Jazz Age Couple Painting Demo

Every summer at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island, I leave in awe of the beautiful 1920s costumes and snazzy dance moves of fellow New Yorkers. It is such a colorful event to take part in and to doodle afterwards.  Every year I see this particular couple on the dance floor and they are marvelous. Watching them, I feel momentarily transported into the supper club scene of a movie where complicated dance steps are second nature and get even better the more bath tub gin one guzzles.

Drawing them was a little bit of a breakthrough for me.  Some of my jazz age drawings have been looking a little tight and overly cartoony, but after a day of frustrated drawing last weekend, where nothing was quite working, I did a rough, loose sketch of them and it just began to come together naturally.  With painting, I think I need a fair amount of warm up time to finally loosen up enough to create a piece I really like.

Here is the evolution of the painting.  I started with a wet pink wash to play off of her red costume.  Whether or not I have the patience to let it dry thoroughly before moving onto the next layer depends on my mood. 

I've been playing a bit with time lapses while working and captured a bit of the layering process.

And the finished product.  I often outline in black with a brush pen and India ink, but I liked the effect of using black watercolor and seeing it bleed a bit into shadows.  I'm really liking this effect and I think I'll use it for my next round of Mermaid Parade paintings.

This piece is for sale in the shop and will be part of a short Illustrated Guide to the Jazz Age Lawn party I'm working up for August's to do.

Sketching Michael Arenella's 11th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party, Governor's Island

A few Fitzgerald-y pages from my sketchbook from last weekend's Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island.  In case you missed the straw boater hats, champagne cocktails and old timey jazz from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, the lawn party's second act this summer is August 13 and 14.

Van Gogh's Ear in Rockefeller Center, NYC

I took a very cool urban sketching workshop with artist Tom Thorspecken a few weeks back.  It inspired a thought provoking look at my drawings and some reflection on that types of things I want to record in my sketchbook.  Most motivating was the way creates a really detailed rendering filled with fascinating characters in a location that wouldn't obviously resonate with many artists--a community board meeting or a Subway restaurant.  It's a good reminder to always be observing and using your everyday surroundings, and that doing so will create a story as unique and interesting as anyone else's.  So I bought some new sketchbooks which I'm hoping to fill to capacity this summer with full color New York happenings.

I'm lucky to work right in Rockefeller Center, always bustling with people and activity. I broke in my new book on my lunch break and made a quick picture of Van Gogh's Ear by Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset (of Marfa's Prada store fame) with the Public Art Fund.  The sculpture of a suburban will be at the top of Rockefeller Center's Channel Gardens all summer, reminding us that we have no pools for splashing or floating or lounging with daiquiris in our NYC backyards.