Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wagner Park to South Cove, Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NYC USk - Saturday Sketching at Governors Island August 31, 2013

The last installment  of our ongoing commitment to take advantage of every free ferry ride  during the month of August.

Our commitment - to take every free ferry ride New York provides

Governors Island, -172 acres in the heart of New York Harbor, only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn. A world unto itself, unique and full of promise.  

It's one of New York's great new public spaces.

The Island is open from 10 AM to 7 PM.  

  • From Manhattan: Ferries leave from the Battery Maritime Building, on the corner of South and Whitehall Streets. (departs every 30 minutes until 5:30)
  • From Brooklyn: Ferries leave from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue. (departs every hour)
Governor's Island has unique views of the city

Get there early -  lines form.  We're taking the 11 AM Ferry 
(note - not our usual 10 AM start time)

If you're delayed or off to a slow start  - come anyway. 

It's a big island - Call or text if you can't find us:

Mark 973-809-9128


NYC Urban Sketch Events for September

  • 9/7: Madison Square Park:  Dog runs - sketch the pets, Art installations,  6.8 acres in the Shadow of the Flat Iron building in midtown Manhattan
  • 9/14: Prospect Park (Music Island, the Esplanade and Lower Concert Grove )
  • 9/21:Hoboken Pier A
  • 9/28:The Bowery

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Chinese Scholar's Garden - Not

Urban Sketching requires flexibility.  We met at the Staten Island Ferry for our ride across New York Harbor.

On the Ferry with Elizabeth, Svetlana, Jimmy,
(view of Caryn blocked) and Raquel on the far right
l got a text message from Mia who was already there and had discovered that the Chinese Scholar's Garden was closed for a Private Party.  On no!  It was much too late to reverse directions and pick an alternate site.

As it turned out the park at Snug Harbor had so much more to offer that it was a great day anyway.  The main gate has a sign saying that it was constructed in 1832.  I realize for sketchers in other parts of the world 1832 was almost yesterday, but for us, here in the New World, that's pretty old.  It was constructed as a retirement home for old sailors.

The grounds included the Staten Island Botanic Garden, a Playhouse, an Art School, old gazebos, and bungalows where the sailors live.

A Retired Sailor's Bungalow

The picture below was an experiment left over from last week, when I was trying to move the watercolor around with an old credit card.   I moved the paint last week but didn't add a drawing.   Before sketching the bungalow (above) I turned to where Jimmy and Caryn were sitting and quickly drew them, the tree and the buildings beyond.  The look of the technique reminds of illustration styles from the 50s

Building with an unknown function and a huge chimney.

From what we could tell of the closed Chinese Scholar's Garden it looked lovely.  The consensus was that it would be worth a return  visit in the autumn when the colors were changing.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Chinese Scholar Garden at the Staten Island Botanical Garden

"The garden is created by the human hand, but should appear as if created by heaven."

 This is paraphrasing the 15th century garden designer Ji Ching.

This garden elicits both a contemplative and sensual experience. All the elements of a classic Scholar's Garden are present: wood, rocks, water, plantings, furniture, walls, walkways, pavillions,  The structure is designed to give the illusion that the building is floating over the water's surface), bridges, paving, painting and calligraphy. We hope you will cherish a day of sketching at this sanctuary. 

 All the architectural components of The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden were prefabricated in Suzhou, including roof and floor tiles, columns and beams, doors and windows, bridges and paving materials and carefully chosen rocks.

This is the ONLY Chinese Scholar's Garden in the United States.   

(description by Victoria V. via Yelp)

Take subway to lower Manhattan, via the train to South Ferry or the 4/5 train to Bowling Green or the R train to Whitehall. 

Exit and walk south to blue neon Staten Island terminal to take FREE ferry

After landing in Staten Island take the S40 bus at Gate D to travel along Richmond Terrace, less than a 10-minute ride. Let the bus driver know that you want to get off at Snug Harbor.

  • We meet at the Staten Island Ferry, our starting point at 10:00 AM.  
  • There is a $5 entrance fee to the Garden.  
  • If you're delayed or off to a slow start come anyway.  

Find us by calling:

  Mark - 973-809-9128 or 
          Richard - 917-224-8373

The Remaining NYC Urban Sketch Event for August

  • 8/31 - Governors Island - Gorgeous views of New York Harbor and the Wall Street Skyline.  This is the last installment  of our ongoing commitment to take advantage of every free ferry ride  during the month of August.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hangin' In Red Hook

Well, I gotta admit, it sometimes takes a plane ticket to get me to leave the UWS- but getting to draw with the NYC USk folk in Red Hook was too good to pass up. So, I went to the other end of the NYC universe and hopped the ferry and had an incredible day! 
Fun times, good stuff to draw and even a treat from the mayor of the Yacht Club! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

DE-Tour, DE-Tourists and collecting information

The Saturday afternoon sketch walk from South Slope to Greenwood Cemetery looked to explore an area through sketches, words and found objects. During the course of the walk the de-tourists contributed their observations. Thanks to the Detourists: Jason, Mark, Elizabeth, Raquel, Beau, Bryant, Peter, Nate, Mattias, Ben, Krissy, Matt, Sam and Mary. Below the final product, a collage accordion sketchbook with drawings, sewn cards, pine cones, cicads, sketches, maps, clips and wood.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Double Header - Part Two - The De Tourist Sketch Walk

I arrived late at the Open Source Gallery in South Park Slope coming from the Red Hook Sketch.  The walking tour had already begun and I was given directions to go to the cemetery to meet the others.  The cemetery in question turned out to be Greed Wood where we'd been sketching several weeks ago.  I got a lift from Joan and Susan who were heading home.  Melanie missed the Green Wood sketch and I wanted to show her the green parrots who live there and are practically omnipresent.  Not a single parrot showed up until they left.

The spirit of the De Tourist Sketch Walk was to create a group project that consisted of sketched and found objects, art and maps, words, lines, tones and color.  The objective was to capture the unique moment of that late afternoon and early evening in August.

Dark shadows with patches of fading sunlight between the
mausoleums lighting up the grass

I sat in the grass and chatted with Jason.  I did two sketches of the cemetery that were mostly about trying to capture the long shadows and the bright but fading sunlight.  Easier to write  than to sketch.  The personal experiment was to use a red pen for the drawing part.
Verdict:  Interesting, worth exploring a little more.

The cemetery closed at 6:30 and we headed back to the Open Source Gallery.  We compiled bits and pieces.  Richard sewed elements into a long panorama sketch book that told the story of our sketch walk.  Everyone contributed a part.  The last two photos show us back at the Gallery and a view of Richard examining the fold-out.

Double Header - Part One - Red Hook

Rented a Citi Bike and pedaled down to Pier 10 at the tip of Manhattan. On the way down I spotted a NYC Fire Department Fire Boat with all of its water canon's shooting into the air.  It was such a great site that I pulled over to the side to take a photo.  Of course, by the time the bike was secure and my camera was out, the water display was over.  It's still an interesting site.

Fire Boat in the Hudson

I started a quick sketch of the scene from the dock with the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.  Pretty soon Melanie arrived.  We chatted and sketched, and after awhile Mike joined us.  I took this picture of them as we ferried across the East River.  I also did a quick sketch of the people sitting in front of us on the boat.

View from the dock
Off the sketch - traveling in style

A quicky sketch of our fellow passengers

The ferry dropped us off at the Fairway Super Market.  They have a great outdoor cafe with umbrella seating and antique trolleys.  Mike got busy sketching the trolleys.  I hope he posts his drawings.  I sketched Mel as we waited for  Susan and Joan, who drove to Red Hook.

Sketching with Melanie at the outdoor cafe

The Famous Red Hook Yacht Club
We all left and setup in front of the Famous Red Hook Yacht Club.  It might be a candidate for the Urban Sketcher's award for  the most frequently sketched sites.  The club members came out to chat and check out our work.  The guy in the straw hat, who Susan dubbed the Mayor of Red Hook, said hello and shared slices of incredible bread.

We went next door to the Brooklyn Crab House for lunch.  The sketching continued:

Mike sat opposite me.

Customer gazing out the window

After lunch Susan requested that we find a good view of the Statue of Liberty.  From Red Hook - no problem.  We sat in a shady spot in an industrial area with a million dollar view.

Tried an experiment and used an old credit card to move the paint around.  Verdict: it's a technique with limited potential for me.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sketching in Red Hook

Red Hook, Brooklyn had a variety of things to sketch. Here are two sketches done at Fairway Market.

Next we sketched the Red Hook Yacht Club. I don't know if they have anything to do with yachting, but the guys seem to know how to have a good time. The outside of the building is adorned with all sorts of interesting stuff.

When we were done sketching we were invited inside for a look. It was filled with all sorts of 60s treasures including a few well-kept cars. The members were really nice to us and loved that we were sketching the place. They were definitely a throwback to another time.

Here are a few photos of our sketchers...
Mike and Melanie.
And Mark

Then it was off to lunch at the Brooklyn Crab. I sketched a few people at another table.

Then we headed down the street and sketched more.

It was a really enjoyable day.
Here's a photo of Lady Liberty welcoming everyone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lynne Chapman Color Pencil Demonstration

For those of you interested in using watercolor  pencils, a demonstration by Lynne Chapman.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sketching Double Header Day - August 17, 2013

Part One:  The Ferry to Red Hook 

Hop on board, we're going to Red Hook and traveling in style.

Destination Red Hook:  We'll explore the sites of Brooklyn's South Slope. It's a free ferry from Manhattan to Red Hook.  We'll meet at 10 AM  sketch the ferry terminal and take the 10:40 ferry.  They leave every 25 minutes.  The Water Taxi Ferry and IKEA shuttle are located on Pier 11, Slip A, on the East River. Slip A is the first slip on the left side of the pier.

Directions from the J, Z train: Take the J, Z train to Broad Street. Walk to the corner of Broad Street and Wall Street and go east on Wall Street, walk under the FDR overpass and Pier 11 is to your right. Slip A is the first slip on the left side of the pier.

Directions from the 2,3 train: Take the 2,3 train to Wall-William Street. Walk to the corner of Wall Street and William Street and go east on Wall Street, walk under the FDR overpass and Pier 11 is to your right.  Slip A is the first slip on the left side of the pier.

If you live in Brooklyn or intend to drive let's meet in Red Hook.  If you sleep late and take a later ferry call and we'll  link-up 
Call Mark 973-809-9128  or Richard 917-224-8373 

Lunch Possibilities:  Fort Defiance is famous but pricey.  
The Brooklyn Ice House caught my eye. 318 Van Brunt St (between Pioneer St & King St)  Outdoor seating available, Beet Salad and Veggie Burgers available for those so inclined.  Cash only - no credit cards. Great Beer selection.

Part Two:  De Tourist Sketch Walk

The De-Tour Sketch Walk invites the participant to become a De Tourist while exploring South Slope, Brooklyn. The objective, using Situationist methodology, is to walk and wander. We will explore and document this section of Brooklyn with words, sketches, photos, found objects or any other way you devise. A full description of the locations will be provided at the beginning of the event.

We will start at 4.30 PM 

We meet at the Open Source Gallery. 
306 17th street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 

Transportation: R train to Prospect Avenue (note that there is tunnel construction work on the weekends and trains tend to be slow and late.  Give yourself and extra 1/2 hour).

Coming from Red Hook  Depending on weather we can walk or take a bus

If you come late:

                            Call Mark 973-809-9128  or Richard 917-224-8373 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dias Y Flores Community Garden

The Dias y Flores Community Garden is named after a song by Silvio Rodriquez (also the name of the album, his first, in 1975.) A bold choice of name for a garden, when you take into account the times and the context.