Thursday, March 26, 2015


It has been quite a few weeks since I was able to get to one of my portrait groups. Taylor posed for the Wet Paints Studio Group in Sayville on Tuesday. She came to the meeting with her sisters. She sat on the chair with her hands holding the edge of the chair and her arms stiff with her shoulders raised. You could tell she was very uncomfortable having people staring at her and she kept moving, especially her face and her mouth. It didn't help that when she looked at her sister she would start to laugh. t thought I would never be able to sketch her. After the first 20 minute session she finally settled down and I think I got a fair likeness of her.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beach View

Just when I think the snow is almost gone it pops up in an unexpected place again. I was out on the east end of Long Island the other day. You would think that the snow would be gone at the beach but there are still large clumps of it tucked between the highs and lows of the beach surface. That's what all the white sections are in the painting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Boat Yard

I've sketched at this boat yard in East Moriches before, but I enjoy this spot. It is a definite throwback to the old days...nothing is modern and things are never neat. lol The place has definite character. I was surprised to see that even in the cold temps we have had lately there are still a few rowboats out. Maybe they are ready for Spring. At least there were no piles of snow left in that location, but there are still piles around locally.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Divine Cathedral

On Saturday the NYC Urban Sketchers headed to the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine on Amsterdam Ave and 110th Street in Manhattan. Of course the snow from Friday night was supposed to have stopped before morning, but it definitely hadn't stopped here on Long Island. My friend, Susan, and I decided that even though it was snowing lightly the roads seemed to be really clear so we headed into the city in Susan's van. It had stopped snowing in Manhattan and they didn't have as much snow as we did out here. Susan had about 7 inches and there was about 3 inches by me. (A 10 minute drive can make a big difference in snow accumulations.)

These were some of the views outside the cathedral with snow all over.

I loved this sign about "Spring at the Cathedral" that was covered with snow. lol

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine is an Episcopal Church which is actually also an interfaith center. The building was started in 1892 and is still under construction. It is supposed to be the largest cathedral in the world, but that is disputed depending on if you are talking width or height. For sure it is one of the 4 largest in the world.

Having lived in the NYC area all of my life, this was still my first time visiting the cathedral. I must say it is very impressive, and you couldn't ask for a better location to be sketching. All day long there are choral groups from all over coming in and performing for whoever is there. I think there were at least 8 groups that we heard hailing from all over the United States. With the wonderful acoustics at the cathedral you felt like you were close to heaven.

My first sketch had to be of a choir. I used artistic license and only did part of the group which I believe numbered about 50 students dressed in black gowns or tuxedos. Each group performed about 8 selections to the delight of everyone. They really had wonderful voices.

Next I tried to do some of the architecture. I was sitting in about the center of the cathedral and did the view towards the front door and the rose windows. All those arches were a nightmare to sketch.

I had a few minutes left before we went to lunch and sketched a young girl in another group. She reminded me of the Degas ballerina. She was standing so straight. I sketched her with a blue watercolor pencil, but I liked how it looked so I didn't add any water or other color.

After lunch I wanted to sketch part of an art exhibit that had been hanging at the cathedral for the last year. Our timing was a little off. It was taken down on Friday. The exhibit was by a Chinese artist Xu Bing. Here is a little about the exhibit.

Phoenix: Xu Bing at the Cathedral - January 2014 – March 2015
Over the course of two years, pioneering Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing culled detritus from construction sites across the rapidly changing urban landscape of Beijing, and transformed it into his most monumental project to date: Phoenix (2008-10). A feat of engineering and ingenuity, Phoenix is composed of two birds, a male called Feng and a female called Huang, together weighing 12 tons and measuring 90 and 100 feet long, respectively. At once fierce and strangely beautiful, Xu Bing's mythic birds bear witness to the complex interconnection between labor, history, commercial development, and the rapid accumulation of wealth in today's China.
The birds that were part of the exhibit were resting on platforms on the floor of the cathedral. They were huge and I can just imagine what the exhibit looked like with them suspended from the ceiling.

My last sketch was one of the archways looking from one of the side rooms through the hallways across the cathedral. It is so hard to decide how much to include because there was so much detail to everything.

We had about 9/10 urban sketchers in total during the course of the day. I think it was the first time we went to lunch and then met again in the late afternoon to share our sketches over drinks where nobody sketched at the table either time. lol I think we were just too overwhelmed by the day.

We are hoping to return again when the weather is warmer to sketch some of the other buildings and statues on the property.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

All County Paving Company

I have passed this paving company many times since it is on a direct street between the post office and one of our main roads here in Holbrook. I have thought many times of stopping to sketch it with the wonderful lines, curves, and diagonals. There really isn't a good place to park but I pulled all the way over on the shoulder to get off the road. I wasn't sure what this actually was since there was no company name anywhere I could find. I wrote down the address and googled it and it said it was All County Paving. Who knew?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Roasting Again

On Wednesday the Patchogue Sketch Club made a return visit to Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company in Patchogue for our sketch outing. It was just too cold to sketch outdoors even though it was almost Spring. I looked hard to find a view that I hadn't already sketched. Luckily it was still light enough outside for a view out the window and down the street...and this guy sat and posed so nicely.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Old Dock

Up on the north shore near Kings Park is Old Dock. It is a boat launching area for Smithtown residents. During the rest of the year it is open to anyone. What I like about it is that you can drive from the lower parking lot to an upper parking lot where you may be further from the dock but you have this great view across Long Island Sound to Connecticut. I sat in my car to sketch with the wind howling outside.

Today marks the first day of Spring and we are having snow. It started here about 1pm and now (8:30pm) it is still snowing lightly. I don't know if there will end up being the 2-4 inches they predicted but everything is pretty well covered in white. These are views I took out my front door at about 5 o'clock.