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

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. 

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

NYC Marathon

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

Every year I intend to get out and draw the NYC Marathon, but for one reason or another it never seems to happen. I live a block from the marathon route, so there really is no excuse! This year I was able to catch the tail end of it and get a couple quick drawings in.

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014

Shapely Lady

I saw this lady leaning against the traffic light across the street the other day. Her silhouette made such a great shape, I grabbed the nearest drawing implement and captured her! I think she saw me staring at her out the window because she moved away pretty quickly.

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.

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. 

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! 

DUMBO Arts Festival

This past weekend was the annual DUMBO Arts Festival in Brooklyn. After 4 years living in Brooklyn and never having gone, I decided it was due time to check it out. 

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

There was so much to look at and so many people everywhere that it was a bit overwhelming at first, and I must admit I spent more time wandering around with my mouth hanging open than actually drawing. One of the first things I stopped to see was "Circle Circus" by Saul Schisler, an interactive sculpture consisting of an oversized spirograph accompanied by giant pencils. Both kids and adults were having a blast trying to operate the mechanism, and I heard a few people say they had a difficult time using the giant pencil. 

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

While I was drawing one guy told me he'd be more impressed if I was using a giant pencil. Unfortunately, I didn't have a large enough sketchbook for that (and also, random man, this may be shocking- but I was not there to impress you). 

The Eat Morris food truck on Water Street, DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014

The Eat Morris food truck on Water Street, DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014

After watching and drawing the Circle Circus for a while, my friend Betsy was hungry so we decided to check out the many food trucks lining Water Street. The lines were pretty long, so instead of waiting I snacked on some almonds and drew. The drawing above is of the Eat Morris truck which serves fancy grilled cheese. It smelled awesome and I learned later that they do gluten-free too.

Jumbo DUMBO Puppy sculpture by Shinji Murakami. © Carly Larsson 2014

Jumbo DUMBO Puppy sculpture by Shinji Murakami. © Carly Larsson 2014

Next stop was the Jumbo DUMBO Puppy, a huge sculpture by Shinji Murakami made out of cardboard boxes! To be perfectly honest, I wasn't 100% sold on going to the festival until I saw the Jumbo DUMBO Puppy online. It just seemed so goofy, and how can you NOT want to go draw an enormous puppy made out of cardboard boxes!? I was very tempted to draw on it, but alas it was not an interactive sculpture and I figured that would be frowned upon. 

Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. © Carly Larsson 2014

Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. © Carly Larsson 2014

Last stop was Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. This one could be experienced both as a sculpture and a piece of performance art; there were 5 performances inside of it. The audience was invited to wander in and out of the piece as they liked. It drew a lot of attention as it was right on the main walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Overall it was a good time - of all places I've drawn in public, I seemed to attract the least weird looks at the DUMBO Arts Festival :P Can't wait to go back next year!