Tuesday, June 29, 2021

No Urban Sketching Event this Weekend


There will be no sketching event 

during the July 4th weekend.  

Hoping everyone enjoys the holiday weekend.

As a reminder our plan is to start in person sketching the following week.   The weekday sketching group will meet on July 7th, and the weekend group will be meeting in person on July 10th.  Details coming soon.  

We’ve also decided to continue the Zoom sketching events.  This technology has really saved us during the pandemic and its value is too good to give up.  We hope to be pursuing new and interesting directions using this technology.

Our next virtual workshop - The Sketchbook Project will be on Sunday July 11th.  Frieda Christofides and Susan Greenstein will be leading.  The theme of their project is in a quote from Irwin (Greeny) Greenberg a famous teacher from the Art Students League who said: 

“Draw everywhere and all the time. 

An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached.”   

Words to live by.  Registration will open in the next day or two.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Grand REOPENING of NYC Urban Sketchers


Announcing the Grand Reopening of NYC Urban Sketchers.  

What a year and a half it’s been!  I know we all have stories to tell, and experiences to share.  Our Weekday Group will have their first official event on Wednesday, July 7th, and the Weekend Group will have their first event on Saturday, July 10th.  Our Westchester Group has already started meeting - driving to different sketch locations

We’ve all become skilled at avoiding the virus.  We’ll use sensible precautions sketching together and we’ll be outdoors.  I am so excited to see everyone, and I’m sure we all feel the same.  Details about these events are coming soon.

Last thing - Yes, we plan to continue using Zoom.   It is such a powerful tool and it’s enabled us to make wonderful new art friends.   We’ll have more to say about this too.

Hold those dates.   See you soon!

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

SATURDAY: Postcards from the Pandemic


Image courtesy of Ideastream

Postcards from the Pandemic.   

​T​he unique story of your pandemic experiences as told through original postcards that you create.    

Each postcard consists of an image that visually tells the story of your experience as well as the note you write as part of your communication.  So, it’s your personal tale told through images and words.

AM - What it was.
PM - What I wish it had been.



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

SATURDAY: Sketch our Village

In the early days of the pandemic we got an event suggestion from Ryan Mahoney.  It seemed like a good idea to bring our focus of our virtual sketching a little closer to home and Ryan’s proposal sounds interesting.  Here is the gist of what he proposed:

On Saturday you’ll be given a map with many interesting places highlighted.  Each sketcher will choose a street view location in Google Street View Maps - NYC as their starting point.  Our focus is going to be Greenwich Village, which includes many different neighborhoods. Each area has a different feel and look, so we should end up with loads of interesting sketches.  

Here are the suggested rules:  
You can move no more than 3-4 clicks in any direction - (NSEW) away from the starting point  - Paint from any angle (flat, vertical, 3d pan & zoom, etc.)  By limiting ourselves to 3 to 4 clicks we stay in the original neighborhood exploring the area with our art.

For anyone unfamiliar with Google Street View we’ll do a demonstration to help you get started.



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Workshop: The Beauty of Pastels

Workshop:  The Beauty of Pastels
Sunday June 27 th 2021 with Elaine Langer

  • Looking to try a new medium that puts loads of color down quickly?  
  • Tired of fighting with watercolor to make your dark colors dark enough? 
  • Interested in texture and creating paintings that feel alive? 
This virtual workshop is for you. Pastels are pure pigment sticks that allow for you to quickly put color down. We are going to try some fun ways to create some Cityscapes with color and texture.

What we'll do?

  • We will use pastel ground to create a surface on watercolor paper. We will tint the pastel ground so we can have color already on the paper.
  • We will learn about pastels. Soft pastels contain pigment and binder. The more binder the harder the pastel. Everyone will purchase a set of Nupastels for this Workshop. I will show everyone different examples of pastel and how the softness of different brands appears different on paper.
  • We will start on our painting. Together we will work on one city scene and I will walk you through some of the fun ways to use pastels.
  • We'll  share and discuss experiences

Workshop Supplies
  • Watercolor paper 6x8: I recommend Cold Press since it is textured and thick and will receive the pastel ground well. Fluid Easy- Watercolor Paper Block 6x8, 15 sheets is my preference but you can use any watercolor paper as long as it is a thicker sheet.
  • Golden Pastel Ground 8oz
  • Nupastels Set of 36 or 48
  • Inexpensive paint brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper Towels

All supplies can be found in NYC at Blick, Artist & Craftsman Supply or Jerry’s Artorama.

In addition, but not necessary, you may also purchase a small set of soft pastels. I recommend the Richeson Soft Handrolled Pastels –Color Wheel Primary, Set of 20. These are small and bright in addition to your Nupastels. They add pops of color.

This winter scene is the view out my window. The evening glow made me happy. - Elaine Langer

To Register for this Workshop - Click here:

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Weekly Theme: Exaggeration


"Nothing wrong with a little exaggeration" Sketch by Pat Gaignat

Suggested by Marianne Milzoff, this week's theme is EXAGGERATION!

Cubism, surrealism, hyperrealism, impressionism, expressionism, virtually all movements in art are rooted in distinct forms of exaggeration.  All art forms are a type of exaggeration. Exaggeration is the representation of something as more extreme or dramatic than it really is.  It is the opposite of minimization.

Here is your opportunity to be bold.  Select your subject and play with size, scale, proportion, color, line.  Create extra long lines, shapes that are distorted or larger than reality, color enhanced, darks really dark!  One eye much larger than the other or hair falling to the ankle.  Try your hand at caricatures.  It's your choice.   Pour your emotion and imagination into this theme, have fun and remember to label posts to social media as NUS (not an urban sketch) if applicable.

Example from Veronica Lawlor's book One Watercolor a Day

Sketches by Eileen MacAvery Kane

For further information and more inspiration:

Exaggeration & Distortion: What Writers Can Learn From Visual Artists
The purpose of art is not to depict reality—it is to transform reality into something more interesting and meaningful. And the only way to do this is to distort, exaggerate, or in some way embellish what is there.

"The painter Alice Neel is known for her use of exaggerated line. She employs it very specifically to draw your eye and make you feel. Picasso chose to exaggerate by flattening perspective and quite literally cubing the human form. Cubism, surrealism, hyperrealism, impressionism, expressionism, virtually all movements in art are rooted in distinct forms of exaggeration. All art forms are a type of exaggeration."

Exaggeration Is A Form of Simplification by David Dunlop
V.S. Ramachandran observed that the arts use feature exaggerations to attract attention. Our attention is finely tuned to nuanced exaggerations of a particular feature. https://www.paintingclass.net/exaggeration-form-simplification/

Exaggerating colour within painting / Richard Wade's art blog
Within this blog entry I am interested in the fashion in which artists have exaggerated colour as a painterly device and have considered the impact this makes on their paintings. http://richiewade81.blogspot.com/2014/06/exaggerating-colour-within-painting.html

Exaggeration Postcards (aka Tall Tale Post Cards) 
Years before Photoshop existed, innovative photographers/artists exaggerated the truth a bit - Exaggeration Postcards (aka Tall Tale postcards). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh8EXp3m_Co

Sketch by Jin Kim

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

SATURDAY: Sketch the finest island in the world


Sri Lanka was described by Marco Polo as one of the finest islands in the world. It’s history dates back thousands of years.  Although it’s small, there is so much history, nature and beauty to see in this country.  Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon is a pearl-shaped Island nation in South Asia, lying on the Indian Plate, a major tectonic plate.  Although it looks like paradise Sri Lanka has been torn by civil war since 1983. The war resulted from ethnic tensions between the Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Hindu Tamil minority.

Sri Lanka also seems like a sketcher's paradise since almost every location seems to have stunning views and fascinating things to see.  We featured the Sigiriya because it is such a unique geological presence with an interesting history, but there is so much more.  

Click on any of the links below to view the stunning scenery and locations:

  • Sigiriya  - the Lion Rock of Sri Lanka -  is a rock fortress and palace situated in the Matale district. The Unesco World Heritage Site has been called one of the most important must-visits when in Sri Lanka. You can climb up to the ancient ruins, which are surrounded by gardens, ponds, and magnificent frescoes, to see wonderful, dramatic views of the rolling hills in the jungle below.
  • Adam’s Peak is a tall, cone-shaped mountain in a diverse biological site in central Sri Lanka. The 2,243m (7,359ft) ascent is a common pilgrimage route in the Buddhist religion, as it’s said there is an impression of Buddha’s own footprint near the summit.
  • Galle - Visit the well-preserved colonial city of Galle, on the southwest coast, for a relaxing city break. This town is full of charming Dutch-era villas and seaside views. 
  • Yala National Park, is the place to go to see big cats in Sri Lanka. The park is home to the highest concentration of leopards in the world, and it is also an important sanctuary for Sri Lankan elephants and aquatic birds. Monkeys, crocodiles, and other creatures run around the park’s grassy plains and forest areas. 
  • Polonnaruwa - See incredible ancient Sinhalese art and architecture in the Unesco-protected town of Polonnaruwa. Numerous well-preserved ruins of tombs, temples, statues and other archaeological sites, including Gal Vihara, Quadrangle and Lankatilaka, are located in this town in North Central Province, which was in fact a capital of the island hundreds of years ago, as well as a busy commercial and religious hub.
  • Bentota - has magnificent beaches, luxury hotels and plenty of untouched beauty. Spend a day soaking in the sun at Bentota Beach, visit the nearby Kosgoda turtle hatchery or find peace in the Galapatha Rajamaha Viharaya Buddhist temple. Bentota is a tourist hotspot, so you’ll also be able to get stuck into activities like helicopter rides and water sports.
  • Kandy - The Sacred City of Kandy is an important location for Buddhists. Many travel to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, within the royal palace complex that was built in the 4th century, as it holds Buddha’s tooth – although you can’t actually see it. Elsewhere, Kandy is surrounded by the central highland mountains and is the place to go to get a taste of Sinhalese culture – especially if you can visit during the Esala Perahera festival in the summer.
  • Nuwara Eliya is a plateau town surrounded by mountains. It is also known as ‘Little England’ for its old British colonial buildings, like the Queen’s Cottage and the General’s House. The area holds many natural beauties, like waterfalls, hills, tea plantations and the towering Pidurutalagala, which is the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is one of many tea plantation areas in Sri Lanka, but it is regarded as the most important spot for tea production in the country – don’t forget to try a cup on your visit.
  • Dambulla - the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in all of Sri Lanka; covering a total area of 2,100sqm (22,604sqft), it boasts five cave temples containing a huge collection of Sri Lankan Buddhist artwork, including statues, shrines and murals. The paintings and statues tell stories from Buddha’s life – there are a whopping 153 Buddha statues throughout the complex. Other statue subjects include Sri Lankan kings, gods and goddesses.
  • Anuradhapura - Step back in time at the sacred city of Anuradhapura, which is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities, perhaps dating back as far as the 10th century BC. As you might expect, the ancient metropolis, surrounded by lush jungle and rice fields, is home to numerous historical sites; the most popular include the Ruwanwelisaya (featuring Buddhist relics) and Abhayagiri Stupa (a Buddhist monastery). Meanwhile, the sacred bodhi tree in the Mahamevnāwa Gardens is another place of pilgrimage, attracting thousands of visitors annually.
  • Udawalawe National Park - It’s like you stepped into a wildlife documentary.  Elephants share the park with leopards, crocodiles, water buffalos, otters and several species of eagle. The landscape varies as you go, with grasslands and scrublands complemented by rockier, more mountainous areas.


Or if you’d like to do your own research:

  • Arugam Bay – Turquoise Heaven For Adrenaline-Junkies
  • Jaffna – Peep Into The Past
  • The Commonwealth War Cemetery At Kandy – Remember The Brave Martyrs
  • Trincomalee– An Unmissable Beach Getaway
  • Polonnaruwa Sacred City – Explore The Golden Past Of Sri Lanka
  • Nine Arch Bridge – Bridge In The Sky
  • Mihintale – The Birth Place Of Buddhism
  • Ravana Falls – Enjoy The Impressive Sight Of The Magnificent Fall
  • Mount Lavinia – Popular Neighborhood



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

SATURDAY: It's Rocky Mountain Time

Elevation: 14,440 feet

Sketch the Colorful Colorado 
Rocky Mountains

A Sketch Event Researched and Designed 
by Mama Bear Lynda Lou Greeley and Cecilia Evasco
How did the Rocky Mountains get its name?
In the 1700s and into the 1800s, exploration of the Rocky Mountains was mainly focused on fur trapping and trading. In 1739, a group of French fur traders encountered a Native American tribe that called the mountains the "Rockies" and after that, the area became known by that name.
The Rocky Mountains are an important habitat for a great deal of well-known wildlife, such as elk, moose, mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorn, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, badgers, black bears, grizzly bears, coyotes, lynxes, and wolverines.
The "Rockies," are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 miles in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States
Of the 100 highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, 78 (including the 30 highest) are located in Colorado, ten in Wyoming, six in New Mexico, three in Montana, and one in Utah. Public parks and forest lands protect much of the mountain range, and they are popular tourist destinations, especially for hiking, camping, mountaineering, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding.


In the morning:
We will explore the Colorado Rockies' Landscapes and Waterscapes.  Take a peak at the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Swing over to view the beautiful mountain falls.  Do you like sunsets?  Well, the "Rockies" has stunning sunsets. Want to take a Zoom canoe ride?  Click on the Rocky Mountain National Park's Rivers.  Enjoy the view of the majestic Bierstadt Lake. (See Blog below.)


In the afternoon:
We will focus on the wildlife in the Rockies', the unique earthy cabins or the park animals?  There are also colorful incredible flowers to sketch.  The Rockies also has stunning bird life.  



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome