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

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.

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