Wednesday, July 29, 2020

SATURDAY:  Sketch Savannah - 
Life is Like a Box of Chocolates 
in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Hosted by Marion Hammon

Sketching Savannah: Exploring the History and Mystery of Georgia’s Oldest City

Savannah, GA is a sketcher’s paradise. A highly walkable city, it is renowned for its charming
public squares, gorgeous historic mansions, towering live oaks trailing Spanish moss, a fabulous
food scene, and a thriving seaport that dates to the city’s founding in the early 1700s. Savannah
has played a role in many turbulent chapters of American history, including the Revolutionary
War, Civil War, slavery and the cotton trade.

More recently, it’s been famous as the setting of the true crime bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and as the site of classic Tom Hanks scenes (“Life is like a box of chocolates”) in Forrest Gump. Join us for a leisurely sketch tour to discover some the history and mysteries of Savannah (including the story of a distinctive regional color, and the surprising social prestige of a certain type of fruit).

We’ll begin the day by exploring the verdant squares and beautiful mansions of Savannah’s
Historic District.

Mercer House (429 Bull Street) can be our starting point in Google Maps to virtually “walk
around” the area in Google maps and find good sketching spots:,+Savannah,+GA+31401/@32.0712634,-

If virtually walking around in Google maps doesn’t grab you (after all, it’s really hot and humid
in Savannah in July!), skip Google Maps and find inspiration from these links:

Squares and historic homes Google images (all Creative Commons license)

In the afternoon, we’ll check out the edges of Savannah and beyond, with lots to sketch around
the River Street waterfront area and in the atmospheric Bonaventure Cemetery (which made a
cameo appearance in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) a few miles from the center of

Waterfront history and River Street area:

River Street Google images (Creative Commons license) 

Bonaventure Cemetery: Google Images

Bonaventure Cemetery Flickr images (Creative Commons license) 

Click this link to register:

Note:  Registration closes on Friday at noon
The event starts on Saturday August 1, 2020 at 10 AM EDT

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the World's Great Gardens

Sketching Gardens 
a Virtual Event 
Hosted by Lois Bender

for Saturday, July 25, 2020

We can all love gardens. And they are a sanctuary to escape to in times of Pandemic. Some of us work and cultivate them for aesthetic beauty or as Victory Gardens for food or just look and enjoy and paint them!  Gardens are restorative. Voltaire’s Candide witnesses all the cruelties of mankind and the disasters of nature in all his world travels and finally sums up Voltaire's philosophy in the famous quote: “Let us Cultivate our Garden.”  Just tend your own small garden to make the world a better place. So I say  “Let us paint our Gardens!” 

 Here’s Several Beautiful Gardens to Paint!
Use Google Map Search and/or Google Image Search 
to find source material


Hidcote Manor Garden, a Cotswolds English Cottage Garden in the British “Arts & Crafts” style featuring hedges with doorways, outdoor rooms with dazzling flower beds, unique plantings and on and on!    


Monet’s Garden at Giverny, no introduction needed! The flower gardens are in the English cottage garden style and of course the famous water garden is Japanese-inspired….   


Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, the 1619 “Formal French Style” design by Boyceau commissioned by (Queen) Marie de Medici and inspired by the Boboli Gardens of Florence, her birthplace.…. with expansive lawns, terraces with balustrades, parterres, colorful flowers beds, urns of geraniums, stately chestnuts, statuary including the Queens of France, octagonal sailing boat pond, the Medici Fountain with a grotto and many panoramic vistas! A Gem developed over 400 years with expansive harmony, geometric balance and spaciousness! Proven by its popularity with Parisians and everyone else! Perfect for promenading and painting!  I’ve painted here many times and love it.   


The magnificent Majorelle Gardens of Marrakesh, Morocco….“It’s Blue!!!,”Contemporary, Mediterranean, Moroccan, French.    

A Cubist Villa & Truly An Artist’s Garden! Jacques Majorelle, Yves St. Laurent & Pierre Bergé

To Register for this Event, Click Here:
  • The virtual event starts at 10 AM EDT,
  • The afternoon event (different activities) starts at 1 PM EDT.
  • Registration closes on Friday at noon.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Weekly Theme: A Day At the Beach 

The Dog Days of Summer are here!  It is hot, it is humid.  Perfect weather for the beach!

Rockaway Beach, NY Guide: How to Plan the Perfect Day! | Hello ...

Sand, water, boardwalks and blankets make for a perfect day at the beach no matter where in the NY metro area you live. The sights, aromas and sounds of crowds, concession stands and amusement parks offer us a wide variety of subject matter for our sketching.  

Rockaway Beach

Wether in person or virtually,  a day at the beach evokes everything from beautiful sunrises, walks along the water, and fun at the boardwalk's concessions.  Capture the light on the water, the bathers dipping their toes into the surf or the people screaming as they careen around the roller coaster.  Come in for a closer view of beach memorabilia at the Coney Island Museum (managed by one of our own USKers, Marie Robert) and catch the Steeplechase iconic "Happy Face" or a fun house mirror in your sketchbook.  Or try to capture the colorful signs and amusement rides that are iconic to beachfronts everywhere. 
Coney Island | NYCEDC

For those willing to use the subways many of the beaches in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx are only a Metrocard away.  Treat yourself to a ferry ride to the Rockaways.  The one hour ride from lower Manhattan is only the cost of a subway ride and you will feel as if you were on a long needed holiday.  (Ferries are running on a limited schedule and smaller capacity, but they are running).  Have a car? The choices are amazing all along Long Island and the Jersey Shore.  

So, pack a picnic lunch, a blanket and your sketchbook and enjoy a Day At the Beach!

thejoker1 - PopNerdTV
At Nathan's Hot-Dog Eating Contest, Champion Regains His Title - WSJ
Rainbow Fairy Floss | Stocksy United , cotton candy, japan ...

Thursday, July 9, 2020


An Insider's Guide to Grand Central Station
a Virtual Sketch Tour designed and hosted by Judy Garza

Morning Session:

Hidden Areas of GCT.

This version of Grand Central covers 76 acres. The train yard runs from 42 nd to 54 th on a double deck platform. This leaves a lot of room to explore. Prior to the pandemic, 750,000 people would go through GCT each day – from commuters to tourists to locals shopping. We will explore some of areas that you may have missed on your visits.

Afternoon Session:

Myths of the Terminal

Many people, often with large egos, have been involved in the building and renovating of the Terminal. We will explore some of the quirks that are associated with the building’s history, including: the painting of the constellations on the main ceiling, other artifacts of the ceiling, how correct is the time in the terminal, is it Vulcan or Hercules on the façade, where is the tree and why the rats?




Click here to see additional details and to register:
  • Registration closes at noon on Friday
  • The Virtual Sketch event starts at 10 AM on Saturday July 11, 2020

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A virtual sketch tour of Spain 
hosted by Marta Moreira and Aaron Liebowitz

If you mention Spain most people imagine flamenco dancers, paella, tapas, bull fights and Spanish wines. But Spain is a much richer and diverse land, steeped in history and blessed with extraordinary visual beauty, in architecture, art, landscape and peoples.

On Saturday’s virtual sketch we will get to know Spain. Our two tour guides Aaron and Marta are well prepared. Marta calls Spain her home and for Aaron, Spain and Spanish culture has been a lifetime passion.

For more information and to register click here:

  • The Virtual Sketch event will start at 10 AM on Saturday July 4, 2020
  • Registration for the event closes on Friday at noon.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Weekly Theme: Food Glorious Food

Tomatoes - Mel.jpg
Tomatoes sketch by Mel Barranco

ART and FOOD are creative channels that nourish our health and well being. We love both, so why not combine them? This week's theme was suggested by Susan Chavez after viewing the colorful salads that Sophie Cheung makes with vegetables from her garden. For this week's theme we will be sketching and painting the various foods that we buy, prepare and eat. Let's look for some foods with eye-catching, appetizing colors, and draw from life to make interesting images of preparing, cooking and presenting food in creative ways. Play and have fun. Give your foods some personality or experiment with different forms of food. Remember foods make great models - they stay still when they pose for you.

Need some ideas for inspiration? Here are a few suggestions:

 Colorful Foods, Seasonal Fruits

Pear - Joan.jpg
Pear sketch by Joan Tavolott

Onions sketch by Margaret Casagrandes

Shawne - Cherries.jpg
Cherries sketch by Shawne Cooper

Eye-Catching Arrangements with Fresh Garden Vegetables  


Carrots - Sophie.jpgRadishes - Sophie.jpg
Vegetables from Sophie Cheung's Garden

Interesting or Unusual Produce at the Local Farmer's Market

artichoke - Sophie.jpg
Vegetable sketches by Sophie Cheung

A Beautiful Salad

Colorful Fruit Salad prepared by Sophie Cheung

An Artistic Table Setting

Lemons - Lynne.jpg
Lemons sketch by Lynne Friedman
Apples  - Elaine.jpg
Apples sketch by Elaine Marks


Well, you get the idea. Remember to post your work on 
and add the hashtag #nycurbansketchers.
If your sketch is not done from real life, please add NUS (not an urban sketch) to your post.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

SATURDAY - Collaboration Creation

This weeks virtual sketch event - designed and hosted by Danna Feintuch

For this week’s event, on Saturday June 27, 2020 we will be working together in groups of 5 in our Breakout rooms on Zoom to create one collective piece. You will be given a photo before the event and each person will be assigned a section of the photo to draw from or in.

The photo will be of 5 buildings in a row. It’s attached in this email. You will draw only one of the buildings. (Example: building #3)  You will decide these assignments upon entering your Breakout room. See the example drawings also attached. *** Please keep your heights restricted to around 8” to make it a lot easier for your Tech Leaders to combine them all.

Lunch break / editing time for our Tech Leaders

Garden Bed
The assignment is to create a garden together. Attached is a photo of an empty garden bed and you will create your own plant that will take up a section in it. Remember to draw it from a slight above angle. See the attached example.


    At the end of each session you will email a photo or scan of your drawing to your Tech Leader and they will edit all 4 images together to create your group’s collaboration creation! They will then upload it to the NYC Urban Sketchers Facebook page and tag you as one of the artists.

In the case that your room does not have a Tech Leader, please email all your drawings to one member in your Breakout Room who will then forward them all in one email to Danna at

Please note:
    This event is organized by how many people we have. Once you RSVP, your name will be randomly put in a group with 4 others. They are counting on your attendance to complete the piece. Please RSVP responsibly.

Closes at noon on Friday
Click here to regisgter

Monday, June 22, 2020

Weekly Theme: Go Take a Hike! 

Its summer....go take a hike, get lost, find something wonderful in the woods to sketch.  If you're thinking this isn't urban sketching you are wrong.  We have wonderful wilderness areas right here in the middle of our city and they in a park right near you. 

Prospect Park forest
Prospect Park Reserve Brooklyn
Two things came together for me last week.  

First, we had a virtual meeting with a number of NYC USK organizers to determine if it was safe to hold large (more than 15 people) group events again.  Sorry to say, it isn't.  BUT we did come up with a idea of how to facilitate our members gathering in small groups to do some sketching keeping social distancing in mind.   Recognizing that many sketchers live in some proximity to other sketchers we will try to create a spreadsheet to help you find your neighbors to have get together in a park near your homes,  Many will be able to walk to one of these locations.  For those willing to use public transit, find others to go out and sketch a bit farther away.

Central Park waterfall
Cental Park Manhattan

Then I read the attached article from Untapped Cities about urban wilderness areas. Perfect confluence of events: a list of nearby sketchers and a list of nearby parks!  

Note: not all the places in the article are easily accessible and you might need a car to get to others. However there are enough accessible by foot or public transit to give you choices. 

Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Park Upper Manhattan
In addition to the parks listed in the article. there are many other parks with wooded areas near your homes. You might know about them or look them up on the city parks department site.

 And let's not forget the beaches and waterways that surround NYC, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester.  For starters there is Gateway National Park that weaves around the wilderness waterways of the NY/NJ, including Jamaica Bay in Queens, Sandy Hook in NJ and a number of facilities on Staten Island.   Check the web site for updated information on park hours:

And here is one little gem that few people know about in Brooklyn. Naval Cemetery Landscape, Brooklyn. Located on the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, it is an oasis of greenery abutting the neighborhoods of Clinton Hill and South Williamsburg.

The Chicago Athenaeum - NAVAL CEMETERY LANDSCAPE | Brooklyn, New ...
Naval Cemetery Landscape
For those living outside the 5 boroughs of NYC there are plenty of choices accessible by car. 


Before you start for a park, check out if you'll need a Westchester County Resident Pass and if parking fees will be collected. It's always good to know the opening and closing hours of the park. Check this information by selecting the park you'll be visiting.

Rt. 117, Pocantico Hills
Tel: (914) 631-1470
Rockefeller-designed carriage trails. Wetlands, woodlands, meadows, fields and lakes. Hiking/ bridle, fishing and nature trails. Visitors Center Art Gallery. Open year-round dawn-dusk.
Long Island
Check your county Parks Department....there are many areas to choose from the Queens border all the way to the tip of Montauk. 
Here is on recommended by Aaron Liebowitz: Caumsett State Park and Preserve in Lloyd Harbor,  was an estate of Marshall Field offering miles of wooded trails, salt marshes, and a long rocky beach facing LI Sound and Cold Spring Harbor. It has historic barns, mansion house ... paved and unpaved paths.
New Jersey
Numerous State and County parks as accessible by car.  Here is a link to State Parks in NJ.

Alley Pond Park lake
Alley Pond Park Queens
So, get out there in the wilderness that is in the middle of our urban center. Get lost and enjoy some respite from the grind of confinement in our apartments.  Remember that even in wilderness areas be aware of social distancing, hand washing and use of masks.  Bring a stool, bug spray and lots of green paint!


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch Vegas

Las Vegas also known as Sin City, and the Gambling Capital of the World, is an absolutely unique place.  It is among the most visited places on earth, and has an architectural style all it’s own.  It is an American creation and the architecture is one of the truly American styles. 

The Las Vegas style has been imitated but the original resides here in the US.  It’s not a place that instantly comes to mind when you consider sketching the urban environment, but, why not?  Last week we loved the wonderful architecture of Providence, RI, but the styles were, for the most part, an imitation of European design.  Not Las Vegas.  Love it or not - it’s us, and there’s a lot we can express with our drawings.

Feel free to use any source you like.  The morning will focus on the outside - the buildings themselves and the afternoon will focus on interiors.  Although we’re working from photographs  you should challenge yourself to do more that just be a copiest.  Add your creativity, change things, create pictures that are uniquely your own.

The event starts on Saturday June 20th  at 10 AM EDT promptly.  The afternoon session begins at 1 PM.  You are invited to enjoy both.  Registration ends at noon on Friday.

To register - click here:

Monday, June 15, 2020

Weekly Theme: Using Alternative Drawing Tools

A few weeks ago our weekly theme was using alternative substrates.  Anything would do from shopping bags to cardboard boxes, from different papers to old journals. This week's theme will take the use of alternative materials one more step by using different mark making tools.

KK Ch'ng, one of the USk instructors, has been teaching workshops on using twigs and ink as primary drawing materials.  Having attended his workshop and being handed a chiseled twig from his garden as a pen, I realized I was never without a drawing tool.  Just look around on the ground and there would be something that can make a mark on a page.   Then the other day I picked up a piece of burnt wood from our backyard fire pit and was delighted with my newly found supply of charcoal.

Art Tools of Ch'ng Kiah Kiean | Parka Blogs
KK Ch'ng

Mark making tools from nature

This week anything goes: ball point pens (try using 70% alcohol to dissovle and blend the ink), sponges, burnt matches, cotton swabs, gauze pads, plastic wrap, net bags from produce, old toothbrushes, plastic forks. fingers, hair, string, leaves and branches. The list is endless.  Anything that can carry your ink or paint to the substrate is game. And try using something other than paints and inks.   Use anything that will stain your page such as coffee, tea or tomato sauce. (it has been rumored that someone made a copy of the Mona Lisa using peanut butter and jelly!).

john wolseley
Marthe Isaac

Here are some articles that can help fire your imagination:

Mark making tools from everyday objects

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

SATURDAY: Sketch the “Cottages”

With special thanks to Cecilia Maricel Evasco for suggesting this event - we are off to visit the “cottages” of Newport.

The Gilded Age: The mansions of Newport are where Gilded Age splendor still resides. In classical understatement, the rich referred to these breathtaking mansions as "cottages”.  In the lavish era before income taxes the wealthy tycoons of New York and Philadelphia built summer homes in Newport, in the second half of the nineteenth century.

The Breakers. Marble House. The Elms. Rosecliff. Chateau-sur-Mer.   The names themselves stoke the imagination.  Everything there is fair game for our sketching event, including the “cottages” themselves, the grounds, the gardens and anything that delights you in the interior.

Your starting point can be this wonderful website Cecilia discovered, or you can use any other internet resource.

  • Our mornings will concentrate on the exterior
  • The afternoon will focus on the interior.

Take a look:

The virtual sketch event starts at 10 AM EDT on Saturday, June 13, 2020.

Click here to register:

Registration closes at noon on Friday. You will receive login information for the video call on Friday afternoon.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Weekly Theme: "All Aboard to ALBANY " (Sort of!)


Had there not been the Covid-19 pandemic, we would be drawing and painting in the New York State's Capitol this week. We had to defer this special trip to a time that will be healthier and more relaxed. In the meantime, let's virtually explore and draw in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton and the Roosevelts. Albany offers a treasure cove of art and history. Let it inspire you and wet your appetite for the time when we can return in person. Use Google Maps, Street View, or any other sources to spark your imagination. 

Suggested Drawing Itinerary:        
1. Empire State Plaza which houses Nelson Rockefeller's permanent modern art collection               


2. New York State Museum - This oldest and largest museum in the country is dedicated to exploring human and natural history of the state. Here you will find 911 artifacts and an 1890's carousel.      

3. Albany Institute of History and Art - This second oldest museum in the country has a wealth of art and historical objects documenting life and culture of New York's Upper Hudson Valley, including a collection of Hudson River paintings.

4.Schuyler  Mansion Historic Site - The home of Revolutionary War Major General Philip Schuyler (father-in-law to Alexander Hamilton) and his family.

5. New York State Capitol Building - A marvel of 19th century architectural grandeur, this extraordinary landmark took 32 years to build. It features three grand staircases, stunning stonework and a Senate Chamber considered one of the most beautiful legislative chambers in the world. 

Need further inspiration?  

Happy Travels! 

Use the hashtag #nycurbansketchers 
Add NUS (Not an Urban Sketch)