Here are a couple of portraits I drew live while watching this evening's Presidential Debate.
I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things after an intense few months of traveling (and moving). This summer we spent some time with my parents on Cape Cod, visited friends in Boston, then flew to Westport Ireland. Shortly after returning from Ireland, we set out on a cross-country drive to Portland OR, where we now reside. Leaving Brooklyn was a difficult decision and continues to be an adjustment, but there's a lot to love about Portland.
Last weekend was a milestone birthday for me, so Saturday we checked out the Portland Japanese Garden and had dinner at Bamboo Sushi (amazing), then saw M. Ward perform at Revolution Hall on Sunday. Above are the two drawings I got in at the garden before they told me I could not use ink or COLORS? I was going to buy a membership because the BBG's Japanese Garden was one of my absolute favorite places to draw, but this was a huge bummer so I didn't.
Sunday we saw M. Ward at Revolution Hall, which is in an old high school auditorium (formerly Washington High School, built in 1906). There was no photography per the request of the artist, and it was really nice to be at a show where everyone was present, watching the show, and nobody was on their phones the whole time (honestly, when does anyone actually watch those iPhone videos they spend entire concerts filming?) Luckily, drawing was permitted, *unlike* at the aforementioned garden (can you tell I'm not over it?) A band called Telekinesis, pictured above, opened. They had maracas and got people dancing, which made drawing them great way to warm up.
When M. Ward came on I was surprised how different he sounded live than on his albums. Not in a bad way - it still sounded like him - more in the sense that it felt like he was playing around, improvising and trying new things. I like that.
I was happy he played some older favorites, like Chinese Translation from Post-War (drawing below). He also played a few covers, including Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly, and John Fahey. I was improvising too, since it was pitch black in there and I couldn't see what I was doing. It was a pleasant surprise when the lights came on and the colors I was blindly grabbing out of my box of pastels were similar to the colors of the lights!
He is an unbelievable guitarist and was joined by some equally talented musicians, all from Portland. There was a lot of focus on the instrumentals and a few amazing solos. I love how he is able to incorporate influences from so many decades and genres, making them his own. That's something I aim to do in my own work. After all, it was Picasso who told us that "good artists borrow, great artists steal."
Yesterday the Washington Post published "The most powerful art from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, three years in" by Victoria A. Fogg, a collection of artwork to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm feeling honored to have had a drawing of mine included in the piece, and to be up there with some really amazing artists! Below are a couple of screenshots from the article:
On Sunday we ordered room service and sprawled out in bed with our breakfast and the NY Times. Then I started the day with a selfie in my plushy Red Lion Inn bathrobe.
I was determined to draw some farm animals, so we checked out of the inn and set off for another adventurous day of driving aimlessly down winding back roads.
We happened upon these sheep grazing on a hill & pulled over so I could make a quick drawing. Even though the area was pretty desolate, the people in the nearby house did not seem to appreciate us parking out front, so I hurried to capture the fluffy little dudes and we were soon on our way. Coming from NYC where people live in such close quarters, I have to laugh at how protective country folk can be of their sprawling properties.
Next, we found these horses huddled together for warmth in a picturesque field lined with trees and some blue mountains off in the distance. They were all standing together in a clump (probably for warmth) which made them hard to draw or photograph, so, hungry and cold, we headed back to Lee, MA for brunch at our new favorite cafe - appropriately named the Starving Artist Creperie.
We were pleased to discover that there was a musician playing during Sunday brunch. This little kid in his pom-pom monkey hat and his baby sister (in a matching hat) seemed pretty excited about it themselves.
Then it was back to the road, because we needed to find some more lively animals! Luckily, it didn't take too long to stumble upon a dairy farm. The cows were so cute and curious!
I got a little nervous, as one by one they approached the gate and started poking their heads out like they were trying to make a break for it. They made quite the ruckus, mooing and ramming themselves into the gate. Fearing an angry farmer would soon make an appearance, we set out in search of some more animated horses than the duds we'd encountered earlier.
These guys fit the bill! It was freezing, so we pulled over and I made a few paintings from the passenger's seat. While I was working on this one, a cop came by and peered quizzically in the window. Once he realized what I was doing, he lightened up and asked us to pull farther to the side of the "busy road." Again, coming from NYC, I couldn't help laughing - in the past fifteen minutes, we had seen no more than one truck amble by.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.