New York

I recently took a very quick trip to New York City to see art & sketch. I attended the John Singer Sargent show at the Brooklyn Museum, and learned a thing or two about value and color from his examples. While I didn't try to sketch his pieces, I did sketch from other objects at the museum... Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Museum

The following day I met up with the New York urban sketchers, which turns out to include more familiar faces than I'd realized; that was a real joy. We started in Four Freedoms Park (Roosevelt Island) for a great view of Manhattan, then found our way to Union Square.

Views from Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, New York City

Union Square, New York City

I met up with a friend at Tom's Restaurant, and stopped in at the World Science Fair.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, World Science Fair

I visited the Metropolitan Museum and wished for many more hours than I had, and ended up sketching a few more street scenes that day before finding my way home.

The Met

The Met

The Met

The Met

The Met

The Met

Union Square, New York City

I walked the High Line.

High Line, New York City

I'm really hoping for another opportunity to meet up with the New York urban sketchers, and highly recommend any visiting sketchers check their website for their regular Saturday crawl.

Sketching the Lady



While planning a trip to the Bay Area recently, I noticed the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain would be in town the exact weekend of my visit.  Ever since experiencing a 3-hour "battle sail" on board the Lady Washington almost six years ago (some photos here), I'd been wanting to sketch under sail - this was finally my chance!  I booked a short passage from San Francisco to Oakland. (A few days later I also signed on for a battle sail, so the photos in this post come from both excursions.)

I stayed the night at my friend's house just 20 minutes' walk from the Embarcadero, so it was a brief and pleasant morning walk to the ships. It's always a wonderful moment, when you first spy the masts camouflaged among the other various masts and poles and lights of an urban dock.


Only a few other passengers had signed on for this passage, so there was a lot of space to move around and the crew sometimes had time to chat. The captain used the opportunity to perform a series of safety drills, so I got to see a lot of examples of what it takes to run this complex machine. The weather was blessedly cooperative.




Sketching was a real challenge, as you might imagine, since not only were the crew in nearly constant motion (as you'd expect), everything that isn't nailed down is likely to move or change shape in some manner, and the shadows were coming from different directions from moment to moment!

On Board the Lady Washington On Board the Lady Washington On Board the Lady Washington On Board the Lady Washington On Board the Lady WashingtonOn Board the Lady Washington


Portland Art Museum - The Body Beautiful & Bacchanal Ballroom

Not too long ago, I joined fantastic local comics artist Lucy Bellwood for sketching at the Portland Art Museum. The current exhibit features body-focused Greek statues and ceramics. Portland Art Museum - The Body Beautiful Portland Art Museum - The Body Beautiful Portland Art Museum - The Body Beautiful Portland Art Museum - The Body Beautiful

Tonight I attended the museum's dance party event associated with this exhibit: Bacchanal Ballroom.

The evening started off with dancers posing in costume atop column-like platforms as living statues. Perfect for sketchers, right? Right, but the poses were often very fast and there was no knowing how long they'd last - going gestural was the only way!

Bacchanal Ballroom (NaNoDrawMo 2012 - 8 of 50) Bacchanal Ballroom (NaNoDrawMo 2012 - 9 of 50) Bacchanal Ballroom (NaNoDrawMo 2012 - 10 of 50) Bacchanal Ballroom (NaNoDrawMo 2012 - 11 of 50)

At some point in the evening, the dancers leapt down from the columns and assembled on the floor for a steamy dance number - which was, incidentally, choreographed by my friend Jessica Wallenfels! As soon as that piece finished, the crowd spilled forward and danced among the dancers. It was actually quite a sight, all the regular folks shimmying up next to these scantily clad paragons of beauty. And yes, eventually I put down the sketchbook and joined them as well.

Bacchanal Ballroom (NaNoDrawMo 2012 - 12 of 50)

Afterwards I used the photobooth as a means to display my great heroism in sketching in challenging scenarios...

Bacchanal Ballroom Bacchanal Ballroom

I didn't take any photos, but there are some good ones available courtesy of Byron Beck on Flickr. Kudos to the Portland Art Museum for putting on a truly unusual event that provided a lot of visual stimulation for me as a sketcher! Um, not to mention as a fan of beautiful bodies. I'm planning to attend a second time, hopefully with some fellow Portland Urban Sketchers.