Last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to do some life drawing at Dalvero Academy. It felt great to be drawing the model at long last! I have a lot of drawings, so I'll be posting them in parts (although those of you who follow me on Instagram got a preview). Today, I'm posting drawings from May 15th's drawing social, of Sailor Moon, and from the morning of the 16th, of Patrick.
There are also some beautiful views of the water. And of course, the sun was setting!
Here's to more and better in the new year!
I started the day a little after 2 at Washington Square Park. The crowd was so massive, it was hard to get any distance on it. I was at the park until 3 or so, and people were still streaming up Fifth Avenue even though the march had started an hour ago.
As people marched around and through the triumphal arch, I wanted to make sure I included the statue of George Washington that stands against the north side of the arch. More on him, later, though.
At Union Square, the festive red and white striped booths of the holiday market made an incongruous backdrop to the protest. I'm not sure what the shopping tourists made of the protest, but I saw plenty of onlookers taking photos. The march took place on the same day as SantaCon, and I saw at least one Santa taking part.
There were a *lot* of cops lining the route of the march. These three were pretty jolly considering the chants marchers were directing their way. I guess I'd rather they be indulgent than aggressive, but their confident, even arrogant, body language said it all.
The march ended near Foley Square in front of police headquarters. The police had set up a dead end, so everyone was packed into a really tiny space. There was a constant stream of people moving in and out of the plaza as people were deciding to go home, to stay and protest some more, or to march to the Brooklyn Bridge.
At the bottom of the page there is a quote from George Washington inscribed on the pediment of the New York State Supreme Court Building in Foley Square, which I saw as I was leaving the march: "The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government." To me, it was a perfect summary of the point of the march, and since I'd started with a drawing of George Washington, it seemed apt to end with him as well.
If you want to see more reportage of the march, check out my friend Alex Charner's powerful work on his blog.
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.
A few weeks ago I went out to draw in Central Park with Carly Larsson (who is much faster to post than I am!). The weather was perfect for sitting outside and getting chilled, and then going to get a cozy tea.
Incidentally, this is my 100th blog post! Yay! When I started 100 posts ago, I found it really hard to share my work. I can't say that I never look at my work and say "Ugh, who could like this" anymore, but I definitely think it less often because people *do* come by and tell me they've liked this or that post. So thanks for following or stopping by, and thanks for your comments and encouragement.
There's a playground there under the trees, and for the kids it's time to go back to school no matter what the weather does. Fall will always be bound up with school for me, probably one reason I love the season so much. They only had thirty or forty minutes to run around, which was plenty of time to do a quick watercolor.
Of course, since it's New York City, most of the dogs were pretty small. There were many, many chihuahuas. There was only one little ram, but he was so cute, I drew him from a few different angles, until Mr. Bumblebee there got in the way.
I loved this dog's costume because it was so understated. The guy clearly had to go out and buy some dog shoes, but the rest of it was just kids clothes and beats headphones. And he looked great!
Again, this golden retriever's costume was simple, but made great use of a transparent cone. Bonus points for involving booze.
Disney princesses and Pixar characters were popular.
Of course, superheroes are perennial favorites.
These two were having some kind of conversation.
Wonder Woman, from the back, and taking a load off.
A few miscellaneous ones. What is this first one? A handsome fellow with a leather jacket and a white scarf. Anyone out there have any ideas?
A lot of people dressed up with their dogs, and this seemed to be one way to get into the honorable mentions or to show or place. The other way was to build a whole set for your dog(s). Gomez and Morticia Addams were there, with Thing perched on Gomez's shoulder. You could barely see their dog under his long wig and hat because he was Cousin It.
This Princess Leia and Jedi had built a whole Ewok village for their little Ewok.
Another dog you could barely see under her costume: a blue dress and blonde wig. The give away were the dragons perched on her (and the big dragon carrying her). Khaleesi!
There was another Khaleesi there with Khal Drogo, carried by one of his bloodriders. Unfortunately, I couldn't get around to the other side, so you only get the bloodrider holding his little Khal Drogo.
This one was the runner up, and I have to say, I thought it was one of the best. Full makeup, props, and a lot of skulls.
The winner was the Titanic complete with, well, the Titanic! Three dogs dressed to the nines pushed by a very proud captain.
I had my personal favorites, though. I think Barking Bad was pretty genius. The big dog was the RV and the little dog was Walter White. Their human was dressed in the yellow hoodie, so I guess he was Jesse Pinkman.
This couple went all out also. They were dressed as mushrooms and were carting their little caterpillar around in a little garden. When it came time for their presentation to the judges, the caterpillar transformed into a butterfly!
And there was even a sneaky cat (!!) disguised as, guess what? A dog!
And, last but in no way least, a little Yorkie chia pet. The owner told me that his wife and her mother had made the costume themselves. I love a DIY costume!
Mostly, I was impressed by how patient all the dogs were. They don't care about dressing up, or winning a contest. They just want to make us happy. And if we tell them they have to put on something uncomfortable, or perch on a toy horse (I missed that one, but he was there), they're willing to do it for us. I mean, look at how happy this
If you can't get enough dogs in costume, go check out my friend Carly Larsson's hilarious blogpost on the Fort Greene Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest.
There was a college student working on her paper.
A couple having a very thoughtful discussion. I know it was thoughtful because he kept stroking his beard.
A couple of older ladies talking about mutual acquaintances and holiday plans.
A little girl dressed very stylishly and complaining about her hot chocolate as her harried mother tried to work out their schedule.
Hope you're staying warm, wherever you are!
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.
Several of my fellow Dalverans have posted their beautiful reportage drawings of the launch ceremony. Definitely check out Ronnie's, Evan's, Julia's, Jen's, Eddie's, and Dominick's amazing drawings!
After stepping into the bottom half of their costumes (think colorful, layered hula skirts), one of each pair of dancers puts on the head of the horse, also covered in raffia.
The music begins with a dreamlike harp, and a playful, bell-like percussion instrument. The live musicians add so much excitement to the piece, I can't imagine the piece with recorded music.
The horses, newly awakened, sniff and nose each other, and playfully prance and high-step around. They notice the audience and come over to greet curious onlookers nose-to-nose.
Suddenly, a drum sounds. The dancers break apart and sway, shake, and shimmy. The raffia of their costumes make them look like friendly, magic muppets.
And just as suddenly, the drum fades and the harp re-emerges, and the horses reassemble themselves.
I had a professor in college who said that the ancients thought inbetween spaces and states were tricky. Places like crossroads—and train terminals, if they'd had them—could be unpredictable, and wise travelers sought the protection of Hermes to see them through the dangerous crossing. You would leave a trusted space like your home to go to some other known place, but until you arrived there, you were in a space unknown, a space where anything could happen. Nick Cave's piece really reminded me of that idea. At the crossroads, leaving the familiar and the known, we step into a magical place—perhaps unpredictable, but also beautiful and joyous. If you haven't already seen it, it's performed twice a day through Sunday, so definitely go see it!
I didn't get there early enough to beat the crowd–but drawing the crowd is part of the point! I only have a couple of drawings to share today, but I'll be posting at least a couple more once I have a chance to go back and finish them!
The horse suits waiting for the performers to imbue them with life. Even uninhabited, they project a lifelike presence, without being in the least tied to reality. That's what I love about art: how something can be completely untethered to reality, but feel so true. It's better than real!
The dancers becoming the "heard." Even though you see the transformation happen before your eyes—and you can see that it's as banal as tying on a skirt—it still seems magical once the suit is on.
Part 2 will be coming later in the week, as soon as I've been able to see the performance again. If you're in town, don't miss it! If you can't catch it, I'm posting a youtube video that will perhaps console you.
One of the first things I noticed was the number of very fancy cameras around. The protest isn't really getting too much press, so I can only assume these are just people who came out to take pictures.
Here's someone taking a picture with their iPad. The guy didn't feel like a protester either (although statistically, the 99% does cast a wide net).
I'm not sure what to think about the high-end video cameras.
Here's a protester whose opinion is pretty clear.
And it wasn't all young people (although there did seem to be a lot of students). Here's a member of the Granny Peace Brigade.
And who's this fellow in his striped button-down, tie, and suit slacks? Possibly a Wall Streeter on his smoke break?
The protesters are prohibited from having any amplification system, so they've worked out a way to communicate without one. Someone in the center would make an announcement, just a few words at a time, and the message would be repeated by anyone who heard it in a rhythmic singsong that would ripple out towards the edges. It was interesting, if not always perfectly effective.
If you agreed with the point being made, you could put up your hands and wiggle your fingers. Jazz hands, everybody!
And no protest reportage is complete, in my opinion, without the cops. I know they've behaved abominably at times, and have now been accused of luring people onto the Brooklyn Bridge roadway only to arrest them. While I was there, though, the cops were standing around the perimeter of the square, making sure traffic wasn't obstructed, being pretty unobtrusive.
Let's hear it for democracy in action!