Archives for the month of: November, 2014

I had another day off (traded Thanksgiving for it), so on Saturday, November 22 I went to meet the NYC Urban Sketchers downtown at the newly opened Fulton Transit Center. All the transit types had been raving about this place. Multiple subway lines converge, eventually all the businesses that plan to be here will be and it is probably a madhouse during the week, but on this Saturday it was a really sleepy laid back hub.

First, though, I spent some quality time in Penn Station.

When I finally arrived at the Fulton Center, after more Saturday subway construction musical chairs, I found the sketchers scattered all around the large station. They were easy to spot. Most of the people downtown at that hour were cops, security guards and NYC Urban Sketchers. I rested iPat on a ledge and looked up and down trying to figure out how to draw the architecture and was soon defeated. Thank goodness for the cops discussing cop business down below and the ever present family of tourists.

Lunch was at a sandwich shop a few blocks away. Surprise! The restaurant had just opened, was empty, only two employees and 12 or 15 of us started rearranging the tables.

Afterwards, back at the Transit Center, I headed underground with Jeff and Joan. You see, earlier Jeff had painted a homeless person asleep on a bench (he showed it to us at lunch) and I was jealous. We set up on the R train platform and on the opposite platform were a constant supply of people sitting still while they waited.

Jeff set up his little stool almost at the yellow painted edge of the platform that supposedly keeps you safe if you keep off. I moved to the bench behind him and happily sketched. When a train would stop the open conductor’s window was just in front of him. It was fun to see their reaction when they were confronted with a man sitting on his tiny stool with his watercolors and paper.

Frozen, the three of us went back upstairs to join with the others and have some show and tell.

This is Jeff (and Mark, over there) on the J train. On my side are Joan and Amy. We are going somewhere else. (Hmm. Is he sketching all of us.)

Stay tuned, I also made another small iPat book that morning and after dark we became un-urbanized.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used: #1,3,4,5: Finngr Pro and ArtRage; #2: Zen Brush and ArtRage .

On the 21st floor in the Empire State Building Dr. Sketchy had a free event (November 20) in conjunction with Shutterstock. The theme was Carnival Brazilian style. Upbeat Brazilian music from decades ago and models bedecked in feathers and glitz. The setting was perfect. Free munchies and drinks. B&H photo brought along some Wacom tablets which were hooked up to computers for use during the figure drawing.

I walked there from MOMA and stopped for some dinner.

That didn’t keep me from munching on the snacks.

Amy, from NYC Urban Sketchers, was also there.

You know I’m going to say it was great fun.

Plus, it was only a few blocks from Penn Station!

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used:
#1,3,4,6: Finngr Pro and ArtRage
#2&5: Zen Brush and ArtRage

After drawing the People of Penn Station (previous blog) I joined a whole bunch of other artists for this:

From the MOMA Studio website:

“Staging the City with Cut-Outs

Artist Sarah Crowner references Matisse’s work on set design by creating a large-scale, boldly colored curtain. In a daylong, interactive workshop, participants are invited to consider their surroundings and make cut-outs that reflect the geometry of New York City’s rich urban setting. The curtain is brought to life as a dynamic backdrop that integrates the individual cut-outs into a single decorative composition, unveiled at the end of the workshop as participants parade their collective design through the space.”

I have a tiny little video of it on its way up the stairs to be hung off of the balcony railing for a short while but I seem to have been unsuccessful in figuring out how to stick it on here.   The participants made cutouts representing our surroundings (midtown) just as Matisse represented his experiences and memories with cutouts. We were using a black fabric with, I think, bondaweb (?) on the reverse. These forms were then ironed onto the curtain.



Another section


Probably pushing my luck but this shows the first bits I added on the bottom – see the Coroner’s van?

Do I need to tell you how much fun this was? People wandered in and wandered out. Old folks and little kids. Smiles all over the place.

But, stay tuned. This was just the middle part of the day. There was still more happening on the 21st floor of the Empire State Building.

I had some time to kill and the weather was not conducive (brrrr) to hanging around outside so I parked myself in the Penn Station waiting room for a half hour and drew them all into a book.

Since I wasn’t there waiting for a train I had time to add color.


Then I walked uptown, stopped for a coffee in Europa Cafe, and arrived at MOMA with time to spare.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Finngr Pro and ArtRage.
Printed, folded, cut at home.

One day last week I was concentrating mightily on something, trying very unsuccessfully to keep my mind from wandering, when the lightbulb that hangs out over all of our heads finally decided to turn on above mine.

And then it was time to go out and get my extra large Dunkin’ and a couple of oranges at the little place next door. Hmm. Look at those pears. Back home, fully caffeinated after lunch, I lined up all the fresh food (I had eaten one of the oranges at lunch) in my house (don’t judge me) on the boardonironingboard studio annex and made a book from start to finish completely on iPat using finicky Finngr Pro and my printer. I even set the timer. Why? Well I had worked it all out in my head and had a sneaking suspicion it wouldn’t take very long. Forty-six minutes from stylus on screen to first printing to see if the layout actually worked. Cool, huh? iPad bookmaking – two of my favorite things in one package.

I had to tweak the center line a bit but now I have a template for that living in Camera Roll that I can use in Finngr Pro for placement. And. And. And. It worked on the next two books I drew.

Then the lightbulb turned off. I didn’t realize until later that I misnamed the poor pears that were by then living in a paper bag. D’Anjou NOT Bosc. Phooey.

The next day iPat bookmaking got adventurous.
Stay tuned.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used: Finngr Pro for complete drawing/painting from life.
Saved to camera roll, imported into ArtRage for paper texture and to extend the black border all the way to the edges. Finngr Pro images are a bit smaller than the ArrRage canvas.  I also added a “collaged” layer of text for a bit of pizzazz.   Printed directly from ArtRage = full size print. I removed the white border of the print and folded/cut the book.

On Sunday, November 16, the NYC Urban Sketchers met downtown on Spring Street at the Fire Museum. No, no ,no. We didn’t spend the day toasting marshmallows. Hmm. Not a bad idea.

This museum is filled with everything used to fight fires. I was, as per usual, overwhelmed with all the detail on all the magnificent very old fire engines and equipment and, after spending some time exploring the first floor with my mouth agape – the main water line was a log with the center bored out!! back in the old times – I went up to the second floor.

This floor was also chockablock with more old ornate fire engines, equipment, portraits, doodads on every surface. I rested my eyes on some old illustrations and eased my way into sketching.

I do like sketching wooden sculptures.

Still floundering around I returned to another illustration of this actor in an 1848 NYC play.

Lunch was at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Nicolas is the son of one of the sketchers and seems to have picked up the lunchtime sketching habit as well.

Fortified, I was back on the second floor. Everyone was drawn to this machine.

The previous drawing wore me out so I moved my chair and regrouped.

Ok. Eyes all rested I walked around the displays and found a model of “Red Rover” and then it was time to leave.

Downstairs everyone (there were many) was getting ready to exit the museum when a couple of us (Mark and I) realized we hadn’t sketched Jim. He was all packed up and ready to leave but stood nicely for a couple of minutes (literally) while we sketched him. It’s mandatory.

After that it was off to the Mandatory Bar for show and tell, etc.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used:
#1,2,5,6,7: Finngr Pro and ArtRage
#3: Zen Brush and ArtRage
#8: Sketch Club
#4: Gridded notebook and Pilot V-ball pen/Tombow pen, sketch photographed using iPad and then imported into ArtRage for color.

The destination was the High School of Art and Design on East 56th Street. The event was a fundraising Draw-A-Thon. Boy, was I pooped by the time I got there. Free Coffee! Yay! I ran into Mark and Marie from NYC Urban Sketchers. I never run into people I know. This sketching thing is really opening up my world. Making me mucho tired also.

The large cafeteria was set up with numerous stations for the clothed models to pose. I found an empty chair and drank my coffee until all the models returned to pose. I was having difficulty drawing the very thin, leotard clothed model so I turned my attention to the sketchers across from me.

In this room there were stations labelled “gestural”, “long pose”, and “all day”. There were also two areas that had students posing as cosplay characters. Don’t ask me, I didn’t have a clue who they were supposed to be, but it was fun to sketch them in their outrageous and threatening poses. Cute little faces with braces snarling at each other. In the gymnasium were the nude models. Same labelled stations and really great lighting on the models. No kids allowed without a parent.

I made my way to another area and while the models were on a break I, well, guess what I did?

I finally found my drawing niche with the “all day pose”, but, of course, I don’t have the attention span for all day and was quite pleased after 20 minutes.

And then I called it a day and started to walk to Penn Station. Now I had a mile to walk south and, since I was between Second and Third Avenues, there was close to another mile to walk west. I started walking in a zig-zag pattern to fool myself into thinking it was a shorter walk. Every time I had to stop at a traffic light I switched direction until I was stopped again. I found myself next to a subway entrance near MOMA that I didn’t know about and my feet stopped zigzagging and took me straight down those stairs and into a train that let me out right inside Penn Station.

More tomorrow about the next day.


iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
#1&2: Gridded notebook and Pilot V-ball pen which I went over with Pitt Brush Pen, sketches photographed using iPad and then imported into ArtRage .

#3: Finngr Pro and ArtRage

Last Saturday, November 15, after some weekend subway musical chairs due to construction, I joined the the Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup in the Brooklyn Museum and happily copied paintings with about 30 other sketchers.

After each hour we were able to find a quiet corner to display our drawings.

I impressed the security guard with this one.

After everyone left I wandered through the African art for awhile.

But my day wasn’t finished yet. I got back on the only subway that seemed to be coming to Brooklyn on that day and headed back to midtown Manhattan. There was one more place to be.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
#1: Finngr Pro and ArtRage
#2&4: Finngr Pro
#3: Art Set Pro

I’m still talking about last Friday. At 5:30 I left MOMA Studio and walked down to the Empire State Building where I was to meet up with NYC Urban Sketchers friend, Julie. I had dinner, she had a bite at a very nice corner Korean deli – no, I did not eat anything unusual – and then we resumed walking down to The National Arts Club on Gramercy Park. There was a free figure drawing Meetup being held there. The problem was that it wouldn’t start until 8:30 and when we arrived there was an event in our meeting space that hadn’t cleared out yet.

Since I wasn’t working the following day I assumed the lateness wouldn’t bother me but I started getting anxious because I would get home at midnight or later.

I knew Julie was going to leave early at 9:30 so I just slipped out with her. The models were terrific. There were no short poses, I assume it was because the event was just 2 hours, so we started with 10 minute ones.

I took the subway to Penn Station, well, it was really short rides on three of them, since it was quicker than walking, and didn’t have a long wait for my train – just long enough.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Apps Used: #1 Zen Brush; #2,3,4: Finngr Pro . All imported into ArtRage for color.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, while I was having lunch, um, snack, last Friday, I fixed and simplified the awful 1- and 2- minute poses (in my sketch book) from the final 2014 Figure al Fresco session at the end of October. The plan to use them as cut outs at MOMA Studio later that afternoon worked out perfectly.

Below is the book layout.

The book: “Claudia”.

She was a very good model but I really stink at the less-than-five-minute gesture drawings. I make snazzy little books though.

Process: Cut out elements from various papers with x-acto blade and/or scissors. Either: Assemble parts on MoMa Studio’s copier, print. Rearrange/add elements, print. Or: glue down all the bits and pieces.