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). 

Leaf Prints

Since it is now officially December, I think it's past time I shared some leaf prints I did this fall! They are mainly watercolor, with some gouache, inks and a little collage. I've done my best to identify all the leaves, but I'm no pro so please correct me if I've gotten any wrong! :)

Black ash and honeylocust leaves. Watercolor, gouache and collage on Canson 150lb illustration paper. © Carly Larsson 2014

Black ash and honeylocust leaves. Watercolor, gouache and collage on Canson 150lb illustration paper. © Carly Larsson 2014

Black ash and honeylocust leaves, watercolor on Canson 98lb mixed media paper. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Black ash and honeylocust leaves, watercolor on Canson 98lb mixed media paper. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Honeylocust, sugar maple, American linden, and ginko biloba leaves. Watercolor on Canson 150lb illustration paper. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Honeylocust, sugar maple, American linden, and ginko biloba leaves. Watercolor on Canson 150lb illustration paper. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Scarlet oak leaves, watercolor and gouache on Arches cold press 140lb watercolor paper. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Scarlet oak leaves, watercolor and gouache on Arches cold press 140lb watercolor paper. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Bethesda Fountain

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 Bethesda Fountain in Central Park NYC © Carly Larsson 2014

The Bethesda Fountain in Central Park NYC © Carly Larsson 2014

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). 

Inside the Prison Ship Martyr's Monument

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. 

Inside the Prison Ship Martyr's Monument, looking up © Carly Larsson 2014

Inside the Prison Ship Martyr's Monument, looking up © Carly Larsson 2014

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. 

View of the monument from outside © Carly Larsson 2014

View of the monument from outside © Carly Larsson 2014

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.

From My Window

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! 

Marsh Landscape

Here's another landscape painting I did while home on Cape Cod in September just as the colors began to change.

Houseplants

Some studies of my parents' houseplants from a rainy Labor Day - soon to be a new pattern! I'm so drawn to houseplants (no pun intended), probably because I can't have any of my own (our cat eats them). I'd be more specific about the types of plants these are, but to be honest I have no idea. When I texted my mom to ask, her response was: "I'm not good with plants. That one is already dead. Very happy you captured it in its prime." Haha!