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.
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 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.
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.
Yesterday I went to Fort Greene Park for the 16th Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest hosted by Fort Greene PUPs. As I expected, it was a hilarious event with many creative costumes. There were over one hundred entrants and they went by pretty fast, so it was a good challenge! Here are some of the dogs I drew! The winners were Ira Glass in first place, the G train in second, and third was Devo, who unfortunately I didn't draw. As always, please do not print or reproduce these without permission! If you see your dog and would like to purchase a print, or would like to use the drawings for some other purpose, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
My friend Audrey went and drew at the Tomkins Square Park Dog Parade on the same day - For more cuteness, check out her adorable and hilarious drawings!
I saw this lady leaning against the traffic light across the street the other day. Her silhouette made such a great shape, I grabbed the nearest drawing implement and captured her! I think she saw me staring at her out the window because she moved away pretty quickly.
As I've mentioned, I spent the summer with Dalvero Academy doing a reportage project on the Charles W. Morgan, the world's last wooden whaling ship. I really need to go through all my drawings so I can do a more in-depth blog post about the events, but for now here's a quick one of the Morgan docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston this past July.
My friend Despina just shared her gorgeous drawings of the Morgan's return to Mystic Seaport, CT. Can't wait to share mine from that day - coming soon!
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!
Yesterday I took the subway to meet a friend in Queens. It was rush hour, so there were plenty of great characters to surreptitiously draw.
Drawing on the train really makes the ride fly by. There have been times I missed my stop because I was so focused (luckily that didn't happen this time!)
When I showed my friend Siyeon the drawings later on, she knew exactly what train I saw each person on without me telling her. I thought that was pretty funny - It's so true that there are different types of characters that frequent each subway line!
This past weekend was the annual DUMBO Arts Festival in Brooklyn. After 4 years living in Brooklyn and never having gone, I decided it was due time to check it out.
There was so much to look at and so many people everywhere that it was a bit overwhelming at first, and I must admit I spent more time wandering around with my mouth hanging open than actually drawing. One of the first things I stopped to see was "Circle Circus" by Saul Schisler, an interactive sculpture consisting of an oversized spirograph accompanied by giant pencils. Both kids and adults were having a blast trying to operate the mechanism, and I heard a few people say they had a difficult time using the giant pencil.
While I was drawing one guy told me he'd be more impressed if I was using a giant pencil. Unfortunately, I didn't have a large enough sketchbook for that (and also, random man, this may be shocking- but I was not there to impress you).
After watching and drawing the Circle Circus for a while, my friend Betsy was hungry so we decided to check out the many food trucks lining Water Street. The lines were pretty long, so instead of waiting I snacked on some almonds and drew. The drawing above is of the Eat Morris truck which serves fancy grilled cheese. It smelled awesome and I learned later that they do gluten-free too.
Next stop was the Jumbo DUMBO Puppy, a huge sculpture by Shinji Murakami made out of cardboard boxes! To be perfectly honest, I wasn't 100% sold on going to the festival until I saw the Jumbo DUMBO Puppy online. It just seemed so goofy, and how can you NOT want to go draw an enormous puppy made out of cardboard boxes!? I was very tempted to draw on it, but alas it was not an interactive sculpture and I figured that would be frowned upon.
Last stop was Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. This one could be experienced both as a sculpture and a piece of performance art; there were 5 performances inside of it. The audience was invited to wander in and out of the piece as they liked. It drew a lot of attention as it was right on the main walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Overall it was a good time - of all places I've drawn in public, I seemed to attract the least weird looks at the DUMBO Arts Festival :P Can't wait to go back next year!