Sunday, October 11, 2015

Drawn to Mountains

I didn't realize before this trip how much I am drawn to mountains. I have drawn and painted them in the Hudson, Mexico, Hawaii, Bhutan (the Himalayas), and now Tennessee, which holds the great Smoky Mountains. I don't know if it's their quiet majesty, mysterious holdings, or sheer grandeur that attracts me every time, but I can't help but put them down on paper, as much as I can. Their sacredness speaks to the soul, to an inner journey we are all making.

Though I did not get to explore the Smoky Mountains national park itself on this trip, some part of the mountain was always in view from where I was staying, at its foothills, at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

From there, I did 3 drawings of the Smokies. I really do hope to return and draw them in depth one day.

Riding through the road to the Smokies at sunset, the sky and clouds were a dusky pink, the mountain was a soft periwinkle blue, and the river rushed forth from it, sprinkled with rocks. The trees surrounded the mountain on either side, just turning color.

Distant Smokies

Sunrise Mountain

Fantastic sunset. Almost spiritual. That tree feels otherworldly. I felt sometimes as if I were a kid again going to school in the 70's. That's what I liked about Arrowmont. They held on to their traditions. And their looms. I sought quietude in the beautiful library, with an amazing collection of books.

Rainy day at Arrowmont.

A river ran through the back of the lodge I was staying at. Hearing it rush by reminded me of the river behind my house growing up. It was lovely.

One of several stained glass pieces at the Arrowmont School.

Weaving in Nature. I turned the conference I went to into a retreat for myself.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Savannah was not a city on my bucket list. Never even crossed my mind to go there until my friend, Jeff, moved down to South Carolina and I made a plan to visit him. He suggested I visit Savannah for a few days before we met up. OK, I said. I had no expectations.

Then...I saw the live oaks and the twenty or so Squares Savannah is famous for. I was instantly captivated by this city's rich history and charm. I walked everywhere (it's a tiny city) and took in the sights and scents, the balmy breeze swaying the Spanish moss on those live oaks I fell for—at once beautiful and haunting. Full of history, older than this country itself.

I got to draw and paint here and there when I wasn't sightseeing my eyes out. The trolley tour was really sweet. And so were the people. And it wasn't fake either. Genuine kindness. We need a little more of that up here in the North.

Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I enjoyed making them. I did not expect this city to resonate so much with me. But I am so glad I listened to Jeff and went. One small note to add: I sold two watercolors (the first two posted here) sitting on a park bench painting. It was really a thrill. Something I always wanted to happen...kind of magical. But that's Savannah.

Forsyth Park

The Mercer Williams House (where Midnight in the Garden of...was filmed)

The fountain at Fortsyth Park

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Botanical Gardens

Yesterday, I went to the Gardens with my friend, Jenn. It was the perfect day to go, sunny and not too hot. We were greeted by all kinds of gorgeous flowers and trees, in bloom. I did not get the chance to draw them while there (there was just too much to do and see to stop!) but I absorbed what I saw and did a few today from memory. Each one has a slightly different feel and I like the difference between drawing on location and drawing from memory. Different things happen. I'm not so worried about it...just let things get put down on the page. It's more about sensations and feelings vs. drawing exactly what's there... I like this. Hope you do too.

Poppies and alliums

A new -found love of this gorgeous variegated flower, Bougainvillea

Cacti! These were really fun to draw. Endless combinations and marks

The blue wall (from Frida and Diego's Caza Azul) was reproduced with the plants they cultivated

Monday, April 27, 2015

Persian Parade (past & present)

Last week, I went to the Persian New Year Parade with my friend, Shirin. The parade runs down Madison Avenue, and infamously occurs one month late of the actual new year. It's always a fun, if not, an emotional experience, especially when the Iranian national anthem starts playing and a flurry of voices are singing to it in unison, waving the Persian flag. These are the moments where I feel strangely between worlds, displaced and saddened. But then dancers and "Baba Noruz" come traipsing down the street with lively and colorful costumes, and everyone is clapping, and we are shaking our shoulders to the music.

This year saw a ton more people than years past. I was happy to see this, as more Iranians are coming out for this year after year. This year they even had a disco party in the fountain "pit" at Madison Square Park. It was great to see!

I took out some drawings I'd made of the parade from 2009, and made a few more from this year. They focus on the people's nationalism and pride. The people waving their flags always makes it seem like an uprising of a kind, but a positive one, reasserting identity.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

From the Promenade

Today found me in Brooklyn Heights. I went to the Brooklyn Historical Society for the first time. What a gorgeous building (never mind all the beautiful ones surrounding it!) I felt as though I were stepping back in time, walking up the wooden staircase with carved banisters and finials. My favorite part was the library with its crescent-shaped stain-glass windows, and yes, an old card catalog!

Afterwards, I strolled down to the Promenade and sat by the water looking onto lower Manhattan. I said "Hi" to the Seaport, which I miss dearly and think its weird demise is heart-breaking. I realized I'd never drawn the Freedom Tower. So I did. I also drew the Brooklyn Bridge, which fills me with awe. I feel it's such a spiritual structure, almost cathedral-like. In fact, its design is taken from that of a Gothic cathedral. In all, it was a lovely afternoon of observing and drawing and loving the bounty and history that is New York.

I hope you enjoy these four drawings I made today.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge and Scaffold

Light and shadow on the Brooklyn Bridge

Freedom Tower and the Seaport waterfront

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Orchestra Rehearsal

On Thursday evening, I got the chance to draw and listen to my friend, Max Ozey, play in the New York Symphony Arts Ensemble at the Julia Richman Auditorium, 317 East 67th Street. It was in the high school that the movie Fame was shot in! All I kept thinking was "Wow, I'm walking on the same stairs as those cool actors did." Or "this is the sidewalk where they all went wild and danced on cars." Anyway, the auditorium is beautiful. Old, with wooden chairs! The orchestra was rehearsing Brahms's Symphony No. 2 in D Major–a gorgeous piece to listen to–for their concert happening today.

I felt so priveleged to be able to sit in on their rehearsal. To be able to listen to music and make art at the same time...there is something magical in that.

Here are some drawings that I did from that night. Also, if you'd like to be immersed in beautiful music and attend one of the concerts, go to You'll be funding a great cause.

On a very important side note: Max was my inspiration (more like the  kick in the pants I needed) to finally get a (digital) piano after many years of not playing and having a piano of my own. Thank you, Max! It's done wonders for my heart and soul.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recent model drawings

Wonderful to draw from the model at Dalvero, experimenting with line, shape, color, pattern.