Showing posts from November, 2020

A literary tour of Manhattan

 A while ago I took you on an architectural tour of Manhattan--this will be a literary tour through some of the classics of children's literature. One of the best things about parenthood is reading to children--holding a small person on your lap with a book in your hands is pretty close to Heaven. My favorite place in the world, Manhattan, is the site of many great books--so, put on your walking shoes, pack your metro card and let's go. We'll start at the very bottom--the southernmost tip of Manhattan--the Staten Island Ferry. We were very tired we were very merry. We rode back and forth All night on the Ferry.                                    Edna St. Vincent Millay. Yes, I know, Edna St. Vincent Millay is not a poet for children, but I believe in getting as much as possible as early as possible into those little brains, so this is a good start. Then over to Battery Park City where words from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass grace the railing of a marina. Look out over

The Things I Use

 After I left my teaching job and spent a year at the Art Students League getting back into a routine of making art every day, I simplified my life by giving up printmaking for drawing in pen and ink. I've worked with the same materials for thirty years now--I'm still at it and I'm still happy. Here's what I use to do what I do. First, the Paper   Moulin a Papier d'Arches Moulin a Papier d'Arches was founded in 1492!     I use the watercolor block, pure cotton, long fiber,cold-pressed, 140 pounds. It has a slightly pebbly feel that gives my line a nice livliness.    The paper is gelatin sized to give it a sturdy surface that won't tear or lint--that is, break into little fuzzy pieces--remember how your school paper would tear when you erased too hard?  I think the gelatin must give it a delicious flavor--when I drop a piece Lucy grabs it and won't let go. The blurs on this rhino are her work--I put it on the floor to take a picture and she licked it. Th

A Work in Progress

 Maybe you'd like to watch one of my drawings as it evolves. I've always loved two neo-classical bank buildings in my neighborhood--at Fourteenth Street and Eighth Avenue. Last month I decided to draw them. I started with this one, The New York County National Bank Building, once Manufacturers' Hanover Trust Company, built 1906 to 1907. It's not a bank anymore; for a while it was a spa for men, now it's the Museum of Illusion. Here's my first draft. I originally wanted it to look pretty much like the original--with beige stones. Then I pulled this elephant out of my files where's he's been for years--I never knew what to do with him, but I like the way he looks here. In the third stage, I started to add color.   I love the combination of turquoise and coral, but this turns out to be more red and blue and it looks more circus-y than I intended. I forgot to photograph a few stagesso there's a big difference now. Disaster struckwhen I spilled scarlet in

An Old Notebook

 The other day I came to the end of number twenty-two of my little black books and put it on the shelf.  In making room for the new book I pulled out number fifteen, dated January 12, 1996 to November 19 of the same year. I was taking Margaret (Bunny) Gabel's course on Writing for Children at the New School.  Each week Bunny would read a student's work out loud and the class would respond.   Every week she  wrote a wonderful quote on the board, and I copied them into my book. Here's one: "If an artist of any kind sits around waiting for inspiration he'll have a very small body of work. Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it."  Madelyn L'Engle "If the artist, in whom the crowd believes, dares to declare he does not understand what he sees, that alone comprises deep knowledge in the domain of thought and a good step ahead."  Anton Chekhov "Good writers and painters, I suspect, compliment their audience by expecting the best of

Have you Voted Yet? Part II

Keep this young patriot in your thoughts today. Molly Louise Baler will be eligible to vote in 2029; her first presidential election will be 2032. What will the earth look like in 2032?