Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Urban Sketching

 On River Road, across from Smith Boys Marina.

 Urban sketching is actually internationally recognized as a form of art. Working in a small sketchbook, with the time that I have, I capture whatever is in front of me. These are permanent and archival pen drawings, embellished with a bit of watercolor. Neat, clean, easy to store.

A friend's hollyhocks against the house.

Across from Bidwell Market.

Lewiston Art Festival 2017


On my way, packed safely and ready to go. This car is a bit smaller, by about 1/3 than my previous SUV so the tent, display walls and art is here, but our chairs, side tables and rain umbrellas are in Carl's car.

The whole shebang, on Saturday at a quiet moment. This picture is often difficult to take as the crowds in Lewiston fill the street. On Sunday we rehung the left and right walls by switching them.
My favorite wall! I did a series exploring color combinations. It started in a Marla Bagetta workshop but I kept painting the same scene, limiting my palette to a very few pastel shades and tints. 8 of these little paintings are the same composition!

Billy Wilson park

Peaceful days in the park create memories. This outing was a return to Billy WIlson Park, a marshy and wooded wetlands with wonderful boardwalks about 4 feet above the forest floor. It is a great place for a peaceful walk, a stroll with children or to stop and paint. There is an occasional bench as well as wide areas to set up an easel. Geese cackle and squawk and lift off with loud splashes from the pond to fly in great circles overhead.
This is a very symmetrical depiction of the walkway from the grassy area. I was attracted by the green grasses of this year pushing up between long golden grasses of fall's stalks, their reflections in the water and the distant light on them.

plein air in the park, trees frame a picture, green and blue
Bridge at Billy Wilson Park, 9x12 oil on canvas panel c. K Schifano 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer Tourist trapped!

Kathy Schifano
Friday on the Overlook
I stole an afternoon and paid the dollar entry fee to paint on the overlook bridge by Prospect Park at Niagara Falls with Rachelle. Apparently a zillion tourists had the same idea.

We nestled against the tower elevator wall, out of sight to many and out of everyone's way as well but they found us. As usual, kids had the most interest and were often pulled away by parents eager to see the waterfalls but not interested in leaving their children behind. 

Rachelle Duzynski at work with pastels
One particular family spent time watching, asking questions and sincerely admiring Rachelle's pastel of the American falls. She hadn't painted in a very busy public area before and wasn't hearing the conversation, I wasn't aware how intense the crowded bridge was for her. The Granddad said his 42nd anniversary was coming and wanted to buy her (very unfinished) painting as a gift. Suddenly aware, she thought he wanted mine. It wasn't until the child was sent to get money from Grandma that the reality set in. What fun, first time in a crowd and her first sale off the easel! 

Afterwards, I added a bit of warm color to the river and the mist, not shown in the first photo. And yes, the Maid of the Mist is that small by the tremendous Niagara Falls.
Our view of both waterfalls from our spot
Rachelle Duzynski"s painting, sold to a Texan tourist.

Urban sketching at Bidwell Market

I went to the Bidwell Saturday market and bought a fruited ice tea and some vegetables and looked around for an inspiration. It turned out to be Cafe Aroma and Talking Leaves Books across Elmwood Avenue. I had new waterproof fadeless pens and a sketchbook set in the car. A large tree provided shade for my chair.

The farmer's booths were closer to the park's edges so I wasn't in a busy spot. As I drew, people came in and out of the cafe, some seated outside, bicycles and dogs, carriages and wheelchairs were all in and out, giving me choices. The curve of the building was an interesting challenge, windows were varied, and there was a lot of detail at the first floor roofline such as columns, brickwork, decorative plaques, lamps and signs. 

The best part of my day was an itchy feeling on my heel by my shoe strap which I ignored at first. Suddenly it was painful, like a cat digging claws in hard! I looked down at a cicada attempting to crawl my lovely leg while I painted watercolor on the picture. They have huge sharp grabber feet to climb trees. Having lots of cicada experience on Long Island, I removed him or her to the tree trunk, where it began a long climb up the ragged bark. At about 4 feet, it began to molt, I forgot to look at the bug's progress before I left, but I am sure the shell is still on the tree. I didn't hear it fly away and regret not looking back. As more land it developed there are fewer cicadas, their 13 or even 17 year wait to come out of the ground has been abbreviated by humanity.


A new site!


Reinstein Woods in Cheektowaga is simply another WNY jewel. It is tucked between several popular roads but seems like it is in the midst of a wilderness. Even the approach to the park is rural, the parking lot has a huge solar panel in the middle to power an information board. The visitors building is a short pleasant walk from the car.

Several paths led to water or woods and I met up with East Aurora and NFPAP painters on a path between two water features, a marsh and a pond. I didn't go any further than this turn in the path, it was so tranquil and rustic. this was my first time here and I will return next time a paint out is scheduled.

As quiet as the park is, several young groups came through on tours, couples walked dogs, photographers quietly snapped nature. It's fun to be an artist as people comment as they pass and then they return to see how much more has been painted. 

Path at Rienstein, 9x12 oil on birch c.2017