Tag Archives: art

Doodling on Snow

Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.

-Andy Goldsworthy

Snow Face

If you don’t know who Andy Goldsworthy is, you should check out his documentary, Rivers and Tides. He’s an Environmental Artist who goes out into nature and creates beautiful sculptural pieces using only the material that nature provides him. Since some of his pieces are dependent on temperature (like ice and snow) or are so delicate as to be worn away by wind or water, he works against time. He videotapes or takes photos of his work and sells that. Occasionally, his work will survive the elements and can be viewed in person. There is one place in New York where anyone can view his environmental sculpture and that’s at Storm King Art Center, which is actually a Sculpture Park. It’s presently closed for the season but it’s set to reopen on April 1st so I may have to plan a small road trip over there in a month and a half.

In the meantime, I’ll take advantage of this snowy season and create doodles on park tables in the snow. Maybe the chilly weather will freeze them into place until Spring!

Snow Fish

These were created on Valentine’s Evening along Dekalb Ave. in Fort Greene. The snow was just right for playing with it.

Snow Lady

I had a lovely day with lovely surprises; played some pool, air hockey, and ping pong. Walked through the snow and had some milky hot chocolate from The Hungry Ghost cafe. Ended the night at Hoja Santa, a lovely Mexican Restaurant that fed us well. I hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day weekend as well. If not, go buy yourself some flowers and chocolate now that it’s all on sale.

Snow Candle

Go play in the snow!

Handing Out Wings

Things are always better in the morning.

-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Blue butterfly wings

Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day! There’s a small part of me that wants to bash the holiday as being so commercial but I really enjoy seeing people do nice things for each other. A nearby church gave out free roses to people who crossed their path. This included some really tough Brooklyn types who walked away holding their blue roses delicately and each person who received a rose seemed to be a bit in awe. It’s as though this was the first time anyone had ever considered giving them flowers and so they were extra careful with it. It might have been the sweetest thing I’ve seen this week. Today, I dedicate these wings to those who gave out free roses to strangers yesterday.

Double long wings

Bird Wings

Another lovely Valentine’s Day surprise involved something on www.kiva.org. It’s a global lending site to help individuals who need a loan for specific projects but due to things ranging from high poverty rates and political reasons, most banks wouldn’t normally lend to them. I learned about it from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Site because they have a team who raise money for some of these situations. I managed to get eight other fabulous women on the team to help a group of Vietnamese Women raise money to build a latrine and washing station for one of their members in a Women’s Union. Maybe that’s technically not a Valentine’s Day gift but meeting our goal felt like one. So, I’ll dedicate a few more wings to those ladies who helped.

Two birds

Bat WingsBug Wings

My last set of wings goes to my husband-to-be. He’s surviving yet another Valentine’s Day with me, which is pretty impressive. The best gift he gave to me was when my allergies acted up this week and, after taking some allergy meds, he let me sleep for 11 hours straight. He didn’t complain that I didn’t get up to eat his beautiful dinner that he prepared, he did the dishes, and slept on the couch. That’s better than any bouquet of flowers or night out on the town. That was just sheer thoughtfulness when it was clearly needed. These wings are for him. Much love!

Pencil wings

Enjoy the day and look for kindness around you!

Wearing Wings on Grey Days

The man who has no imagination has no wings.

-Muhammad Ali

Abstract Butterfly

Here’s another drawing from my wings project. I am not sure what has me stuck on drawing wings. At times, I feel like a teenage girl doodling wings all over her notebook. Not a terrible thing. It’s a great way to clear my head of stuff I hear during Jury Duty. It’s gotten to a point where I like to imagine different types of wings for strangers passing by me on a crowded city street. Who would get dragonfly wings, raven’s wings, bee’s wings, polka dotted wings? Would we treat each other differently if we imagined each person with wings? It might soften their demeanor or make them look more terrifying depending on the type of wings one wore. It’s just a bit of nonsense. A daydream to make these grey winter days a bit more intriguing.

Long Feathered Wings

What sort of wings will you wear today? Friday the 13th wings? Pre-Valentine’s Day Wings?

Well, time to head to the courts and deal with some grey realities. Thank God for our imaginations and hot chocolate!

Renewed

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.
-Pearl S. Buck
Caterpillar Wings Pointilism
I haven’t posted in so long so I wonder who will read this. Even if no one reads this, I’ve decided to renew my domain name for another year and continue my illustrations on napkins, scrap paper, receipts, newspapers, lunch bags, pizza boxes, and my sketch book. That’s my Chinese New Year’s Resolution. No, I’m not Chinese but since their New Year is Feb. 19th, I figure my resolution is just in time.
Stay warm and pick up a pen instead of your cell phone while you wait today.
Much love,
Mary

Finding Wings

A work in progress
A work in progress.

A New Year and a potential new project.

I decided to research different types of wings and create a sketchbook full of them. I feel like I could go anywhere with this: bat wings, bird wings, angel wings, dragonfly wings! You get the idea. I could eventually invent some sort of Steampunk version of wings. I could go for realism or fantasy. Maybe it will all lead to some metaphorical wings where I could find a way to fly out of the rut in which I have been wallowing.

So, I shall draw some wings for a clock. Maybe it will help time fly so I can move toward a happier upcoming event in my life. I am getting married this summer to a wonderful man. In case you were wondering why there were so many cups and plates at my diner table while I drew on napkins, it is because he was sitting across from me while I did it (in most cases). It’s nice when your creative antics has some support. So, that being said, I’m going to be really corny now and dedicate this napkin drawing blog to him!

And with that, a few more napkins drawn at Megabites in Ft. Greene and Dizzy’s Diner in Park Slope.

Eyes on the Candle Doodle IMG_9545New Year's Doodle 2015

On a side note, Dizzy’s Diner offers patrons a free cup of coffee with their purchase IF you can solve their riddles. The riddles change each day. Fun place! Happy New Year!

Coming to an End

Inspired by Street Artist Kurt Wenner
Inspired by Street Artist Kurt Wenner

Life moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of a second.

-Paulo Coelho

This is not a napkin. I haven’t photographed one of my napkin drawings in a while but I started to work on bristol paper again. I was inspired by Kurt Wenner who created many 3D illusions on pavement using pastels. An old friend gave me his book, Asphalt Renaissance, which documents his journey through Italy as he makes a living from the change he collects for his pastel chalk creations. I’m fascinated by the whole idea of him living his passion, working for himself, and his technique. In fact, I read an excerpt about how one of his creations was viewed by the Pope John Paul II. He made a 75 ft. tall creation of The Last Judgement. Incredibly detailed! On the top of this creation is Heaven and the classical European version of what artist’s believed God must look like. I started to sketch it but discovered that I wanted to make it female. Based on what I learned in Catholic school, God is neither male nor female so I took some artistic license and created this drawing instead.

I have been away from my napkin doodling but I continue to draw. I went to Tom’s Coney Island Diner on the boardwalk not too long ago. The famous amusement park is closed down and the seagulls weave through the tracks of the Cyclone roller coaster. Small bits of snow intermingled with the waves. So many people go fishing off the piers, even in the winter. So, I drew a bit at the Diner and the waitress assumed I was a tattoo artist based on my illustrations. She said her manager did that stuff too. I took it as a compliment and realized that there was a very creative vibe coming from the patrons. There was even a motorcycle gang who met in the back for lunch. All walks of life sat at the front counter to eat hot food and see the football game. There’s something about just sitting near the beach that has a healing effect on people and let’s everyone just relax. It was a good vibe and I really needed it.

It’s the end of 2014. So much has changed. Some of it has been good and others, not so much. It’s hard to quantify it. One thing I know, I think the year of napkin doodling and blogging appears to be coming to an end. I’m proud of this body of work: the illustrations, the reflections, and the photographing of different places around Brooklyn. It’s both strange and gratifying to put my work out there for anyone to read. Thank you so much for letting me share this year with you as I doodled my way through all the tea and coffee in the neighborhood. As my mom would say, go gently!

Enjoy the holidays and have a very happy New Year!

Harvesting

There’s nothing in a caterpillar

that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.

-R. Buckminster Fuller a.k.a. Bucky

Drawn at the General Greene over breakfast.
Drawn at the General Greene over breakfast.

My weekend has been full of vineyards, corn mazes, farms, pumpkin patches, Harvest Festivals, and apple pie. Good weekend memories helped me get through a hectic Monday and has me wistfully longing for Columbus Day weekend. Granted, I still need to take allergy medication and load up on Vitamin C. However, the cool air sweater weather has me feel like I’m floating effortlessly down the streets of Brooklyn. I get hopeful whenever I see another tree begin to change color and have cravings for roasted corn.

How are you celebrating Autumn?

Defending Our Rights to Create!

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.

-Al Hirschfeld

Doodle sent to my sister

Today I started my unofficial art club with the late students after school today. All of it is word of mouth but news spreads fast in the cafeteria. Children will just gravitate to where the drawing is happening and ask for whatever paper and pencils that I might have. We have the quietest table in the cafeteria. It almost seems like it’s a group meditation session where all the kids are lost in the trance of creating.

Sometimes it drives me nuts how schools cut Art programs the second there is an economic crisis. The Arts are just as important to the culture of our country as much as the psychological well-being of those who create it. Happier, well-adjusted people mean fewer crimes.

As a NYC resident, I can’t help but notice how the arts are directly responsible for the tourism industry and the economic growth of any given community. Take The Gates installation in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in February 2005. It took several naysaying, short-sighted mayors before one finally approved it’s installation which brought a huge amount of tourism during one of the coldest winters ever in New York. So, how is Art not valuable to this countries’ economic growth? The Arts are just as important as, say, Math. They’d never cut Math from the curriculum! They shouldn’t cut the Arts either.

So, that’s my rant today. I wanted to help fund some of the artistic efforts in economically depressed neighborhoods. I felt inspired to donate to a non-profit organization called Art and Scraps in Detroit that collects materials for children to make found art. Found Art is basically creating sculptural art out of material that is found. Click HERE to check out the fundraising efforts of this organization. I really believe that investing in any of their Art programs will foster some promising talent and help the economy rebuild itself. I mean, look at Barcelona. They had the artist, Antoni Gaudi basically design the city. The result is a booming tourist industry.

If you’re curious about what Found Art looks like, my suggestion would be to check out the artist, Vik Muniz. He has an award winning documentary called The Wasteland that’s pretty moving. He uses garbage, sorry, ahem,  recyclable materials in order to create amazing portraits. He sells the photos of them at auctions. Here’s a look at the trailer…

So find an old pizza box, some old straws, or maybe a napkin and create some art on it today.  Express your creative spirit whenever you can. One day, I believe it will make a difference to someone out there.

Mary

Handwritten Letters and Quick Sketches

There was never a night or problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.

-Bernard Williams, philosopher

Sharpie, Oil Pastels, napkin from the diner.
Sharpie, Oil Pastels, napkin from the diner.

Good morning! Woke up a bit early this Monday morning. Curious what this week will bring. This weekend, I rediscovered the art of writing thank you cards and actually mailing them. No one seems to mail letters any more and I think it’s a big loss for humanity. Letters are a keepsake, a piece of the person who sent it to you. I still have letters that my grandmother sent me when I was younger. Some of the messages are more relevant today than they were when I received them.

At the diner.
At the diner.

I would like to believe that even napkin doodles are a bit like leaving a visual letter behind for whomever chooses to “read” it. Like handwriting, those little squiggles and lines you make thoughtlessly, that seem inconsequential, can mean a feeling of human connection for the person who might feel a bit lost or alone.

Looking at the details.
Looking at the details.

One of my older sisters moved her whole family to another state. The kids are adjusting to their new school environment, going through their own version of culture shock, trying to figure out the new rules there and how they’ll fit in. It can be disorienting and I imagine there will be times where they might feel a bit lost. I decided that my next napkin drawing would be for my sister. It’s a bit of nonsense on a napkin but it’s also a way of letting her know that she’s not alone and that we’re all rooting for her whole family.

Oil Pastel Rainbow

I found an old, graffiti covered mailbox a couple of blocks away from my apartment and put my handwritten letter and napkin doodle into it. I feel like it was the mailbox that time forgot. I mean, who mails letters anymore in the internet and texting age? So, we’ll see if it gets there. If there’s anything that you get from today’s blog, write someone an actual handwritten letter or a sketch, whatever, whether you send it to that person or not. I think putting your intention toward that person may make a difference in his or her day.

Peace,

Mary