Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays has proven rather difficult. Yesterday I escaped to the Met for some inspiration & people watching with my friend Audrey. I loved this girl's outfit - double pom pom hat! Oversized fluffy coat! Socks over tights! Yes! I haven't drawn with markers in a while, so it was a fun opportunity to play.
The weekend after Thanksgiving, Grey & I drove up to the Berkshires to see our friends Ted & Betsy give a reading from their new book, How to Babysit a Leopard: and Other True Stories from Our Travels Across Six Continents at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA. I'd never been to the Norman Rockwell Museum, and it was a real treat.
After the reading, we ventured outside to check out Rockwell's studio (above). It's closed after October, but I snuck in a quick drawing of the exterior. It was a moody, grey day with soft diffused light. The deep azure mountains were blanketed in thick sheets of fog. I could get used to a studio with that view. We set out to capture some landscapes.
Grey had a vision for a photograph of a dilapidated barn in the woods, so for the rest of the afternoon, we went barn hunting. Driving aimlessly down winding country roads, we'd pull over every time we found one. I was freezing, so all these drawings were made from the passenger's seat with the heat blasting.
Grey deemed the barn (above, left) too dilapidated, having collapsed completely.
This barn was not dilapidated enough.
This barn, leaning and sagging at angles I'm sure were not intentional, was juuuust right.
Memorial Day marks the onset of summer on Cape Cod. I was lucky to spend this past memorial day with family at my parents' house in Pocasset. On Saturday, I went down to Barlow's Boat Yard with my dad for a few hours while he prepped his boat for the season. Growing up, I spent a lot of time here, sighing impatiently while waiting to set sail. As a sailing school drop-out, my activities aboard are generally limited to napping, snacking, and sipping cocktails.
I remember one summer around the age of thirteen when I slaved away for hours in the hot sun, sanding and varnishing the woodwork on my dad's Cape Dory. Knowing I would never have chosen to do this of my own free will, I recently asked him what I had wanted in exchange. "Probably something designer," he replied. My mother recalls a $400 Marc Jacobs dress. I remember the one, navy with maroon polka dots. It was never acquired - I'm sure I was working off some other debt, and upon realizing the dress would never be mine, the project was promptly abandoned. Now over a decade later, my preferred kind of "boat work" is drawing them.
I also spent some time on the beach. My sister is a brave soul, sunbathing in a sleeveless shirt despite the arctic wind and the fact that that the temperature barely hit high sixties. While she alternated between grad school homework and tanning, I sat bundled in my scarf and jacket drawing her and my cousin Jack, who was deeply absorbed in a crab hunting mission.
Sunday saw for more beach time with Thea, the sweetest little neighbor friend a girl could ask for. Here she is with her awesome fish pail (the mouth is the spout) curating her shell collection.
With a snowstorm to ring in the first day of spring this year, I was certain winter would never end. As sick as I have become of layers, hunching into my jacket and doing the penguin waddle over treacherous sidewalks, the harsh cold was not without its beauty. Here are a few little watercolors I made on a trip to Mystic Seaport with Dalvero Academy this past February. We will be back this weekend, and here's hoping the snow and ice have thawed!
Every year I intend to get out and draw the NYC Marathon, but for one reason or another it never seems to happen. I live a block from the marathon route, so there really is no excuse! This year I was able to catch the tail end of it and get a couple quick drawings in.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Halloween 313 performances on Clinton Avenue. Coinciding with the Society for Clinton Hill's Annual Halloween Walk, every year on Halloween crowds gather outside 313 Clinton Avenue (home of Janna Kennedy, "the Halloween Lady") for free live performances. The performances are put together by an incredibly talented and dedicated group of volunteers including professional actors, producers, designers and artists from around Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. This year I was invited to draw inside the spooky parlor and also had the opportunity to draw the performances.
This year's performance was entitled "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue," and is set in "Clinton Hell." Two neighbors, Kat and Thomas wander by the spooky old mansion discussing rumors that it used to be an insane asylum for axe murderers. Legend has it that the proprietor of the house forces the inmates to perform variety shows every year on Halloween. Thomas dismisses the rumors as hearsay just as the warden of the asylum, Anesthesia Hangbody, appears and kidnaps him.
Kat approaches some police officers seeking help in rescuing her fiancée Thomas from Ms. Hangbody, but they report that no one has lived in that old house for years, and are utterly useless in helping her.
With nowhere else to turn, Kat seeks help from a haunted painting of a man Anesthesia Hangbody formerly abducted.
Eventually, Kat takes matters into her own hands and fights off Anesthesia Hangbody with a little help from the asylum inmates and the talking painting, all of whom are tired of Ms. Hangbody's abuse.
With a fiery pyrotechnic show, the haunted painting and the inmates finish off Anesthesia Hangbody once and for all. Then Thomas, Kat and the inmates celebrate as the former Ms. Hangbody's portrait is added to the wall.
It was a great show and such a privilege to hang out with the incredibly talented cast and crew afterward! There are a few more drawings I decided to rework a bit after scanning, so stay tuned for more drawings from Halloween 313.
Here are a few more drawings from my recent trip to Boston following the Charles W. Morgan on her 38th Voyage (more on that to come). This is the Frog Pond on the Boston Common, where in the summer children splash and play, and adults wade or relax in the shade on benches surrounding the pond. In the wintertime the pond is frozen for ice skating - I would love to go back and draw it then (though it might be a challenge with the cold!)
The Boston Common is located at the foot of Beacon Hill, at the southern end of the Freedom Trail. It was originally owned by William Blaxton, the first European settler of modern-day Boston and Rhode Island. He later sold it to the Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and beginning in the 1630s it served as a cow pasture for local families. On a more austere note, the Common was also used as a location for public hangings up until 1817. In 1775 at the start of the American Revolution, the Common was used as a camp by the British, and it was from here that British troops departed for the battles of Lexington and Concord. In 1830, cows were banned from the Common and it became the world's first public park.
Adjacent to the Frog Pond is the Boston Common Carousel. The carousel was built in 1947 by the Allan Herschell Company of North Tonawanda, NY. The carousel features handcarved horses, as well as a zebra, dragon, rabbit, frog, cat, rooster, teacup and other less-traditional creatures.
It was a lot of fun to watch and draw the kids pick out their animal, then beg their families to go on again. Some would test out multiple animals, but others had a favorite that they stuck to. I think this little boy rode the dragon three times in a row. Watching the families enjoy the park and each other's company, I couldn't help but recall fond memories of my grandfather taking my sister Elise and me to the Holyoke, MA Merry-Go-Round at Heritage State Park.
Yesterday I went to Fort Greene Park to eat lunch and draw for a little bit. I hope to do more reportage of the park this summer. Here are some cute dogs I saw!
I forgot to mention; I got my very own key to the Myrtle Village Green community garden today! It's like having a key to Narnia or something... step inside and the concrete jungle suddenly becomes an actual jungle! The garden even has its own kitten, as of now unnamed, and she is the sweetest, most loving little thing. She wanders from person to person seeking chin rubs. And chickens! There are chickens! So maybe it's not exactly a jungle per se, but that's about as close as we get to wildlife in Brooklyn...
Just about a year ago, the space was a barren vacant lot, one of an estimated 596 acres of vacant public land in Brooklyn. A dedicated group of people have worked incredibly hard to repurpose this public space to become an area that all members of the community can enjoy. You can apply for your own garden bed, or you can take advantage of the community garden beds that the public is invited to pick from. I've had the pleasure of watching the space bloom (literally) over the past year or so, and the transformation has been truly amazing.
This key business is super exciting because I can now go draw whenever I want. A large portion of my senior thesis project involves reportage illustration of the garden, and up until now I have only had access on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 PM, IF a gardener is there. The restricted access is due to a select few individuals who have been stealing produce from other families' garden beds :( Totally uncool.
Here are a couple snippets from my location sketchbook, as well as some possible textile motifs based on the herb garden. When it gets a little cooler outside, I'm going to go back to the chicken coop, but let's just say the herb garden smells a lot better in the heat ;)