Lately I've been taking my nonagenarian mother out for her morning walks whenever circumstances permit. Luckily she's an artist too. So it's not hard to persuade her to sketch outside with me for an hour or two. We can only walk a few blocks, and there aren't many parks close by. So we find little corners and courtyards and churchyards or really any old place with a few fresh blossoms that break up the gray. Sometimes it's a challenge to see beauty in an area that I'm so used to walking right past. But since we've started sketching together I've noticed more and more little spots that we can stop for a while and enjoy the view. Here are two brush pen and watercolor sketches from this week in my immediate neighborhood:
I'm so lucky to have found a wonderful sketching group, The New York City Urban Sketchers. It's the local branch of an ever-growing circle of sketchers from around the world. In normal times we meet weekly to sketch on location at various sites throughout the city. I love sketching with my buddies, and visiting places that I wouldn't necessarily think of going on my own.
But what do we do during a pandemic, when it's impossible to meet in person? Well, we do what other groups do, we go virtual. With teleconferences. And we temporarily break the organization's rules about working onsite from direct observation. Okay, so it's not strictly "urban sketching". But it's our way of keeping our community together and staying sane during crazy times.
So, what can you sketch online? There's a great big world out there, and the possibilities are endless. We just pick a spot somewhere and find some street views and photos to sketch from. We've "met" in Florence, Amsterdam, Las Vegas and Newport, RI, among other places. We've traveled to zoos and museums. We've kept out of trouble and had some good times. Safely. And together! Well, sort of.
For these events I've been favoring a brush pen with watercolor on hot press, which is a smooth watercolor paper. It allows me to work quickly in our limited time. My absolute favorite pen is an inexpensive Pentel pocket brush pen. It's waterproof, has a brush tip that flows oh so smoothly, and I can easily draw a thick or thin line. Just ordered one in a sepia tone. Can't wait to try it.
My name is Julie Kessler and I'm a representational artist. I love painting in oils with their vibrant, juicy colors. Lately I've been exploring the unique qualities of gouache, watercolors, colored pencils and other media. I started this blog to share my work and thoughts about making art. I toss other things into the mix too, such as painters that I love, and art books and exhibits that inspire me. Your comments are welcome. I'd love to hear from you!