Urban Sketching Goes Suburban

{a sketching trip to Cold Spring, New York}

urban sketchers
Blog post about a sketch trip to Cold Spring 
organized by the New York City chapter of Urban Sketchers.

At the end of June I had the chance to participate in an Urban Sketch event hosted by the NYC chapter. Urban Sketchers is an organized network of sketch group spanning the Globe. There are over 16 American chapters and chapters in over 28 countries! You can check their website to see if there is a chapter near you. However, even if there isn’t, you usually can find something similar through “meetups.”


About Cold Spring

Right after I heard about this group, there was a trip organized in Cold Spring, New York which is about 90 minutes north of Manhattan. However, since I am already in the suburbs of New York, this translated into less than an hour drive for me up the scenic Hudson. I had never been to this historic town, and I definitely would like to go back without my sketch book so I could explore the antique shops along the avenue. 

sketching in cold spring new york
Tyler and I met after we learned that we had both heard about 
this group from our favorite blogger, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. We 
joked that we represented the middle-agers.. There were mostly 
either retirees or young French au pairs and young American men
who wanted to meet the French au pairs. (that’s me in the middle)

Art Supplies

There is a truism that whenever you go drawing, sketching or painting on location that suddenly you need whatever supplies you had carelessly left behind and always, you never need the heaviest supplies that you did bring. Normally, when I do sketch events they are at museums where there are very strict rules governing what supplies you may or may not bring into the gallery. So, I am used to making do with dry drawing materials and then adding color later in my studio. However, this time I was frustrated with my black and white media but luckily, everyone was generous with sharing and I was able to borrow some watercolor pencils (which I have now added to my must-have art supplies list)

One of the sketchers acted as our host for the day
since he has a home in the Village of Cold Spring.
So here we are taking a break from sketching and 
sharing our art and techniques. This was one of my 
favorite aspects of the events as I don’t often get to 
meet other people ( in real life) who are as 
passionate about art as I am.

Structure of the day 

The day was loosely structured with a morning sketch location, a lunch meeting time and place and an afternoon sketch location. Most folks were happily in the groove of sketching and I was a bit stymied about what to draw and trying to let go of the idea that everything I drew had to be “for sale” 


sketching in cold spring new york
After lunch we shared our watercolor sketchbooks.
Mine is the one with the bubble letters and the 
people on the balcony.
sketching in cold spring new york
While I was sketching, 
someone was drawing me! 
I was wearing a straw hat, 
and there I am depicted as 
wearing an orange hat.
sketching in cold spring new york
As I was sharing lunch with the other sketchers, I saw 
Joan (I think that was her name) sketching me again. 
That is her interpretation of me on the left hand corner 
of her sketchbook.
sketching in cold spring new york
The gazebo was a popular 
focal point for many artists…
oddly, I didn’t even consider 
drawing it. I was more attracted 
to drawing people at the cafes.
artist Miriam Schulman sketching in cold spring new york
Here, Tyler and I are sharing a bench in front of a French restaurant. 
She told me later she ate dinner there. (lucky her!) 
The bench was warped so I kept sliding down. When I started the 
drawing there were couples having lunch but they had left by the 
time I finished. I liked what I made even if the watercolor isn’t up
to my usual standards of what I like to sell in my etsy shop
{ you can see my watercolor paintings for sale HERE}

Do you ever do something just once that you loved?

At the end of the day Tyler asked me, “Do you ever do something you absolutely loved but then never did it again?” 

I thought about all those once off yoga classes I’ve tried and other such things and nodded my head. 
“All the time”
“Well I think this may be one of those times.” she said quietly. 

Make time for your art and yourself

I wondered about that. With my busy life, Saturdays are rarely my own and I wondered if I would be back to this group. At any rate, even if you only do this once, it was a lot of fun. The people were very nice and non-judgemental. The structured activity forced me to visit a place that I never would have been to on my own. 

Inspiration for future watercolors



Although I didn’t create any art that day I consider “commercial” I did take lots of pictures and plan on developing my on site sketches along with my photos to create some watercolor landscapes in my usual more formal style. 

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If you are looking for ideas for more New York City art adventures you might like my blog post:
6 FREE NYC Summer Art Adventures

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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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