Monday, October 14, 2019

Strange & Unusual Aquatic Beasts And Other Ancient Secrets And Mysteries Of The Deep

Last Christmas, my wife got me a sketchbook from Brooklyn Art Library as part of The Sketchbook Project. The Art Library is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and they'll send you a blank sketchbook that you fill as you please, return, and is incorporated into their collection.

It took me awhile to think of what I wanted to do with it. I knew I wanted to do something different than my usual urban sketching. Eventually, I decided to do something related to mythology. Something made me think of depictions of sea serpents on Old World maps, and that expanded to various water-based mythological and folkloric creatures from various cultures. The result was Strange & Unusual Aquatic Beasts And Other Ancient Secrets And Mysteries Of The Deep.

Here's part of it. You can see the entire sketchbook here. If you're in Williamsburg, you can see the actual book at their library, and I just heard that it's part of the collection that's going on tour to Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Life Drawing at NYU

Life drawing from a couple of sessions at NYU Tisch Department of Design, where I studied lighting design. These were pretty casual sessions for alumni. Boy, am I rusty at figure drawing!

The drawings on the bottom are on toned paper with black and white charcoal. Just trying something new. New for me, that is.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Inktober 2019 week 1

October is Inktober, where the challenge is to do an ink drawing a day. I skipped it last year as I was busy wrapping up my Brooklyn Navy Yard project (which still has some work to be posted!), but I'm trying it again this year. I've already missed one day. Some of these are OK, and some are dashed off too quickly just to satisfy the demand of one-a-day.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Cranes Cranes Cranes!

More from my Brooklyn Navy Yard project . . .

One of the most distinctive features of the Navy Yard is the cranes, of course. While no longer an active shipyard, there are still several cranes at work, unloading cargo ships and barges, and several remnants of defunct machines. Big, old, complicated industrial structures are one of my favorite things to draw, but after months at the Navy Yard, I don't need to draw another crane anytime soon. I already posted a series of studies of the two Orton cranes by Dry Dock 4. Nearby, this derelict old crane stands in Dry Dock 1.

But it's not just derelict cranes and crane remnants. There are still working cranes servicing active docks.  These hulking behemoths are all on tracks that let them travel up and down the docks and piers. You'd think they'd be slow and lumbering, but they actually move along at quite a clip!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Before It's Gone updates

New York City is in constant flux. Businesses come and go, buildings are torn down, renovated, constructed. A lot of my work has become creating a record of those transformations. At times I have deliberately set out to put down in my sketchbooks places that I know, or anticipate, will soon be gone, which I've filed under the tag "Before It's Gone." And as I travel through the city, I often notice that something I've drawn in the past has disappeared or changed. So here is an update on those posts.

This 1922 building was originally a movie theater, turned into a gas station, and finally an auto repair shop run by the Lee Brothers. They sold the property in 2018. When I passed by last week, it was surrounded by the plywood walls that indicate that demolition is imminent. It will be replaced by a four-story residential building.

The Sunshine Cinema was demolished a few weeks ago. A big, ugly glass tower will go up in its place.

Zoltar is gone, at least from this location. Gem Spa, the store where he was located, is struggling.  Last spring, it lost its tobacco and lottery license after an employee sold cigarettes to an underage customer, which cost them 80% of their income, and they are in debt and being sued for back rent. It doesn't sound hopeful for the Gem Spa, but the Zoltar machine survives. It was relocated to a pizza shop in Bushwick. I recently discovered another one at a crab shack in Red Hook.

13th St Rep, however, is still hanging in there. I found out today that it's featured in a new film,  Before You Know It, that used it as a main location.

Kensington Stables is also still there. I was pretty sure that this Brooklyn stable had reached the end of its rope, but it was purchased by a horse-loving businessman. It has been re-named Prospect Park Stables, its original name from 1917, and the new owner is restoring riding paths in the park and planning renovations and expansion. I'm a little skeptical of the plans to incorporate a "coffee and tea spot" to this building, but I'm very happy there's still a horse stable smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn.  

The old Kosciuszko Bridge was demolished, and a new second span just opened. The new bridges look cool, especially when they're lit up at night, but time will tell if traffic is actually any better.

The old signage on the S Beckenstein building is still extant.

For several years, I worked for a summer theater festival at The Wild Project on East 3rd St., across from the Miracle Garden. This bike and scooter were chained to the fence, in the exact same location, year after year. Until this summer! First, the wheels were stolen off the scooter, and then it disappeared. Then the bike was flagged for removal by the Sanitation Dept., and soon after it was gone.

This strange snail ride was replaced by a kangaroo, I think, and more recently by a horse. This past weekend, the horse ride was out of order, so maybe it will change again. There are other coin-operated rides on this block (every few weeks, by four-year old twins will do a circuit of all of them). They will periodically change from one animal or off-model cartoon character to another. I wonder if there is any sort of schedule or plan for rotating them in and out.