M. Ward at Revolution Hall

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. 

Portland Japanese Garden © Carly Larsson 2016

Portland Japanese Garden © Carly Larsson 2016

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. 

Telekenesis opening for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Telekenesis opening for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

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.  

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

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. 

M. Ward & his fluffy-haired bassist at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward & his fluffy-haired bassist at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

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!

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

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." 

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Drummer for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Drummer for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Berkshires Weekend Pt. 2

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. 

Sunday morning selfie © Carly Larsson 2015

Sunday morning selfie © Carly Larsson 2015

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. 

Sheep! © Carly Larsson 2015

Sheep! © Carly Larsson 2015

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.

Horses huddling for warmth © Carly Larsson 2015

Horses huddling for warmth © Carly Larsson 2015

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.

 © Carly Larsson 2015

 © Carly Larsson 2015

 Enjoying live music at the Starving Artist Creperie © Carly Larsson 2015

 Enjoying live music at the Starving Artist Creperie © Carly Larsson 2015

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. 

Guy with commendable mustache getting some work done © Carly Larsson 2015

Guy with commendable mustache getting some work done © Carly Larsson 2015

Grey reading the NY Times on his phone while I take too long to finish my lunch because of drawing everyone © Carly Larsson 2015

Grey reading the NY Times on his phone while I take too long to finish my lunch because of drawing everyone © Carly Larsson 2015

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! 

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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. 

Grazing horses - much livelier than the duds in the other field © Carly Larsson 2015

Grazing horses - much livelier than the duds in the other field © Carly Larsson 2015

Berkshires Weekend Pt. 1

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Grey & I drove up to the Berkshires to see our friends Ted & Betsy give a reading from their new book, How to Babysit a Leopard: and Other True Stories from Our Travels Across Six Continents at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA. I'd never been to the Norman Rockwell Museum, and it was a real treat. 

Norman Rockwell's studio in Stockbridge, MA. © Carly Larsson 2015 

Norman Rockwell's studio in Stockbridge, MA. © Carly Larsson 2015 

After the reading, we ventured outside to check out Rockwell's studio (above). It's closed after October, but I snuck in a quick drawing of the exterior. It was a moody, grey day with soft diffused light. The deep azure mountains were blanketed in thick sheets of fog. I could get used to a studio with that view. We set out to capture some landscapes.

Landscape in the Berkshires © Carly Larsson 2015

Landscape in the Berkshires © Carly Larsson 2015

Grey had a vision for a photograph of a dilapidated barn in the woods, so for the rest of the afternoon, we went barn hunting. Driving aimlessly down winding country roads, we'd pull over every time we found one. I was freezing, so all these drawings were made from the passenger's seat with the heat blasting. 

western massachusetts barn
collapsed barn western ma

Grey deemed the barn (above, left) too dilapidated, having collapsed completely. 

barn western mass

This barn was not dilapidated enough.

barn western ma

This barn, leaning and sagging at angles I'm sure were not intentional, was juuuust right.

Portsmouth, NH

I recently spent a weekend in Portsmouth, NH with my boyfriend Greyson for a friend's wedding.  Shortly after arriving on Friday evening, we went to check out the cute little downtown and ate dinner on the water.  I brought my sketchbook, intending to draw the waterfront and a historic building or two, but of course by the time we were seated at the restaurant and placed an order, I realized I left it in the car. So I got to work on the back of the sushi menu with the little golf pencil they give you to order with. What do they say? Necessity is the mother of invention? 

The Memorial Bridge (above) spans the Piscataqua River and connects Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, ME via US Interstate 1. The bottom part of the bridge lifts up every 30 minutes to allow boat traffic through. Here, a tugboat passes underneath.

Even though I was born in New Hampshire, I've never been to Portsmouth & didn't know what to expect. The view from the waterfront downtown was much more industrial than I imagined. In the drawing above you can see that the shore was lined with cranes. Lots of tugboats and barges were coming and going.

Above is the tugboat Mary M. Coppedge, apparently the strongest tug in the harbor. She is a "twin-screw" tugboat, which means she has two engines and two propellers. There's a whole article written about her here. The guy in the drawing below was having fun putzing around in his little Boston Whaler. 

Portsmouth is nice. I wish we had had more time to explore the downtown and draw some of the buildings (there are so many historical spots!), but it's only a two hour drive from New York, so we'll have to make the trip again soon. 

Jury Duty

I was called for jury duty the first week of July. I was displeased, but instead of complaining - OK, along with complaining - I saw the people-watching opportunity for what it was. I grabbed a sketchbook and some pencils and arrived at the Supreme Court in Downtown Brooklyn promptly at 8 AM. An hour later, people were still trickling in, and nothing was happening.

This guy had the snazziest suspenders / haircut / color combo going on.

This guy had the snazziest suspenders / haircut / color combo going on.

Essentially, it was hours upon hours of waiting in "central jury" before being shown a cheesy informational film about how AWESOME and FUN jury duty really is. Most people had something to read or were on their phones and tablets, which made secretively drawing them a breeze. When people notice you drawing them they generally either a) get really uncomfortable and glare at you or b) act like they don't notice and start posing. 

Next we were ushered into the courtroom for a few more hours of waiting. Except this time, there were no books, beverages (i.e coffee) or recording devices allowed, and all cell phones/tablets had to be shut off. This is when the juror's body language (boredom and fatigue) started to get really good. I wish I had drawn more during this part, but wasn't sure if my pencil counted as a recording device. The police assigned to courtroom security were NOT the friendliest, and I was pretty intimidated...

The guy above gave zero f**ks. He would nap for a while, pop his head up briefly, look around, then resume napping. He also was an amazing shape and a lot of fun to draw.

Some guys sneaking onto their cell phones in the court room before the judge returned from lunch (30 minutes late).

Some guys sneaking onto their cell phones in the court room before the judge returned from lunch (30 minutes late).

I think the body language of the guy below pretty much sums up the entire jury duty experience:

Mystic Winter

With a snowstorm to ring in the first day of spring this year, I was certain winter would never end. As sick as I have become of layers, hunching into my jacket and doing the penguin waddle over treacherous sidewalks, the harsh cold was not without its beauty. Here are a few little watercolors I made on a trip to Mystic Seaport with Dalvero Academy this past February. We will be back this weekend, and here's hoping the snow and ice have thawed!

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

Fort Greene Park

I've been spending a lot of time drawing in Fort Greene Park lately; the fall weather has been lovely and there are so many good characters, colorful trees and funny dogs to draw. Here are some quick studies I did while there a few days ago.

Squirrels make great models and will stick around when fed walnuts. © Carly Larsson 2014

Squirrels make great models and will stick around when fed walnuts. © Carly Larsson 2014

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My boyfriend Greyson reading a book © Carly Larsson 2014

My boyfriend Greyson reading a book © Carly Larsson 2014

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! 

Pear Studies

Last time I was home to see my parents, my father had me pick a bunch of pears from his tree in the garden to bring back to New York. There were SO MANY! I picked over 20 pears and the tree was still full of them. Two weeks later they're still not ripe, but they do make great subjects for painting :) 

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