Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Busy Sketchers' Weekend

It was a busy two days of NYC Urban Sketcher activities. Friday was the Draftsmen's Congress where a group went to the New Museum to be part of a larger group drawing. Saturday was the 43rd Worldwide Sketch crawl through the Gowanus Canal and Long Island City and the turnout was quite large. Check out the blog for more Sketcher posts.

Painting at the New Museum

A few of the sketchers get ready
A smocked sketcher starts his work

First round on the Gowanus with the GCC Bricolage Group
Sketching the Grit

There was a lot of walking

At the Falchi Building, for the You Are Here Exhibit

Some of the wonderful sketches

Views Along the Gowanus Canal

Our destination for the World Wide Sketchcrawl Day was the Gowanus Canal area in Brooklyn. At one time the canal was an important transportation hub, but for years now this area has been known as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States. Recent projects have focused on cleaning up the canal and the surrounding areas. The area seems to be getting revitalized with businesses moving in and environmental projects taking place.

Susan and I headed to Brooklyn by car, hoping to meet up with the rest of the group somewhere along the line. We were sorry that didn't happen, but at least we were joined by Sunil for a while.

Our day started by the Union Street Bridge, the northern most bridge that crosses the canal. It had a very industrial, gritty (a kind word) look to the area along the canal. I usually like sketching much prettier locations but I really got into the odd buildings and structures. While we were sketching we met a teacher who was there with some young kids and their parents. He was doing a lesson in perspective with the kids and it was fun to see the sketches they had done while sitting on the bridge. Here is my first sketch.

I also did a sketch of the bridge house.

Here is a photo of the actual view.

Next we headed over to the Ninth Street Bridge area. I did a sketch of the bridge with the oil tanks in the background and the elevated BQE and the traffic passing by.

Sunil joined us here. He is so good at sketching standing up. I like being comfy in my chair.

The industrial look with the assorted tanks and bins caught my eye. Even the graffiti on the cement cubes looked interesting. 

While I was sketching this scene above we heard voices calling us. It was the rest of the group that we were hoping to meet. They were up on the subway platform above the bridge. Since they were on the way to do something in Long Island City next, we didn't get to spend any time sketching together.

Right alongside the view above were some cement trucks...why not sketch them?
Don't you just love the colorful dots?

Our last location for the day was near the Whole Foods Market on 3rd Street. A parklike walkway was around the parking lot offering some views of the surrounding buildings and the 3rd Street Bridge. I did a double page spread of that view. It was sketched on the spot but since it was getting late I finished it when I got home.

I definitely got a lot of sketching done along the Gowanus Canal.

Sketching the Gowanu

What a great day.   We started at Wall Street and took a ferry ride to Red Hook section of Brooklyn.  We stayed at the ferry terminal for awhile waiting for late arrivals.  Even as the boat was pulling into the Brooklyn slip I spotted a crane that I wanted to sketch.

The complexity of the girders was fun.  I also enjoyed highlighting the closer steel beams with white and shading the rear beams gray to support the three dimensionality of the crane.

We met-up with five people involved with the ecology of the Gowanus Canal, a 19th Century commercial waterway that has been incredibly polluted for centuries.  They were part of the group who, for years, have been working to cleanup the canal.  Growing up in Brooklyn I have memories of how toxic and awful the canal was and can appreciate the progress they've made.  It's hard to be there without thinking how truly beautiful the canal could be.  Everyone loves water and an inland waterway could be a tremendous attraction.

Several of the volunteers are Landscape Architects.  As a general rule I've observed that Landscape Architects are all frustrated sketchers.  They are easy recruits for the pleasures of Urban Sketching.

They showed us a secret path to a great view of an Asphalt Plant across the waterway.  Not the Urban view I would naturally be drawn to, but I loved sketching the area.

The weather was near perfect and the company, as usual, was great.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sketching Near Union Square

Yesterday my sister, Michelle and I went into NYC to see the American Watercolor Society Show currently at the Salmagundi Club on Fifth Ave. & 12th St. It was fantastic and runs until April 20.
We made sure to get into the city early so we had some time to scotch. It was cold and windy...much too cold and windy to sit outside in the morning so on Susan's advice we looked for the Whole Foods on 14th Street. Upstairs there are tables and windows overlooking the park. So we camped out there to sketch for a while. I did a bird's eye view of the park and some of the people. Once again I did this directly in watercolors without any pencil sketching first.

A view of one of the street lamps.

A few taxis and umbrellas and carts on the corner.

We left at this point and went to have lunch and view the show. We did come back to the park for one more sketch. It had warmed up enough that we could sit in the sun and work comfortably. This lady looked like she was warm enough too and who could resist that background...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

West Village and the MET

Unfortunately I wasn't able to make to the last urban sketch meeting on Saturday. However, I was able to make it into the city Thursday the 11th. I'm not very familiar with East Village so I thought I'd spend the day there sketching.
Some quick sketches of other NJ Transit Passengers. I do these really quick in pen with no pencil outlining
The Jefferson Market Library has always caught my eye I enjoy its High Victorian Gothic architecture. It has so many interesting details that were fun to explore while drawing. This is the quick pencil outline. 30 Minutes.
The final sketch.
I later spent some time sketching people in Washington Square Park.

Monday the 14th I returned to the city to visit the Metropolitan Museum to sketch statues to sketch statues/sculptures/artifacts I found intriguing.
People on the NJ transit again. Notice a trend? The page on the right is a lady reading in Starbucks later that day.
The first Statue is the "Andromeda and the Sea Monster" by Domenico Guidi. Second is Dionysos on an Archaistic Female Figure.

The second half of the spread I sketched one of the patterns of an Islamic star-shaped tile. Seeing Islamic art always takes me back to the childhood in Spain, having lived in Malaga and Sevilla for a total of 5 years.  The floral design in this tile gorgeous, there were so many to choose from but this one for some reason caught my attention. The statue is "The Vine" by Harriet W. Frishmuth from 1923, an elegant pose that just happened to fit perfectly into the page.
After the MET I wandered the city, I visited the St Patricks Cathedral but it's currently under construction so you can't even see the building! The following sketches were done at starbucks and waiting at Penn Station for the train. I'm really trying to learn how to capture poses quickly. I need at least 30 seconds to get the pose down. It helps if they're talking to somebody or waiting for something.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Scavenger Hunt

Hello everyone,
It has absolutely been a pleasure sketching with our group every saturday for the last few months, and here comes my first post, as part of the "Sketching Scavenger Hunt". Mark, I think this is a wonderful way to encourage sketchers to post their work on the blog, and the best part is that they can do this from anywhere!

Something blew!..

Something to chew..
Something true! ..The second avenue subway construction in progress..

An old shoe...


Monday, April 14, 2014

URBAN EDGES-43rd World Wide Sketch Crawl

The 43rd global drawing marathon, World Wide Sketch Crawl, is on Saturday April 19th , 2014.
Come join NYC Urban Sketchers as we walk, explore and draw the forgotten urban edges along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn and Dutch Kill in Queens. The day long event promises to be  exciting and totally different from a typical day of sketching.

The day  will be divided in 2 sessions, first a ferry ride from Manhattan to Red Hook (IKEA) to walk the Gowanus, then a train ride up to Long Island City.  The drawings of Long Island City will be part of the In My Borough  You Are Here  presentation at the Falchi Building.

Contact Info:
Richard 917 224 8373, Mark 973 809 9128
The Gowanus Canal

Dutch Kills


Session 1-The Gowanus Canal
11:00 AM-Meet at Pier 11 in Manhattan.
11:20 AM Board the free Ikea ferry (You can also meet us on the Brooklyn side at the IKEA ferry terminal)
11:50 AM-2:30 PM-Explore the Gowanus. We will be joined by volunteers from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

Session 2- "You Are Here"
2:30 PM-3:00 PM-G train to Court Street Station, LIC
3:00 PM-6:00 PM-Explore Dutch Kills and Long Island City 
(We'll leave from the Falchi Building at 3:30)
6:00 PM + Wrap up at the Falchi Building "In My Borough" You Are Here Exhibit

The Gowanus Canal

Dutch Kills and Newtown Creek