Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rome and Naples Sketchbook

My pre-Google "jobmoon" in February was a weeklong trip to Italy.

We ate bucatini and pasta carbonara and savored crispy artichokes. In Vatican City I sketched the tourists craning their necks skyward in the Sistine Chapel.

Tourists at the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

What a place! I'm glad I'd read Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King. It's a fascinating account of how these frescoes came to be.

No trip to Rome is complete without a trek to the top of the Spanish Steps. I took advantage of a brief period of sunshine to sketch the scene below.

View from top of Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy

Rome was lovely and picturesque, but it was Naples that stole my heart. Our hotel was right across from the Castel dell'Ovo, with stunning views of the bay. Fellow urban sketcher Lucia Marinelli and I met up to draw the scene despite the chilly wind.

Castel dell'Ovo, Naples, Italy

Naples is narrow alleys and breathtaking views. I stamped my sketchbook in the Moleskine store at the train station - fun!

Via San Biagio dei Librai, Naples, Italy

Street scene, Naples, Italy

And who can forget the artisanal pizza, the sfogliatelle, the gelato?

Pizzaiolo and customer, Naples, Italy

On the flight back I read Andrea Camilleri's The Shape of Water, featuring the irrepressible detective (and foodie!) Inspector Montalbano. Sicily calls!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Goodbye, Snow. Hello, Sunshine!

Castro Street, Mountain View, CA
Big news: We're in the middle of moving to California! More about that soon, plus sketches from my "jobmoon" trip to Italy. The past several weeks have been a whirlwind of prepping, packing, list-making and house-hunting, so on Saturday I took a few hours off to meet up with the South Bay Urban Sketchers. We met at Red Rock Coffee Company in downtown Mountain View and then wandered down Castro Street with our sketchbooks. It was a great way to start the weekend!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Bit of GE History in Schenectady

GE building, Schenectady, NY
For M.'s birthday I surprised him with a three-state roadtrip extravaganza to see family and friends; he was behind the wheel but didn't know where we were headed. Our first destination was Schenectady, NY, to see a performance by the Mop & Bucket Company, an improv group. We reached there as the sun was setting, creating a brilliant-hued backdrop for GE's original headquarters (cool trivia: its zip code is 12345).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Warm Thoughts

As we gear up for yet another wintry mix event here in Connecticut, it's nice to remember that the snow will, eventually, melt. Here are two paintings I did several years ago, inspired by a workshop I took with artist William McCarthy at the Rowayton Arts Center.

Glowing Skies - SOLD


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Downtown Stamford, Two Ways

A local resident commissioned me to paint an 11x14 watercolor of the downtown Stamford area. I did two versions in slightly different styles: one in watercolor with some watercolor pencil details and the other in an ink-over-watercolor technique.

Here's version 1:

Downtown Stamford, CT 1 - SOLD

And here's version 2:

Downtown Stamford, CT 2

I rarely paint the same scene twice, so this was an interesting experience. The second one felt more spontaneous - it was as if my hand had "learned" the structure of the scene.

The resident chose version 1. Which style do you prefer?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Reposting a sketch I did several years ago of a caricaturist in Paris, on this day of tragedy.

Montmartre_sketcher, Paris

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In My Day...

Ice rink, Westerly, RI

... we did not use milk crates to steady ourselves on the ice. We just balanced on our blades and figured it out. Apparently today's kids need walker-style skate trainers, makeshift milk-crate towers lashed together with wire ties, and all kinds of other aids. Sigh. It was much more fun to sketch at Washington Trust Community Skating Center in Westerly, RI, than to dodge their crates.

It was so warm over Christmas that I sat on the bench outside Bank Square Books to capture the downtown Mystic scene.

Downtown, Mystic, CT