Friday, October 31, 2014

Arboretum Colors

Recently I took a trip to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River to see if the trees had started changing colors yet. There was a bit of color but it wasn't at it's peak by any means. I decided I liked the view of the barn with the fall veggies that were still growing...and the trees to add a pop of color. Hopefully I will get out this week to paint the colors since they are really starting to appear out here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

45th World Wide SketchCrawl

The 45th World Wide SketchCrawl took place on Oct 18th, two Saturdays ago.

My friend and I went in on the NYC Subway so I had time to do a few people in pencil before the train got too crowded and we couldn't see across to the seats on the other side.

The NYC Urban Sketchers met at the new section of the High Line Park in Manhattan which now goes up to 34 St. For those who do not know about the High Line it is a park that has been built above ground on a former rail line. The newest section overlooks among other things, the rail yards where most of the trains come into Penn Station and Grand Central. There are views across the Hudson River to NJ and of course the skyline.

Through the course of the day we probably had close to 20 sketchers join for all or part of the day.
Here are some of the sketchers and the tourists enjoying the cloudy morning, sitting on the "bleachers."

My first sketch was of all the converging train lines in the rail yard. There were a few cranes thrown in for good measure. Rumor has it that eventually the rail yard will become a park, but I think it just adds to the city look and I hope it stays.

I began sketching the view across to NJ and a helicopter came in for a landing at the heliport. I started sketching it and of course it didn't stay close enough for me to get many details, but I figured at some point it would take off again and I could add a bit more. I must have waited nearly an hour before I was able to add anything. Jim and Pat managed to sneak into the sketch too.

Then I sketched some of the people on the bleachers...some busy sketching and some just enjoying the views or taking photos.

After lunch we returned to the High Line and I did another view. This time I put Denise into the sketch.

At the end of the day we went to a "dive" of a bar and shared our work.
It was a fun day and a good location for sketching. My thanks to Susan for organizing the day, finding a place for lunch, and a great "local" bar with a lot of character. I should have sketched that too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Andrews Family Farm Stand

I have quite a few home sketches and paintings to catch up on. It seems strange to be posting only one this time. lol My plein air group met two weeks ago at Andrews Family Farm out east of here. It is such a great farm stand and the people who run it are so nice. They have told us many times to come back whenever we want and not to worry about being in the way of the customers. I had planned on going back last week but never got the chance. This is 8 x 10.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rainy Day Sketching at the Rubin Museum

My first weekend home after the trip I joined the NYC Urban Sketchers in the city at the Rubin Museum on 17th St.

My friend, Susan and I got into the city early on Saturday before the Rubin Museum was open and met up with another sketcher, Mark at Whole Foods on 14th Street. He had snagged some great seats right by the window upstairs so we had a good view to sketch while we dried off and had some coffee.

Here is my sketch of Union Square in the rain.

We then headed over to the Rubin Museum of Art on 17th Street which was filled with wonderful treasures to sketch as well as being a gorgeous building inside. We were joined by some new local members as well as Rory from Tasmania and Tom from the UK. It is always fun to meet sketchers from other parts of the world and see NYC through their eyes!

I started with a sketch of a male lion from Nepal from the 19th century, one of a pair on the ground floor of the museum. I think most of us were attracted to sketch one of them.

There were some beautiful statues like this one of Bodhisattva from Tibet created in the 12th century with gilt copper alloy.

Janet was sketching on the ground floor...and in a lotus position too.

Lance was sketching one of the statues.

We took a break for lunch at the cafe, sampling some different foods from the east. Some of our members (as always) sketched right through lunch. I was too busy talking to our visitors.

My next sketch was of Virupaksha, the Guardian King of the West. The statue was from China from the 17-18 century from the Qing Dynasty.

Then I sketched the statue of Buddha that was in the lobby. 

Around 3:30 those of us who remained gathered to share our sketches. I tried to get a photo of everyone but some came out better than others.




Rory (from Tasmania)


Susan's sketches

Tom (from the UK)


And a group shot with some of our sketchers.

Many thanks to the staff of the Rubin Museum of Art for being so welcoming and allowing us to sketch all over the museum and use whatever materials we wanted. Everyone was very welcoming and gave us such positive feedback on our artwork.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Traveling Home & Sketchbook Photos

All vacations eventually come to an end, and this one finally did. I took my morning walk toward Fiumellate and on the way back stopped for bread and eggs for breakfast. I said goodbye to the owner of the grocery store who I probably saw every morning while we were there. lol After breakfast we packed up, left our apartment, and walked up to the Varenna Train Station. We thought we could catch the 11:37 train to Milan...but there wasn't one. Since we were already there I stayed put.

This is the Varenna station with my husband waiting with the luggage. He ended up going to a cafe down the road to have a cappuccino while I did a sketch. What else do you do when you have more than an hour to kill? lol

I sketched facing the other direction. This was done across the fold of the sketchbook.

We stayed overnight at the Sheraton Malpensa Hotel which is right at the airport. That way we didn't have to worry about getting to the airport...besides it had an indoor infinity swimming pool for me to enjoy. We were lucky we were so close because with everything that had been going on in the world, security was very tight. We were on the security line for nearly 1 3/4 hours and our plane was boarding when we got to the gate.

I like to end my trip sketchbooks with a sketch done at the airport, but in this case I did a sketch on the plane when they were coming through with the beverage cart. We were both ready for a glass or two of wine after being on line for so long.

That is the end of my trip! I hope you have enjoyed traveling with me.

One of my blogging friends, Tina Koyama (her blog is in my list on the right) asked me to show photos of my handmade sketchbook. She makes great ones (coptic stitched) and has show how to do those on her blog. Mine isn't quite so fancy and it wasn't easy to take photos of it because you have to stretch it out and then it is just a narrow photo. I used cardboard pieces covered with scrapbooking paper for the cover. I did the front in a black print and the back is solid black. That way I can tell the front from the back. You can also see I put a little white square in the top right corner so I could tell which way to open it.

The cover got quite beat up putting it in and out of my backpack so much. I used a full sheet of Arches 140 lb paper that I cut into 4 long strips. I folded each strip into 4 pieces and joined them together with small pieces of watercolor paper that I glued to the two sections being joined. It is a concertina, or accordion sketchbook. I had 16 pages going in one direction and then 16 pages in the back when you turn the book over. Here is how it looks open to a few pages at the beginning.

And here is the entire front side of the book stretched out on my couch. I did make sure all my sketches were going in the same direction as I was doing them.

Although I do love Arches paper for painting, it is not the best paper to use in a book that has folded pages because it starts to crack along the folds. You can see what I mean in the sketch of the train station above. I will have to experiment with other brands of watercolor paper to see which brands fold better. I'm also not sure if the next time I will use both sides of the paper or not. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Last Day in Varenna

Knowing it was my last day in Varenna was bittersweet. I enjoyed being there so much, but I was ready to go home and be able to see everyone I had left back in NY. We woke up to a cloudy day and expected showers at some point.

I headed up the hill to this Albergo. We had cappuccino there one morning and it was usually filled with tourists who looked like they were ready to go hiking. I sketched it from across the street.

There had been signs posted all over the town that there was going to be some filming for an Italian TV show about, La Famiglia. As I was starting to walk along the promenade by the lake it was drizzling. I decided to sit in a covered stone area that had views of the water. Then I noticed that there was a film crew setting up. I watched them for a while, but the only thing I saw them filming was the ferry coming into the dock. The didn't film any people and after about a half hour they packed up and left.

This was the ferry they were filming.

I had a fairly nice view from where I was sitting, so I sketched.

This was my final sketch for the day....people with umbrellas because of the showers.

That evening the sky over the lake was just gorgeous.

Tomorrow I will post the last of my sketches from the trip.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In And Around Varenna

I really loved the look of Varenna so I decided to stay there and sketch a bit instead of traveling.

This is the steeple of the local church.

I went back for a second visit to Villa Monastero. It is such a pretty place. I loved the fountain.

So I painted it.

I loved this odd little building at the end of the point.

So I painted it.

A new friend joined me while he was resting in my palette.

Every place I passed was a possible painting or sketch.

The colors are so great on the buildings. I sat on a bench down by the water to paint this, and talked to just about everyone who sat nearby.

And the contradas always called to me. The man at the bottom was taking a photo looking up. I wonder if I ended up in his photo.

Still more posts to come.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Walk from Varenna

After visiting all the other towns by ferry I ended up with a page of quick ink sketches that I did when the ferry was pulling into some of the other towns. This went across a double page in my sketchbook.

Here are a few closeups.

I decided to stay on our side of the lake for a change. Every morning I would walk from our apartment to the very edge of the next town that was about a mile away. I knew from my research that the town, Fiumelatte has "the shortest river in Itlay." Apparently it runs at certain times of the year and then dries up. I didn't know if it was running or not, but I decided to make an extra trip there to check. When I got to this spot I thought I had found the river....

but I decided to keep on walking and take more photos.

And then I heard this roaring noise and went a little further to find this. It was so noisy your couldn't hear anything else. It was right along the road and went under the road into the lake. 

I wanted to sketch it, but there was no room at all to sit down, so I sketched it standing up.

I walked a bit and found this great view back to Varenna that I wanted to paint. I thought a panoramic watercolor paper would be best. As I was sketching I kept getting lost in the buildings so I decided it would be best to start on the left and sketch a building or two and paint them as I went along. The color made it easier to figure out where I was in the view. I did most of the painting that day but completed it the following day.

Here are a few more photos from Fiumelatte.

I had been gone from the apt for quite a while and I knew it was a long walk back...and I was hungry and was ready for a bit of vino.  I will continue tomorrow.