Recently I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying my sketchbooks onto the subway.  More crowded than ever, the NY subway is an endless kaleidoscope of people, fashion, and color.  This post presents some of my favorite work based on scenes in and around the subway.  Some were completed on-site, some were started in the subway and completed in the studio, and some were total studio work. The scene below was on 23rd Street from a coffee shop window on a rainy day.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

I was lucky to have my sketchbook when a magician sat across from me on the uptown #6 train.   After I sketched him he pulled a rabbit out of his hat… really!

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

I painted this scene below from memory.  It took place in a long underground tunnel in Queens.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

Below this young woman is drinking coffee and checking messages on the way to work.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

Recently there has been an influx of ‘crusties,” or homeless nomads with dogs.  This one set up a few blocks from my downtown office.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

When sketching in the subway I try to be as unobtrusive as possible.  This sketcher below didn’t mind that I sketched him over his shoulder.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

In this scene below, a father and daughter snuggle on the commute downtown.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

The painting below is a studio piece, on a 24 x 18 inch sheet of watercolor paper.  It depicts the morning rush in the rain at the 86th and Lex station not far from my home.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

The winter brings people wrapped in layers of warm clothing that make comfy cocoons in which to snooze.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

Kids are very difficult subjects to sketch because they move around a lot.  This child was really enjoying his apple juice.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

Homeless people on the other hand, don’t move a lot.  This man below sat still all the way to the last stop on the R train, probably because he had nowhere to go.

Jeffrey Levine MD artist sketchbooks of New York City subway

 

The subway is a place you go only out of necessity.  Its cold in the winter and sweltering in the summer, noisy and uncomfortable, and an element of danger always lurks.  As a die-hard Manhattanite with a sketchbook I’ve been able to turn each journey into a creative adventure.

Jeffrey M. Levine MD

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Related posts: 

The View From My Sketchbooks
Painting in Maine
Recent Watercolors

Traveling with Winslow
Washington Heights Diary
Sketching in the Desert
Maine Watercolor
Venice Beach Sketchbook
Sukkot at the Sages
Medical School Memories
Visiting Dr. Chekhov
Sketching on the Left Bank
The Corpus Callosum, Buddha’s Enlightenment, and the Neurological Basis for Creativity

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