Saturday evening there was a fundraising event on the historic museum barge in Red Hook; the reading of every last canto of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, as read by a number of local luminaries. It began before and ended just after sunset over Brooklyn’s Buttermilk Channel and Erie Basin, the once-Dutch, fierce little neighborhood called Red Hook.
I’ve long had emotional ties to ol’ Walt on account of my father having been a fan; he passed it on to me. So when I read him in high school (the same all girls Catholic school with fierce teachers that managed to get A Handmaid’s Tale on our reading list), I was all in.
A pleasant surprise (in addition to some celebrity personages) was that one of my classmates from aforementioned high school was among the readers. I ought to’ve stayed to say hello, but it was crowded and felt like it may have been complicated after so long. Her name is Alison Smith; I read her bookNameAll the Animals a few of years back. It was really well written; poignant and heartbreaking. It was the first time I’d seen her since high school, and brought some memories to mind.
Proceeds went to the ACLU, PEN America, NEA, Sunny’s Bar (Red Hook), and to the Waterfront Museum (the host of the event). It was a fine reward after a seven mile wander, followed by a feast at Ice House.
Some sketches from last weekend. For some reason last week I kept using the number 4 instead of 5 on the dates of things, despite it being May.
Below is a pencil drawing I did in a backyard (the words are from an earlier day, unrelated to the sketch). I;d like to bring a pencil more often. It was nice to go slow; not have to commit to every line. I initially intended to paint it as well, but it was getting late by the time I finished drawing.
Here’s a sketch from Friday evening. I’d only just started when its subjects vacated the backyard, so I had to improvise. I re-cast them indoors, among the lamps, after the fact.
Had an afternoon meeting followed by a stroll through lower Manhattan on Friday. I walked from Madison Square Park to City Hall, with some decent photographic moments while across the river on a fine Spring day.
Had I worn better shoes for it, I’d have walked across Brooklyn Bridge, as is my inclination on a first fine day in Manhattan in Springtime. Next time.
I painted these after I got home, as I’d not brought the watercolors with me. I rather like these more ambitious studies, incorporating the whole scene. It requires me to pay more attention.
As I work directly in ink (no erasing), it requires me to slow down and really observe. Be aware. It’s a funny thing, though; when you get really intent on seeing things, you become really unaware of anything not crucial to the drawing, so it’s kind of a dual state— hyper awareness and obliviousness.
I become one of those “artist” types, holding up my pen to check the angles of things (it really does help, it’s not just some made-up hollywood affectation!).
Here’s a little sketch I did, sort of thinking out a vibe or mood for an illustration. It’s soft, whimsical; feelings that are a little out of reach for me at the moment, despite that Spring is trying to emerge, bit by bit. The gloom of winter is still upon me. I’m feeling stuck, creatively. Distracted and disjointed.