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

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

Front Row Society x Carly Larsson

Last September I was commissioned by Berlin-based Front Row Society to design and illustrate a fall/winter collection of 10 scarves. When I got the job, I had been spending a lot of time drawing in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Japanese Hill and Pond Garden. I was feeling really inspired by Japanese art & culture. So I started researching winter activities in Japan. I found out about these amazing ice festivals they have, where massive, intricate ice sculptures are carved and illuminated with multi-colored lights. I decided this would be the theme for my collection. The colored lights inspired the color palette, while the sculptures of symbolic animals informed each design. Here are some of my early thumbnails:

© Carly Larsson 2014.

© Carly Larsson 2014.

Below is the crab design in its final form.  Click here to view the final illustrations + lookbook (shot by Grey Stanton), and here shop the collection.

© Grey Stanton 2015

© Grey Stanton 2015

 

 

Labor Day

© Carly Larsson 2015

© Carly Larsson 2015

Happy Labor Day! This summer flew by, and was a busy one for me. While I didn't get much  vacation time this year, I'm grateful to have had a few opportunities to slow down and do some drawing just for me. Here's a quick sunset painting from early August, at one of my favorite spots in Pocasset, on Cape Cod MA, where I grew up. 

No Justice, No Peace: The Millions March for Eric Garner

Last night I attended the Millions March protest for Eric Garner at Foley Square to do some reportage illustration with friends Audrey Hawkins, Evan Turk and Chris Brody. When we arrived there were already hundreds of people gathered; the square was packed and people were spilling into the streets.

The atmosphere was peaceful but charged with a kinetic, positive energy. It was heartening to see how many different people turned out to demonstrate. There were parents with children, teenagers, college students and elderly people of every race and gender. People were chanting "Hands up don't shoot" and  "No justice no peace." I overheard a mother shout out “hands up!" and her toddler yelled "Justice!” I had to laugh.

Protestors in Foley Square in front of the United States Court House.

Protestors in Foley Square in front of the United States Court House.

Soon we began to move toward the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, with protestors chanting "Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut it down shut it down!" and "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, NYPD go away!" Once we got to the entrance to the bridge we stopped; I heard that police had blocked entry to the bridge. I was at the very tail end of the group, behind police who had formed a line standing shoulder-to-shoulder. They started to back up as I drew; one bumped into me and apologized.

The crowd moving toward the Brooklyn Bridge

The crowd moving toward the Brooklyn Bridge

There were news crews, photographers and journalists everywhere, as well as a few different helicopters circling overhead shining spotlights down on the crowd. Some other chants I heard were "Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" and "How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!" One guy even had a saxophone that he played the whole time we marched, though as I began drawing him he was lost in the crowd, so unfortunately he doesn't make a cameo here!

Protestors attempting to gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Protestors attempting to gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Some protestors had made large cardboard cutouts of bodies that looked like chalk outlines. Each one had a name of a black person killed by the police. Some people had megaphones, but the crowd chanting in unison seemed to be the most impactful. For a large group, the protestors marched fast. While Audrey and I said goodbye to Chris and Evan, the crowd disappeared down Centre Street. We found them again on Broadway, where they had taken over the street and traffic was at a standstill. Then we turned and marched up Canal Street.

Protestors march down Canal Street toward the Holland Tunnel.

Protestors march down Canal Street toward the Holland Tunnel.

This adorable little girl riding on her dad's shoulders had made her own sign. It was a bit scribbly and hard to read, but I think it said something about paying reparations to the families of those killed by police. While a few motorists/commuters seemed irritated, most were actually cheering on the protestors. A few cars and trucks beeped their horns to the beat of the chants, some people put their hands up as we walked by, and a few work crews had made signs saying "Ferguson is everywhere" that they hung in the windows of their trucks! As the crowd moved toward the Holland Tunnel, Audrey and I decided to hang back and draw some of the scary-looking cops in riot gear. They were standing shoulder-to-shoulder holding their batons out in front of them, and had economy packs of plastic handcuffs at the ready. The leftmost cop in the drawing below said I made him look fat.

NYPD in riot gear lined up along Canal Street.

NYPD in riot gear lined up along Canal Street.

In addition to the hundreds of cops on the streets, there were hundreds more in vans following the protestors. It seemed like overkill for such a peaceful protest, and I definitely noticed that many of the cops were treating bystanders/commuters (and us, with our sketchbooks) with more respect than they showed the protestors. While we were there, it seemed like the police were, for the most part, standing back and letting the protestors do their thing. However, just after I left I saw photographs and reports of police indiscriminately arresting and pepper-spraying people, including children and elderly women. Not exactly the best PR move for them, considering the protest was for ending police brutality, but I guess they got bored of standing around. In all, it was a wonderful and moving experience. It was so inspiring to see all the different people that came out on such a cold night to demand reform and an end to police violence!

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.

Halloween 313's Nightmare on Clinton Avenue

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Halloween 313 performances on Clinton Avenue. Coinciding with the Society for Clinton Hill's Annual Halloween Walk, every year on Halloween crowds gather outside 313 Clinton Avenue (home of Janna Kennedy, "the Halloween Lady") for free live performances. The performances are put together by an incredibly talented and dedicated group of volunteers including professional actors, producers, designers and artists from around Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. This year I was invited to draw inside the spooky parlor and also had the opportunity to draw the performances. 

Decorations inside the parlor of Halloween 313 

Decorations inside the parlor of Halloween 313 

The set of Halloween 313's 2014 performance "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue"

The set of Halloween 313's 2014 performance "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue"

This year's performance was entitled "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue," and is set in "Clinton Hell." Two neighbors, Kat and Thomas wander by the spooky old mansion discussing rumors that it used to be an insane asylum for axe murderers. Legend has it that the proprietor of the house forces the inmates to perform variety shows every year on Halloween.  Thomas dismisses the rumors as hearsay just as the warden of the asylum, Anesthesia Hangbody, appears and kidnaps him.

Kat and Thomas encounter Anesthesia Hangbody © Carly Larsson 2014

Kat and Thomas encounter Anesthesia Hangbody © Carly Larsson 2014

Kat approaches some police officers seeking help in rescuing her fiancée Thomas from Ms. Hangbody, but they report that no one has lived in that old house for years, and are utterly useless in helping her.

The police are useless in helping Kat © Carly Larsson 2014

The police are useless in helping Kat © Carly Larsson 2014

With nowhere else to turn, Kat seeks help from a haunted painting of a man Anesthesia Hangbody formerly abducted.

Eventually, Kat takes matters into her own hands and fights off Anesthesia Hangbody with a little help from the asylum inmates and the talking painting, all of whom are tired of Ms. Hangbody's abuse.

Kat engages in hand-to-hand combat with Anesthesia Hangbody.

Kat engages in hand-to-hand combat with Anesthesia Hangbody.

Some of the asylum inmates. 

Some of the asylum inmates. 

More asylum inmates, and Thomas in the back.

More asylum inmates, and Thomas in the back.

With a fiery pyrotechnic show, the haunted painting and the inmates finish off Anesthesia Hangbody once and for all. Then Thomas, Kat and the inmates celebrate as the former Ms. Hangbody's portrait is added to the wall.  

A pyrotechnics show signifies that the inmates are tired of Anesthesia Hangbody's mistreatment

A pyrotechnics show signifies that the inmates are tired of Anesthesia Hangbody's mistreatment

Charlotta Janssen puts the finishing touches on the painting of Anesthesia Hangbody while the inmates applaud.

Charlotta Janssen puts the finishing touches on the painting of Anesthesia Hangbody while the inmates applaud.

After the portrait of the newly deceased Anesthesia Hangbody has been added to the wall

After the portrait of the newly deceased Anesthesia Hangbody has been added to the wall

It was a great show and such a privilege to hang out with the incredibly talented cast and crew afterward! There are a few more drawings I decided to rework a bit after scanning, so stay tuned for more drawings from Halloween 313.

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! 

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.