Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sketching City Hall

I was able to do some sketching inside City Hall.  I can't believe it's taken me a life time to finally see the inside of this fascinating building

It was a slow day at City Hall.  The Mayor was out of town in Iowa trying to help out in the Caucuses.  I sat in a quite place in a corner and tried not to get in the way.

People used the stairs but none stood still long enough to get included in the sketch.

Don't Sketch the Structure!

Sunday we met at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan to sketch the wonderful views and luminaries that were on display. When I arrived Shawne was telling everyone that security apparently didn't want us to sketch the structure because it was a security risk. LOL If someone could learn something about the structure of the building from my sketches, apparently I do better at perspective than I thought. 

My first sketch had to have a little structure...or what was the point? So I included some of the arched windows in the background of the luminaries hanging from the ceiling. It was fun to have the contrast of the tall trees reaching up and the luminaries hanging down. I did this directly in watercolor.

Then I sketched using ink and watercolor.

We were excited to have some of the members of the Urban Sketchers Board of Directors joining us for the morning. It was great to reconnect with Elizabeth and Suma again! I took a few photos of everyone at work...yes, they let you take photos...but not sketch???

Shawne did get a group photo before the board members left us.

After meeting some of the sketchers for lunch upstairs I headed down and sketched the pastry shop on the main floor. It was sketch it or go inside and buy something...sketching was fewer calories.

I sat in the same spot and just turned 90 degrees to my left to do one more sketch. (Don't tell anyone it includes some of the structure).

Thanks to Shawne, Denise, and Elaine for doing such a good job of hosting this week!

Monday, February 8, 2016

SATURDAY: Third Annual Portrait Party

SATURDAY, February 13, 2016 
There is no event like it.  

It's not really Urban Sketching 
but it's a challenge that will tax your sketching skills

The Warm IBM Atrium
Photo by Advocates for Public Spaces

The Portrait Party is the sketching equivalent of running a marathon,  - it's exhilarating - it's exhausting.  It is hours of non-stop sketching.  Each portrait takes 10 minutes and there is practically no break in the action.

This event has specific instructions so please read if you're thinking of attending:

There are two classes of participation Registered and Unregistered:

1.  Registered Participants commit to staying for the entire time - you can’t leave early.  Your work is needed to create the GRID.

2.  Each Registered Participant will be supplied with Portrait Party paper.  High quality 9 x 12 140 pound watercolor paper - one sheet for each portrait.  The paper is yours to keep.   I will ask for a voluntary contribution of $8 to help defray the cost of the paper.

3.  When we're done we will be displaying the finished work in a grid (see pictures and video) so your work needs to be visible at a distance.  That means you need to work BOLD.  You cannot work in pencil.  Bring markers, dark pens, watercolor - BOLD!  Your work must be readable at fifteen feet.

3.  Each portrait must be completed in ten minutes - use a medium that allows you to cover the paper quickly

4.  We'll be sketching round-robin style, so you'll get a chance to sketch everyone in your group and everyone will get a chance to sketch you.  This is the reason you can not come late or leave early.

It’s a fun event to sketch. We’d love if you take photographs or videos. Feel free to join us.
Note:  you will not be given paper or and any work you do will not be included in the GRID.  You’re also free  to come and go at any time.

There are a limited number of registered participants we can accommodate.  Send me an email if you want to participate .  Click this link to Register  

Photo of the GRID
from the First Portrait Party

Where:  The IBM Atrium at 590 Madison Avenue (between 56th and 57th Streets) – Take the 4/5/6 or N/R to 59th Street or the E train to Lexington Avenue

When:  Get there at 10 AM for the warm up.  Use your own paper during the warm up.  We'll distribute the paper and get started on the timed portraits at 11 AM sharp.

Lunch:  We will have lunch at approximately 12:30. We will eat in the Atrium.  Food is available in the building and at a variety of stores nearby.  We will continue after lunch until everyone has had a chance to be the model.

Show and Tell:   3:00 - The Show portion will be at the Atrium when we set up the Grid.  The Tell portion will happen when we're done.  We'll be at The Bar Room, 117 E 60th St

Click to see videos
   The Frist Portrait Party
   The Second Portrait Party

Can't find us?  
Call or Text Mark - 973-809-9128

All drawing skill levels are welcome

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Upstairs/Downstairs at Grand Central

Susan and I took the LIRR from Ronkonkoma on Saturday. I didn't pass on the opportunity to get one sketch done, even when we magically found Suzala outside our train window when we got to her station. I used my iPad mini which I felt I was sort of neglecting lately.

Suzala had us get off at Woodside and switch to the 7 train that took us right into Grand Central. That's where the fun began. As the morning passed the terminal got more active and more crowded. I was selective with the people in the crowd that I included. Here are my two sketches done upstairs.

We lunched at the food court downstairs and then all went off to selected spots to sketch. I headed for the "Leather Spa" which seemed to have a bit of a wait. It gave me the opportunity to sketch several people who were waiting their turn for a shine.

Directly to my right was Zaro's Bakery which looked very tempting in many ways. I moved a few yards to my left and rotated my chair 90 degrees to get this view. I liked that I could see some of the yummy foods, the workers, a few customers, and the signs for a few of the tracks. 

At our "show and tell" location I had a good view of some of my fellow sketchers across the table.

Heading home I was able to capture a few ladies that were sitting opposite us on the other side of the train. They were cooperative models. By that time I was too tired to bother adding color to my ink lines.

It was a full day of sketching!

One more reason to join us this Sunday:

Luminaries: A Canopy of Wishes

Inspired by the Festival Lights in Thailand, this installation created by the Rockwell Group (the brainchild behind the 2 beams of light near the World Trade Center site that commemorates 9/11), is comprised of 650 custom-built translucent lanterns embedded with LED lights which form an undulating magic carpet suspended 45 feet off the ground.

Luminaries includes three “wishing stations” scattered among the locale’s iconic grid of palm trees, where guests may make a “wish” by placing their hands on the touch-sensitive podiums. Upon its release, the glowing block sends a burst of color to the canopy above, which forms an abstract wave of light that travels across the lanterns. If multiple wishes are cast simultaneously, the colors intermix, creating an even more mesmerizing display.

Originally scheduled to be on display through the holidays, Luminaries has been extended through February 29th due to popular demand. Details about our day in Mark's post, below.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

SUNDAY: Sketch the Winter Garden

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Palm Trees in February?

Either you woke up in the Caribbean or we're talking about the Winter Garden.  

This Sunday we'll be sketching at the Winter Garden Atrium the 10-story glass-vaulted pavilion on Vesey Street in New York City's Brookfield Place office complex.  Formerly called the World Financial Center], the 60-foot-high glass solarium faces sweeping vistas of the Hudson River with New Jersey in the distance.  It fronts the Wall Street Marina home to some of the most luxurious yachts in town.  The ice skating rink is open for anyone up to the challenge of sketching continuous motion.

SPECIAL ADDITION:  The Urban Sketching Board of Directors is holding their annual meeting in town this weekend..  They will be sketching with us in the morning.  Be sure to meet them.

YOUR HOSTS:  Your hosts for this event will be Shawne Cooper, Denise Markbreit and Elaine Langer.  Ask for them if this is your first time. 

The view of Santiago Calatrava's spectacular
Flying Bird sculpture


Where:  The lower lobby of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place:  230 Vesey St, NYC  (see map)

When:   We'll start at 10 AM.  Join us when you can.  The Board of Directors will be with us until 1 PM

Lunch:  12:30 - At the Hudson Eats Food Court on the second floor

Afternoon:   1:30  Back to the skecthing

Show and Tell:  3:00 off to Hudson Eats to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined.

  BY SUBWAY (see map)
     E trains to WTC
     A, C trains to Chambers St.
     2, 3 trains to Park Place.
     N, R trains to Cortland St.
     4, 5 to Fulton St.

Subway - 4,5,6/N,R to the new Fulton Center
1,2,3/A,C,E to Chambers Street
 Walk South, turn right [West] onto Vesy Street\
Enter PATH terminal [it says “closed weekends” but enter through far left door].
Take escalators down to the new WTC West Concourse, which goes under West
Street and leads up a massive set of escalators directly up to Brookfield Place

Click to Enlarge

If you can’t find us
call or text 
Shawne at 917-880-9249
Denise at 516-263-4818
Elaine at 347-415-5453

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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sketching Grand Central

I wasn't sure whether I wanted to join the NYC Urban Sketch group at Grand Central simply because I avoid crowds.  Also, as I live in the City and commute to work, I stay away from commuter hubs on the weekend just out of principle.  However I enjoy being with Sketchers and having the opportunity to share tips on esthetics and materials, so I grabbed my sketch bag and headed off to meet the Sketchers for the afternoon session.  

Once I sat down in a corner of the Station a Zen-like state fell over me, and all anxieties over rushing crowds and throngs of people disappeared.  These gestural figure studies were done with a Japanese ink-brush or a watercolor brush and graphite.  

So take a look, and cosy up into the right side of my brain - a place where I wish I could spend more time...


We had our show-and-tell over beers afterward at a great place on 39th Street called The Shakespeare.  Thanks Mark, for organizing the event.  It was great to share good times with the group.  Now its Monday and back to the left-brain grind!