Friday, December 28, 2012

Exit Dancing

The end of a chaotic semester and year has finally arrived. I was long awaiting a first trip to a conference in San Juan Puerto Rico when Hurricane Sandy hit. I thought that I would not be going, but everything went ahead as planned and off they sent me. I had survivor's guilt. In my neighborhood, the Upper West Side in Manhattan,it was life as usual-one could barely tell that there had been a devastating storm, and now, here I was in the glorious sunshine. I could not cope- and barely left my room until the sun went down- it was just too strange. So, no daytime drawings, but instead, a few made one night while dining to Flamenco- the fierce stomping of the dancer's feet and the extreme emotion in their faces brings to mind the passion with which we are moving forward through both of the Sandys of recent months. Nothing to do but exit dancing and take on the new year. Wishing you all a productive and peaceful year~ Melanie

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last Beach Day: NY

Looking out today at the grey skies makes me happy that I made the pilgrimage to the beach from NYC- Wall to wall people at Penn Station, coffee cups in hand, the air already smelling of sun screen. This was it- the last weekend of sunny beach days and even though it meant crowding into a train car and then, walking with thousands to the boardwalk, praying that there would be umbrellas left to rent, clamoring for our little bit of square ft of sand, it was worth it. I thought that everyone left town on Labor Day?!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Symposium Pays It Forward

The ripple effect from the Santo Domingo Symposium was alive and well in New York this past weekend. I was so happy when Richard Alomar let me know about the meet-up at Merchant's Gate, at the entrance of Central Park in NYC this past Saturday morning. Along with Mark Leibowitz and Sunil and Amy (Sunil was in Lisbon), we braved the ominous skies and the tons of tourists to hang and draw. There is a great comfort in the company, not much needs to be said. Thanks so much for thinking of including me, guys.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mercado Merenge

One cannot be in the DR without hearing and moving to merengue! The workshop that I taught was at the Mercado Modelo, where in and around, there are scads of Dominican trinkets- masks, drums, jewels galore- and all of the characters trying to sell them to you. The music is blasting, people stop what they are doing to spin and dance, and everyone is your friend as they lure you in to look at their wares. In and around the market are fruit stands and banana carts- bottles filled with the likes of mamajuana and other assorted homemade juices and drinks are swinging from the umbrellas and the smell of rice and beans and other Dominican goodies wafts through the air.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I'm just back from a glorious three weeks in the Dominican Republic, my home away from home. I had a great class and then, went on to teach a workshop at the Urban Sketchers Symposium, held this year in Santo Domingo. It was not as hot as NY, but hot in other ways! I was obsessed with the domino players. WOW! did they ever have their rhythm down and were hot with the passion of the game. It was an illustrator's delight!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

West Coast Beach Bum

Yes, that was me for all of a couple of days after teaching my MFA in Illustration class on the West Coast. My down days started out in high style by meeting up with my Urban Sketchers pals Virginia Hein, Shiho Nakaza from LA, and Don Low from Singapore! Then, a day of pure heaven on the beach for me- it was cool and delicious, cool and breezy , periwinkle skies and sea air and I could barely tear myself out of my beach chair. So, I swiveled about all during the day, and tried to get as many variations from my one-day beach vacation-ahhhh.....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Struttin' on Seventh

I was asked to draw the 2012 Fashion Show at FIT. This is a great, fun, gig- always exciting, always impressive- seeing the future stars of Seventh Avenue. The music is loud and pulsing, the models often severe and poker faced- long and lanky and showing off those threads. It happens fast- under 30 minutes and it is over- and everyone is onto the next big thang.

Friday, April 27, 2012

USA shouts me out

USA today is highlighting a few pages from the book The Art of Urban Sketching today on their site. Here is my page, Hong Kong Krazy! So happy to be included with my fine friends from Urban Sketchers!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another Woman's Life, Gujurat

This was one of the rare times that we had a few minutes to spend outside in the Gujurat state, in a small village that although removed, was no stranger to selling the most amazing embroidered textiles. It was hard to know where to look first, for the people were as beautiful as their crafts.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lasting Impressions

Lots of people are still asking me about my Indian trip gone wrong. As I reach to remember, I cannot help but think back on the searing sunlight and the way that it played against the rich complexions of those that we glimpsed along the way. The whites of a shirt or the glimmer from a sari sparkled, still sit in my memory. Before I left, I tried to anticipate what it would feel like and grounded a few pages of my sketchbook. These singular people are iconic of the India that I experienced.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Curry in a Hurry

It's been some time since I have posted...and I do not mean to be flip with the title of my new post, but you'll see, it explains where I have been.
The day after Christmas last year, I left, with great anticipation, for a month long trip to India. It was billed as a textile driven trip, with days spent in villages of the north, woodblock classes and up close and personal experiences with textile mills and museums, organized by a self-proclaimed expert researcher, Roshan Houshmand, who was more interested in shopping than the history and art of India. = She could not have been more off-base about her abilities. We spent hours and hours, and hours, and hours, driving from one place to another, brilliantly leaving the day before a kite festival started in one area, only to leave the day before a music festival in another. We would drive all day and arrive in time for dinner, only to have to leave early the next am for another day of fly-by India. What you will see here and in future posts are drive-by glimpses of a country that many say after visiting, changed their life. Well, it did indeed change mine. I arrived home desperately ill and very dismayed to have had my time abused by this organizer. Nonetheless, because I have been trained brilliantly by some of the drawing greats, I was able to cobble together a barely respectable record of my travels. As more time passes, I am remembering the wonderful sights that I will choose to remember. More to come in bits and pieces.