Tonight is New Year's Eve.
I would like to wish all of you a 2023 filled with love, peace, health, happiness and inspiration!!!
May your creativity know no bounds!
Most of the country was affected by that big storm before Christmas. Luckily nearby we mostly had bitterly cold temperatures and strong winds mixed with some rain. Areas down near the ocean and the bay were affected a lot with the high tide at the ocean being all the way up to and past the dunes. By the bay here high tides flooded a lot of areas and then the water froze keeping some people stranded in their homes. I went down to Sayville to the Land's End parking area. There was still some frozen water on the streets and big stretches of the bay were frozen. The breakwater rocks were covered in ice and on the breakwater in front of the parking area the water froze as it was coming over it. All that white in my painting is frozen water as it came splashing over the barrier.
I haven't sketched in a Starbucks in quite a while. In fact I don't think I've done a Starbucks sketch since January of 2019. We had a few days of really cold weather recently, but on Monday I really wanted to get out of the house for a little while. It was even too cold to sit in my mobile studio to do a sketch unless I kept the engine running. I knew a coffee shop would be my best bet for a location. I tucked myself in the corner of the Patchogue Starbucks. I started this sketch from the front with the baskets and worked my way back. The people kept changing but I made whoever was there fit into what I already had. I was probably sitting there nursing my coffee for about an hour and a half.
On Christmas Eve I went to the 4:00 Mass at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Holbrook. To make sure I was able to park in the lot and get a seat in the church I went early. There were other people there already and the choir was singing carols. I had time to sketch a few people from the choir and a few people seated between them and me.
I usually made an original Hanukkah card to send to a couple that we are good friends with. I've done many menorahs and decided it was time for something different, so I did a star of David with watercolors and my gold gel pen.
One of my favorite traditions at Christmas (and Easter) is making pierogi from my mom's recipe to have for dinner on Christmas Eve. For a long time it was a group effort with Dad cranking the dough, several of us filling the pierogi with cheese, and Mom boiling them and later pan frying them. After my parents were gone I often went up to Maine for the holidays and helped my sister, Tina and her family make them. For the last few years I haven't been able to travel up to Maine but I still want them for Christmas Eve dinner, so I make them myself. This year I challenged myself to try to sketch the process while I was making them. It wasn't too hard to do except for having to wash my hands constantly to keep the flour off the sketches. The step with the pasta machine was harder to do because I had to position my hands and sketch them individually. I sketched the whole thing in pencil while I was making them and then went back over the lines with ink and then added watercolors.
I hope your day was filled with joy and that you were surrounded by those you love.
I know there have been a lot of people affected by the winter storms passing through. I hope you are staying safe and warm wherever you are. It has been bitterly cold here in NY, but luckily we have been able to say warm. Today we spent the day with some of Jerry's family. We enjoyed seeing them and sharing stories. I hope you had a good day too!
My Christmas prep included quite a bit of food prep. My bag of Gold Medal Flour seemed to be my constant companion. Rather than look for something outdoors to sketch, I worked with what I had at hand. Here are a few of the cookies that I made...linzer cookies and rugelach.
This is so appropriate to post for Christmas Eve. On Wednesday the Patchogue Sketch Club met and our theme for the evening was toys. I don't have any toys around but my friend, Rosann said she would bring some extras. She has a few around for when her grandkids visit. I had time for what I think is a Fisher Price airplane and a Big Bird truck.
Wishing all of you who are celebrating a Happy Christmas Eve!
At the beginning of the week I was trying to come up with something different to sketch related to Christmas so I decided to go over to our parish church. The church is always nicely decorated and I focused on this advent wreath for my sketch.
East Setauket has a produce stand and farm called Pantaleons. Their Christmas tree area was quite busy on Sunday while I was sketching. I guess the guy was cutting off a bit of the trunk of the tree.
I did these two sketches as part of a scavenger hunt for creativespark.art. Most of my ornaments have a story. This angel was bought years ago in San Diego at a nightime event at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I was there with my parents and my sister and 2 of her boys. (Her third son hadn't been born yet.) I bought two ornaments and each one reminded me of one of her boys...not that they were angels by any means. lol Jeff has dark hair, so this was called my Jeff angel. The other one has blonde hair and my Mike angel has blonde hair.
This is one of three glass snowflake ornaments that I bought in this great store in my sister's town in Damariscotta, Maine. I always loved going to the store right after Christmas when they always had a 50% off sale. Sadly the store changed hands and isn't quite what it was before.
During the week I went to the Lake Grove Mall to do some Christmas shopping. I couldn't find what I needed so I gave up and went to the Food Court to sketch. There were a group of teenage kids on a chaperoned shopping trip and all of them were hanging out having lunch in the food court. They were good models for my sketch.
The other evening the Patchogue Sketch Club met and our theme was holiday decorations. I gathered up one of my gnomes, an Analee doll, my Christmas tree topper (which won't fit on the top of the tree), and a few ornaments. I finished most of this while there but when I got home I remembered I had bought a pan of metallic gold watercolor that would be perfect for the star!
A while ago I was contacted by a woman who had seen the commission of the the red house in the snow that I painted back in March. The new client's mother's house was the subject this time and it was a house with multiple angles that wasn't easy to sketch out. Added to that the shingles were those brown, textured ones that I wasn't sure how to paint...and there were a lot of them. That was the first thing I practiced before beginning the commission. I ended up using a very light grey Tombow marker to create most of the texture on the shingles and then added a little watercolor. The house had shutters and canopies over the windows and lots of foliage. I was working from photos because it was going to be a Christmas gift for her mom, so I really couldn't go there to look at the house unless as she said, "The car wasn't in the driveway." The staircase was missing from her photos so I was able to take a few more photos that included that area. Then I was faced with the area behind the stairs. In real life what you saw was mostly the neighbor's driveway with a motor home parked there as well as the neighbor's house being very prominent. When I took the photos and loaded them onto my computer I was happy to see that there was a small streetlamp with a sign having the house number. So I included that and did a lot of foliage and just a hint of the other house.
The client asked if the painting could be done by Thanksgiving weekend because she would be home visiting from Pittsburg. I met her and her family and they were all thrilled with the result. She said it was better than she ever expected. I'm so glad!
As much as I love finding Christmas and holiday decorations I had to go down to the bay near Sayville the other day to paint the clouds. They were so great. Straight ahead across the Great South Bay is Fire Island one of our barrier islands where the lighthouse I'm always painting is located. You can often get a glimpse of one of the ferries heading over to or back from the small communities located there.
The other day I grabbed a sprig of holly off a bush outdoors. I figured it would come in handy on one of the days that I was busy most of the day. It was starting to get dry and wrinkled so I figured I'd better hurry up with the sketch.
You may remember that back in September I went to a classic car show in Patchogue and sketched my friend's father's classic chevy pickup truck. She recently sent me a photo of another classic pickup that someone in the family had restored for her father...and this one was pink. She asked me to do a sketch of this one to go with the other one. It is much easier to sketch something like this on site because you can actually walk over to see what things were. I was able to enlarge some details, but not everything came out clear...like the license plate information and the hood decoration. Nice I'm not into car models I don't know what brand of truck this on it. I did my best and Cheryl picked it up yesterday and loved it.
I hope Paulie (her father) loves it too.
My plein air group usually goes to Andrews Family Farm in Wading River every fall to sketch the pumpkins and the autumn displays. I love going there any time of year since the owners are so nice. I knew they had their Christmas trees and wreaths out so I took a ride over. Of course it looked great! It was cold so I sat in my car to paint this direct watercolor.
I went out looking for something decorated for the holidays. Harbor Crab in Patchogue had their palm trees decorated as well as the front entrance. Looks like they are having special packages for the holidays.
Sometimes it is interesting to sketch the very ordinary scenes like this one in Patchogue at the corner of Rider Ave and Academy Street. Swezey Fuel is celebrating 100 years of business.
As a fundraiser the High School of Art & Design in NYC holds a Draw-A-Thon each year. From 10 - 7 there are 2 rooms filled with nude or costumed models. You pay your admission and sketch away for as long as you like. The NYC Urban Sketchers take part in this event even though it is NOT urban sketching.
I started out in the nude room. There were 5/6 stations with models posing. It has been a long time since I drew nude models and I have to say I felt very rusty with the proportions of the human body. The models were great...and so were the sketchers. I worked in a variety of media...some more successful than others. Here are a few of my sketches.
I sketched in graphite.
Last week I took a drive out to Greenport which is the last town on the southern part of the North Fork. You can go slightly north and still go farther east to Orient Point. Greenport is a bustling little town and very popular with tourists in the summer. Right now it is one of the few towns that has a lot of stores and restaurants open...although some of them probably close after the new year. Pretty much right at the end of Main Street is Forinos Tavern which is built over the water. I've never been inside so I can't tell you what it is like inside or even if it was open (It didn't look like it was.). This is another sketch in my concertina sketchbook of North Fork locations.
I'm still trying to sketch some bigger views of the towns near me. This is Port Jeff. Usually I sketch one or two of the buildings there. I've never tried to do an expansive view of the town before. Port Jefferson is on Long Island Sound and you can take a ferry from Port Jeff to Bridgeport. I was sketching facing away from the water.
Apparently every year St Ann's Episcopal Church in Sayville has a two day Christmas tree sale. I always think about going to sketch but I forget when it is being held. Finally this year I remembered. I headed over there on Saturday since they were forecasting rain for Sunday. There were 750 trees that were brought in and they were selling quickly. I ended up standing for the duration of the sketch because there was a fence around the sale area and the slats of the fence would have blocked my view. Santa was there but wasn't in my line of vision.