Wishing a very happy anniversary to friends Jenn + Nick Vigliotti! I am honored to have been commissioned by Nick to do this piece for their first anniversary. It is based off a photo taken on their honeymoon at Montefioralle Winery in the village of Greve in Chianti, Italy. Apparently this winery has a painting contest every year - artists meet at the winery, partake in a complementary wine tasting, and spend the day painting the premises. Winners receive cases of wine and their work reproduced on a limited edition bottle. I know where I'm going on my next vacation!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Well, my daily blogging has officially become a thing of the past. Due to this hectic thing called life, I'm afraid I must slow the posts to a minimum of one per week. Monday I visited Central Park with my friend Audrey to draw at the Bethesda Fountain. There is so much going on in the park. While we drew, there was an opera singer performing behind us, and at least three pairs of models/photographers doing their thing. When I first arrived, there was a guy in a spiffy suit and nifty red socks playing the saxophone, but the opera performance behind us was apparently too much competition for him and, regrettably, he left before I had the chance to draw him.
The fountain sculpture was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868. Stebbins was the first woman to receive a commission for a major public work of art in NYC. Pretty cool! The sculpture is also known as "Angel of the Waters" and refers to the Gospel of John where an angel blesses the pool of Bethesda, giving it healing powers. The four cherubs below the angel are supposed to represent temperance, purity, health and peace. I can get behind three of those symbols (hint: none of them are temperance).
The Prison Ship Martyr's Monument is a memorial to the 11,500 American soldiers who died in captivity aboard 16 British prison ships in Wallabout Bay during the American Revolutionary War. The history of the monument is really quite complex, but I'll try to sum it up. Remains of some of the soldiers who died aboard the ships were initially interred near the Brooklyn Navy Yard (Vinegar Hill) in 1808, but moved and re-interred in 1873 beneath a small monument in what is now Fort Greene Park. Funds were then raised for a larger monument designed by Stanford White. The monument is a granite Doric column 149 ft high, and at the top of the column sits an eight-ton bronze brazier (funeral urn) by the sculptor Adolf Weinman.
The monument is rarely opened, but last Sunday it was open to the public and I had the opportunity to go inside for a few minutes and do a quick drawing (I got there just as they were closing it up). Apparently there used to be a spiral staircase leading to the top of the monument and visitors could pay to climb up and see the views of Manhattan, but now there's just a rusty ladder that looks like it might crumble if touched lightly. On the concrete floor there is a copper door leading to the crypt below (the crypt was not open). Unfortunately I was rushed out before I had a chance to draw it.
Fort Greene Park actually used to be Fort Putnam under the supervision of General Nathanael Greene during the Revolutionary War (1776) because it is one of the highest points in Brooklyn. It housed six eighteen-pound cannons and was the largest fort on Long Island. The fort was later renamed after Greene.
Another quickie post today because it's a gorgeous Sunday and I'm itching to go out and draw! This one is a scene from my kitchen window a few weeks ago. The light was reflecting so beautifully off the buildings that I dropped everything & made this! Those Keds hanging off the traffic light have been there for over a year now. They used to be yellow; now they're bleached white from the sun. They've been through many a storm - snow, rain, sleet, etc. and still, there they hang. Pretty good endorsement for Keds' durability!
Here's another landscape painting I did while home on Cape Cod in September just as the colors began to change.