is also a powerful tool for meditation.  While rendering repeating patterns, we can take a break from the busyness around us.  

So, ... give your left brain a break, and create some patterns with us.  

If you can sketch from direct observation, it will be urban sketching. If you work from a photo, please use the label NUS (non an urban sketch) when posting on https://www.facebook.com/groups/nycurbansketchers.

For some additional inspiration, see: 

Natural Patterns https://ecstep.com/natural-patterns/
Patterns in nature by Amy Lamb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGKLZ3NO9Qk

For information on Mathematical patterns in Nature, see:

Fibonacci Sequence in Nature https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt2OlMAJj6o
How To Use The Golden Ratio In Art Composition & Design By Chelsea Wells Https://Artignition.Com/Golden-Ratio-In-Art

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Sailor’s Salvation

This virtual sketch event was suggested by Andrea Couture

If you think about the incredible dangers sailors have faced one of the most severe is trying to make landfall on a treacherous coastline. Lighthouse are built in remote dangerous locations. They are hard to construct requiring massive amounts of building materials. They are also tall dangerous structures to build. Lighthouses are located in lonely places where the men and women lived who were employed to keep the lights going and to spot ships in danger.

We have a number of websites to help you get started. Use them as a starting point. If you find a lighthouse that calls to you, a second search will probably turn up many more photos of the same structure, taken from different angles, at different times of the day and in different seasons. The choices are rich.

If you’re up for a thrill try googling lighthouse, huge wave photo. There is an entire sub- genre featuring lighthouses being struct by epic waves during fearsome storms. It all adds to the mystic, making us realize what incredible structures they are.

Websites with Incredible Lighthouses


-   To attend you will need to register.

-   Click here to register https://www.eventbrite.com/e/saturday-sketch-the-sailors-salvation-tickets-126266810429

-   Registration will close at noon EDT on Friday

-   On Friday afternoon, after registration has closed everyone who signed up will receive a separate email with login information and a more complete list of reference sites you can use.

-   Our virtual sketch event will start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday.

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, October 19, 2020

 Weekly Theme:  AlternativeLiquids 

If you spill your coffee.....use it! 

I know this happens to me: I'm out sketching with a cup of coffee and a container of water.....opps...put the brush into the wrong liquid!  Or ...oppps, just tipped the coffee cup over and have a puddle at my feet.   I'm pretty sure it has happened to you as well. 

But did you ever think of using that liquid to paint with.  Not only coffee but tea, juices, wine or any liquid that has color. ( Hey...Halloween is almost here...try blood! No, Too Gross! )

This week find a colored liquid and try to see what you can do with it.  How dark can you go? How light? Can you thicken it? Thin it? Can you create a "paint set" with different liquids?  Play with it. This is a variation of a monochrome painting but not with watercolors.  

For some inspiration take a look at this article in Doodlers Anonymous titled "Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee".  


Have fun!

Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee — Doodle Over It! | Doodlers Anonymous

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Open House


Open House New York Weekend is a citywide festival that unlocks the doors of New York’s most architecturally and culturally significant buildings and highlights the people who design, build, and preserve New York.   

Every year I get excited about this event, and every year I end up disappointed.  The tours happen when we’re sketching together.  The places that open up and become available are fascinating, but it’s never organized so that we could sketch.  It’s highly structured and they keep people moving along so the greatest numbers can view these incredible buildings and homes.  But, this year is different.

Is anything better during the pandemic?  I’d say yes, this is better, or at least it’s better for NYC Urban Sketchers.  Of the 150 venues that are open, none can be visited in person but many are conducting virtual tours where we can see the virtual photos/videos of the interiors.   It’s an incredible list of locations.

The Plan Your Weekend feature at the Open House New York Weekend website is the portal to all of our activities this Saturday.  

New York City - here we come!



CLICK HERE to register:  


  • The event will start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday October 17th
  • This is a virtual event that requires that you register beforehand
  • Registration closes on Friday at noon EDT.

There are no fees.  All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, October 12, 2020


Sketch by Suzala Zahler

Look around. Take some time to notice the the people who are busy working all around us. You are sure to see construction crews, school crossing guards, police officers, and all those folks who cannot work from home during the pandemic. This week our theme is to depict the worker on paper. We have plenty of models available and the weather is still nice enough to sketch outside. This is our opportunity to draw human figures and faces, and to their render gestures. Try to catch people in different poses such as bending, turning and waving their arms. 

Sketch by Marianne Mizoff
Sketch by Jeffrey Levine

Other examples include car wash attendants, waiters, hairdressers, people on utility poles, gardeners and delivery folks. Be realistic or abstract, but have fun as you capture people at work ... or taking a break.

Sketch by Mel Barranco
Sketch by Jerome Shafer


This will actually be urban sketching, unless you work from a photo. In that case please use the label NUS (non an urban sketch) when posting on https://www.facebook.com/groups/nycurbansketchers.

Sketch by Anna Rich
Need more inspiration, take a look here:
Underpaid, Ignored, and Essential: A  Coronavirus Sketchbook Drawing the workers  who cannot stay home. By Molly Crabapple  4/3/2020 
https://www.thenation.com/article/society/ coronavirus-crabapple/

An Artist's Life For Me! How to Draw People: Sketching in Public Places Blog Post by Lynne  Chapman  

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Blue Rider

A virtual sketch event created and developed by Grace Polk

A little more than one hundred years ago the European based artworld exploded in color.  A few weeks ago we explored some of the wonderful artwork created by the French based artists.  But France wasn’t the only place that was reacting.  German artists in the area around Munich were inspired by similar influences at the time.  

The paintings they created are the launch pad for our explorations this week.  Grace Polk has created a fascinating journey for us that will include sites and sounds.  Yes the artists of the Blue Rider school were also inspired by the music that was being written at the time.

For our Morning:  We'll be sketching the sites and scenes that inspired the group.

For our Afternoon:   We will sketch the places and things we call home but we'll use the style and colors developed by the Blue Rider School.

Grace has provided many links for our sketching -  here's a good place to start:

WikiArt: Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)




  • To attend you will need to register.
  • Click here to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/saturday-sketch-the-blue-rider-tickets-124458028313
  • Registration will close at noon EDT on Friday
  • On Friday afternoon, after registration has closed everyone who signed up will receive a separate email with login information and a more complete list of reference sites you can use.
  • Our virtual sketch event will start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday.

Monday, October 5, 2020

 Weekly Theme:  Shadows

With a week of beautiful fall weather ahead of us, it is a great time to work on adding shadows to our sketches.  The strong sunshine forecast this week should offer us great opportunities to work outdoors and see how shadows affect our drawings.   The fall colors on the trees will add interesting color infused light to the scenery. 

What are the conditions of shadows? What colors are they?   What mood do they render in the drawing? How does the rendering changes when you add the shadows?

Start with something small,  like a fire hydrant.  

Fire Hydrant Garden Statue – Mid-Maryland Farm Market

How many colors are there?  How does the shadow fall across the object? How does it follow the ins and outs of the curves?   

Move on to a house.  How do the colors change as the sun moves across the building? 

row houses in Washington Heights | Washington heights, Nyc history, City  architecture

Take a look at a landscape in a park or a tree on your street.  What does the light and shadow do to define the shape of the trees?  How do you capture it? What colors do you use? 

Sunshine casting tree shadow in luxury garden - Stock Photo - Dissolve

Experiment with mixing colors to use in shadows. They are not just grey, black or purple.  They are dynamic and complex.  There are many videos and on line tips on this subject. Shari Blaukopf, one of the Urban Sketchers instructors has a course just on this subject.  https://shariblaukopf.com/instructional-video/. Even watching the promo video will give you ideas on how to capture shadows in your sketches. 

This is a great excuse to get out and have fun.  Cold weather is coming, enjoy this week's warm and sunny days.