Friday, November 27, 2015

Balto -

 Perched on a rocky outcrop it would be easy to miss the statue of Balto.   I'm not sure if it was because so many NYC Urban Sketchers were there to book-mark the spot, or if this is just a much more popular location than I imagined.

The first sketch was to get a feel for the form and the second was to capture the setting.  It was a cold day and probably the last one we'll do outdoors until it starts to warm up in the early Spring.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Briermere Farm Before Thanksgiving

Briermere Farm in Riveread is famous here on Long Island. People swear they have the best pies around (especially their blueberry cream). I've only tasted their strawberry-rubard pie and it was good, but that combination is not one of my favorites. I'll have to try another kind some day. Anyhow, for Thanksgiving they do an incredible business. People drive out there from as far as NYC, which is about 80 miles. Most customers order pies ahead of time and expect to stand on line anyway when they get there to pick them up.

I was thinking about where to go sketching today and decided to head out there to sketch the crowd. What a circus! It wasn't easy to find parking and I wanted to sketch from the car since it was cold out. I finally got a spot in the side lot that very few people seemed to realize is there. I didn't have much of a view but patiently waited for the person parked next to me to come back with their pies and leave. That spot had a good side view of the building between the trees. Most people were coming out with several pies and some with cartons filled with pies. LOL I watched the clock a few times to see how long people stood on line before they returned to their cars parked near me. It seemed to average about 15 minutes. I guess they thought the wait was worth it. I happily sketched, didn't buy a pie, and plan on making my pecan pie later today. I hope you have something delicious to share with your loved ones tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Thanksgiving Sketching Furlough

Enjoy the Holiday

There are no planned sketching events for this weekend.  
We resume the following week shifting to indoor venues as the weather dictates.

Don't forget the Thanksgiving Day Parade Sketch - Click for details

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Weekday Urban Sketchers Calendar for December and January

As the cold weather settles in keeping us indoors we have been fortunate to be able to schedule a number of very interesting venues over the next two months.  Please read the following announcements carefully as some require a secure RSVP and some will have a small fee attached to the event. 

All events will be announced as they usually are a few days prior to the date. This notice is meant to give you an opportunity to take advantage of some special events for advanced planning purposes. 

PLEASE NOTE: since some of the events on the following schedule will REQUIRE registration you are requested to respond directly to Raylie Dunkel at and NOT hit reply to this note.  When you hit reply everyone on the distribution list will receive your reply and it will get tiresome for many who will not be participating in the events.  ONLY those who RSVP will receive follow up information as is needed. 


The first two events will allow us to see prime examples of the Art Deco muralist, Hildreth Miere, amongst many other fantastic ecclesiastical works of art. 

Wednesday December 2, 2015: Temple Emanu-el on 5th Avenue and 65th Street. We will meet at 10:30 AM the entrance to the Community Center building on 65th Street off 5th Ave.  The temple and museum are open from 10 AM to 4:30 PM.  There is information about a virtual tour on their web site  After a lunch break we will move to the Arsenal in Central Park.  Details will be posted as usual the week of the event. There is no cost for this program. 

Wednesday December 9, 2015: Saint Bartholomew's Church  on Park Avenue and 50th Street.  When this was announced a few days ago a number of people responded that they would like to attend this event depending on the date and time.  This has now been confirmed as WEDNESDAY December 9, 2015 from 11 AM to 1 PM.  St Bart's has requested a donation so all attending will have to contribute $5 towards the fee.  The group will be limited to 20 people. Even if you have said you would like to attend you MUST RSVP to Raylie Dunkel at again to confirm your attendance.  If you ask for a spot and can't make it you MUST let Raylie know you can't come or you will be asked for the donation.  A waiting list will be kept for the event.  We will move to Grand Central Station for lunch and the afternoon session. 

Wednesday December 16, 2015   We will meet again at a house of workshop.  The notice will be posted later.


We will continue to meet on Wednesdays in January with one exception: Friday January 29th.  See below for details

We have two special events scheduled for January.  One is a private workshop and the other is an invitation to sketch inside City Hall

Wednesday January 6, 2016  TBD

Wednesday January 13, 2016  from 10 AM to Noon. Watercolor Workshop at Kremer Pigments.  

Many of you have small metal pan sets from Kremer Pigments on 29th St near 8th Avenue, which is a specialized art supply store that sells pigment, oils, watercolors and brushes.  They also offer courses about the making of pigment and how watercolor and oils are made, the unique properties of each and how different colors react differently when used.  Since so many Urban Sketchers use watercolor, I have arranged to have a"Crash Course"  on the properties of watercolor dedicated to us.  They can accommodate 25 people and there will be a $10 fee. Here are some details: 
- Limit of 25 attendees
- 2 hour demonstration and Q&A on making watercolor paints
- 10 am to Noon,
- $10 class fee per attendee
- Small samples of what is made in class will be given away.
If you haven't been to this store or sampled their products you are in for a will spoil you beyond measure! 

If you would like to attend you MUST RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at and agree to the $10 fee.

Wednesday January 20, 2016 TBA

FRIDAY January 29, 2016  City Hall

Urban Sketchers has been invited to spend time inside City Hall for a two hour sketching session.  We will have access to many of the beautiful meeting rooms filled with an historic collection of  portraits, rare furniture, and architectural details galore.  We will also have access to the atrium and rotunda.  There is no fee for this but you MUST RSVP as a list of participants will be given to the security office.  Only those on the list will be admitted. The group will be limited to 20 participants.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Balloon Inflation - Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

There is nothing more NY then the Thanksgiving Day parade and the kickoff to the Holiday Season.  A big part of this event is the evening before, the inflating of the balloons. 

I invite you all to informally attend this event.  It runs from 3 to 10pm, I plan to attend earlier, rather then later so I can bring my family.  The crowds are intense so I plan to bring a smaller sketch book and pen to prevent too many elbows.


What:  We will sketch the Balloons and crowds informally along the Parade route.

When:  Wednesday, November 25th  starting at 3pm to 10 pm.  Come any time and see the balloons at different stages of inflation.

Where:  Start at Columbus Avenue and 79th Street. You will want to use Mass Transit, the B and C stop right there. 
Notes: It will be in the 50's and crowded.  Come prepared. I doubt you will be able to sit in sketch as it will be too crowded.   
Please post your photos of your sketches!  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NO Weekday  Urban Sketchers This Week

 The turkey, the side dishes, the relatives and all  that  organization...too much to do and no time for sketching this week, unless you pull out your sketch pad at Thanksgiving Dinner!  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and watch for announcements for December events.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SATURDAY: Sketch a Dog Hero

This event was planned by Elaine Langer


The glowing bronze of this statue on a rock outcropping near the East Drive at 67th Street reflects the loving pats of countless children and adults who recall the story of a heroic dog. In January 1925, the city of Nome, Alaska experienced an outbreak of diphtheria. At that time, Nome had a population of 1,429 people and there was only enough antitoxin serum in distant Anchorage to treat about 300 people exposed to the disease. A train line did run over 325 miles from Anchorage to Nenana, the station closest to Nome, but Nome was icebound seven months out of the year. Alaska’s two open-cockpit planes were not safe in the frigid and windy weather.

A relay of mushers and their dog-sled teams was the only way to deliver the fur-wrapped twenty-pound package of serum to the ailing community 674 miles from Nenana. The route followed the old Iditarod Trail used by mail drivers from Anchorage to Nome (now the route of the dog-sled championships). The 20 teams of over 200 dogs covered the frozen terrain at about six miles per hour, in blizzard conditions with temperatures of 50 degrees below zero. An international audience listened over their radios and read in their newspapers of the race to Nome. The last musher, Gunnar Kasson, and his team lead by Balto, a black and white Alaskan malamute, raced over the frozen tundra in only five days and seven hours – a world record time. Within days after the arrival of the serum, the epidemic, which had claimed five lives, was over.

Balto and Gunnar Kaasen

Gunnar Kasson later described the incredible trip to reporters: "I couldn't see the trail. Many times I couldn't even see my dogs, so blinding was the gale. I gave Balto, my lead dog, his head and trusted him. He never once faltered. It was Balto who led the way. The credit is his." Balto survived the journey, and toured the United States with the rest of the dog team. On December 17, 1925, 10 months after his arrival in Nome, Balto was present as this bronze statue was unveiled in Central Park.

As we sketch the dog we'll likely see the statue visited by families.  The kids will do just what my brother and I did when we were kids. They'll get on Balto's back and pose for family pictures.


What:  We will sketch the animals, statues, statues of animals, kids and scenes of Central Park.

When:  Saturday, November 21st starting at 11 AM.  Sleeping late - Come anyway. (Drop me a personal line if you know for a fact that this comment in all the annoucements has be directed to you personally.)

Where:  The Statue is set on a rocky outcrop near a tunnel/overpass.  It's located west of East Drive and 67th Street and north of the Zoo.  (see map)

Lunch:  12:30 We'll walk to the Zoo Cafe to warm up and eat lunch.

Afternoon:  1:30 -  We'll stay in that area to sketch the archway outside of the zoo and some of the structures outside the zoo.  There is a lot right in the vicinity
Click to Enlarge

Show and Tell:  3:00 PM - There will be no Show and Tell this week.  You are invited instead to continue sketching (NUS - Not an Urban Sketching event) at the High School of Art and Design DRAW-A-THON 4 Fundraiser. 245 East 56th Street  USk has attended for a couple of years.  It's a good cause and the sketching three ring circus.  There is a $25 fee at the door.  Save $5 buying in advance.  The event ends at 7 PM.


   -  Bring a stool or chair if you have one.
   -  Dress warmly, the high is supposedly going to 52 degrees it should be mostly sunny

Click to Enlarge

If you can’t find us 
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

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