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. 

Montefioralle Winery

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! 

Happy Birthday, Melville!

In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman’s Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot.
— Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"

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. 

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.

From My Window

Another quickie post today because it's a gorgeous Sunday and I'm itching to go out and draw! This one is a scene from my kitchen window a few weeks ago. The light was reflecting so beautifully off the buildings that I dropped everything & made this! Those Keds hanging off the traffic light have been there for over a year now. They used to be yellow; now they're bleached white from the sun. They've been through many a storm - snow, rain, sleet, etc. and still, there they hang. Pretty good endorsement for Keds' durability! 

Marsh Landscape

Here's another landscape painting I did while home on Cape Cod in September just as the colors began to change.

Cape Cod Landscape

Late posting today - it's going to be tough to keep up this week as I'm working towards a deadline. So here's the first of a series of short & sweet posts! There are a lot of these landscapes, but you just get one for now ;) This was done at the beach on Cape Cod just as the fall colors began to show. That's a big beautiful piece of driftwood that I'm obsessed with in the middle. Surprisingly this is the first painting I've done of it- I've taken about 10,000 photographs.

© Carly Larsson 2014

© Carly Larsson 2014