Vacations are meant to try things you’d never normally do. In the Catskills (NY), we tried Rail Explorers. Imagine an unused rail line, and these giant metal “bikes” with 2-4 seats, that you pedal on the rails. We tried a 2 hour tour, and safety was super important. Hand signals were done by the person sitting on the right side who had the hand brake. Guides in bright shirts rode ahead and behind us, they made sure we navigated a traffic crossing safely, they turned our vehicles around on a “turntable” so we could head back in the other direction, they hitched all our vehicles together when we crossed a traffic crossing. And we got to pedal, look at the beautiful scenery, and enjoy the ride!
I sketched two people in the bike ahead of us. Then I had to focus on pedaling. So after our tour ended, I sat and drew one of the rail bikes.
No trip to upstate New York is complete without seeing Niagara Falls. This is a national treasure, and an amazing one at that. When I was young, we saw the falls from the Canadian side. This time I them from the American side. Crushing, roaring, drenching, and more powerful than one can imagine… photos just don’t do these falls justice. We explored the area, saw the rapids where the Falls built up, went onto Goat Island, saw the Horseshoe Falls with the tiny boats with poncho-covered tourists bravely entering the mist. We got soaked and admired the Falls and I had a chance to sketch them.
I sketched the very skeleton of the falls and surroundings with a pen, and back at home, I added watercolor. I also cut up a piece of map and taped that in the sketch, adding one more element of interest. I am so glad I got to sketch there! It was breathtaking!
While in Niagara, we ate lunch at a little cafe. But I had noticed a red food truck nearby that was called “Mother Cluckers”. Later, while my husband and daughter were looking at souvenirs, I sat under a tree and sketched it.
Our parking meter was going to expire, so I closed my book with the sketch in pen and added watercolor when I got home. I also added a sketch of a hat I bought, which helped with the two-page spread.
We visited many more things than I had time to sketch, but I have wonderful memories of all of it. As I sat in the Buffalo Niagara airport, I decided to sketch a man sitting in a rocking chair. They had several of them in a quiet area with glass windows and great views. As I rocked away, I captured him on paper before he got up and left.
I decided to keep the sketch black and white and just add a watercolor block when I got home.
I also had time to sketch some of the ramp vehicles up by the jet way.
I had quite a lot of time to sketch, so added a lot of detail. Once I got home, I added a blue watercolor block.
Travel sketching is such fun! If you’d like to see more sketches of artists from around the world, check out Danny Gregory’s book, “An Illustrated Journey”. This book inspires me as an urban sketcher to get out there and sketch my world through my eyes. Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a little slice of upstate New York!