Sloatsburg, NY 2022

I traveled to Sloatsburg on Friday, 4/15/22 via train. As the train approached Sloatsburg, it ran right along the Ramapoo River’s edge through some great scenery.

I arrived at 11 AM in the morning. After a quick lunch at a organic market and cafe on the main street of the village, I set out on foot to find a place to sketch along the banks of the Ramapoo River. I walked to the end of Butler street without finding any public access to that river. I then walked along Academy Street and Seven Seas Road where I crossed over the river using a bridge that has a nice pedestrian walkway and where I saw a path going down to the river bank. Alas, that path was marked private property so I stayed on the edge of Seven Seas Road. A bit further along I found a place where the road has a wide shoulder alongside a brook that is a tributary to the Ramapoo River. That is where I set up my stool, sat down, and began to draw.

Stony Brook in Sloatsburg during April 2022

This brook is only a few feet deep with water that is completely clear. I could look through the water and see the rocks on the river bottom perfectly. In the distance the water was colored a vibrant shade of blue identical to the sky. Later, I learned the name of the brook is Sony Brook which is very fitting.

The majority of the trees did not yet have leaves. So the brook is flanked by tall dark tree trunks on the left and tall utility poles on the right. In the distance is a hillside with semi-bare trees. They have just enough leaves remaining from the prior fall to add a orange-pink tinge to the Grey provided by the bare trunks and branches. In the foreground we have dried up orange and brown leaves along with brown sand.

Drawing of Stony Brook at the end of the ink stage

I worked on site with brush pens filled with ink. The dominant items in the drawing are the water and the tree branches. The distant hillside and the utility poles are also critical parts of the composition. I liked the way the water and sky were the same hue and how both the brook and the road lead a viewer into the scene. I used ink to block in large areas of color first and then to draw in the distinctive lines ad edges. I liked the logs in the foreground. I wasn’t initially sure how to handle orange and brown leaves on the shore in the foreground. I knew I did not have the appropriate colors of ink for that and decided I would add details there later with pastels.

Later, I worked some more on the drawing with chalk type pastels and chalk type pencils. I added details to the shorelines including grass and stones. I added details to the stones on the brook’s bottom in the foreground and all the logs in the foreground. I darkened the water where it is shaded by branches and near the brook’s north bank. I also added more details to the many tree trunks and branches.

Finished Stony Brook drawing 9 by 13 inches on watercolor paper

This work will be part of the Sloatsburg Plein Air Art Event on Sunday 5/15/2020.

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