Subway Portraits

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. 

A very serious man reading the newspaper on the G train © Carly Larsson 2014

A very serious man reading the newspaper on the G train © Carly Larsson 2014

Some men on the G train. I was inadvertently gracious to the guy in the front - he was about 20 years older than I drew him, but he moved so I had to fudge it a little ;) © Carly Larsson 2014

Some men on the G train. I was inadvertently gracious to the guy in the front - he was about 20 years older than I drew him, but he moved so I had to fudge it a little ;) © Carly Larsson 2014

Man on the 7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

Man on the 7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

Girl on the 7 train. Loved her puffy jacket and floral handbag. © Carly Larsson 2014

Girl on the 7 train. Loved her puffy jacket and floral handbag. © Carly Larsson 2014

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 cute little guy on the G kept peeking out at me. So cute in his little Converse sneaks. © Carly Larsson 2014

This cute little guy on the G kept peeking out at me. So cute in his little Converse sneaks. © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

Chic ponytail lady, G train © Carly Larsson

Chic ponytail lady, G train © Carly Larsson

I loved the shape of this guy on the 7 train - so round! © Carly Larsson 2014

I loved the shape of this guy on the 7 train - so round! © Carly Larsson 2014

I must admit, I drew this kid out of aggravation. He was playing his soccer game with the volume on full blast. 7 train. © Carly Larsson 2014

I must admit, I drew this kid out of aggravation. He was playing his soccer game with the volume on full blast. 7 train. © Carly Larsson 2014

Dragon Boat Festival

A drummer at the bow of a participating dragon boat. © Carly Larsson 2014 

A drummer at the bow of a participating dragon boat. © Carly Larsson 2014 

In August I met up with NYC Urban Sketchers to draw the Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. The Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event which originated in China. The festival is based off a legend about the poet Qu Yuan who was a court minister & advocate for reform in his home of Chu. He was disliked by the emperor for his outspoken ways and was banished. During his exile, after hearing that his home was invaded, he jumped into the Ni Lo River and drowned himself. Local fishermen tried to save him but were unsuccessful. To prevent his body from being eaten by fish and as an offering to his spirit,  they threw rice dumplings into the water. Today rice dumplings are traditionally eaten on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival which is held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. After the races, it is customary to spend the remainder of the day observing street theatre, martial arts, Chinese dance performances, and other cultural festivities (all while eating rice dumplings, of course).

Dragon boats racing while spectators look on. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Dragon boats racing while spectators look on. © Carly Larsson 2014.

A giant dragon costume worn by about 20 people winds by during the parade. © Carly Larsson 2014 

A giant dragon costume worn by about 20 people winds by during the parade. © Carly Larsson 2014 

Drawing this event was certainly a challenge, as it was about 95 degrees and there was nary an ounce of shade. Regardless, it was a great experience and I'm glad I went.