Friday, October 31, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Williamsburg Bridge

Lamppost at the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan side on Delancey St.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Thing On A Roof

Drawing of some industrial thing on the roof of a building by the Gowanus Canal. It's a vestigal structure; the building is now a fancy furniture store. I have no idea what the building used to be or what purpose this thing served. I've since seen similar concoctions on buildings in other industrial and formerly-industrial areas, like Bushwick and Long Island City. I've really gotten into sketching industrial buildings and structures, even though I really have no idea what I'm drawing. Maybe because of that, imagining what function these complex structures and machines serve or once served.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Green Pond

I got to hang out at a lake house on Green Pond in N.J. this past weekend. It was a nice change of pace for a day, and I got a couple of sketches in. Thanks to our hosts, Peter and Jennie!

Monday, August 11, 2014


I can't say I was a particularly big fan of Robin Williams, but was very sad to hear about his death today. "Mork & Mindy" was a part of my childhood that I haven't thought of in a long time, but I sure spent a lot of hours watching that show. R.I.P. Mr. Williams.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bayside By The Canal

The Bayside Fuel Oil Depot in Brooklyn. Drawn from one of the bleakest Greenspaces in NYC: a small strip of brown grass at the end of the parking lot of a Lowe's Home Improvement store, with a couple of benches overlooking the Gowanus Canal. The Gowanus is a Superfund site, having the distinction of being one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States. To the left of these tanks is a metal salvage yard and the BQE, to the right is the F/G train tracks. Quite the scenic view. I wonder how much in financial incentives this developer received for putting in this "park."

That being said, it's a pretty quiet spot to sit. I sat there drawing this, listening to a podcast. At a certain point, I started to hear the faint sounds of ... bagpipes? As it happens, one of the hosts of this podcast is Scottish, so I thought maybe he was playing bagpipe music in the background. But, no, it was this guy . . .


I support this fellow for finding a secluded spot to practice, rather than afflicting his neighbors with it.

As with my previous post, the one of the Tuck-It-Away building, after completing this drawing, I saw the site from another angle which completely changed my understanding of it. From the ground, it looks like a pair of two tiered tanks, like a wedding cake. But seen from the train platform above, I realized the lower cylinder was a wall encasing a central tank. Also, I'd thought that all the pipes in that pipeline terminating by the canal (which I'm sure has nothing to do with the canal's Superfund status) originated from the tank on the left, and that the blue pipes to the right just ended there, but from the bird's eye view you can see the layout of the pipelines. Perspective, man. Whoa.   

Monday, July 28, 2014


Huge storage facility in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Actually, it's probably technically in Vinegar Hill, but I drew it sitting in DUMBO.

I work down in DUMBO fairly often, and I've seen this building countless times over the years and thought about drawing it. This often happens; a building or scene will strike me and stick in my head, but it may be months or even years before I actually get around to drawing it.

In the case of this building, I had always thought that that big diagonal chute was part of the storage building. But when I sat to draw it, I realized it was attached to a separate structure, behind the storage building. What I didn't realize, though, even after drawing it, was the nature of the smokestack. I had assumed it was on top of the storage building, but when I looked at the site on Google Maps to pinpoint the location, I discovered that it is in fact a third structure, also behind Tuck-It-Away, and even more enormous than I'd thought. The single perspective from which I'd been viewing these structures all this time had been completely misleading.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

St. Mark's Church

St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. I've worked for the Danspace Project, which is located within this church, for years, and I never knew the full name was St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. Also, that it is New York's oldest site of continuous religious practice, and the second-oldest church building in Manhattan. Huh.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

For Memorial Day, two drawings of the Civil War Monument in Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery.

These statues symbolize Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry. On the opposite side is one representing the Engineers.

And here is an older drawing of the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park. It's a memorial to an estimated 11,500 troops who died on British prison ships in New York Harbor during the Revolutionary War. Some of their remains are in a crypt beneath the monument.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May The Fourth Be With You 2014

It's Star Wars Day, so here's a Star Wars drawing.

Like many people, I hated those Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. But thinking about a bunch of pre-industrial teddy bears overthrowing the Imperial Empire gave me this idea, which I thought was funny.

In case you're not a nerd and don't recognize the reference, it's an homage to this Frank Frazetta painting, "Conan The Destroyer."

May The Fourth Be With You

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Animal Farm - The Final Battle

Last week I was reading George Orwell's Animal Farm. Although it's a classic and incorporated into many high school English class curricula, I had never read it til now. One night, when I was about 80% through the book, I had a vivid dream about it. In my dream, Benjamin the Goat was leading a revolt against the pigs. The farm lay in smoky, fiery ruins. Napoleon the Pig was wearing a mechanized battle suit, a la Iron Man or RoboCop. He had the goat pinned to the ground beneath his armored boot. It looked something like the image below. Needless to say, the next day I finished the novel and was sorely disappointed to find that this apocalyptic scene did not occur. I hope out hope that Hollywood will adapt it into a movie someday, in which case I'm certain it will end like this.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fort Hamilton Stop

One of the entrances to my local subway stop, as seen from a corner coffee shop window.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The God of Pinball

This weekend is the MoCCA Arts Festival, and my buddies Allan Dorison and Ken Wong have put together a post-show after party and art show, and I'm in it. The theme is "Modern Pinball." What does that mean? Come to Modern Pinball NYC at 362 Third Ave on Saturday the 5th and find out! Admission is $10 - with a discount if you use the code “CB-ORIGAMI”. That'll get you unlimited pinball machine play from 6 PM to 2 AM and there will also be live figure drawing sessions in the back room. It'll be fun.

This is my contribution . . .

Here's some step-by-step . . .

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kensington House

My new neighborhood is near a section of Brooklyn that has several blocks of gigantic Victorian houses. When it's warmer, I want to go out and draw a bunch of them, but as this miserable winter drags on, I had to settle for just this one, as seen from the warm window seat of a coffee shop on Church Ave.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Street Steam

One of the signature visual symbols of New York City is the mysterious Con Ed steam stacks. Actually, they're not really that mysterious ... two seconds on Google tells you that they are just venting excess and leaking steam from the city's steam power system. But it seems mysterious, especially at night, these 12 foot towers places seemingly randomly in the city streets, continuously spewing clouds of steam. I've never noticed these in other cities - maybe they're everywhere - but like rooftop water tanks, yellow cabs, and hot dog carts, they are iconic symbols of the Manhattan landscape. This one was down on the Lower East Side, on Allen below Houston.

Friday, February 14, 2014

February Figure Drawing

Went to a live figure drawing session the other day for the first time in I don't know how long. These were all quick poses, 1 to 10 minute poses.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Philly City Hall

I made a day trip to Philadelphia to visit the art museum the other day, and did this sketch of Philadelphia City Hall. View from the north, on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Urban Windmills

Big wind turbines in the parking lot of the new Whole Foods in Brooklyn. I'm not a member of the Whole Foods cult, but this store is pretty cool. It's a bit surreal to see wind turbines and charging stations for electric cars and other green technology in the midst of the industrial factories and warehouses, overlooking the Superfund-site Gowanus Canal.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spider-Man: Turn On The House Lights

Tonight one of the longest and strangest theater stories finally comes to an end ... Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is closing. The story of the making of the Broadway musical adaptation of Spider-Man was more convoluted and strange than the Clone Saga, with its massive budget and cost-overruns, rockstar composers, its famous director who was eventually fired, extravagant scenery and special effects that landed more than one performer in the hospital,  and a year+ long preview period, lawsuits, and more. The show actually was selling fairly well, but costs so much to operate that it could never make its investment back.

I saw the show - at least, a version of it, during its long preview period - I think just a few months before Julie Taymor was fired. It was terrible. I say this as a theater person and as a comics fan. It pretty much failed on all fronts. I guess my favorite scene is this big battle on top of the Chrysler Building, which should have been the climax of the show, but instead was the end of Act One. And I liked watching Patrick Page as the Green Goblin. Imagine Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker, but even hammier. The character didn't make much sense, like most of the show, but at least he was fun to watch, unlike most of the show.

One thing that struck me about this scene is that it follows the climax of the first Sam Raimi movie, changing the Manhattan Bridge to the Chrysler Building as the thing off of which the Green Goblin throws Mary Jane, and Spider-Man diving to save her. Because of that film, most people think that that is what happened in the original comic stories. But as comics fans of a certain age know, what actually happened was that the Goblin throws Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy off the bridge, Spider-Man shoots a web to catch her but the sudden jolt snaps her neck. Given the multiple injuries and near-disasters in this production, that plot development might have been a little too close to home.

For those unfamiliar with Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, that blue spider-woman in the background of this drawing is Arachne, who was some sort of spider-goddess who turns Peter Parker into Spider-Man to serve as her avatar/champion. At least, I think that's what was going on. The narrative was not particularly clear on that point. The scenes with Arachne were actually pretty cool, but it was like they'd been imported from another show. It was clear that what Julie Taymor really wanted to do was a show about Arachne. Actually, that might not be a bad idea, for her to just go off and do a big spider-goddess puppet-opera somewhere. But she probably just wants to forget about all things spider-related at this point. I hope all the actors and stagehands involved in the show pick up new gigs pretty fast, though something tells me they probably won't miss working on this particular show besides the paycheck.