Thursday, July 10, 2014

Visiting the Statue of Liberty from New Jersey

Did you know that you could take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty island from New Jersey?
I didn't know this until visiting my father last weekend.

This 1st sketch was done from my fathers apartment balcony looking across the Hudson river to the upper west side of Manhattan. The storm had just cleared and the blue sky was just starting to appear. 

The next day we headed to go see the Statue of liberty since we found out there was a ferry from the New Jersey side going to the Liberty islands. This made it much more convenient than having to go into Manhattan with lots of traffic and people. The last time I remember going to the Liberty island was for a school trip over 35 years ago! - so this was quite exciting to be able to see it again and it was also my wife's first time to the islands too.

Going through security, we hopped on the ferry that consisted of 2 stops. The first stop was Ellis Island - a gateway for millions of immigrants that came into the United States and was considered to be the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. 
The building shown is now the museum of immigration. The displays inside looked amazing but unfortunately could not see any of it due to the limited time we had. We however ended up on the island for an hour waiting on line for the ferry to go to the Statue of Liberty Island. Standing in line under scorching sun and in between large amounts of people was unpleasant but I was able to keep my self entertained working on the sketch shown below.

Once on the Liberty Island we needed to go through another security checkpoint to go up to the observation deck area and not even a small bag was allowed through. These are the times when I feel good that all of my sketching equipment fits inside my cargo shorts pockets including my newly purchased mini folding stool a size of a small water bottle!
The problem with sketching anything this iconic such as the Statue of Liberty is the difficulty in finding a fun view that I haven't already seen before. I finally settled on this view, sitting quite close to the statue base and also fitting in the Manhattan skyscrapers on the right hand side. The tall blue building is One World Trade center, also used to be called the Freedom Tower.
It was a tough view and I wish I had time to do another one but we needed to head back home.


Well, once again we were in line a long time for the Ferry back to NJ.  I at least was able to once again sketch while standing in a tight queue keeping myself entertained. I personally love how the back view of the Statue of Liberty came out!
It was a gorgeous 4th of July weekend and we headed back home to Boston.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sketching animals is so therapeutic

It's been a few years since I last visited a Zoo.
One weekend my wife, my photographer friend Tony and I headed out to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island. For a small state, this zoo is quite large and it's quite nice too.

We casually walked around the park, my friend took photos and I captured the animals one at a time.
It was so much fun and very soothing - almost therapeutic when sketching animals.

I left the zoo completely relaxed!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Sketch Crawl at Falmouth Cape Cod

Last week Erica Szuplat contacted me via Flickr letting me know that she was running a Sketch Crawl in Falmouth, MA - a town at the base of beautiful Cape Cod. I was excited to finally meet some local sketchers and to visit this town for the first time so I drove down about an hour to join the group.
There was an Art Festival taking place here on this day, making it perfect to find a variety of subjects to sketch.

1st warm up sketch of a on old Triumph in great conditions. The driver unfortunately had to drive away just as I was about to add color. He asked me to remove the plate information since he didn't want people contacting him to sell the car.

2nd sketch was of a popcorn vendor selling from a vintage machine made in the 40's. 

While I sketched sitting on the ground, a 2 year old boy came over to watch me pretty much for the entire duration of the drawing and I had some really fun dialogue with him. Here's one that I liked:

boy: "I could draw squiggly lines like you. Are you an Artist?"
me: "Yes I am. Are you an Artist too"
boy: "Yes, and I'm better than you"

His dad near by looked somewhat embarrassed by his child mentioning this but this actually made me really happy. I remembered a quote from Picasso mentioning that "All children are artists" and thought this was so true - so much confidence and no hesitation on

Here's a church sketch a la "Lapin Style"to get everything to fit on 1 page. I've been doing this quite a lot recently and it's quite addictive.

The group of about 12 sketchers met at a nearby coffee shop for a talk, sharing sketches and for me a cold Iced coffee. Photos below are from Erica's Facebook page.

Many came and left quickly but I was able to chat (and get a quick sketch) of the few that stuck around.

It was a fun day, and thanks for the invite Erica!

Before heading back home, I was able to get 1 quick capture of this light house that was in this are too. Light houses are so calming to draw.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2 approaches to sketching looking out the same window

Our friend Tateki & Nao invited us out for dinner at their home in the North End of Boston.
This is an old part of Boston that still has the characteristic left over from 100's of years ago and I especially fell in love with this area when doing sketches last year for my Freedom Trail book. Tateki also mentioned that his apartment had a great view of the city out the window for sketching - so I took up the offer.

I climbed out a small window onto an old/half rusting fire escape ladder fearing for my life but got these 2 sketches of the same view sketched in different approaches.

This 1st one is a funky perspective view trying to fit as much as I can from the ground floor of a 6 story building all the way up to the sky. The bent building in the background is the Old North Church, a historic building part of the Freedom trail.
2 views out the window: Boston North End

This 2nd one was drawn much more straight forward focusing on painting the sky with a little more attention to detail. Since I was using multiple gradient water color washes on my sketchbook, it buckled a little bit making it less ideal to do this style in my current sketchbook.
2 views out the window: Boston North End

This is a personal choice but I tend to prefer the first one since it's always fun not knowing how the sketch is going to turn out in the end and is a challenge in trying to jam pack various views.

Dinner was served and I had a wonderful time at their place.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Riding the Redline in Boston

I like public transportation.
I think I like it so much since I have to drive everywhere and don’t get to use public transportation as much as I would like to.
It usually takes longer than driving but what’s nice is the ability to do other things, such as read a book, take a nap or even practice quick people sketches.

People are so focused what they’re doing on commuter rails that it’s great to sketch people without running into any awkward eye contacts while sketching.

Redline Sketch

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Walking the Freedom Trail with my book

A few weeks ago out of the blue I received a bunch of photos sent to me by Atsuko, a friend that recently moved out to the Boston area from Japan. This was her first time in Boston and she walked the Freedom Trail using my book as a reference guide!

The photos are all 'Selfie' pictures she took of the book with the actual scene in background.
It was great to hear that she enjoyed walking the trail and most of all said she found my book useful and entertaining!

Here's Astuko starting off the trail at Boston Commons taking a picture with a costumed person working at the Freedom Trail Visitors center. Note the words on the book cover is a mirror image - a Selfie picture indeed.

Brewers Fountain and the New state House.

Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial

 Park Street Church

Granary Burying Ground - Historically famous people such as John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere rest in this grave.

King's Chapel

Democratic Donkey at the Old City Hall

Irish Famine Sculptures

This was supposed to be the Old corner Bookstore - but she took a picture of the next door Starbucks by mistake

Old South Meeting House

Old State House

This is when she told me that her phone ran out of batteries!

Anyway I was really happy to hear that she enjoyed the book and walking the Trail!