Tuesday, January 26, 2021


Designed and developed by Judy Abi Roustom and Joy Hecht

Saturday:  The NYC / Lebanon Sketch Event


Since starting to work with Judy and Joy on this event almost everything has turned out to be a surprise. I was stunned by the color, the diversity and the rich history of Lebanon. They've included loads of interesting sites to help you visualize the art we'll create.

 Lebanon is an ancient and beautiful country, home to a great diversity of cultures, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, a richness of contemporary art and architecture, beautiful landscapes, and of course wonderful food!

Urban Sketchers Lebanon has invited us to join their sketchers on an artist's tour of their incredible country.

This is a joint USK Lebanon/USK NYC event. The Registration Link can be found below.


Here are some places you might want to explore on your trip.  To start, here's a map, so you can locate them.



1. Beirut


The capital of Lebanon, with half of the country's population:  home to the government, major universities, museums, and dynamic neighborhoods filled with lively restaurants and bars.  Home to Damascus Street, which divided the city and the country during the 1975-90 civil war.  Home to beautiful old houses, many still riddled with bullets and broken windows since the civil war, as well as the gleaming new apartments, markets, hotels, and offices in the rebuilt (though not always vibrant) city center. 


We've flagged two neighborhoods in Beirut: 


Gemmayze/Mar Mikhael:

Note: These two adjacent areas are closest to the port, and were hit the worst by the explosion.  They are full of beautiful old buildings, restaurants, bars, art galleries, gentrification, and lots of trendy people.  They are roughly at sea level, so behind them (to the south of Gemmayze Street and its continuation in Mar Mikhael, Armenia Street) is a steep hill and a series of staircases often referred to as the "Achrafieh Stairs," because they go up to the Achrafieh neighborhood. 


Note:  This imagery was shot in fall, 2020, when the immediate damage from the explosion had been cleaned up, but of course most buildings had not yet been restored.  The banner saying "We are Staying" rebuffs the attempts by real estate developers to buy damaged traditional homes whose owners couldn't afford to restore them, in order to replace them with modern high-rises.


Raouché rocks:

Note: Raouché (or "pigeon rock") is along the western shoreline of Beirut.  The rocks themselves are an interesting formation in the sea near the shoreline. People go to stroll, watch the sun set, climb down a set of paths to the water, ride a boat through the arch in the rocks, and generally enjoy the scenery.



2. Byblos (Jbeil)

An hour's drive up the coast from Beirut, Byblos is the world's oldest continuously inhabited city and a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Its charming port, ancient ruins, and traditional souq (market) make it a major tourist destination as well as a lovely place for Beirutis to get out of town and dine on fish by the seaside. 


3. Baalbek

Baalbek is a city some 70 kilometers northeast of Beirut in the Beqaa Valley.  It is known for the ancient city once called Heliopolis, whose ruins are a major destination for local and foreign visitors alike, and which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.  


4. Saida (Sidon)

The third largest city in Lebanon, Saida is 45 kilometers down the coast from Beirut.  It is home to several crusader castles, including one built out into the sea.  It is also the site of a well-preserved 17th century caravanserai, a combination of hotel and warehouse used by traders bringing their goods into the city.  The old market of Saida is a lively and interesting place as well.



5. Chouf Mountains – Beiteddine

The Chouf Mountains run along a north-south axis through the center of Lebanon.  We are visiting Beiteddine, a 19th century palace used by the president of Lebanon and home to an annual (when there's no pandemic) festival of performing arts.  Near the palace is the traditional village of Deir el Qamar, with stone houses, fountains, and sweeping views of the mountains.

Photos by Joy Hecht.


  • You need to register here to participate.  
  • The virtual sketching event will be this Saturday and starts at 10 AM ET
  • Registration closes on Friday at noon.
  • 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

Monday, January 25, 2021

Weekly Theme

 It's Ok to Play With Your Food

Food is all around us: we buy it,  handle it,  cook it,  eat it....but can you make it into art?

Use raw, cooked, chopped, cut or shredded food as part of your drawing.  What does it remind you of? Does it bring back a memory of someplace you've been? Someone you know? 

Not Urban Sketching, but a fun exercise in creativity.

Here are some links to clever uses of food as foundations for a drawing.  



Here is a link to the clever posters that are used in the Pret A Manger stores. 


Thanks to Susan Chavez for suggesting this Theme!  Have fun!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

SATURDAY: Sketch Roadside America


Event Created and Developed by Marilyn Hansen

The cool, the wacky, the fun!

Road trip. Just the word alone would have my sisters and me grimacing, with eyes rolling and trepidation throughout our tiny bodies. Mom and Dad had planned a wonderful family vacation to Miami, Florida, but they knew that no matter how many red cars we counted or crossword puzzles we did, we would be restless and ornery, stuffed in the backseat of the 1968 Cadillac. To our amazement, the route they purposely took was dotted with amusing attractions that caught our attention and had us excited and yearning for more!

For today’s sketch, we're taking you on a wonderful and fun road trip, and we promise you will not be bored! There are amazing attractions for you to enjoy as you sketch your way through America.

AM: Roadside attractions

PM: Eateries, restaurants in the shape of Food (after lunch we may need a snack along the way)!


​Marilyn our host for this trip has found loads of

wonderful sites to inspire your creativity​:


There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SATURDAY: Sketch San Miguel de Allende

This event was created and hosted by Marsha Feris

San Miguel de Allende is a small colonial city 150 miles north of Mexico City.  One visit to SMA and it's hard to not return again and again.  Simply put - it is magical. The streets are colorful and charming, the architecture is beautiful, it is culturally and artistically rich, the people are warm and gentle and the food is devine. 


In the center of town is El Jardin and the magnificent Parroquia, a neo-gothic 17th century church known for its soaring pink spires.  It is a joyous place to gather at any time of day but especially in the afternoon when locals and expats come to enjoy the afternoon, the street vendors, musicians, and wedding processions.

A.M  walking tour and stopping to sketch along the way
P.M. El Jardin and Parroquia - the church is truly magnificent to draw as are the balloon sellers and all of the activity in El Jardin.


Marsha has found loads of wonderful sites to inspire your creativity



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, January 11, 2021

Weekly Theme: Drawing Folds

Suggested by Marianne Milzoff  

Sketch by Mel Barranco

Does anyone out there find drawing folds a challenge? Clothing, drapery, curtains, tablecloths - they all have folds. No need to go far to find examples. They are all around us. Folds can take all sorts of forms depending on the softness of the material and the shape of the body. Remember your high school geometry. Folds have shapes, angles, intersections, stiffness, shadows and lights and can be a terrific vehicle for expression of emotion (see the article "Drapery and the Secret History of Painting").

This week we will explore and do studies of these folds. Look to Picasso's soft nuanced drapery or the pure and simple rhythmical lines of Al Hirschfeld's theater illustrations for inspiration.

Enjoy and remember to label your drawings NUS (Not an Urban Sketch) if that applies. 
Thank you to Jennifer Ransom for doing the research on this theme. 

Drapery and the Secret History of Painting Though often taken for granted, drapery binds modern abstract painting by artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko to Giotto, Rubens and the greats of the past. https://www.christies.com/features/Drapery-and-the-secret-history-of-painting-7152-1.aspx

Need some help? Try this tutorial.
Huge Guide to Drawing Folds in Clothing and Drapery with with Shadows and Light - How to Draw Step by Step Drawing Tutorials Learn how to draw, shade, and highlight drapery and clothing folds. There are many forms that make up a fold and many different types of folds to learn how to draw.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Special Pre-Holiday Party Theme: BYOB, or Bring your Arty "Cocktail" to the Party

Our annual Holiday Party is in one week on Saturday, January 9th. Everyone is bringing their own drinks. What will you bring? Let's get the party started by DRAWING a fabulous holiday cocktail to bring to the party. Conjure up and sketch your signature drink, complete with ingredients and garnish. Then give your concoction a clever name. Be witty or crazy, but select a descriptive name that tells the story of your drink or will give everyone a laugh. 

For those who don't imbibe, create a tasty mocktail, or fancy appetizer instead.

Have fun and don't forget to post your work and bring your cocktails to the party to share with your fellow guests. 

Need some inspiration or ideas for drink names? How about Quarrantini or Pandemic Punch? Use book titles, art, animal names, etc. for inspiration. Take a look at these articles, with recipes included:

7 Craft Cocktails Inspired by Iconic Works of Art

10 Cocktails Inspired by Art for Artsy Drinking https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/cocktails-inspired-by-art/
Bird's Eye Cocktail: Fresh Rain Water with Cherry garnish

Friday, January 1, 2021

Holiday Party - January 9th

NYC Urban Sketchers

Holiday Party

Saturday, January 9, 2021

10AM – 3PM EST


Let’s Zoom Together 

(from our socially distanced computer screens)

To Say Good Riddance to 2020 and HELLO to 2021 






Familiar Faces!


Morning Sketch: 10AM - 12PM | Holiday Party: 1PM - 3PM


Sign Up Early to Claim Your Spot

First Come, First 100 People