Thursday, November 29, 2012

NYC - Sunday, November 25, 2012

The theme was NYC Midtown Shortcuts:  

There are a series of blocks running from 51st to 57th that have a path you can take between the buildings.  On cold windy days it's a great route to take.  We sketched there this Sunday and it was bleak and cold.  We really need to give some thought to sketching in the winter months.  I'll blame my frozen hands on the fact that all my street pictures looked terrible and none are getting posted

We were joined by Joy Hecht who came in from Nova Scotia.  She mentioned that she has family in the city so I hope she'll join us to sketch whenever she's in town.

Someone at the NYC Traffic Department has a sense of humor.  The street sign marks the Midtown Shortcut
We went into a Starbucks to warm up.  These two women were having an animated conversation.

Did a sketch of Denise Lebenstein,  - you can see she was wearing this great scarf

Then I tried to do a picture of Richard.  I like the picture but even though I tried,  it looks nothing like him.  He just shaved his beard so this was the new clean shaven Richard 

At the end of the day we ended up at a Cafe Europa for lunch.

This was an experiment and was done about a month earlier.  After doing the drawing I covered the page with Acrylic Yellow Ochre paint.  The idea was that it would "unify" the page.  My concern was that i wouldn't be able to apply the watercolor and gauche on top of the waterproof acrylic base.  I"m going to try this again sometime.  I think I'm going to pick a cool color for the base to see how that looks.  It's like working off toned paper.

This one was done the week before when we were sketching in the Northeast part of Central Park.  A nice family playing in the leaves with their dog.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sketching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade -- the quintessential New York City autumn experience, right? Oddly enough, I lived in Manhattan for several years and never saw it except on television. On Thursday I made up for that! Snagged a fairly prime viewing location, near 72nd Street and Central Park West.

Buzz Lightyear balloon, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, NY

Couldn't see a lot of the street-level action from our vantage point, but the balloons looked glorious as they sailed past the buildings.

Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, NY

The weather could not have been better, and the enthusiasm was infectious as we struck up impromptu conversations with fellow parade-watchers. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Urban Sketchers NYC
Saturday September 1, 2012

It’s taken me awhile to scan the drawings we've been doing.  On this particular Saturday we tried something different.  We all agreed to a 10 minute rule.  Each sketch had to be completed in ten minutes.  We kept moving from one spot to the next, starting at the Northwest end of Central Park and we finished at Grant’s Tomb overlooking the Hudson River. 

You could argue it both ways.  Either ten minutes wasn't enough time to get down anything decent.  Or you could say that ten minutes isn't enough time to ruin the sketch. (see note included with the sketch of Riverside Church below)

Left - On the Subway.  Right - stopped for coffee on the way to meet everyone

Left  - the view down Central Park West. Right - A Green Market

 Cathedral of St. John the Divine, supposedly the fourth largest Christian church in the world, sketched in 10 minutes - a hopeless task!

A Great Sculpture in the South Garden of the Cathedral

Low Memorial Library at Columbia U.

Grant's Tomb

Richard mentioned this quote.  He said he got it from one of the Sketchers in Santa Domingo.  So true.

A crowd of people hanging around Grant's Tomb.  As soon as I decided to draw them - they decided to leave.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Before Fall falls

The goal of last Saturday's sketch outing was to capture Fall before it fell: before all the leaves were gone. The results were mixed. The Ginkgos and Maples were still yellow and red, but a lot of foliage was gone. Regardless, the day was great.  The morning was a bit cool and we searched for a ray of sunlight to keep us warm.

Looking North from Duke Ellington Circle
Drawing from the warm "insides" of the Central Park Discovery Center
Lonely man by the Harlem Meer

Sunday, November 18, 2012

New York City – November 17, 2012

The warmth of summer seems like a long time ago.   We sketched today at the northeast end of Central Park.  We started at the Duke Ellington Circle and it must have been right at the edge of freezing.  As the day progressed it warmed up and maybe got to 50 degrees (10° C)

The sun was brilliant and there were still lots of autumn colors left, which was surprising considering how powerful and destructive Hurricane Sandy had been to New York two weeks ago. 

After drawing Denise and I walked along Fifth Avenue and went to the Wayne Thiebaud show at the Acquavella Galleries.   The man is a treasure.  His colors are almost too rich to be believed with layered  buttery heaps of paint throwing off shimmering iridescence color.  

Thiebaud is also the master of a kindred form of Urban Sketching.  He creates fantasy urban landscapes with incredible tilting planes and impossible perspectives.  If you saw the movie "Inception", or even remember the advertising, ... the crazy tilted streets, upending on themselves -  those scenes from the movie have a flavor of Thiebaud’s SurrealUrban Paintings.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Disrupting the grid...

Back to sketching after a week postponed by hurricane Sandy. It was good to know that power was restored to areas in NJ and things are almost back to normal for most. Our thoughts are still with those in dire straits.

This weekend's theme was "Disrupting the Grid". The streets in New York City are, for the most part, arranged in a grid with avenues running north-south, perpendicular to the streets running east-west. This land developer's dream plan is disrupted by Broadway, a street that cuts the grid on a diagonal leaving triangular remnants. These triangles appear all along Broadway and have become some of the city's most prominent public landmarks: Herald Square, Times Square, Worth Square. What we found during our sketching was that the disruption is spatial and public.

We did not realize that Sunday, November 11th was Armistice Day (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918) and there was a gathering of veterans and a parade. Where better to stage than in the "triangles"?

We ended the day at a local flea market, where for the first time ever, we were approached by a security officer.  He asked us what we were doing, because people were complaining that we made them "nervous".  One guy walked by and said:"You drawin' our pictures and sending it to the CIA right?" Paranoia at the Flea Market. Who knew?

Madison Square Park was a "veteran's only" area
Hundreds of people gathered.  A group of photographers stopped, snapped and moved on.
A photography instructor tried to persuade the garbage men to move their trucks so they could get a clear shot (no luck).