Superbowl Times Square

As those of you in the US know, yesterday was the Super Bowl, the biggest football game of the year. This year the game was held in Giants stadium in New Jersey, and to celebrate, NYC turned Times Square into a kind of NFL Superbowl playground. I know…what? It’s true. I decided to go check it out for myself. Coming out of the subway, I was greeted by the mounted police, above. The tourists were out in droves, taking pictures, and the New Yorkers were trying their best to avoid the scene. I heard a few of them grumbling as they got caught up in all the activity, or trapped behind a slow moving group of football fans.  Most New Yorkers tried to circumvent the area, and I heard more than on let out an expletive when they walked around the corner and realized they had forgotten about the NFL take-over of the plaza.
The highlight of the festivities seemed to be a huge toboggan ride that was set up on Broadway and 41st St. Can you believe? It was such a strange sight, like a waterfall of screaming tourists right in the middle of the ‘great white way’ (as Broadway has been called.) There are a lot of old-time New Yorkers (like myself) who like to talk  about the ‘Disneyfication’ of Times Square – well now I guess it’s complete! And with a football theme! Although I don’t really know what a huge icy toboggan ride has to do with football. There was a big goal post at the end of the ride, maybe the theory was that the riders symbolized the football? I don’t know,  judging by the amount of screaming and laughing going on, it was quite a hit.
I think the only thing more surreal than sliding screaming tourists on Broadway would be the score of yesterday’s game. Wow, who knew? That there would be more excitement at this theme park of football than at the game itself. ;)

 

NYC Polar Vortex

In case you haven’t seen the news from the United States, we are in the middle of a polar vortex. Now I’m not sure exactly what that means except I know it means it’s been damn cold! Temperatures in New York City have hovered at around 5 degrees fahrenheit (-15 celsius) and the when the wind blows it goes even lower.
The southeastern US is not prepared for this – yesterday two inches of snow fell in Atlanta Georgia and stopped up traffic for hours…like a 30 minute drive took 8 hours. Whoa.
I drew the couple above while riding on the E train tonight. Even underground in the subway, people are huddling for warmth. Let’s hope we get some soon!!

 

Drawings of Kika

Drawing from the model in the studio is my favorite way to spend  time. And it’s so wonderful to draw someone like Kika, a true performer who becomes many different people on the model stand. The last four days I had the opportunity to teach and draw with some wonderful artists in our Dalvero Academy advanced group. Below are some drawings of the always fabulous Kika, in her many forms…
vl_amazon_kikaAs an Amazon warrior (above) and a back view of a pink-ish 1920s flapper girl (below)

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vl_kika-pink-severeThe one above is a little fierce! And in the outfit below, she felt at times like an Italian operatic diva – -

vl_operatic_kikaOr perhaps a Wagnerian Valkyrie, as in the drawing below…

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Then she turned into a Pre-Raphaelite dream woman, below…

vl-kika-pre-rafaeliteAnd finally, a big pouf of pink with attitude!

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Like I said, I love to draw the model, especially one who invites you to take so many liberties as Kika does. Ready to head back to the studio for some more!

www.dalveroacademy.com

The Seth Myers Trio at Analogue

jazz-trio-11On the night before the night before Christmas, Julia Sverchuk and I were invited by Seth Myers to come to a new 8th St. lounge, Analogue, and see him perform with the Seth Myers Trio – consisting of himself, drummist Will Terrel, and guitarist Joe Cohn. Seth was especially looking forward to playing with Joe, his teacher and mentor. Julia and I decided to go, and it was wonderful! We listened to fantastic music, spent time among friends, and drew together in a nice Greenwich Village club that wasn’t dirty or loud, it was just perfect.

Can’t get much better than that, folks.

I absolutely love to draw musicians while they play – especially jazz musicians when they improvise – as their body language is so eloquent. Love the body language going on by Joe Cohn, below:

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Even if you didn’t hear the music, you can tell who is improvising and leading the trio by watching who has the most expressive body language. Fortunately Julia and I could hear the music, as they were wonderful. Seth gave us each two of his CDs, I’ve been listening to them since. Here are some more drawings of the evening:

jazz-trio-6jazz-trio-duetSeth and Joe often seemed to be conversing through the music – -

jazz-trio-movement–while Will seemed to be looking all around the club while he played, at the other two musicians and the audience. I wanted to capture that moving portrait, above left. Also wanted to capture the fingers flying, above right, Seth on the bass and Joe on the guitar.jazz-trio-1As Julia mentions in her post, after the set was over we had a conversation about the links between drawing and playing music. We talked about the moment that we love – the Greeks called it ‘kairos’ – the sublime moment where you forget everything, you are in total motion, and your body is only a vehicle for something else. More than what you’ve learned, and more than what you can explain in words. Ah yes, that fleeting moment of joy in art, in all its forms. That’s what brings it all together.

Thank you to Seth for the invitation to a sublime moment at Analogue. Check out Julia’s drawings from the same night on her blog, HERE. They are wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Vintage Train 2013

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Spent a fantastic afternoon time-traveling with my friend Julia today – riding on the NYC vintage train! Once a year, the MTA brings out a train with old cars, from the 1930s, and runs a few special shuttles between 2nd Ave in Manhattan and Queens Plaza. (In Queens, obviously.) What fun! The train itself hasn’t changed that much (what’s up with that MTA?) but the really fun part is that people get all dressed up like it’s 1937 and come out to ride the subway. AND there are bands playing swing favorites and folks dancing the lindy on the subway platform! NYC at it’s finest…I loved it. Really got into drawing the lovely hats many of the women were wearing, too. One of the ladies was wearing a hat she designed and made herself – she turned out to be a professor of fashion at Parsons. Beautiful work, too, she gave me her card. (see it here)

vintage_train_2The lady on the right of the drawing above was wearing impossibly long green eyelashes. These people were listening to the music as the train swayed and rocked it’s way along 6th Ave. Some more drawings of the people, below…

vintage_train_3Guy on the right in this drawing wearing a full military uniform, with medals. Neither Julia or I could figure out what branch of the service it was from…my guess would be the army. I just loved seeing everyone in hats – why don’t we wear them more often, they’re so stylish?

vintage_train_4vintage_train_5The two drawings above are of Svetlana and the Delancey 5, one of the groups of musicians performing. Loved her veil, and the old-fashioned microphone was a fun touch. Julia is friends with Svetlana, and in fact ran into a few other Russian people she knows at this event. Julia told me that Russians like to dress up like this, what fun. I agree, and was sorry I wasn’t wearing one of my Grandmother’s hats for the occasion. I did however curl my hair and wear RED lipstick – very forties. :)

vintage_train_6The band serenaded us all the way to Queens Plaza and back. And on the platform of the 2nd Ave station – another party going on! With the Mud-Bucket Monkeys playing and people swing dancing all around. Great fun!

vintage_train_9and11vintage_train_8vintage_train_12I loved the big guy at the right of the drawing above. His dancing style was fabulous – simply shake a leg and twirl that girl around himself. She was moving like crazy all around him like a carousel – how great is that? It’s called STYLE, baby! ha ha

vintage_train_10And of course, there was the romantic slow ballads, and the romantic couples to dance to them. Although I guess anyone who dresses up to ride on a vintage subway on a cold snowy day in Manhattan must be a romantic. Just like my friend Julia – I’m so glad she invited me to come draw this with her, what a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Check out Julia Sverchuk’s blog HERE, to see the exciting drawings she made of the event. We had a great time together –  thanks Julia!

Travers Park

travers-park-1-dec-2013

Travers Park is the main meeting point of Jackson Heights. At 8 am on a Sunday morning, it’s buzzing with people exercising, chatting, dog walking, etc., etc. Also, the farmer’s market is setting up for the morning’s business. I went there this morning with Neil to do some drawing (need to practice, even in the cold!) and watch him exercise. While I was drawing, I met a little girl named Grace, about seven years old, who also likes to draw. She proceeded to sit next to me on the bench, and art direct me through the entire drawing you see above. “Did you get that man running? Did you get those dogs? Why don’t you draw that little boy with the basketball?” She was hysterical. And right on the money, too! She told me that she liked to draw good things to eat, like an ice cream sundae. I gave her a piece of paper and said, “let’s draw the park  together.”

travers-park-2-dec-2013I told Grace I was drawing Neil exercising (center, above) and asked her why didn’t she draw that? “He’s moving a lot,” she said, “so I’m just going to pick one pose and do that.” Let me tell you, Grace nailed it. I wish I had the presence of mind to take a picture of her finished drawing with my i-phone, because her illustration was way better than mine. She didn’t miss a thing!

travers-park-3-dec-2013After a while, Grace got tired of training me, and decided to show me how she trains the local dogs instead, using a stick with eaves on the end of it. I drew her with the dogs, above, and she came running over to see the result. “Did you get the dogs standing up, trying to get the leaves?” she asked. “I did it twice for you.” Ha ha, another creative director in the making! Hope to see her again in the park some time, I could use a few more pointers!

NYC Marathon

Yesterday was the first Sunday in November – in New York City that means it’s time for the marathon! 40,000 people run 24 miles through the five boroughs of New York – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. Even though it was [VERY] cold, and Neil and I were out running errands, we stopped to watch the race for a little bit in Long Island City, a part of Queens that is right over the East River from Manhattan. And I made a few drawings. In the drawing above, you can see the tips of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building peaking over the elevated subway and low rise buildings of Long Island City as the runners go by. The man at the left was in the race and stopped to kiss his wife, who was cheering from the sidelines.

Another view of the race, this one from inside the Citibank building with the glass windows facing the street. It was Neil’s idea to draw from here, it was much warmer since I was sitting on the baseboard heat as I drew it. Note the water towers, classic New York icon, and 59th St. bridge in the way background. I love this vantage point, everything happening at once – the runners, the cheering onlookers, the 7 train rumbling by and the helicopters circling. New York City madness at it’s finest! Kudos to all the runners, I was very inspired. And after I made this drawing we went and had coffee and pastry in a nice warm cafe. ;)

My Beautiful Sister

patty-1

This post is about my beautiful sister, Patty. Patty and I are just over one year apart – almost Irish twins (which would be less than 12 months apart.) I can’t remember a day of my life when I didn’t know her, and obviously she can say the same thing, since I’m the older one. Those of you who know me, know that Patty is fighting metastatic breast cancer, and has been fighting it for two years. Or what seems like twenty years. These drawings are the first I’ve made of Patty since high school, I think.    PATTYOur friend Charlotte Noruzi creates wearable art, often based on the body, and she created a fiber sculpture to bring attention breast cancer. When she asked if Patty would like to model the piece, called “Winged Victory,” for a photo shoot, Patty said yes.

patty-12

While Charlotte’s friend Jill took photographs, I drew. It was such a special day, Patty really enjoyed posing and was both strong and vulnerable at the same time. In other words, she was just herself. I am inspired every day by Patty’s attitude and fortitude in dealing with the various indignities of treatments, including losing her hair during brain radiation; it’s finally starting to grow back in. Happily, the lost hair was not in vain and the treatments were helpful.  Please stop and send her a little prayer or some good energy that this trend will continue!

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patty-and-charlotte

This is a drawing of Patty and Charlotte at the end of the photo shoot. I love the way Patty feels in this drawing – it’s that combination of strength and vulnerability that is so inspiring to me. Her humor and kindness have only grown as she fights this disease. I knew I had a strong sister, but I didn’t know how strong she is. Her last scan was stable, we are so happy! And are praying it stays that way, and then goes into remission. Send prayers!!!

I’m so used to being the older sister, and maybe the one to take care of things a little more, that it’s been hard for me to feel like there is so little I can do to help.  When Patty and I were kids growing up in the city, she would always push me on to the public bus first. I can’t go on the bus with Patty this time, but I’ll sure as hell be running alongside as fast as my feet can carry me.

Thanks Charlotte and Jill for a nice day celebrating my beautiful sister. Love, Veronica

PS If you would like to help – you can donate to these organizations that help my sister and others facing cancer:

Support Connection: http://www.supportconnection.org/

Gilda’s Club Westchester: http://gildasclubwestchester.org/

PSS You can see some of Charlotte’s beautiful wearable artwork HERE.

Mini Meditation

VL_autumn_crocusThe fall is always the busiest, most hectic, time of year for me, and yesterday was one of those days. Three classes in one day, with a lot of running around – I call them ‘three borough days’ because I have to be in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, and back again. Going under and over rivers multiple times in one day can make you feel quite jangled. PLUS I left the house without my wallet yesterday and had to borrow money from a friend (thanks Margaret!)

Whew! Fortunately I took my Pratt Location Drawing class to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and had a few minutes to breathe…and saw these lovely autumn crocus plants. Didn’t even know there was such a thing. They are lovely lavender flowers on tall stalks. Growing on the forest floor, catching sun where they can, many of them were laying on the ground rather than standing straight up. But they were all blooming beautifully. Seems like the fall is hectic for them, too. If I can keep my grace under pressure like these flowers I think I’ll survive until the holidays…

Oh, the Lavender!

vl_lavender!

We were going to see the lavender.

When I think of Provence, in southern France, I think of large waving fields of lavender, ablaze in purple glory. I imagine myself sauntering through the fields, running my hands lightly over the violet blossoms, blissfully soaking in the Provencal sunshine and the intoxicating aroma. I would be engulfed in scent. I would paint large, expressionistic paintings that bloomed all shades of violets under my brush. In short, I would be as close to heaven as you can get in this earthly realm.

This was my dream. And, armed with a gorgeous little photography book called, appropriately, “Lavender”, I convinced my husband Neil and my two step-daughters, Ashley and Danielle, that this was something we should NOT miss during our stay in Provence. So, on our last day of our time there, we asked the owner of the restaurant in our hotel if he could point us to the BEST lavender there was to be seen. When he suggested we look at the small array in the hotel parking lot, I thought it was merely a bit of wry French humor.

We found the place: Sault, a little town not far from our hotel. The reviews online were amazing – “life changing experience” – “Unforgettable”- “I laughed, I cried, I saw eternity!” Armed with our GPS and a little stick shift car (Neil drove) we set out. We were driving through Provence!!

A few, or about four hundred, traffic circles, and two and a half hours later, we found it. A little shop selling sachets and lavender honey, with a field next to it. The lavender plants were very short – they had just been harvested – and we saw more dirt and bees than purple bliss. After buying enough lavender sachets to embalm an elephant, we wandered around the shop parking lot, a bit confused. We saw a group of Japanese tourists circling a lone lavender bush with their cameras. We saw a New Age-y California couple squinting and putting their hands to their foreheads, looking into the distance. No matter, the woman in the shop said, just a little ways further there was truly a lot of lavender. Well, we’re here, so let’s keep going.

I don’t even remember the name of the next town we went to, but once we got there, it was basically the same experience. Harvest had hit, and left nothing in her wake. Seeing the field, above, I was determined to make at least one painting. So Neil, Ashley, and Danielle sat in the car (what a lovely familial sacrifice for me!) while I crouched down at the side of the road and had my lavender moment, and all the while the tour buses whizzed past, looking for that Elysian field of purple.

 

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