Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SUNDAY - The 2nd Annual Portrait Party

Sunday, February 1, 2015:  One year to the day we will be returning to the IBM Atrium (a warm indoor venue) for the Second Annual Portrait Party.

The (warm and comfortable) IBM Atrium

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

1.  I will be bringing the paper.  We will be working on high quality 9 x 12 140 pound watercolor paper.  I have enough paper for the first 20 participants. The paper is yours to keep.   I will ask for a voluntary contribution of $5 to help defray the cost of the paper.

2.  When we're done we will be displaying the finished work in a grid (see picture below) so your work needs to be visible at a distance.  That means you need to work BOLD.  You won't be able to see pencil drawings.  So try to bring markers, dark pens, watercolor.  You want your work to be readable at fifteen feet.

3.  Each portrait is going to be timed so think about a medium that will allow you to cover the paper quickly

4.  We'll be sketching round-robin style, so you'll get a chance to sketch everyone and everyone will get a chance to sketch you.  For this reason coming late will create a bit of a problem.  Come late if you have to - but it works better if you're there from the start.

Video of 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.

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.

After - Show and Tell:  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  Judge Roy Bean Public House, 38 W 56th St

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

There are no fees or attendance taken. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sketching the Blizzard of 2015

I was pretty much snowbound today after my area of Long Island received about 16 inches of snow overnight. This morning I pulled up my blinds and sketched the view outside my bedroom window.

Later in the day I decided to venture outside for a while. I wanted to sketch some of the people cleaning off their cars but it was too cold to stand out there. I had an idea and trudged over to the community building to see if it was open...success! I stood inside the foyer by the front windows and was able to see someone digging out their car. Unfortunately the snowplows couldn't be seen from where I was sketching.

I hope everyone kept safe and dry through the storm. Maybe some of you had a chance to sketch too.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sketching In Paris At The Crossroads of Life

This sketch and narrative is reposted from my personal blog.

In the summer of 1977 I traveled to Europe carrying a sketchpad. These were my last months of freedom before entering medical school, and I had doubts about whether I was making the right decision. My acceptance letter was hard-earned, but I rationalized the decision by telling myself that medicine is a noble profession and I could still make art on the side.

I wandered the streets of Paris, looking at art and soaking up the scenery along the Seine as I practiced the language learned grudgingly in my pre-med curriculum. I was sitting and sketching in a café on the Left Bank when a young man who looked my age took a table next to mine. He also had a sketchbook, but his was stuffed thicker with drawings and looked travel-worn. He also carried an easel and other art equipment. His skin unlike mine was dark and weathered, and spoke English with an accent. His name was Jacques and he told me this was one of seven languages he knew.

“I travel from city to city doing portraits,” he said. My interest heightened as I fantasized that this was the life I wanted. He told me story after story of his itinerant life in foreign lands making art and meeting beautiful women. I was enthralled, and deep inside I was regretting my decision to return to New Jersey to go to medical school. My mind raced as I started thinking of cancelling my return flight.

“What a life!” I exclaimed. “Aren’t you thrilled every day by living such a wonderful, romantic dream?”

My new friend made a sour face, scratched his head, then looked at me in astonishment. He was shocked at my innocent and idealistic question.

“Are you kidding?” he blurted, “work is work!”

I was startled by his response and settled back in my chair, my thoughts drifting toward the future. “Medicine is indeed a noble profession,” I thought, “and I could still make art on the side.” This was no longer a rationalization, but a life plan.  I would support my life as an artist through a career as a physician.

Recently I was going through old sketchbooks and found the drawing I did that day as I sat at a café on the Left Bank of Paris. It shows a stylish couple on a date, walking in front of a subway station. I scanned and posted it above. It’s hard to believe that this drawing is 35 years old, but the moment it captures is powerful.

I loved the idea of being an artist, and felt that deep in my soul this was who I was. But I was terrified of failure and the financial risk that went with it. I grew up with too many horror stories of life in the Depression to risk that route. During my long career in medicine I’ve enjoyed the intellectual challenges and relationships with patients and colleagues, and still managed to make art on the side. Yet years after this sketch, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had cancelled my return flight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Criminal Court - January 15, 2014

Last Thursday, Shirley and I joined the weekday NYC Urban Sketchers at 100 Center Street. We had to empty our pockets of everything but I forgot about the keys in my back pocket so the alarm sounded and the cop blocked my passage.
We were in the Criminal Court and the plan was to sketch in one of the courtrooms of the Arraignment Division.
Raylie waited for more people to arrive so Shirley and I entered room 1 where we found a couple of sketchers hard at work. Any sense of discomfort or self-consciousness immediately dissipated - we seemed to be completely accepted.
The attorneys were standing around waiting for their clients, blocking our view, moving around. Everyone was in almost constant motion.
It was a very interesting experience but I was really glad that I was not on the other side of the gate. Occasionally a "perp" sat amongst us waiting for further instructions from the court.
The people awaiting arraignment were moved through quickly but were treated respectfully and attorneys were either setting out the charges or telling their side of events.
The only ones standing motionless were those whose turn it was to face the judge.
iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used: Finngr Pro and ArtRage


It's Gonna be a Doozy

Checking the weather for the sketch event this weekend was depressing.  The Weather Channel actually said it's going to be "a real doozy".    Noreaster, snow, slush, winds, ... great!

At this moment we are CANCELLED for this coming Saturday.  The intention was to go to the Dr. Sketchy Sirens of Shanghai show after drawing together.   I just sent Dr. Sketchy a note asking about their refund policy - in case you prepaid.

If this storm changes direction or loses some of it's ambition - let's reserve the right to setup a last minute event. However,  at this moment it looks bleak.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Subway Sketching

What a coincidence that Mark just posted "How to Draw People on the Subway," as I have been trying my hand at just that.  Inspired by the Urban Sketchers and the manifesto to CAPTURE THE MOMENT I've been carrying my sketchbook on my commute to and from my downtown office.  The biggest challenge is to catch people before they get off or the view is blocked.  If I am lucky I have time to take out my water brush.  Here are some samples of recent work:


Have fun Sketchers, and thanks for the inspiration!

Penn Station Sketch, Dog Sketches, and Studying study

Penn Station, "Ghost Plinth"; Ballpoint Pen

Studying at home; pencil

Hazel-the-dog  (left) and end-table (right); pencil

Dog Sketches: Hazel (left), Payton (right)