A Weekend In Alabama

Earlier this month, I was thrilled to go to visit Birmingham, Alabama for a weekend. I lived there for a year, and though I was specifically visiting for a friend's* wedding, I was happy to see the rest of my Bama friends and do some sketching while I was in town! Here's the first sketch, done in downtown Birmingham the night I flew into town. The marquee is for a store that has since closed, but the sign is still fantastic. Though it's called "New Ideal" I liked how the tree blocked the "L" so it just seems to say "New Idea." I was lucky and got fantastic lighting, though I lost it soon after I started. I had the following morning to sketch before meeting a friend for lunch, so I pulled up

Sherlock and Watson do Governor's Island

A fun thing about working in theatre is having a lot of nerdy, nerdy friends that always have fun projects afoot. In this case, my friend Tiffany (who is pretty involved in the Sherlockian society in New York) was running a Sherlock Holmes weekend on Governor's Island. She wanted to kick off Sunday with a sketching hour, with her modeling, dressed as a steampunk take on Sherlock Holmes (worth noting: she is a costumer). Once I had agreed to co-host that event with her (as her time-keeper), I asked if she wanted me to dress up. She suggested if I wanted to, I could come as her Watson. And when Tiffany asks you to be the Watson to her Sherlock, YOU SAY YES! So here are Tiffany and I, in costum

My Everyday Sketch Kit

I get a lot of questions about my kit, and what colors I use, so I thought I'd do a post on my materials and the palettes I use. This is my usual kit, though I add as necessary depending on where I'm going, or if I'm working bigger. Brushes, large to small: Princeton Neptune Synthetic Squirrel #12 Round Princeton Neptune Synthetic Squirrel #10 Round Princeton Neptune Synthetic Squirrel #8 Round Princeton Neptune Synthetic Squirrel #6 Round Princeton Neptune Synthetic Squirrel #4 Round Simple Simmons #1 Small Round Pens: Signo Uni-Ball White Gel Pen .3mm Draft/Matic Mechanical Pencil (along with extra lead and a bit of kneaded eraser) Sakura Pigma Graphic Pens (I usually carry the 1, .08, .03

Bryant Park: A Panorama

Early on, I knew I wanted to do a 360 degree panorama of the park. This posed some challenges, like the fact that I've never done something like that before. Also that the perspective changes as you turn. Also that I wanted to draw it from a fictionally far distance away to get in the tops of the buildings. Most of these are admittedly problems of my own making that could have been solved if I had a different vision for the end results. I did a few sketches and paintings to prepare. I did this painting in one full day my first week in the park. I wasn't thrilled with the colors, so I continued to do some other (quicker) sketches for color. Here's another one of the fountain! This one was don

Bryant Park: Le Carrousel

I learned early on in my time at the park that sitting near the carousel is a joy, because it spouts French music and it feels like a tiny bit of Paris in New York. The carousel itself is hard to paint, not only because it's top is taller than you'd think, but because it moves! I did these two back to back and have bits I like of each of them. Which is your favorite? *All images in this post belong to Bryant Park. All of the paintings are theirs and they will not be for sale on my etsy, nor will I be selling prints. I'm hoping the park might sell prints in the future, and if they do I'll be sure to post about it!

Bryant Park: The People

Even though I tend to edit people out of my paintings, I did a few all about people and some extra ones using them as a focus. This is an adorable family (I think two sisters and their children?) who were playing on the lawn my final afternoon. Loved being entertained by the piano program, which had piano players come out and play for two hours every day, Monday-Friday. Here's Kuni Mikami, the Piano Man from my final day! These two weren't sitting together in real life, but I figured they could be. Pictured in front of the entrance to the Bryant Park Hotel. This was actually my final sketch of the residency, capturing people reading, on their phones, chatting, and eating along the lawn in fr

Bryant Park: The Grace Building

The Grace Building is another of my favorite buildings surrounding the park. Known for it's iconic curve, best seen along 42nd on either side of the building, I only painted it straight on from the park itself (can you still tell it's curved at the bottom?) The park fills with people at lunch time, and on days the lawn is open, it floods with people stretching, eating, playing, napping, and doing handstands. I was happy to include a few in this next painting! *All images in this post belong to Bryant Park. All of the paintings are theirs and they will not be for sale on my etsy, nor will I be selling prints. I'm hoping the park might sell prints in the future, and if they do I'll be sure to

Bryant Park: The Library

Naturally, the NY Public Library is a huge presence from the park, so I couldn't let two weeks pass without painting it! You'll see it again in my huge panorama, but for now here's two paintings of the back of the library! Here's a quick one, with just the corner of the library and featuring Bryant Park Grill. This next one was more of a saga. I worked on it over two days, I drew it one morning and started painting it, and then finished it several days later, waiting for the light to do what I needed it to. *All images in this post belong to Bryant Park. All of the paintings are theirs and they will not be for sale on my etsy, nor will I be selling prints. I'm hoping the park might sell prin

Bryant Park: An Ode to the American Radiator Building

A wonderful thing about instagram is that it gives viewers the opportunity to immediately comment on whatever you're posting. I noticed soon after my very first painting containing the American Radiator Building (one of my own favorite buildings in NYC, and the subject of one of my favorite Georgia O'Keeffe paintings) garnered a unique response. Comments and private messages about the paintings I did containing the building started pouring in, containing a common thread: "That is my FAVORITE building in New York City!". Built to house the American Radiator Company in 1924, the black brick and gold accents were meant to symbolize coal and fire. It has since been renamed the American Standard

Bryant Park: When in Doubt, Paint the Fountain

Throughout my two weeks at Bryant Park, basically whenever I didn't know what I wanted to paint next I would just paint the fountain. As a result, I ended up with several versions of it, from a few different angles! This was the first one I did, an early morning sketch with the sun lighting the fountain from behind. Next I did a composition from further away, capturing the full scene and some of the buildings behind the park (I was sitting along the south side of the lawn). I've been getting really into doing tall pieces, as well as panoramas, and you'll definitely be seeing more from my residency! Last, I had a limited amount of time on one of my last days in the park as I was waiting for t

Close-ups of the NY Public Library

Most of my residency I spent doing far-away compositions of the architecture around the park, but I spent a couple of days doing some close-ups around the New York Public Library. This first one of the statue of William Cullen Bryant was the one I had started drawing on my first day in the park. I could paint the light on the structure housing him forever, it was always gorgeous no matter the time of day! On the first Friday of my residency I moved to the front of the building and drew this, and painted it the following Monday. I stuck to a limited palette (Daniel Smith Quin Deep Gold, Indigo, Cobalt Blue Violet, and Winsor Newton Rose Dore, if you were wondering, it's basically what I used

Bryant Park: Day 1

Finally getting around to blogging about my Bryant Park Residency! The first day was one of my favorites. By coincidence, it was the day of the solar eclipse! They were also doing a movie night in the park that day, so I shifted my hours later so I could start with the eclipse and stick around to paint the movie. First painting of the eclipse! I was swapping back and forth, using my glasses to look at the sun, looking away, taking them off, and then (obviously) painting without them. This first one has some water marks because the park was PACKED (hindsight: they really should have opened the lawn!) and someone ran into my easel, and water spilled all over my finished painting! It's actually

QoR Watercolors

Back in July, I was asked to do a review of QoR Watercolors, a new line manufactured by Golden Paints, for the Urban Sketching Symposium in Chicago. Though they provided me with the paint, all views expressed in this blog are my own. This isn't a sponsored post so I'm free to review as I see fit! QoR, standing for "Quality of Results," uses a synthetic binder called Aquazol instead of the more common Gum Arabic. Though it is synthetic, I feel the need to point out it is NOT acrylic since it seems there are rumors to the contrary. Acrylic doesn't rewet with water, Aquazol does. Aquazol has been used in art conservation work for over 20 years, and unsurprisingly has really great staying-power.


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