Sunset Series

I'm lucky enough to have a great view of the sunset from my apartment, and lately I've been taking advantage of it to make a drawing or two if I'm home around 4:30 or so. It's become a nice little tea time ritual.

What always surprises me is how fast the light changes. I did these three just this afternoon, about 15 minutes apart.

Line, Mark, Color

A few posts ago, I shared a drawing from an exercise where we had to separate line from marks from color. Towards the end of that afternoon, we got to loosen up the strict guidelines. So here is a quick study of the Crystal Palace, where I happily reunited color, marks, and line. Felt good to let them all get together again!


Lately, happily, there have been a spate of happy events — weddings and births mostly. I have a Thank You card, printed from a linoleum I cut a few years ago, but I never had a Congratulations card until now! Some of you may remember the Chinese Lunar New Year bunny prints I made back in 2011. Since then, rabbits on cards has become a theme with me. They just seem appropriate because in the Chinese horoscope, rabbits are social and gregarious, and I think of the card going out as my little social ambassador to bring the recipient my felicitations.

Color Study

While I was at Disney this summer doing a Dalvero class, I did an exercise that forced me to separate lines, marks, and color and only work with one at a time. Sounds annoying, right? I thought so too, until I started drawing and I remembered that, paradoxically, imposing some limits really helps me work. Otherwise, there's just so many directions to go, it can be overwhelming, baffling. So, I'm sharing a drawing I did during that exercise, all blocks of color. I may have added a line or two later (although a persnickity classmate pointed out that a line *is* a shape!), but mostly just blocks of color! This was a brother and sister. The little brother was getting restless over a leisurely lunch and it looked like it was big sister's job to look out for him, keep him quiet and entertained while the rest of the family finished their meal.

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.

Looking Back

The Charles W. Morgan is in the water, and the show, which I've been so privileged to be a part of, is over. The Dalvero Academy went to Mystic Seaport to watch the ceremony, and now she floats, like a *real* whaler! But I kind of miss seeing her towering over the shipyard, floating in the air, with all the workers gathered around, attending to her. You could get up close to her, and get acquainted with the hull, hidden now beneath the water. I'm sure in the year to come, there will be plenty of drawings of her in the water to post, but for now, I'm sending this incarnation of her off with drawings of the shipyard workers fixing up the hull, with scaffolding all around. Maybe they miss her like this too.

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!

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?!

Nick Cave's Heard NY Part 2

As promised, I'm back to share the rest of my drawings of Nick Cave's enchanting piece, Heard NY. (Scroll down to see part 1.)

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!

Nick Cave's Heard NY Part 1

I went to Grand Central Terminal this morning to see Nick Cave's art/performance piece Heard NY. The first time I heard of him was back in 2011 when Mary Boone showed his Soundsuits in Chelsea. I clearly remember feeling that it was one of the highlights of the year for me. Every day this week, twice a day, his magical "heard" of horses are brought to life by Ailey students (of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) to parade, frolic, dance, and enchant the crowd of Grand Central Station commuters (and some New Yorkers in the know). There is a live harpist and drummer, and the effect of everything together is rousing.

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.

Happy Year of the Snake

I made a print for the Lunar New Year to celebrate the Year of the Snake! It's supposed to be a year for steady progress and attention to detail. Does it sound like a barrel of monkeys? Perhaps not; I guess it's time to straighten up and fly right! There's a methodical side to me that loves the idea of steady progress, even though in practice I'm usually about fits and starts. Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous Year of the Snake!