Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Next Weekday Meet Up is Thursday JULY 9, 2015 
(not the 16th)

Watch for details. 

Sketching at Riverside South Park

It was a refreshingly cool overcast day at Riverside South Park. In the morning, looking south from a recreational pier, I focused on the towering gantry once used to transfer rail cars between barges and the tracks of the rail yard previously located here.

In the afternoon, as drizzle turned to rain, I sketched the same scene from the south.

Serious rain held off until our planned 3 pm meeting time when we walked over to Josie's for a delightful show and tell.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Video - Sketching Riverside South

This video shows our recent sketching adventure at Riverside South.  It was a great day of sketching as you'll see and even included the drama of an unexpected fire in a nearby high-rise.  The video ends with our Show-and-Tell where we shared drinks and drawings and our stories about the day. 

Be patient - it takes a few moments for the video to load

New York City Urban Sketchers at the Park at Riverside South.

NO Weekday Sketchers this Thursday

In a nod to the 4th of July Weekend there will be no meet up this week for the weekday sketchers.  

Next week, July 16, 2015 we will meet in the Heather Garden of Fort Tryon Park. The garden is in full bloom and with the river views and the George Washington Bridge we will have lots to work with. Watch for details next week.

Sketching Riverside South

The weather report was lousy but we dodged the rain and had a great day sketching.

Riverside South is first cousins with the High Line.  Similar esthetic but laid out on a more generous scale with intimate water views.  There are sections where it feels like your standing in the middle of a wild field with a NYC Skyline above the tall grass.

The Park is a strange mixture of old dilapidated abandoned NY and new ultra shiny NY.  There a remnants of the abandoned train structure that brought goods into the city 120 years ago,

And there are beautiful plantings everywhere.  It must have been an Urban Landscape Architect's dream job and it was executed beautifully.

Anytime I'm out sketching it's the people around me who seem most fascinating.  I spotted a couple a few tables away.  

 The guy had a fantastic beard and was sitting pretty still in profile deep in conversation.

 I sketched him and then later went over to say hi, introduce myself and show him the sketch I'd done.  Happily, Tucker seemed delighted having been the unsuspecting subject - which was nice.

Got a chance to try to do some of the other sketchers including Jeff, Joan and Julie

Later as we were ordering drinks and food at Josie's Restaurant  getting ready for our Show and Tell  I did a quick sketch of Julie, Laura and Joan who were sitting on the opposite side of the table.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sketching on Manhattan's West Side

The weather was iffy when I got off the train at 72nd Street, with drizzle and rain threatening to call off the day.  I set up in the middle of the island and warmed up with some line and wash. I wanted to try out some new equipment including Strathmore 500 multimedia pad and Pilot Croquis graphite pencil.

I met the sketch group down by the river, and under the drizzle managed to pull off a few more sketches, including one of our fearless leader, Mark.

Then went up to the Boat Basin Cafe and sat with several shots of tequila which really improved my technique.

Ended the evening with my wife having dinner at Cafe Fiorello on Lincoln Square, sketching the waiters behind the counter who work so hard.

And that was the end of a sketch-filled day.  Thanks Sketchers for the inspiration and motivation to get me out into the streets of this wonderful city!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Riverside South Park and More

My day started on the LIRR catching the 7:40 train from Ronkonkoma. There are always a few people I can sketch on the trip in so the trip passes fairly quickly.

Riverside South Park had some nice views to sketch. I liked seeing underneath the road above.

This one includes what is left of the 69th St Transfer Bridge which allowed the transfer of railroad cars from the rail line to car floats which crossed the Hudson River to the Weehawken Yards in NJ. Nora is sketching on the right.

Jeff was busy with his big sketchbook.

Mark asked someone nearby to take a photo of the whole group before some of the sketchers left for the day.

After lunch we walked a ways south and came to sculptures and gardens.

After our show and tell I headed back to Penn Station. I had about 15 minutes to sketch a few other commuters waiting for their train.

And here is one last sketch done on the train going home.

My thanks to Nora and Laura for organizing the day at this great location!

You know you're a sketching addict when...

Last night, the ad agency where I work invited the staff to a cocktail party at a rooftop bar in midtown. 

The Empire State Building seemed so close, I felt like I could reach out and lean against it. 

It was a festive evening, with good champagne, lobster rolls, and handsome young revelers. As you can see, I had other things on my mind.

It's all about priorities, right?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

NTC Urban Sketcher's Portrait Party

Remember when it was so cold we couldn't sketch outdoors?  

At the beginning of February we had the Second Annual New York City Portrait Party.  The Portrait Party is like the sketching equivalent of running a marathon, it's exhausting.  It is hours of non-stop sketching.  Each portrait takes 10 minutes and we went from sketching one person to the next with practically no pause in between.  

The photos in this video were generously shared by Sara Shin who tirelessly snapped pictures of us for hours as we worked.  

The relentless pace has an interesting liberating effect.  Are you sometimes plagued by an annoying inner voice that comments in your head about  every line and artistic choice you make?  A critical voice that second-guesses what you're doing?  What I've noticed is that the voice can't keep up.  Sketching at Portrait Party pace you're left alone, free to create what you will.  It's exhilarating!

Looking at this video I'm brought back to the frozen days of February and one of the best sketching events of the year  I hope you enjoy it.  And thanks again Sara!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SATURDAY: Sketch the Gritty and the Glitzy

Sketching Gritty History, 
Glitzy Buildings 
and Sculpture, ... 
at Riverside South Park

June 27, 2015

Sketch Trip: planned, written and designed for you by Laura Rosen and Nora Katz

Riverside South Park, the waterfront park on the Hudson between 59th Street and 72nd Street, first opened in 2000. Previously it was the site of a gritty New York Central freight rail yard in the shadow of the elevated West Side Highway. The last remaining piece of the old elevated highway and an old gantry that allowed rail cars  to roll from barges to rail yard tracks are all that remain of the site’s past. Today,  Trump Place’s luxury apartments on Riverside Boulevard overlook not only those  relics but also the park’s fresh green lawns and landscaping. 

Earlier this month, seven sculptures were unveiled in various locations within the  park. These were installed as part of a program called Model to Monument  produced by a partnership of The Art Student’s League and the NYC Dept of Parks 
and Recreation. 

Directions and itinerary: 

Who is a Weather Punk? - I'll admit the weather for the weekend doesn't look promising -  at the moment.  True Sketching Maniacs are never deterred by the possibility of rain.  We make do and turn it all into art.

When:  We’ll meet at 10 AM by the Pier i café’s outdoor tables with umbrellas. 

Where:  Riverside South Park: The entrance to the park is at West 72nd Street and Riverside Drive. The nearest subway - the 72nd Street stop of the 1,2,3 trains is  a two block walk to the park.  
Cross Riverside 
Drive from the NORTH side of 72nd Street. Once across, you will find a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt. Behind the statue continue walking past a dog run on the left and then through a short tunnel. 

Directly ahead you’ll see the Hudson River. Take either 
the stairs or the dirt path down to the promenade below. Turn left and continue walking until you reach Pier i Café, about two blocks south. We’ll meet at 10 by the café’s outdoor tables with umbrellas. 

Lunch:   12:15 - After a morning of sketching, we’ll again meet at Pier i Café for lunch at 12:15. 

Afternoon:  1:15 - After lunch we’ll sketch until 3:00 

Show and Tell:  3:00  - Gather at Pier i to head for Josie’s Restaurant to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined. Josie's is located at 300 Amsterdam Avenue, just 2 blocks north of the 72nd Street subway station (1,2,3 trains). Josie’s has food, dessert, coffee and beers.

Click to Enlarge

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

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sketching Things That Will Soon Be Gone

The plan was to sketch FAO Schwarz and the Horse Carriages around Central Park South.  The hope was that the weather would cooperate.  It did, but just barely.

The FAO Schwarz store on Fifth Avenue is such a treasure.  I can't believe it'll be gone soon.  We had a number of discussions about the morality of using horses for entertainment and whether they're treated humanely.  I'd be more interested in exploring the impact crushing rents are having on NYC.  I've got to believe that's what's behind closing this iconic store.

After it started raining we went in the store.  I found the famous piano that was featured in the Tom Hanks movie - BIG.  The kids never stand still, ... not for a single second, so drawing them dancing on the keyboard is a little challenging.

After lunch we setup on Central Park West intending the sketch the horse drawn carriages.  I got distracted by other things, like a street light that was filled with pigeons

Or the front side entrance to what used to be the Plaza Hotel (now condos).

Eventually a driver in a raincoat stood still for a few moments in front of his horse and I quickly sketched them both.

Weekday Urban Sketchers in Rockefeller Park Thursday

Rockefeller  Park stretches along the Hudson River just north of the World Financial Center, now called Brookfield Place with beautiful gardens, playgrounds, open fields and the Irish Hunger Memorial.  There are interesting park buildings, waterfront scenes, koi ponds, ferry slips and lots of people to incorporate into our drawings. 

DATE: Thursday June 25, 2015

LOCATION: The Lilly Pond in Rockefeller Park at the end of Vessey Street between the the Irish Hunger Memorial  and the Ferry Terminal.  We can work there for a while and then move around the park for more views.

TIME:  11:00 AM   We will break for lunch about 12:30.  Bring something along or buy something from the vendors at Hudson Eats, Shake Shack or any other restaurant in the complex. 

TRANSPORTATION: 2,3 Park Place; A, C Chambers St; E World Trade Center; N,R Cortland St.  Walk to Vessey Street and walk towards the River. Walk to the end of the street and continue past the Irish Hunger Memorial to the Lilly Pond. 

Please RSVP to Raylie Dunkel directly at raylie@verizon.net.
Looking for us, call Raylie at 201-978-6387

Goodbye FAO Schwarz, and I Hear Voices

Many, many, many decades ago before the internet, we used to get these thick beautiful paper catalogs. When I was a child, the FAO Schwarz catalog always came around Thanksgiving and I would dogear the pages and put gold stars next to everything I wanted. My fantasy was fullfilled the moment I stepped into the store.
I always wanted this giraffe. I don't think it would have fit in our tiny apartment. I found a little niche in a display area where I could tuck myself in out of the way of the never ending steam of shoppers and site seers. I could have spent many days sketching here. For me, it was all about childhood memories. Goodby FAO. I will miss you.

Several weeks ago, I had 40 minutes to kill before meeting some clients at CPS. I had my sketchbook and went across the street to sketch the horses. I spent the first 15 minutes talking to the carriages drivers. As the clock was ticking away, I did two quick sketches. This was my third one.  

I had ten minutes left and I wasn't thrilled with the results. It was then that I felt a gentle nudge in my back with a flex nib pen. It was then that I started to hear voices... well , one voice actually. It was Melanie Reim saying "tell a story". It was right in front of me the whole time. The empty Verizon phone booth that went the way of the dinosaur, the horse which may be gone from the city, and the chaos of the city streets behind the horse. Thank you Melanie. I think I got it!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Toys and Horses...So Much To Sketch

Today's gloomy skies didn't dampen (no pun intended) our enthusiasm to sketch at and around FAO Schwarz. The store is headed for closure, but it was most certainly busy today. Outside was a greeter dressed like a toy soldier who was constantly busy posing with people outside the entrance. It was hard to get a photo or a sketch done without someone besides him in the picture...so I included a visitor.

When it started to sprinkle some of us headed into the store. I think I could have spent days there sketching. There were so many things I wanted to sketch. This was my first trip to FAO Schwarz so I knew I had to find the "Big Piano" what the movie "Big" made so famous. I had to sketch that if nothing else. I had a hard time deciding where I could stand to sketch without being in the way...off to the side seemed to work best. The people on the piano changed quite quickly so sketching them was not so easy. I decided to focus on just one girl and included some of the people behind her.

After lunch we headed over to the carriage horses who also may be leaving the city. They are a definite draw for tourists and were very busy today. We had two horses and their drivers in front of us for a short while so I concentrated on the sketch of this horse and driver before they moved away. I added another carriage that replaced them a while later. I needed to include a bit of the Plaza in the background for atmosphere.

Of course no street in NYC is complete without a food vendor or two...we might starve if we walk too far without being tempted. lol

Today was much too short a day for sketching. There was so much more I would have loved to sketch. Maybe we/I will just have to return.