I did this commission last month, and had a blast with it. It was supposed to depict a June night at the River Cafe (the gal commissioning it had gotten engaged there a few years prior). She was very specific about wanting it to be night, but not too dark, and to focus on the cafe. I couldn't help but sneak the bridge in there (its such a great feature!), but I kept the restaurant light, bright, and in warm colors to pull the eye down. I went and did research on what was actually the exact date of their engagement, and lucked out with gorgeous weather. I also took enough photos of that area to be set for a lifetime of watercoloring. Looking forward to painting more from that series!
The day I signed my contract for my Bryant Park residency, I had gotten tickets to opening night of Midsummer Night's Dream in Central Park. I was stuck with a few hours to kill, where it didn't quite make sense to go home. Naturally, I brought my sketch kit and spent the time doing a couple of sketches in the park and walking around. I started with a sketch of Gapstow Bridge, which was very close to where I entered the park. It's from a different angle than I caught it from the last time I was sketching in the park, on account of better lighting. Then I started meandering north in the general direction of the theatre, stopping at Bethesda Terrace so I could do a sketch of the fountain.
Before you all get too sick of Bryant Park, here are two sketches I did before I found out I'd be doing a residency there. During the second, I was told that I couldn't be on the sidewalk, because the sidewalk closest to the building was private property. So I relocated to next to the curb, and that was more acceptable for security.
One of my favorite artists, James Gurney, occasionally does plein air challenges. The grand prize is usually one of his books or DVDs, but mostly it's just fun. A couple months ago, he issued a "Dead Vehicle" challenge. The rules were that it had to be painted on location, and of a vehicle that is no longer in working order. Conveniently, the challenge came with two days left in a contract I was working in Connecticut. This was convenient because the shop I was working at is right next to a mechanics shop with several dead cars out in the lot! So, I went back after work and planted myself in some weeds (looking out for poison ivy!) to get the best view of these two very dead cars. I was spot
The final day! I had my very last workshop, another one on perspective, this one with Stephanie Bower. Know when I say she wrote the book on perspective in urban sketching, it isn't a metaphor! We were provided with gorgeous weather, and were tasked with doing panoramas of the equally gorgeous river walk. A major bonus of the workshop was getting to see Stephanie in action! (her half-finished sketch below!) I begrudgingly brought along my watercolor moleskine as it was the easiest way to do a panorama, despite the fact that it meant my sketch would forever be bound, and also that I'd be painting over the binding. I have since bought a few blocks of long watercolor paper (not the first time
Today's Flashback Friday post is from the very first time I sketched in Bryant Park. It was before I was meeting up with my urban sketching group; right around the time I discovered the Urban Sketchers blog. The reason I'm sharing this sketch of Bryant Park? I was recently selected to be an artist in residence there for two weeks! August 21-25 and August 28-September 1st, you'll be able to find me plein air painting in all different locations all over the park! I'll most likely post from instagram with my location and hours for the day, so feel free to come by and visit! Already assembling materials and pulling together an easel set up (will post about that later!), and am very excited for t
On the 28th instead of a workshop and a demo I had two workshops, so it was a long day of sketching! I skipped waking up early (clearly came to my senses that doing BOTH an early morning sketch AND a nocturne might not be the most advisable choice), and started the day with my first workshop. This was perhaps the one I was most looking forward to, and it didn't disappoint! Instructor LK Bing is a genius, but also incredibly kind and a great teacher (and has much better English than he thinks he has!) We began by watching him do a demo of tiny value cards, these are small sketches so you can get a handle on the scene before working bigger. Here's mine! He had us using these great water solubl
For the first full day of the symposium, I decided to get up extra early (because I'm insane and should have my head examined) so I could sketch Alexander Calder's Flamingo sculpture. I loved the reflections on the building, and again getting to use my favorite Vermillion (did you spot it on the Wrigley Field painting too?) I was joined for a bit by a new friend from Switzerland, who bought one of the Woodward and Father boards I had on me! After proceeding to the Hub for morning announcements, we jumped right into our first workshops! Or at least, those of us with workshop passes. They scheduled sketchwalks in place of workshops for everyone who opted for the less expensive passes (that sti
Now we've hit the start of the symposium! It was my first, but the 8th annual International Urban Sketching Symposium. 570 artists from 34 countries poured into Chicago to sketch! Check in at "the hub" (the heart of the symposium) didn't start until noon and the kick-off sketch walk started at 2:30 so I took the morning to do some other extracurricular sketching. Since I was staying with a friend on the Northern end of the city, I got off the subway a little early and sketched Wrigley Field. I figured it would be just wrong to pass it every day and not stop to sketch it. As I sketched a member of the custodial staff, decked out in Wrigley Field gear and a Cubs hat to match, swept around me,
I gave myself a full day in Chicago before the symposium so I could sketch and do ANYTHING I WANTED without being on anyone's timetable but my own. First stop? Navy Pier! After having brunch with a friend who conveniently works at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, she let me into their building for an exclusive view of the Ferris Wheel. This one was done with Qor watercolors and was my warm-up for the day. Next stop? The Chicago Theatre! I walked down the Magnificent Mile until I hit the beautiful marquee. I took a bunch of photos, and am hoping to do a studio version of this. I loved the complexities of the color in the shadows, and will accept any excuse to use Vermillion. Next I stopped by Mil
I got back from my first Urban Sketching Symposium a week ago and I'm STILL processing it! The last you heard I was all packed and ready to go. I learned a lot, and have my work scanned in and ready to go, so I hope y'all are ready for a little deluge of Chicago posts! Naturally, I started sketching at the airport. My flight experienced a small delay because of fog and rain in NYC, which gave me even more time to sketch and start reading my plane book ("Furiously Happy" by Jenny Lawson was an excellent choice, by the way.). Here's a selection of passengers: I even did a sketch from the plane! The scenery was too good to pass up (and I think it thoroughly amused my seatmate.). I would sketch