Rockefeller Center Christmas

Last December I ventured to Rockefeller Center with Audrey Hawkins to draw the skaters in the midst of the Manhattan Christmas melee. Unlike this year's balmy December weather (reported high of 66˙ today in NYC) last year was much less forgiving. The drawing below was completed in a race against time as my fingers slowly froze, and tourists jostled for a prime selfie spot in  front of the tree.

rockefeller center christmas tree

Once I got the money shot, it was way too cold to continue drawing outside. We ventured downstairs, to an area outside the rink's "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge," where there are tables - and, most importantly, a Starbucks.

rockefeller center ice skaters nyc
Lacing up to go on the ice in the "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge"

Lacing up to go on the ice in the "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge"

rockefeller center skaters

 It was fun to watch and draw the skaters bumble and tumble around. Most were fairly inexperienced, with the occasional seasoned skater twirling and leaping through the crowd.

ice skaters at rockefeller center

The Charles W. Morgan in Boston

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.

The Charles W. Morgan docked in Boston MA at the Charlestown Navy Yard, July 2014 © Carly Larsson

The Charles W. Morgan docked in Boston MA at the Charlestown Navy Yard, July 2014 © Carly Larsson

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!   

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.

Paul Revere's House

Over the summer I visited Boston with Dalvero Academy as part of our project following the Charles W. Morgan on her 38th Voyage. One of the places we visited while there was Paul Revere's house at 19 North Square in the North End. Revere owned the home from 1770-1800, where he lived with his second wife Rachel Walker, their 8 children, and his wife's mother (he already had 8 from his previous marriage to Sarah Orne! And the house only had 4 rooms! Can you say nightmare?)

Facade of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Facade of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014.

The windows were made with manganese oxide which changes color in the sunlight. People in the 1800s saw this as a defect but I thought it was beautiful! © Carly Larsson 2014

The windows were made with manganese oxide which changes color in the sunlight. People in the 1800s saw this as a defect but I thought it was beautiful! © Carly Larsson 2014

While most of us know Paul Revere for his activity in the Revolutionary War, he was a gold and silversmith, a trade he learned from his father. He also worked as a copperplate engraver during the pre-Revolution depression, and moonlighted as a dentist from 1768-1775, cleaning teeth and wiring false teeth made from walrus ivory or other animal bones. After the Revolutionary War, Revere opened a foundry and supplied bolts, spikes and nails for North End shipyards (including brass fittings for the U.S.S. Constitution), produced cannons, cast bells, and opened the first copper-rolling mill in North America in 1801 where he provided copper sheeting for the hull of the U.S.S. Constitution and the dome of the Massachusetts State House. I was surprised by how much Paul Revere accomplished in his lifetime, how many different things he did, and how little I knew about much of it!      

900 lb bronze bell cast in 1804 by the Paul Revere & Son foundry. On display in the courtyard of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014

900 lb bronze bell cast in 1804 by the Paul Revere & Son foundry. On display in the courtyard of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014

The Boston Common Frog Pond & Carousel

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 Frog Pond on the Boston Common. © Carly Larsson 2014

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. 

The Boston Common Carousel © Carly Larsson 2014

The Boston Common Carousel © Carly Larsson 2014

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.

Boston Common Carousel 3.jpg
The Boston Common Carousel © Carly Larsson 2014

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. 

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

I recently spent a week in Boston with Dalvero Academy, and one of the locations we visited was the Old North Church. The church was founded in 1722, making it Boston's oldest surviving church building. It is most known for its role in the beginning of the American Revolution. On the evening of April 18 1775, Robert Newman and Capt. John Pulling Jr. climbed the steeple and held up two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere to warn patriots in Charlestown that the British were arriving by sea across the Charles River and would soon be marching to Lexington and Concord. Here are a couple drawings I made of the steeple!