June 18, 2019

NYC Urban Sketchers July 15, 2019

The NYC Urban Sketchers spent Saturday in Greenwich Village - first on W10th St and then in Washington Square Park.  It was a gorgeous day, and we were spread out down W10th from the Church on the corner of 5th Ave all the way to 6th Ave. 

The Tower of the Church of the Ascension: This was our meeting place at 10 AM and it was a perfect spot to start sketching.



The Emma Lazarus House at 18 W10th St.  Emma lived here with her family in the mid-19th C and is known for her poem "The New Colossus," words of which were eventually added in bronze to the base of the Statue of Liberty.  "“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...."



Jazz Trio in Washington Square Park:  The Park was full, but we chose a seat where we could draw/paint and listen to wonderful jazz.



June 14, 2019

Figure Al Fresco

Figure Al Fresco:  We have a wonderful adult art program in Battery Park City, NYC.  On Wednesday aftenoons from May 1-Oct 1, weather permitting. there is a model for figure drawing for 2 hours.  The models are dressed, and visitors in the Park wander through our circle of artists who are drawing the model.  These are my 5 and 10 minutes poses from this week.  I sketch with a General Sketch and Wash pencil, and then use a water brush to move the soluble graphite around the drawing.  These drawings are too big for my scanner and were photographed.



20 Minute Poses: 


June 12, 2019

Direct Watercolor Painting Challenge - No Pen or Pencil


It was hard for me to add to my Summer Vacation Sketchbook and a special sketchbook for direct watercolor painting when we were on vacation - so I am behind already.  I made a 16 page Teesha Moore pamphlet book with one sheet of 140 lb watercolor paper for the challenge (from her online tutorial) and this first painting was done on the narrow cover flap. 


Several more paintings without a pen or pencil:  A deep sea scallop shell found on the beach in Southampton last year and a white ceramic piggy bank that was in our vacation house. 

I did this challenge each day in June last year and learned so much more about my watercolors.  I will try to finish the challenge by June 30th, but if not I'll continue in July! 

June 7, 2019

Last Sketchbook Page Before Vacation Ended

We learned lots about Sag Harbor during this vacation.  It was the Whaling port for Long Island during the height of the Whaling Industry in the 19th C.  Whale boats, for whale ships, were built there, and the men from the region could be gone for 1-3 years before returning with hundreds of barrels of whale oil.  I never read Moby Dick, but we saw the movie at the Sag Harbor Library, after visiting the Whaling Museum. It was a great education.  The last page in my sketchbook is of the Sag Harbor Historical Society Building.  This is a very active group that is preserving the heritage of this town.


June 4, 2019

An Early Summer Vacation

Our vacation is almost over - 2 mile morning walks on the beach, cool weather, a town to explore, and old friends.  Shells were scarce, but we watched a big horseshoe crab walk very slowly across the sand and the others watched a small snake slither away.  I painted the house and the pool house where we are staying, and will always remember the afternoons spent drawing.

The House: 


 The Pool House and Shed:


May 31, 2019

Beach Treasures

These are a few of the treasures I picked up on our beach walks.  The channel whelk shell is a beautiful gray- blue and only about 3" long.  The Sand Dollar, the first one I ever found, is silver dollar size.   The Jingle was a nice mix of black and gold.  And I'm not sure what type of shell is striped and very tiny - 1/2".  But today we stopped at the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center, and the expert said it was a "smooth Astarte" shell.  I looked up images online, and it is!

Some days, some years, we find lots of shells.  This year the beaches only have clam shells and rocks. We are still on vacation, and I'm still photographing the sketchbook pages, hence the blue background tone.


May 28, 2019

Moon Snails and Clams

Moon Snail and Small holes in a Clam Shell that I found on the beach this week:



If you "google" the question "what are the perfectly round holes on clam shells?," you learn that they are made by Moon Snails.  They make this hole with their sandpaper-like radula in the same place on each clam, after excreting something to soften the shells.  Then they suck out the clam for dinner. 


The radula is part of the mouth, and for those who are interested, google "radula and/or mouth of moon snail" images.  The foot can be extended from the shell, as in the above photo, and cover the clam.  It also spreads out over sand, secretes mucus, and lays hundreds of eggs in the mucus.  The snail then detaches from the sand leaving behind a round, rubbery looking structure which can be found on beaches - usually in several pieces.  One year we saw so many on the beach and didn't even know whether they were manufactured or animal.

NOTE: THIS MAY BE TOO MUCH INFORMATION - but this is the blog entry and photos from our search for the origin of these "sand collars."

June 2013 Huge Beach Mystery: Early this week we arrived for our early morning 2 mile walk and saw many unusual "objects" on the beach. They were very smooth 6-8 inch beige partial circles, each with an identical lip and curved shape which resembled a piece of a toilet plunger.  None of them were a complete circle.  Were they pieces of rubber, manufactured as gaskets?  If so, why were there so many at the high tide line - extending over several miles.

Here are a few photos.  Wet they were very flexible and felt like leather or rubber.  Dry, they were very fragile and crumbled easily.  In the first photo you can see the size relative to an adult hand.



We picked up a few each day during our walk and asked random people if they could identify these strange things.  Surprisingly, most people hadn't seen them although they were everywhere.  Others, including those who lived here their entire life, had no idea what they were.  In each instance, the first question was "do you think they are organic or machine made?"  Each day we did some random computer searches and found nothing.  Our best guess was some part of ocean seaweed, but what? 

Yesterday I was looking at kelp images and saw a link to a website called MarineDetective.  What could I lose by emailing this Vancouver BC diver and marine expert.  So I did.  Within 30 minutes I received this reply.

"Laughing here! I get asked this so often. These are the egg cases (aka egg collars) of Lewis' moon snails ( Polinices lewisi)!  Moon snails are big predatory marine snails. They look so human made that I have had to correct people when they pick them up thinking they are garbage! By a remarkable method, the female moonsnail forms one layer of the collar by gluing together sand grains with mucus; then the fertilized eggs are laid on this layer and THEN she seals them in with another layer of sand and mucus!!!  The eggs are held within the collar for 1.5 months and, in the ones you found, may already have hatched out to be 1000s of planktonic larvae. I include a more detailed description below." 

Best wishes!
Jackie Hildering
Biologist / Marine Educator
Follow "The Marine Detective" at http://www.themarinedetective.ca/ 

May 24, 2019

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA

It was a gorgeous Spring Day in Philadelphia and I had just arrived for a reunion.  I took a long walk and revisited Rittenhouse Square.  There were people at every outdoor restaurant, sitting on every bench, and even over the grass.  I sat on the wall of a fountain with many others and sketched this little building in the middle of the park.  

IMG_20190524_145516281SIZE.jpg Sketchbook Page photographed for Blog Entry 

May 21, 2019

People Drawing People: Portraits

I'm behind on my Sketchbook Skool class People Drawing People, and here are  homework drawings - portraits of Carlos Aponte and Felix Scheinberger.  I intend to go back and watch all of the 5 weekly classes again, and then I will finally have time to do more drawings.  For now, here are 2 portraits that were drawn as these faculty artists were being interviewed by Danny Gregory online, i.e. they were also in motion.  They were both drawn with graphite on scraps of copy paper. 

Carlos Aponte



Felix Scheinberger


Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

June 2019

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