The High Line

I went to the High Line a few weeks ago to spend some time drawing the unique combination of people, city views, and flora. I really don't know of anywhere else where the three come together in quite the same way. I think it's one of the nicest places in the city to spend an afternoon, and judging from the crowds, a lot of people agree with me!

Below the High Line, the new Whitney Museum offers bright green chairs for people to hang out, check their phones, and take a break. It's a pretty stylish crowd.


And when I saw this crowd of servers from the Whitney's restaurant Untitled having a meeting, I couldn't resist trying to capture the rhythm of their black pants, grey aprons, and red straps.


Spring has finally sprung for real, and I know because the cherry blossoms have come and gone, and the tulips are finally here. New Yorkers love cherry blossoms, but I think we must have a soft spot for tulips too because they're all over the city. I found these at Madison Square Park.

And what is this, you ask? Beats me! It's from the Eternal Flagstaff Memorial in the park, which "...honors those victorious forces of the United States Army and Navy who were officially received at this site following the armistice and the conclusion of World War I." According to the NYC Park website, it was designed by Thomas Hastings (1860-1929), from a famous architectural firm that also did the New York Public Library. The website goes on to say that this is one of four "rams heads, and was sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett (1865-1925). " A ram's head with wings? I love it!  It's always fun when scupltors let loose with grotesques and chimeras. It's a treasure hunt to see if you can find them on even the most serious buildings and monuments.

Eric Garner Protest Reportage

I went out to Foley Square last night with Carly Larsson, Evan Turk, and Chris Brody to reportage the protest surrounding the decision not to indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner. The first thing I noticed was how many people came out. I've seen estimates in the thousands, and that's just at Foley Square (here's a photo from above from Gothamist). It was heartening to see so many New Yorkers come out to protest, and I was especially glad to see how diverse the crowd was. Especially at the beginning of the protest, many of the protesters were very young, possibly college or even high school students.

Unlike the Occupy protest, some people had amplification, although to communicate with the whole crowd, the human microphone was in full effect.

The protest moved down to the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge (which is only a few blocks from Foley Square). Since I was hanging back a bit from the main protest group to draw, the cops formed their line right in front of me. They made an intimidating barrier. Their commanding officer was telling them "shoulder to shoulder!" as they lined up.

Since the protesters were denied access to the bridge, they started marching back to Foley Square. A lot of people carried signs saying "Black lives matter" and "End police brutality," but I found these paper cutouts really haunting. Each one had the name of a black man killed by the police: Sean Bell, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner, among others.

The protest left Foley Square so quickly, I actually lost them for a bit. I found them again down on Canal Street, at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. The protesters had moved to try to block the tunnel, but again had been turned back by the police. If I was intimidated by the uniforms and the numbers at Foley Square, it's nothing compared to how I felt seeing riot helmets and batons.

After that, the protest moved on without me. I went down there feeling pretty down about the state of our democracy, but going home I felt buoyed by the turnout of so many people who care about what goes on. I don't know if there are more protests planned, but if you're upset, even just a little, by police brutality and the lack of accountability, I encourage you to go and see or participate.

In Line for the Carousel

I found this drawing of people waiting to get on the carousel while I was going through a big stack of old drawings. I remember feeling so excited about the thumbnail, and then feeling distinctly unhappy with the drawing itself. I've left the thumbnail in the corner so you can see for yourself (click to see it larger). Looking at it with a some distance, I'm not sure why I was so upset. It's a good reminder not to be so hard on things when they don't turn out quite how you expected.

Subway Portraits

When I'm not reading a book during my commute, I'm usually people-watching. I'll admit, I'm very sneaky: sometimes my book is just for cover so I can people-watch all the more! The subway is a great place to see everyone doing their thing. You'll see just about everyone on the subway,

tired, older ladies on their way home from work,

fashionable young men,

hipsters (that mustache was for real!),

people engrossed in their reading material,

and, of course, missed connections.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!

And with those words, I witnessed my very first makeover. Even today, I'm still a sucker for a makeover. Coming out of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney are all the little princesses with their new outfits and their hair all done up, complete with fairy dust and magic wand. It's a fun place to make a drawing.

(click to see larger)

But what's even better fun is watching the girls walking around in their princess duds. It usually ends up looking something like this:

Most of them ditch the princess look after a couple of hours due to the heat, humidity, and the general discomfort of princess duds. Who knew being a princess could be so tough?!

Time for Friends

The Dalvero Academy has featured a drawing I made of a crit in progress on their homepage and it made me think of sharing a few more of the many, many drawings I've made of my friends and classmates over the years. I like being able to draw the same people over a long time. Each time I draw them, I know them a little better and hopefully am able to get a little closer to who they are.

Birds of a Feather

It's been a few weeks since I've posted — let's call it a spring break — but when I saw that today was the birthday of John James Audubon, I thought it would be a perfect time to post some drawings I made of Canada geese over the winter. It was up in Mystic, CT, and snow was on the ground. I guess snow is nothing for geese that range as far north as the Arctic Circle. They were scrabbling around with their bills in the snow, and generally standing around looking big and a little goofy.

Our feathered geese friends here in New York have to watch out for the Parks Department, since it's the season for the city to cull their population. For super cute goose news, click here.

Happy New Year

I am starting the new year with a drawing I made recently at the Japan pavilion at Epcot, just for myself, for study. tells me that the definition of study is "a personal effort to gain knowledge." I thought it would be fitting because as an artist, I want everything I do to begin with a personal effort to gain knowledge.

And a hope for the future from the Japanese master of drawing, Hokusai:

"From the time I was six, I was in the habit of sketching things I saw around me, and around the age of fifty, I began to work in earnest, producing numerous designs. It was not until after my seventieth year, however, that I produced anything of significance. At the age of seventy-three, I began to grasp the underlying structure of birds and animals, insects and fish, and the way trees and plants grow. Thus, if I keep up my efforts, I will have an even better understanding when I am eighty, and by ninety will have penetrated to the heart of things. At one hundred, I may reach a level of divine understanding, and if I live a decade beyond that, everything I paint-every dot and line-will be alive. I ask the god of longevity to grant me a life long enough to prove this true." – Katsushika Hokusai, postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji [translated by Carol Morland].

Happy New Year, everyone!

The Road

As some of you may know, I'm an avid reader. Sometimes as an exercise (and because doing book covers would be the dream job), I put together a book cover for a book that I really enjoyed. I read Cormac McCarthy's _The Road_ about a year ago, and was struck by McCarthy's barren, ash-colored landscape. I couldn't picture any images from this book in color—only charcoal or graphite—the simplest, barest tools for this story set in the aftermath of the apocalypse.

Fashion Figure Drawing

It's been a couple of months since I came at you with some figure drawing. I found a couple of drawings I did this past spring with one of my favorite models, Kika, wearing one of my favorite dresses: a fringed LBD (little black dress, for those fashion-challenged among you). She puts on a bob wig and because it's roughly the same haircut that I have, I almost feel like I'm drawing myself. Except thinner, more glamorous, and way more limber. Plus the attitude. I tried to capture that attitude (a little cute, a little sexy, a little f-you) in these two.

Paris Redux

Sorry for the long hiatus, I'm not sure what happened! I think I was art-hibernating for the last month or so. But the spring weather has awakened my art blog impulses again!

My class is planning a trip to Paris in the summer, so I've been looking back through my sketchbooks at my last trip in 2006. I thought I would share a few drawings I made there.

The Louvre was definitely a highlight of the trip. I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York, but the Louvre is like the Met on steriods. It's probably three or four times the size—like art-heaven! It can be intimidating, though, I won't lie. But I did calm down enough to make a few drawings in the European sculpture section. These lovely ladies were gracing tombs, and they seem to take the opposite approach to presenting themselves to posterity. The first was all piety, raising her eyes heavenward in humble supplication, dressed in rich looking clothes, but with an austere design sense. The other lay on one elbow, with an open book, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. I had to draw her because she seemed so modern.

I can't wait to see the Louvre and these two ladies again!

The Smithy

Lately, I've gotten more interested in drawing machinery, metal, tools and workshops. Sadly, I don't get to see too many workshops in New York, but I took advantage of a recent trip to Mystic to visit the blacksmith's shop. Not only is it nice and warm inside, but they have more tools than you can shake a stick at! Plus, how often do I get to see a forge? Not often enough! I have more drawings of the printer and the shipyard, which I will probably post at some point, but I think this was my favorite drawing of the trip.

And since it seems appropriate to put him here, here's a page from my sketchbook with the blacksmith who was nice enough to let me sit in the shop for hours.

Day One

Today was the first day of my three week long drawing/illustration class. I can't promise that I'll post everyday, but here's some highlights from our first day of drawing.

This last one is actually two separate drawings, but the poses, and their placement on the page almost look like some kind of acrobatic act for Cirque du Soleil.

Dionysus Mural

Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, revelry, madness, and ecstasy is a perfect figure for artists since he's all about unbridled license and a freeing from the normal constraints of everyday life and civilization. The cult of Dionysus were the first to try to transcend the existence of the flesh. During the rites, the initiates of the cult were supposed to actually take the god into themselves - to become the god.

The theme of the mural was "change," and I wanted to depict something cyclical instead of a one-way transformation. Dionysus is called the twice-born god because he was born from both his mother and his father. His mother, Semele, asked to see Zeus undisguised, the same way he came before Hera. Zeus had promised Semele anything she wanted, so he reluctantly showed himself, in his least awful incarnation. Semele was immolated completely anyway, and Zeus couldn't do anything for her except to pluck Dionysus, then in utero, from her ashes. Since the fetus hadn't been fully brought to term, Zeus sewed him into his thigh, from which he birthed him a few months later. The death of Semele is on the left side of the mural, and Dionysus' birth is depicted on the right. In the middle is the ritual bacchanal (and death) of the god, who is sacrificed and resurrected yearly. Dionysus leads the procession of initiates, dancing in drunken ecstasy. The bull that is sacrificed stands in for the god. Strangely enough, Dionysus is both a celebrant and the sacrifice in the ritual.

Whew! So that's the story, here's the mural:

And some details: