Wednesday, October 21, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Sailor’s Salvation

This virtual sketch event was suggested by Andrea Couture

If you think about the incredible dangers sailors have faced one of the most severe is trying to make landfall on a treacherous coastline. Lighthouse are built in remote dangerous locations. They are hard to construct requiring massive amounts of building materials. They are also tall dangerous structures to build. Lighthouses are located in lonely places where the men and women lived who were employed to keep the lights going and to spot ships in danger.

We have a number of websites to help you get started. Use them as a starting point. If you find a lighthouse that calls to you, a second search will probably turn up many more photos of the same structure, taken from different angles, at different times of the day and in different seasons. The choices are rich.

If you’re up for a thrill try googling lighthouse, huge wave photo. There is an entire sub- genre featuring lighthouses being struct by epic waves during fearsome storms. It all adds to the mystic, making us realize what incredible structures they are.

Websites with Incredible Lighthouses


-   To attend you will need to register.

-   Click here to register

-   Registration will close at noon EDT on Friday

-   On Friday afternoon, after registration has closed everyone who signed up will receive a separate email with login information and a more complete list of reference sites you can use.

-   Our virtual sketch event will start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday.

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, October 19, 2020

 Weekly Theme:  AlternativeLiquids 

If you spill your coffee.....use it! 

I know this happens to me: I'm out sketching with a cup of coffee and a container of water.....opps...put the brush into the wrong liquid!  Or ...oppps, just tipped the coffee cup over and have a puddle at my feet.   I'm pretty sure it has happened to you as well. 

But did you ever think of using that liquid to paint with.  Not only coffee but tea, juices, wine or any liquid that has color. ( Hey...Halloween is almost here...try blood! No, Too Gross! )

This week find a colored liquid and try to see what you can do with it.  How dark can you go? How light? Can you thicken it? Thin it? Can you create a "paint set" with different liquids?  Play with it. This is a variation of a monochrome painting but not with watercolors.  

For some inspiration take a look at this article in Doodlers Anonymous titled "Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee".

Have fun!

Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee — Doodle Over It! | Doodlers Anonymous

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Open House


Open House New York Weekend is a citywide festival that unlocks the doors of New York’s most architecturally and culturally significant buildings and highlights the people who design, build, and preserve New York.   

Every year I get excited about this event, and every year I end up disappointed.  The tours happen when we’re sketching together.  The places that open up and become available are fascinating, but it’s never organized so that we could sketch.  It’s highly structured and they keep people moving along so the greatest numbers can view these incredible buildings and homes.  But, this year is different.

Is anything better during the pandemic?  I’d say yes, this is better, or at least it’s better for NYC Urban Sketchers.  Of the 150 venues that are open, none can be visited in person but many are conducting virtual tours where we can see the virtual photos/videos of the interiors.   It’s an incredible list of locations.

The Plan Your Weekend feature at the Open House New York Weekend website is the portal to all of our activities this Saturday.  

New York City - here we come!

CLICK HERE to register:

  • The event will start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday October 17th
  • This is a virtual event that requires that you register beforehand
  • Registration closes on Friday at noon EDT.

There are no fees.  All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, October 12, 2020


Sketch by Suzala Zahler

Look around. Take some time to notice the the people who are busy working all around us. You are sure to see construction crews, school crossing guards, police officers, and all those folks who cannot work from home during the pandemic. This week our theme is to depict the worker on paper. We have plenty of models available and the weather is still nice enough to sketch outside. This is our opportunity to draw human figures and faces, and to their render gestures. Try to catch people in different poses such as bending, turning and waving their arms. 

Sketch by Marianne Mizoff
Sketch by Jeffrey Levine

Other examples include car wash attendants, waiters, hairdressers, people on utility poles, gardeners and delivery folks. Be realistic or abstract, but have fun as you capture people at work ... or taking a break.

Sketch by Mel Barranco
Sketch by Jerome Shafer


This will actually be urban sketching, unless you work from a photo. In that case please use the label NUS (non an urban sketch) when posting on

Sketch by Anna Rich
Need more inspiration, take a look here:
Underpaid, Ignored, and Essential: A  Coronavirus Sketchbook Drawing the workers  who cannot stay home. By Molly Crabapple  4/3/2020 coronavirus-crabapple/

An Artist's Life For Me! How to Draw People: Sketching in Public Places Blog Post by Lynne  Chapman  

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Blue Rider

A virtual sketch event created and developed by Grace Polk

A little more than one hundred years ago the European based artworld exploded in color.  A few weeks ago we explored some of the wonderful artwork created by the French based artists.  But France wasn’t the only place that was reacting.  German artists in the area around Munich were inspired by similar influences at the time.  

The paintings they created are the launch pad for our explorations this week.  Grace Polk has created a fascinating journey for us that will include sites and sounds.  Yes the artists of the Blue Rider school were also inspired by the music that was being written at the time.

For our Morning:  We'll be sketching the sites and scenes that inspired the group.

For our Afternoon:   We will sketch the places and things we call home but we'll use the style and colors developed by the Blue Rider School.

Grace has provided many links for our sketching -  here's a good place to start:

WikiArt: Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)




  • To attend you will need to register.
  • Click here to register:
  • Registration will close at noon EDT on Friday
  • On Friday afternoon, after registration has closed everyone who signed up will receive a separate email with login information and a more complete list of reference sites you can use.
  • Our virtual sketch event will start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday.

Monday, October 5, 2020

 Weekly Theme:  Shadows

With a week of beautiful fall weather ahead of us, it is a great time to work on adding shadows to our sketches.  The strong sunshine forecast this week should offer us great opportunities to work outdoors and see how shadows affect our drawings.   The fall colors on the trees will add interesting color infused light to the scenery. 

What are the conditions of shadows? What colors are they?   What mood do they render in the drawing? How does the rendering changes when you add the shadows?

Start with something small,  like a fire hydrant.  

Fire Hydrant Garden Statue – Mid-Maryland Farm Market

How many colors are there?  How does the shadow fall across the object? How does it follow the ins and outs of the curves?   

Move on to a house.  How do the colors change as the sun moves across the building? 

row houses in Washington Heights | Washington heights, Nyc history, City  architecture

Take a look at a landscape in a park or a tree on your street.  What does the light and shadow do to define the shape of the trees?  How do you capture it? What colors do you use? 

Sunshine casting tree shadow in luxury garden - Stock Photo - Dissolve

Experiment with mixing colors to use in shadows. They are not just grey, black or purple.  They are dynamic and complex.  There are many videos and on line tips on this subject. Shari Blaukopf, one of the Urban Sketchers instructors has a course just on this subject. Even watching the promo video will give you ideas on how to capture shadows in your sketches. 

This is a great excuse to get out and have fun.  Cold weather is coming, enjoy this week's warm and sunny days. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch Switzerland

 A virtual sketch event planned 
and designed by Samuel Berner

"I say Switzerland. "

       "You say, ….

Mountains? … Chocolate? … Cheese?  … Banks? …  Neutrality? … Cuckoo Clocks?  … The Guards at the Vatican?"

I could go on - but it isn’t necessary because we have a tour guide.  Samuel Berner is from Switzerland, where he lived until he met NYC Urban Sketcher Hua Wang.  It’s a romantic sketching story.  

Join us for a sweeping tour of a quiet European country, 

with breathtaking natural beauty that will excite any Artist in Residence.   


-  You will need to register for this event.  Click this link to register:


-  Registration closes on Friday at noon EDT.

-  After our registration has closed you will receive an email, on Friday afternoon with the login information you'll need to participate

Monday, September 28, 2020

Weekly Theme: The Colors of Autumn

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus

For this week's theme let's use the beautiful Colors of Autumn to create our sketches. Fall's unique color palette surrounds us with fiery oranges, golden yellows, reds and browns of fall foliage, pumpkins, gourds and more. Other seasonal colors include crimson, burgundy, purple, olive green, and earth tones like terracotta, ochre and burnt sienna. 

Fall is one of the best times of the year to reconnect with nature. While it’s still warm enough to sit outside, why not bring your sketchbook to the local park and sketch some trees and plants. Maybe there's a Farmer's Market nearby where you can sketch colorful fruits and vegetables. If the weather turns crisp, you may be even be content to stay inside and the view from your window.

If you need some inspiration, here are a few ideas to spark your creativity: 
  • Create an Autumn landscape depicting the magical quality of trees.
  • Paint a harvest scene or still life featuring corn stalks/cobs, pumpkins, apples, gourds, etc.
  • Sketch some Fall flowers - asters, chrysanthemums, fading sunflowers, etc.
  • Sketch some tree branches - look for some interesting subjects in your backyard, down the street, or in a nearby park

For further inspiration: Use Fall Colors in Your Art

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

SATURDAY: A Day of Color

This virtual sketch event was 
created and developed by Dina Schlesinger 

The world is filled with interesting festivals.  Yom Kippur will soon be celebrated by Jews, a day of atonement during which the deceased are remembered.   The Chinese have the Qingming Festival also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day.  In July the Japanese celebrated Gion Matsuri a national holiday of purification - a holiday that’s been celebrated in Kyoto every year since 869.

Dina has selected two incredible festivals for us to sketch.  They were selected for the incredible array of images you can find on the internet and because both festivals she selected have such incredible colors.  

The photos we use as references should just be your starting point.  Let your imagination soar.

But there isn't anything to compare to Holi- the Hindu celebration of life; the beginning of spring and love. Holi is a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the Indian "festival of spring", the "festival of colors", or the "festival of love". The festival signifies the victory of good over evil.   The photographs of this holiday are incredible - break out your wild colors for the world’s most trippy festival.

Click this link to see photos:   HOLI  

As we approach All Souls’ Day (November 2) as part of the celebration the faithful remember the departed with prayers and feasting.  Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. ... Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life and death. While the holiday originated in Mexico, it is celebrated all over Latin America with colorful calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons).  Like the Holi celebration this is a highly visual event that has been captured by numerous incredible photographs.

Click this link to see photos: Day of the Dead:

-  You will need to register for this event.  Click this link to register:

-  Registration closes on Friday at noon EDT.

-  After our registration has closed you will receive an email, on Friday afternoon with the login information you'll need to participate

Mark Leibowitz

     mobile     973-809-9128 

     Personal email and Urban Sketchers:
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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the Other 71%

The New York City Urban Sketchers Virtual Sketch Event
Saturday,  September 19, 2020
Starting time:  10 AM EDT

Water, water everywhere and yet we do all our sketching on land. The seas await us. 

 For today’s event we will focus on our oceans. Not what is on top but the world that exists below the surface. There are so many great sources for underwater photographs that it doesn’t make sense to limit us to a particular website. Try Google Images.  Pinterest and Facebook. 
  •  For the morning we will focus on the incredible creatures who live in our seas. 
  •  In the afternoon our focus will shift to plants, and coral and things other than fish.

-  You will need to register for this event.  Click this link to register:

-  Registration closes on Friday at noon EDT.

-  After our registration has closed you will receive an email, on Friday afternoon with the login information you'll need to participate.

 Weekly Theme: Sketch a Statue

Tom Otterness: The Real World

There are statues all around us. Some are just whimsical, some celebrate great historical events and some honor an person of significance in our soicety.  They are big and unusual in the landscape but most of the time we don't even notice them, they are just part of the background scenery as we go about our lives, 

The unveiling of the statue of women's rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth is seen in Central Park in New York on August 26, 2020, marking the park's first statue of real-life women.
Newly Installed Statue in Central Park Celebrating the Suffragette Movement 

Erecting a statues in a public space is a big event, takes a lot of background work to make it happen and costs a great deal of money.  We tend to take these things for granted as we pass by these objects.  This week lets take a moment or two to reflect on them a bit. Who was that person or event being celebrated?  Who designed it? What organization was responsible for its installation? Is it's existence still relevant to the times and the neighborhood?  

How “Charging Bull” Became a New York Symbol and Why It Might Move - Artsy
Charging Bull 

The weather this week should be perfect for a trip to a park or walk through your neighborhood. This week look around your neighborhood and suss out the reason that that the statue is there.  Then go and draw it.  Post your works and give some background on what you have drawn and why it is there.

File:"The Immigrants" Sculpture At Battery Park.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Immigrants Statue 

Friday, September 11, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch Prague


SATURDAY: Sketch Prague

Hosted by Tim Bay

An historic outpost of many empires, from the Holy Roman to the Hapsburg and most recently the Soviet, Prague wears its historic past elegantly. Central Prague’s charmingly old-world cityscape mercifully escaped the carnage of World War 11 and stands today as a time capsule of the old world. If you love the sinuous and playfully decorative Art Nouveau style - it's all here.


The Charles Bridge, a celebrated lodestar on the tourist itinerary; Olsmy Cemetery, an elegant final berth for many Czech artists and politicians (including Dvorak); the Klementrium, a beautiful old world library, a lost-in-time enclave of the rich artifice of the Baroque period; the Prague Astronomical Clock, a landmark of the old town.

Other highlights include the Old Town Square, and the old Jewish Cemetery, an historically evocative memorial to the time when Prague boasted a large Jewish population, including Franz Kafka. The city at night is a lovely sight.

The avatar of the Art Nouveau Alphone Mucha is hands-down the best exemplar of the swirling lines and romantic ornamentation of the Art Nouveau style that is so much in evidence throughout the city. Would suggest that curious sketchers look up Mucha's works for inspiration.

MORNING: In the morning explore "Prague Old Town Streets." If you search Google Images with that title you'll find loads of inspiring images. You might check out the Old Town's Astronomical Clock, the centerpiece of the Old Town Square.

AFTERNOON: Prague at Night, which again can be found under that name on Google Images. Check it out, you will find that it is really dazzling----to use a much overused term, but in this case, is appropriate.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Our event starts on Saturday at 10 AM EDT. If you register you will receive an email on Friday after registration has closed. The email will provide the login information you'll need to participate.

TO REGISTER:  To attend you need to register.   Click the link below to sign-up

Monday, September 7, 2020

Weekly Theme: Catharsis

This theme was suggested by Marianne Milzoff.
Catharsis is a term that comes from the Greek katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing."

The Cambridge Dictionary define "Catharsis" as the process of releasing strong emotions through a particular activity or experience, such as writing or art, in a way that helps you to understand those emotions.

As the pandemic continues we are experiencing a plethora of emotions.  One day we are up, the next day we are down.  Our feelings range from anxiety to peacefulness and from isolation to interconnectedness.  This week we will express our feelings through our art.  Artists have done so since time immemorial.  You can observe the unleashing of emotions in such works as "The Scream" by Edward Munch, "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso and "The Two Fridas" by Frida Kahlo.

In her book "One Drawing a Day," Veronica Lawlor writes about Mood Boards, tools that can bring forth your own emotional message. She explains that it is an exercise in abstraction and finding your own personal language. Shown here are mood boards illustrated by artist Eddie Pena.


So ask yourself what kind of message you want to bring to your art. Perhaps it is that of chaos or peaceful solitude (or both). Maybe it is a time of self-reflection and change. Perhaps it will serve as a focus for direction, such as getting back into gear for school or work. Let your line and color reflect all of this. Your art can be representational or abstract, whatever strikes your fancy. Enjoy and remember to post your work on NYC USk Facebook with the label NUS (Not an Urban Sketch).

For information on the paintings mentioned:
Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' 

The Two Fridas by Frieda Kahlo 

Guernica by Pablo Picasso 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch Bannerman’s Castle

Saturday, September 5

Conceived, designed and hosted by Cecilia Evasco

We’re off for a visual voyage to sketch the enchanted ruins of Bannerman Castle, a medieval-like fortress built at the turn of the 20th century by a rich industrialist. Bannerman's Castle is situated on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River 50 miles from NYC.

The island is rich in supernatural history. The guides say fairies and goblins populate the island. Many claim it’s haunted by a malevolent spirit which has caused a series of disasters over the years, including the destruction of the castle itself.

Despite its ominous history, you’re going to be enchanted by the scenery and the setting of the island. The structure of the ruins is framed by flowers and other natural scenery that gives the castle and almost romantic feel.

Many artists have visited the island to sketch, paint, photograph the various views of the castle, and so are we.


In the morning we'll sketch the exterior structure of the castle ruins from the vicinity of the island with its numerous turrets, stairs, stone columns, and arched windows. Each side of the castle has its own unique view. Try to create a mood in your sketch whether it be foreboding, romantic, enchanted, or something else.


In the afternoon, we'll sketch a river-view or aerial view of the castle ruins. Another option could be to sketch the interior of the castle or focus on something interesting on the castle's facade or castle grounds.


You are free to use any source material you like. Cecilia has provided numerous links you can use. She's wrapped all the info you'll need in a website she created specifically for this event.


Registration closes on Friday at noon. On Friday afternoon you will recieve an email with the login instructions you'll need to participate.


Click here to register: