a look at one artist's experience in NYC

Posts tagged “creativity

Subway Sketching

I had to do some work this week at the American Museum of Natural History and was able to do a few more quick sketches of people riding the subway.  I normally don’t ride the subway when it’s so crowded and I had a challenging time trying to see around people in order to draw the person sitting directly across from me.  These were two that seemed to work out alright.




Another Quick Sketch on the NYC Subway

Sketch of Asian woman on subway

One of the best things about drawing on the New York subway is the diversity of “models” to choose from.  Every nationality is represented and you never know who will sit across from you and where they’ll be from.  Yesterday this Asian woman sat down and quickly closed her eyes.  I knew I had to pull out my sketchbook and quickly try to draw her since I had to get off in only 4 stops.


It’s 102 Degrees in NYC- Time to Stay Inside and Sketch

New York City hit 104 degrees yesterday and today isn’t much better unless you consider a 2 degree difference refreshing.  My wife and I knew that our window unit air conditioners weren’t going to cut it so we grabbed our laptops along with my sketchbook and our daughter Emma and headed to the Tea Lounge.  We obviously weren’t the only ones with that idea.  When we got there we couldn’t even find a place to sit because  the place was entirely packed.  We didn’t care.  It was about 78 degrees inside and felt like we’d just walked into a meat locker.  As Emma polished off a red velvet cupcake and my wife caught up on some work on her computer, I pulled out my sketchbook and started to sketch the woman reading on the couch in front of me.

It was quite challenging since it was such low light and it was difficult to make out key features.  It’s funny, but I think I’ve become spoiled with the lighting on the subway and having a model only a few feet from me.  Anyway, I gave it my best shot and, best of all, stayed cool while doing it.

Comments are welcome.– Dave

A Quick Sketch and Big Hair

Another ride on the F train prompted a quick sketch of the woman sitting across from me.  I think it’s pretty obvious what inspired me to take out my sketchbook this time.   It’s too bad she got off the train a few stops before mine because I was really enjoying this drawing and felt I was starting to get into the flow of it.

It’s always a roll of the dice when you pick a model that happens to be on the New York City subway.


Comments are welcome.


Addicted to the ipad

It’s rare that my son Sebastian sits still long enough where I can actually attempt to draw him.  Teenagers usually aren’t real interested in staying in one place.  However, he recently purchased an ipad for his 13th birthday (yes, he saved enough money) and it seems to be the thing that will keep him occupied and frozen in time.  Well, that and reading- but he usually does that in his room.

So this was my attempt to draw him sitting on our couch

completely mesmerized by his new toy. I think I captured the look he always has on his face when he’s in his ipad coma.  I really could’ve used about 20 more minutes to develop the drawing further but I figure the 30 he gave me was about 20 more than what he thought he was going to do.

Now how do I get my 6 year old to sit still?

All comments or suggestions are welcome.

Sketching in Union Square, New York City

Today marked my first attempt at trying to regain that creative spark that I regrettably smothered out about 10 years ago when “life” got the better of me.  I had the entire day to myself since my wife had a show out in Sag Harbor, NY and she took the kids with her.  She’s a children’s musician and performs quite regularly all around the city.  You can check out her music at SuziShelton.com if you’re at all interested.

The High Line

Anyway, I decided to ride my bike into Manhattan and just go with the flow of the day.  I wasn’t going to have any agenda besides trying to stop and sketch somewhere for a bit.  The ride from Park Slope, Brooklyn into the city is absolutely amazing.  I gotta say, Mayor Bloomberg has done an incredible job of having bike lanes throughout the city linking all parts of the boroughs.  My  path took me from Park Slope across the Brooklyn Bridge and then over to the Hudson River where you can ride up the entire west side of Manhattan.  I stopped for a bit and almost got sucked into a pickup basketball game but decided I better keep riding since it was such a beautiful day.  Heading up Hudson River Park I soon found myself  walking along the High Line in Chelsea.  The High Line is an elevated park that was once an old rail line that kept freight cars off the city streets.  Since it was a Saturday it was packed with tourists but still beautiful to see.  From there I rode over to Union Square  just to check out the market and rest for a while.

When I arrived at Union Square I sat down behind the tables of chess players that hang out at the square trying to get people to sit and play a match.  I was struck by these two men that were playing just to the left of me.  They were so focused and austere that I knew this was going to be my chance to pull out my sketchbook and see what I could come up with.  I gotta say, it was a struggle trying to get any kind of feel back when you haven’t sketched in so long.  If you’re an artist you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I kept telling myself though to just keep going and see what happens.  A few people would gather behind me to see what I was up to, but for the most part I was left alone and remained focused on what I was doing.  The struggle was mainly with the older gentleman that was facing me.  He constantly kept moving his head and shoulders in relation to his torso so it was a challenge to get the proportions correct.  I think overall I’m pleased with the sketch and definitely see myself going back to try my hand at it again.  It felt good to put pen to paper.

Please feel free to leave a comment or critique.



Chess players at Union Square- (1 hr)

Rediscovering Creativity

I remember when I was about 8 years old and Kellogg’s brand cereal asked kids to send in their drawings of the characters that appeared on their cereal boxes.  Obsessed is the best way to describe my commitment to the endevour.  I made sure that my Mom came home with at least one box of Kellogg’s every week with a new character on it.  Needless to say, granola wasn’t a big part of my young diet.  The frog on Sugar Smacks, the macaw on Fruit Loops and  Snap, Crackle and Pop on Rice Krispies all helped to shape my young artistic mind.  Much like Da Vinci and his Mona Lisa, Tony the Tiger became my obsession and my own commitment to perfection.  The only difference was I was hyped up on sugar from polishing off bowl after bowl of those delicious frosted flakes.  After all, “they’re GGGREEEEAAAATTT! ”  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Looking back at that young time in my life, I realize now that it was probably the happiest I’ve ever been when it comes to creating something.  I know that sounds pretty sad but I think it’s true.  During that time you couldn’t pry a pencil from my hand and any free time I had was spent sketching anything and everything in sight.  It was a time when opinions didn’t matter and I created just for the sake of having fun and doing something that I loved.  I sketched just for the joy of it.

This blog is about trying to rediscover that feeling.  It’s about picking up a pencil and brush again and seeing what comes out of it.  Good or bad.  It’s about figuring out why I quit drawing and making artwork entirely and my attempt to be creative once again.  After all, having Tony the Tiger that embedded in my creative mind isn’t something I’m particularly fond of.

Dave Mitri (oil on canvas, 42 x 64)

Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope to hear from you.