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! 

2015.11.29 Cows 1.jpg

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.

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

 

 

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! 

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. 

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. 

Independence Day & The Mayflower II

In honor of Independence Day, I'd like to share a few drawings of the Mayflower II done on location in Plymouth MA last weekend.

Although the tradition of Independence Day was born of the Revolutionary War, the seeds of our country's independence were first planted on September 6th 1620 when  the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth England carrying 102 "brave" (or certifiably insane, depending on how you look at it) passengers looking to start a new life.

The Mayflower II docked in Plymouth MA with Plymouth Rock in the foreground. 

The Mayflower II docked in Plymouth MA with Plymouth Rock in the foreground. 

After two agonizing, stormy months at sea, cramped in dank conditions below deck, the colonists arrived in the New World. Five passengers perished at sea, and during the first winter more than half of the colonists died from malnutrition, disease, and harsh weather.

The ship's purser, Master Williamson on the half deck of the Mayflower II.

The ship's purser, Master Williamson on the half deck of the Mayflower II.

Two women gave birth on the Mayflower; Elizabeth Hopkins gave birth to a son, Oceanus during the journey, and Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor. 

Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the Mayflower was docked in Cape Cod Harbor. Her first husband, Master William White, died during the first winter. Susanna then remarried Edward Winslow; the two were the first to be married in the New World and went on to have two more sons together.

Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the Mayflower was docked in Cape Cod Harbor. Her first husband, Master William White, died during the first winter. Susanna then remarried Edward Winslow; the two were the first to be married in the New World and went on to have two more sons together.

It's believed that none of the colonists would have survived the first winter without the help of the local Wampanoags, who taught the colonists how to hunt, fish, and grow corn, beans and squash.

A Wampanoag winter home, or "nushwetu," housed 3 generations.

A Wampanoag winter home, or "nushwetu," housed 3 generations.

Devin Newhkuhshan Wixon, a Native American Interpreter at Plimoth Plantation, making a fishing net and canoe.

Devin Newhkuhshan Wixon, a Native American Interpreter at Plimoth Plantation, making a fishing net and canoe.

So today, while we celebrate our independence and recognize the people who risked their lives to found this country, we should really be recognizing and thanking the Native Americans, whose generosity and respect for life helped many of our ancestors survive the first few years here (and who, not long after, faced genocide and were forced out of their homelands at the hands of the colonists, leading to hundreds of years of systemic oppression which continues to be perpetuated to this day). 

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

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.