Monday, February 10, 2014

Sketches from My City Visit

The NYC Urban Sketchers met in the city on Saturday. Some of our members are taking part in a sketch swap with our sister city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Saturday was the day we were supposed to be sketching in our respective areas for the swap. I will only be posting my sketches from the day that are not part of the exchange. I think I have decided which of my sketches I will be sending off. I was paired with Fabiana from the Sao Paulo Urban Sketchers. I am still waiting for her mailing address for her sketch, but we did exchange emails. Hopefully this will work out and we will actually exchange sketches. Montreal and Genoa are also doing an exchange.

I headed into the city on the Long Island Railroad and during my 1hr 15 min trip I sketched a few people. At first I didn't have a good view of anyone (I hate when that happens!) but midway through the trip someone sat where I had a view of them. Here are the sketches I did going into the city.

The train schedule either gets me into the city an hour before we are meeting or late for our meeting time. lol So I always head in early and use the extra time for a sketch. I got off at Penn Station which is at 32nd Street and 7th Avenue. I decided to go upstairs to the street and sketch. I was dressed warmly with my hat, sweater, coat, thermals, and gloves. At first all went well, but then when I started to paint the sketch I had problems. MY PAINT FROZE ON THE PAPER! I must say this is the first time this has happened to me. The paint turned grainy and wouldn't move...and the water brush wouldn't release water. I decide to skip the rest of that painting for the time being, and head over to Lincoln Center. I worked on the sketch on Sunday to finish the warmth of my kitchen using a photo I had taken of the scene. 

The sketchers met at the David Rubenstein Atrium on 65th and Broadway. It is part of Lincoln Center and is an interesting spot. There is a vertical garden wall on one side and. there are views to the outside as well as a cafe. Many of the sketchers focused on the people at the cafe counter.
 Here is my sketch from the atrium.

I took a photo of Jimmy taking a photo of his sketch.

I also did a sketch of Jim while he was sketching and part of a sketch of Jimmy and Mark. We left that location before I was able to complete all three of them...but sometimes that's what happens.

From there we moved on to the lobby of Alice Tully Hall which was also in the Lincoln Center area. Here we had a better view of the tall buildings outside. Everyone got very busy. I think through the course of the day we had about 15 sketchers participating...a lot for a very cold day.

Alison, Julie and Josiah had comfy seats that they shared with a man napping.

Mark and Jim (who was taking a sketching break)

Svetlana and Jimmy


Here is my sketch against the backdrop that I was sketching.

And my touched up version of the scene.

Lunch is always an important part of our day...sketching works up an appetite. lol We headed over to PJ Clark's for lunch and sketched while waiting for our food. I did these sketches directly in ink, which is always a challenge for me. I know I rely much too much on my pencil and eraser.
I could only sketch the 4 people who were on the other side of the table.

After lunch the group split up. Mark and I were catching our rides home in the same direction so we walked through the city streets looking for a location for one more sketch before we called it a day. That is the sketch that I will be sending to my swap partner in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Until she gets it I'm not going to post it here or anywhere. If it so happens that the sketch doesn't get sent you'll be the first to see it.

I did one more sketch on the train going home...there was one cooperative model who sat facing me.


  1. All great sketches, Joan! And the exchange sounds like it will be so much fun! Re: the freezing watercolor: I read on Nina Johansson's blog that if you mix some vodka with the water, it won't freeze. Always carry vodka with you, just in case! :-0

  2. Tina, Thanks. Someone suggested that to me. I guess that way you have something to drink too. lol

  3. You always get so much done! I love the outdoor sketch, as well as the atrium. And you did a great job on the ink only portraits.

  4. Great job as always Joan and a fun post of your day! I'm happy you were able to paint indoors! Your pen only portraits are wonderful as are the atrium and your final portrait! I can't wait to see your sketch for the swap.

  5. I can't believe how much you do, you must paint with sparks flying off your paper!! I wonder if glycerine in the water would help, it is what use in the summer when it's hot to slow down drying time. Brilliant post.

  6. Blimey!!! Another hectic day, you must be shattered when you get home!! I love the sketches where you went staight in with ink, it can be a bit anxious but you get a much more fluid drawing, it's so satisfying when it works like it does here.

  7. I so admire your get up and go, Joan. Every one of these sketches are fabulous and your people get better and better and better. I love especially the ink sketches! So fabulous!!

  8. Mickey - Thanks. Being around other sketchers makes you want to sketch more. lol

    Celia - Thank you. I wanted something for the swap that was typical NYC. I hope I captured that.

    Polly - Thanks. Glycerine would probably work too. I'm usually not out in the direct cold in winter, but sitting in my car. The freezing paint surprised me. I think when you sketch with other people you tend to do more...sort of like exercising. lol

    Kevin - I left on the 7:40am train and was home at 7:30pm...a long day. Thanks.

    Sherry - I have to force myself to do more directly in ink. Thanks so much.

    Judy-Joy - Thank you.

  9. Joan - that many sketchers in one place is terrific - passersby must think they've stumbled into the sketching Olympics! It's fun watching your people faces improve and change over time. Can't wait to see what becomes of the exchange sketches!

  10. Joan - what a delightful set of sketches and photos. I always enjoy seeing your scenes of NYC. How fun to spend a day just sketching with fellow artists. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Kerry - Thanks so much. Every once in a while someone notices what we are doing and comes over, but it is NYC and most people ignore you like you're not even there. lol

    Debbie - I'm glad you like seeing these posts. Thanks!

    What? That's crazy! But your sketches are great and it seems like you have a wonderful time. I hope to join you soon. Perhaps in April? :)