All images on this blog are protected by copyright. Please inquire before using the images for any purpose. For information about purchasing original or giclee prints please contact me:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Brooklyn Bridge . . .

I've always wanted to get a sketch view of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's tricky to get a good angle. Buildings and trees block the view. Streets are at the wrong angle. Finally after roaming and cite-biking in the neighborhood, I landed at the park right under the bridge -- who would have guessed--Brooklyn Bridge Park! I worked up some thumbnails to get a feel for the perspective and spacing. 

Different mediums: water soluble, brush and water color

3" x 4"

Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 after about 20 years of planning and construction. Story has it that the city partially financed the construction by renting space in the underground vaults in the Manhattan side tower. The vaults maintained an even 60 degrees year-round so it was used to store wine. It was dubbed the "Blue Grotto" because of a statue of the Virgin Mary near the entrance. 

Finally found my spot a few hundred feet from the base of the Brooklyn-side bridge tower. 

Stage 1

Stage 2

Now I'm sort of into bridges. 

the Queensborough bridge from 60th and 1st in Manhattan

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hanging out with NYC Urban sketchers

I'm visiting my daughter in Brooklyn and had made arrangements to join the New York City sketchers. Mark Leibowitz, the organizer for NYC USk, sweetened the pot by choosing my daughter's neighborhood for the site. 

We started at Pier 11 in lower Manhattan - pretty much the southern tip - where a free ferry will deposit passengers first at IKEA, then at Fairway market - about a block from where I'm staying. 

A couple of quick sketches on the boat . . .

Ferry passenger
View from the ferry

First ferry stop
 We hit Hometown BBQ for lunch... 

... then hit the streets. First stop: the Red Hook Yacht Club

Red Hook Yacht Club

A one-time plan to build a trolley system in Red Hook to connect to downtown Brooklyn started with a string of vintage streetcars. Because there is no subway line in Red Hook this was a popular idea.  Back in the '90s Bob Diamond, the visionary for this project bought a dozen vintage trolleys that had been rescued from an old tunnel and arranged for a half-mile of track to be laid back on the streets of Red Hook.  Soon after Bloomberg became mayor of NYC, the plan was pulled from the drawing board. Hurricane Sandy caused more damage to the streetcars and they quickly deteriorated. Recently all the old streetcars were removed except this one. It remains an icon to a different era. 

Street car 3303

In the middle of all this, before doing the sketch of the streetcar, we met at XXX for socializing and show and tell. After a few rounds of whatever you were drinking, each sketcher showed the group their day's work explaining a bit of their process. Everyone at the table, by that time about 10, got full attention from the others as they told the story of their day.  

Later Saturday evening I walked past Hometown BBQ again. The sun was casting a golden glow on the building face and painting the sky a rosey orange. I decided to do one more sketch for the day. After all, that's why I had come to NYC early before the rest of the family arrived for Labor Day Weekend. So I plopped my stool down and proceed to draw yet another sketch of Hometown. 

Then . . . oops. Not only did I misspell "Hometown", but I even put my "correction" in the wrong place. I guess there's a limit to how much sketching you can fit into a day. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Say a Prayer for Hymie Weiss

I grew up on the south side of Chicago. As a kid I attended classes at the Chicago Art Institute. I also watched a line of policemen protected the first brave families to integrate the beach near our house. The good and the bad of Chicago is a part of my life story. 

When I was about eight, my father joined a plein-air painting group that visited several locations in Chicago's Loop. His paintings are embedded in my memory.

One of my favorites he called "Say a Prayer for Hymie Weiss".  It was Holy Name Cathedral on the corner of State and Superior near Chicago's water tower.  Hymie, an Irish Catholic who became a mob boss and leader of the North Side gang during Prohibition was Al Capone's bitter rival--"..the only man Al Capon feared." (wikipedia). 

On October 11, 1926 Capone's hit men shot Hymie and his buddies on the street. Legend has it that some bullets nicked the cornerstone of Holy Name Cathedral. 

Walking in my dad's footsteps, I found another spot that was the subject matter in his plein-air group -The Chicago Art Institute. My family still has the paining of this same scene done in oils by my dad.

The Ghery Amphitheater was built after my father's time, but it is definitely another Chicago landmark. We were treated to a balmy summer evening concert of Cole Porter tunes pouring forth from the sculpted metal amphitheater. Lit up with pink, blue and purple lights it was like stationary, melodic fireworks.