Go See This: Heather Garden, Fort Tryon Park

Friday, June 22, 2012

Heather Garden, Fort Tryon Park, New York, NY

Last Sunday at Fort Tryon Park: the dulcet sounds of the Scandia Symphony, an expansive view across the Hudson, threatening clouds giving way to late afternoon sun. If you're up there in upper Manhattan, don't just scurry to and from the Cloisters. Stop and look around on the way. The Heather Garden is bursting with blooms, a dense patchwork of perennials to revel in on an afternoon.

I finally broke out the Stillman & Birn Delta Series 7"x7" sketchbook for these sketches. I'm still getting used to the paper, but so far I like how it holds up to both ink puddles and watercolor washes.

GW Bridge/Henry Hudson Pkwy from Fort Tryon Park,  New York, NY


Paint-Out at Blithewood Gardens, Bard College

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Morning at Blithewood, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Just back from my first plein air paint-out, at Blithewood Gardens on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. The event was put on by the Red Hook Community Arts Network as part of the Red Hook Bicentennial celebrations. We were blessed with glorious sunshine, crisp cast shadows, and shady trees and picnic benches. The thought of painting an Italianate formal garden scared me -- there's so much going on that it's tempting to try to paint every leaf and blossom. I settled on the central structure as my focal point, and used artistic license to omit the pergola next to it. While I think my painting could be a bit looser and more spontaneous, I'm fairly happy with how it turned out, especially given the unfamiliar subject and the constraints of the environment.

Watercolor on Arches cold-pressed paper, 8"x8" unframed. Available (framed, square black wood with white mat) through the Red Hook Community Arts Network Gallery's upcoming exhibition, "Gardens and Landscapes of the Hudson Valley," June 15-July 15, 2012. Info at

New York City

An Unsettled Afternoon in New York

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Waiting in line, Madison Square Park, New York, NY

The clouds were already gathering when I arrived at Madison Square Park for Thursday's class. I needed a bit of comfort after a long day of meetings, so I started off with my trusty Lamy-and-Lex Gray, drawing the line growing in front of Shake Shack (is there ever NOT a line at Shake Shack?) and the heavy tree canopy.

During class I did break out the umbrella at one point as the spitting turned into splashy drips. It was a fitting atmosphere for the 10-minute study in Payne's gray that Anne proposed.

Madison Square Park in monochrome, New York, NY

And that was that. One decent line-free attempt, and my focus was gone for the evening -- I felt like a medium vainly trying to connect with the afterworld once a skeptic has broken the spell! :)


Anticipating Summer

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Enjoyed a relaxing Memorial Day weekend right here at home -- battled ivy in the garden, fired up the grill, contemplated art, created some of my own. Got comp tickets to Art Greenwich aboard SeaFair, the mega yacht expo space. What a neat idea, to use a ship for a gallery space. Inspired by all the work on the walls, I sketched the view of Greenwich Harbor from SeaFair's cafe windows.

Harbor, Greenwich, CT, from aboard the Seafair yacht

The next day we went kayaking right here on Long Island Sound. As we got to the end of Shippan Point and turned around, M. hitched our kayaks together with a lanyard and towed me so I could draw the view.

Shippan Point, Stamford, CT, from kayak

Thursday evening, we had glorious -- if slightly breezy -- weather (for once) for our watercolor class. We parked ourselves near Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, as I was attracted to the waving flags strung around it. I vainly attempted to paint the shack itself (bad idea) and then turned my attention to the flags themselves -- slightly better. I'm still struggling with the direct-to-watercolor technique but will persevere!

Breezy afternoon at Madison Square Park, New York, NY