Friday, August 18, 2017

Anne Watkins Workshop

If sketching at Governors Island wasn't enough, several of us were scheduled to take a workshop sponsored by the NYC Urban Sketchers with Anne Watkins starting at 6pm in Bryant Park. My friend, Suzala's husband, Rick, was a prince and had driven us into the city in the morning and spent the day with us at Governors Island. Then he drove us uptown for the workshop. The workshop was on doing fast gestures of people with watercolors. Anne works with flat brushes, something that I generally don't use. She wanted us to paint our subject in large blocks of color softening with water where the shoulder or back turned away. We used very little detail and she wanted us to use mass not line. I had a very hard time not using line, but I did my best. Here are a few that I thought were successful, although Anne thought I still used too much line. Since we didn't start until 6 it was really getting dark by the time the workshop was nearly over. We wrapped up about 7:45.

A woman in a colorful sari was sitting near a man who was on his cell phone.

My friend, Rayle was working nearby.

Paula was close by painting too.

Suzala was working on her gesture sketches.

A man on his cell phone was nearby...a good model.

Olivia was painting near the wall overlooking the park.

Here is a photo of Anne Watkins doing her demo.

All in all, it was an interesting method, but since I don't want to paint exactly like someone else, I will use some of her ideas, but I'm happy using line to show the shape too.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Governors Island Sketches

So sorry I missed posting yesterday. This one is a bit long so I hope it makes up for it.

On Saturday the NYC Urban Sketchers took the ferry from downtown Manhattan to Governors Island. This is a small island between Manhattan and Brooklyn and is car-free with an old fort, some lovely old houses, and great views back to the city. 

I did a quick ink sketch on the ferry ride which lasts all of about 7 minutes.

Our first stop was Colonel's Row where there are some wonderful houses that were once used for the military officers. This sketch and the one below were done in my Stillman & Birn Beta softcover multi-media sketchbook.

While we were on the island a Civil War Reenactment was taking place. I caught some of the "soldiers" during their break from firing the cannon.

Before leaving I had time for a quick ink sketch of the skyline.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Still Life

I participate in the Scavenger Hunts on Wet Canvas. I am hosting the present one and this still life was done as one of the challenges. Here is a link to the hunt in case you are interested in seeing what goes on there. 

Monday, August 14, 2017


Last Wednesday my sketch group went to a local concert in the park in Sayville. "3Legs," an acoustic Beatles tribute band was playing. They weren't bad, but the people in the audience were even better. They sang along with all the songs. It was a fun night. Sketching was good until it started to get dark.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Beach Ink Sketches

Most days when I go to the beach I try to sketch some people...mostly they are cooperative, but some do change positions in the middle of a sketch.

This lady stayed pretty still. I liked the way she had one foot over the other leg.

There are always lots of people reading. They usually don't move. The boy drying off was gone quickly.

I like the assortment of different beach chairs. This one had it's own shade.

This guy had a bandana on his head. I think he had a few tattoos, but I didn't include them.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Avalon Preserve

My plein air group painted at the Avalon Preserve in Stony Brook. They have fields of yellow flowers that are so pretty. Since we've painted there so many times, finding a different view isn't easy. I found a wooden fence over by the driveway to the barn which I thought looked a bit different.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sayville Fair

Last weekend Sayville had their annual street fair. I scooted over there on Saturday morning and managed a few sketches. There were a lot of carnival rides but I liked the decorative carousel.

There was an entertainment stage but I had missed the belly dancers performing. Instead I caught one of them as she watched another performance.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


As it often happens I finish my painting before the other artists I am with. So I had time for a very loose, splashy little painting of some sunflowers that were nearby. This was done at the same flower field as the painting below.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Flowered Field

Last Thursday we had to be out in East Hampton to drop off paintings and we went out early so we would have some time for painting. This was done at a farm in Bridgehampton. The owner was nice enough to let us come in and paint.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Treasures from The Catbird Seat

My friend, Debi, recently relocated her shop, The Catbird Seat, to the middle of downtown Sayville. She sells work by local artists, refinished furniture, and assorted things that you fall in love with. Last Thursday was the official Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. As part of the day's celebration she asked artists to come and sketch or paint either inside or outside the shop. There were a lot of great things to sketch...and of course I couldn't make up my mind. lol I do have artwork hanging in her current show as well as a collection of matted pieces. Two of my matted pieces sold since she relocated.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Going Home

My friend and I were on the same flight going home from Chicago so we took a car to the airport and arrived early enough to have breakfast and do some sketches before it was time to board the plane.

These people were sketched by the food court.

These victims...I mean models...were by our gate.

Suzala and I didn't sit near each other. I had a middle seat about 9 rows behind her. I sketched to pass the time on board. I wonder what the people sitting on either side of me were thinking, other than thank goodness she isn't sketching me. lol

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the symposium...can you tell? It was great to meet so many different people who loved doing the same thing as me. 

At the end of the Chicago Symposium they announced the location for next year's symposium which will be in Porto, Portugal. I am hoping to go.

Here are a few of my reflections about the event.
First of all I regret not spending more time with my friend, Tina Koyama. With the workshops and things pulling me in different directions we didn't have that much time together. We will have to make that happen next year in Portugal...if you are reading this, Tina...maybe dinner in Porto?

Secondly, I need to pack lighter. Going to Chicago I made sure all my art supplies and my stool were in my backpack which was coming on board with me. Somehow even when I took some of the supplies out when I got there it didn't seem to get lighter. lol It seemed to weigh a ton and I'm sure part of that was my stool...but I was very glad I had that with me. I was very jealous of the people who had things organized into one small bag that they brought with them every day. I belong to that school of thought "but what if I need this?"

If I go to Porto, Portugal I will need to allow myself several extra days in the Porto itself, as well as visit other locations in Portugal. Flying there will need a time adjustment too, so I will have to go early and stay after the symposium ends. 

I was very lucky to have a great roommate, Mia. We had sketched a few times together in NYC but didn't really know much about each other. By the end of the trip I knew that I had made a good friend. She was not into drama, or complaining, and like me was pretty much able to go with the flow. That is really important! Thanks, Mia, for making things work.

I will have to remember how exhausting the days are when you try to do everything. As much as it was wonderful to do the 4 workshops and watch one demo, I feel like I didn't have enough time to see the city for myself. It would be nice if they had a pass where you could do fewer workshops. But it was hard enough to narrow my choices down to 4 instructors because there were so many good ones. They do offer a Basic Pass which allows you to do sketch walks every day and go to one demo. Many of us were saying that that may be what we will do if we go again...but I know the workshops will be tempting.

This ends my postings about the I will get back to posting about my normal days. :)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Final Day in Chicago

After the Urban Sketching Symposium a few of us stayed for an additional day. I got up early and went down for breakfast with my roomie before she left for the airport. Then I went down to Dearborn Station which was about 2 blocks from the hotel. 

Before I finished my friends Suzala and Julie joined me.

This area is called Printers Row and the buildings are all quaint. I also did a painting of the Wine Shop while the ladies finished their paintings. I used a bit of the twig painting technique I learned.

 After lunch Julie left us for her flight and Suzala and I headed up to Navy Pier. This is a painting of the only lighthouse in Chicago done from the pier.

Then Suzala and I went up to Riverwalk where we were going to meet Sondrene from Paris and take an architectural boat tour. I had time for a sketch of the DuSable Bridge.

We had a really nice time on the boat tour. 

Of course I sketched a bit on the least until it got too dark.

The boat tour was a night tour and the scenes were lovely.

It was really a great final day! I regret that we didn't stay a bit longer. There was still quite a bit of Chicago that I would have liked to see.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ink Sketches from Chicago

In addition to the colored sketches I did in Chicago, I did some sketches just in ink.

This was sketched of the Urban Sketching president, Amber Sausen during her opening remarks at the beginning of the symposium.

Here's how sketchers relaxed at the Hub.

At the start of KK's sketching with twigs workshop I sketched a few of the other artists with my twig while they tested their twigs.

After the closing ceremony a few of us went out for a "drink and draw" at the Exchequer Restaurant and Grill.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Extra Sketches - Part 1

Outside of the classes I was able to do some sketching too. For this one which was done in South Congress Plaza, I used the techniques I learned in the workshop with KK. The twig is fun to use.

Here are my fellow sketchers at work at this location. The contraption with the handle in front of the woman with the blonde, curly hair is Suzala's knee scooter. You can see she has her right foot bandages. She broke it about 2 months ago, and can't walk any great distance.

This sketch was done between workshops. It was a "direct in watercolor" done quickly before I went to have lunch.

This was sketched on Sunday after the symposium was over. Some of us stayed an extra day to be able to sketch things that we weren't able to get to on the symposium days. I believe this is Chicago's only lighthouse sketched from Navy Pier.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Final Sketchwalk

The Urban Sketching Symposium began with an opening sketchwalk and then ended with a final sketchwalk. That was in addition to the sketch walks that were held each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon that were attended by sketchers who didn't have a workshop pass. There were about 575 people who came to Chicago, from 50 different countries. It was so great to be walking along and finding other people with their passes handing around their neck. It was easy to spot us.

The final sketchwalk took place on South Michigan Avenue along the park. There was someone leading it and talking about what we were passing, but I wasn't close enough to hear her and knew I would just rather sketch. So I moved a little ways down the park and found this spot with flowers and two doors. I tried to find out the significance of the doors but had no luck. It was a pretty spot.

Our final meeting place for our group photo was the bronze statue of General John Logan. I sketched there before the photo was taken.

Here is the group photo of everyone. It was amazing to see so many people gathered there together.

That night there was a closing ceremony with music, food, and drinks. Some of us went out afterward to the Exchequer Restaurant and Pub. They were one of the sponsors of the symposium and donated all the food for the closing reception. This was a bit of a "drink and draw."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Saturday Morning Workshop - Liz Steel

Another artist I really admire and was lucky enough to get into her class is Liz Steel from Australia. Her workshop was called "Lost and Found Structure." For each part of the lesson she did a quick demo. First we did a line drawing showing the patterns on the buildings.

Next using the same scene we did a version using color but no tone and no shadow.

This step was to show just the darkest parts of each of the buildings using one tone.

Finally we combined all the elements using the same scene.

Here are a few photos from Liz's workshop.

Liz Steel doing one of her demos.

The whole group.

Liz and myself.

Photo of me taking a photo of the group's work (courtesy of my friend, Andrew Berlitz who was in the class).