Portsmouth, NH

I recently spent a weekend in Portsmouth, NH with my boyfriend Greyson for a friend's wedding.  Shortly after arriving on Friday evening, we went to check out the cute little downtown and ate dinner on the water.  I brought my sketchbook, intending to draw the waterfront and a historic building or two, but of course by the time we were seated at the restaurant and placed an order, I realized I left it in the car. So I got to work on the back of the sushi menu with the little golf pencil they give you to order with. What do they say? Necessity is the mother of invention? 

The Memorial Bridge (above) spans the Piscataqua River and connects Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, ME via US Interstate 1. The bottom part of the bridge lifts up every 30 minutes to allow boat traffic through. Here, a tugboat passes underneath.

Even though I was born in New Hampshire, I've never been to Portsmouth & didn't know what to expect. The view from the waterfront downtown was much more industrial than I imagined. In the drawing above you can see that the shore was lined with cranes. Lots of tugboats and barges were coming and going.

Above is the tugboat Mary M. Coppedge, apparently the strongest tug in the harbor. She is a "twin-screw" tugboat, which means she has two engines and two propellers. There's a whole article written about her here. The guy in the drawing below was having fun putzing around in his little Boston Whaler. 

Portsmouth is nice. I wish we had had more time to explore the downtown and draw some of the buildings (there are so many historical spots!), but it's only a two hour drive from New York, so we'll have to make the trip again soon. 

Labor Day

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

Happy Labor Day! This summer flew by, and was a busy one for me. While I didn't get much  vacation time this year, I'm grateful to have had a few opportunities to slow down and do some drawing just for me. Here's a quick sunset painting from early August, at one of my favorite spots in Pocasset, on Cape Cod MA, where I grew up. 

The Corwith Cramer at Brooklyn Bridge Park

This past May, I spent the afternoon with my friend Audrey Hawkins drawing The Corwith Cramer in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (See Audrey's drawings from this day here). The Corwith Cramer is a 134-foot two-masted brigantine owned and operated by the Sea Education Association (SEA) out of Woods Hole, MA, just a few towns over from where I grew up on Cape Cod. 

carlylarsson_corwithcramer_brooklyn
Photograph © Etienne Frossard 2015

Photograph © Etienne Frossard 2015

The ship serves as a floating lab, classroom, and office for students and researchers. This particular crew was returning from a five-week voyage studying biodiversity and conservation of the Sargasso Sea region. The ship's arrival in Brooklyn marked the end of the voyage, which began April 20 in San Juan Puerto Rico. 

While we were drawing, Etienne Frossard, photographer for the Brooklyn Bridge Park, snapped our photo.

Happy Birthday, Melville!

In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman’s Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot.
— Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"

In honor of Herman Melville's birthday today, here's a drawing I did last summer of the Whaleman's Chapel (aka the Seamen's Bethel) from Melville's Moby Dick. The Seamen's Bethel was built in 1832 as a nondemoninational church for the many whalemen to whom New Bedford was home port. It was tradition that one would visit the bethel at least once before setting out to sea. Melville himself came to New Bedford in December of 1840 and stayed until January the next year, attending many services here. 

Jury Duty

I was called for jury duty the first week of July. I was displeased, but instead of complaining - OK, along with complaining - I saw the people-watching opportunity for what it was. I grabbed a sketchbook and some pencils and arrived at the Supreme Court in Downtown Brooklyn promptly at 8 AM. An hour later, people were still trickling in, and nothing was happening.

This guy had the snazziest suspenders / haircut / color combo going on.

This guy had the snazziest suspenders / haircut / color combo going on.

Essentially, it was hours upon hours of waiting in "central jury" before being shown a cheesy informational film about how AWESOME and FUN jury duty really is. Most people had something to read or were on their phones and tablets, which made secretively drawing them a breeze. When people notice you drawing them they generally either a) get really uncomfortable and glare at you or b) act like they don't notice and start posing. 

Next we were ushered into the courtroom for a few more hours of waiting. Except this time, there were no books, beverages (i.e coffee) or recording devices allowed, and all cell phones/tablets had to be shut off. This is when the juror's body language (boredom and fatigue) started to get really good. I wish I had drawn more during this part, but wasn't sure if my pencil counted as a recording device. The police assigned to courtroom security were NOT the friendliest, and I was pretty intimidated...

The guy above gave zero f**ks. He would nap for a while, pop his head up briefly, look around, then resume napping. He also was an amazing shape and a lot of fun to draw.

Some guys sneaking onto their cell phones in the court room before the judge returned from lunch (30 minutes late).

Some guys sneaking onto their cell phones in the court room before the judge returned from lunch (30 minutes late).

I think the body language of the guy below pretty much sums up the entire jury duty experience:

Independence Day & The Mayflower II

In honor of Independence Day, I'd like to share a few drawings of the Mayflower II done on location in Plymouth MA last weekend.

Although the tradition of Independence Day was born of the Revolutionary War, the seeds of our country's independence were first planted on September 6th 1620 when  the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth England carrying 102 "brave" (or certifiably insane, depending on how you look at it) passengers looking to start a new life.

The Mayflower II docked in Plymouth MA with Plymouth Rock in the foreground. 

The Mayflower II docked in Plymouth MA with Plymouth Rock in the foreground. 

After two agonizing, stormy months at sea, cramped in dank conditions below deck, the colonists arrived in the New World. Five passengers perished at sea, and during the first winter more than half of the colonists died from malnutrition, disease, and harsh weather.

The ship's purser, Master Williamson on the half deck of the Mayflower II.

The ship's purser, Master Williamson on the half deck of the Mayflower II.

Two women gave birth on the Mayflower; Elizabeth Hopkins gave birth to a son, Oceanus during the journey, and Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor. 

Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the Mayflower was docked in Cape Cod Harbor. Her first husband, Master William White, died during the first winter. Susanna then remarried Edward Winslow; the two were the first to be married in the New World and went on to have two more sons together.

Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the Mayflower was docked in Cape Cod Harbor. Her first husband, Master William White, died during the first winter. Susanna then remarried Edward Winslow; the two were the first to be married in the New World and went on to have two more sons together.

It's believed that none of the colonists would have survived the first winter without the help of the local Wampanoags, who taught the colonists how to hunt, fish, and grow corn, beans and squash.

A Wampanoag winter home, or "nushwetu," housed 3 generations.

A Wampanoag winter home, or "nushwetu," housed 3 generations.

Devin Newhkuhshan Wixon, a Native American Interpreter at Plimoth Plantation, making a fishing net and canoe.

Devin Newhkuhshan Wixon, a Native American Interpreter at Plimoth Plantation, making a fishing net and canoe.

So today, while we celebrate our independence and recognize the people who risked their lives to found this country, we should really be recognizing and thanking the Native Americans, whose generosity and respect for life helped many of our ancestors survive the first few years here (and who, not long after, faced genocide and were forced out of their homelands at the hands of the colonists, leading to hundreds of years of systemic oppression which continues to be perpetuated to this day). 

Memorial Day Weekend

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.

Bucky Barlow's Boat Yard, Pocasset MA. © Carly Larsson 2015

Bucky Barlow's Boat Yard, Pocasset MA. © Carly Larsson 2015

 I remember one summer around the age of thirteen when I toiled 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.” My mother recalls a 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. 

My sister Elise sunbathing despite the arctic breeze. © Carly Larsson 2015

My sister Elise sunbathing despite the arctic breeze. © Carly Larsson 2015

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.

My cousin Jack on the beach, Pocasset MA. © Carly Larsson 2015

My cousin Jack on the beach, Pocasset MA. © Carly Larsson 2015

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.

Miss Thea curating her shell collection © Carly Larsson 2015

Miss Thea curating her shell collection © Carly Larsson 2015

Mystic Winter

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!

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

NYC Marathon

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

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.

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

Halloween 313's Nightmare on Clinton Avenue

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. 

Decorations inside the parlor of Halloween 313 

Decorations inside the parlor of Halloween 313 

The set of Halloween 313's 2014 performance "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue"

The set of Halloween 313's 2014 performance "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue"

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 and Thomas encounter Anesthesia Hangbody © Carly Larsson 2014

Kat and Thomas encounter Anesthesia Hangbody © Carly Larsson 2014

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.

The police are useless in helping Kat © Carly Larsson 2014

The police are useless in helping Kat © Carly Larsson 2014

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.

Kat engages in hand-to-hand combat with Anesthesia Hangbody.

Kat engages in hand-to-hand combat with Anesthesia Hangbody.

Some of the asylum inmates. 

Some of the asylum inmates. 

More asylum inmates, and Thomas in the back.

More asylum inmates, and Thomas in the back.

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.  

A pyrotechnics show signifies that the inmates are tired of Anesthesia Hangbody's mistreatment

A pyrotechnics show signifies that the inmates are tired of Anesthesia Hangbody's mistreatment

Charlotta Janssen puts the finishing touches on the painting of Anesthesia Hangbody while the inmates applaud.

Charlotta Janssen puts the finishing touches on the painting of Anesthesia Hangbody while the inmates applaud.

After the portrait of the newly deceased Anesthesia Hangbody has been added to the wall

After the portrait of the newly deceased Anesthesia Hangbody has been 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.