Despite weather calling for severe thunderstorms, my family and I ‘braved’ the conditions and set out for traffic-free Times Square. Saturday was an incredibly beautiful day, and the free tables and chairs were an added luxury. I’ve always loved drawing Times Sq. It’s a bit crazy, but there are so many points of interest that you can literally sit in one place all day and never make the same drawing twice. So this time out I found myself very interested in all of the type and lettering that overwhelms the square. Here is a drawing from that day. For more of my work, click here Greg Betza’s Portfolio.
Archive for June, 2009
Ah, the days of summer… (how else could I follow Eddie and Dom?)
Like our Central Park here in New York, Jardin des Tuileries is one of those parks where you can grab a chair (or a bench) for free and sit wherever you like, (hence why I loved drawing there so much).
The Jardin des Tuileries is Paris’s most central garden. It connects the Louvre with the Place de la Concorde and forms a part of the large central axis between the Louvre and La Defense.
Although, like all things worth fighting for, all was not always peaceful in these tranquil gardens. Quite the contrary. It was here where Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette were held prisoner in the palace, after being routed from Versailles during the French Revolution, and it was also here where the siege at the Tuileries by the Parisian mob at the close of the revolution in 1893 left a thousand dead.
The Tuileries Gardens were one of the first urban green spaces in history to open to the public, and have served as a proto-type for public gardens across Europe. (Even at that time, the gardens boasted cafes and kiosks, a place where people of all social classes could meet and relax). On the cusp of America’s celebration of independence this coming fourth of July it seems only appropo to honor it’s philosophy. Really, how cool … a place where all social classes can come together and JUST BE.
Happy Birthday America! – Michele
Still a week away, but since my next post is not until the 6th and all festivities will have been finished by then, I thought I would wish everyone an early Happy 4th of July. This drawing is from 2006 when I was down in Orlando at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. They have a beautiful flag ceremony in Town Square everyday at sundown. Nothing says the 4th of July to me like waving flags, some fireworks and a barbeque. So on the heels of Eddie’s post from yesterday, bring on the hot dogs.
A hot dog (frankfurter, frank, wiener, weenie) is a moist sausage of soft, even texture and flavor, often made from mechanically recovered meat or meat slurry. I live here in New York City and WISDOM tells me don’t touch those hot dogs but sometimes HUNGER gets the better of me. You would think the term “mechanically recovered meat” would be a good enough deterrent, oh well. Eddie Peña
New Orleans is really a romantic city – the jazz music, the voodoo vibe, the paddle boats, the wrought iron architecture and of course, the horse & carriages that are all over the city. The sound of horse hooves clomping down the cobblestone streets (I forgot that in the list!) really adds to the atmosphere. I did some photography of a ‘ghost tour’ while I was there, and the only truly spooky moment in the tour was when we heard the clomping of horse hooves echoing in the distance, and then the horse and carriage appeared out of the fog. But not many ghosts use them for travel around the city – they’re mainly employed by tourists and their guides. I drew this one at the stand, getting ready to leave for it’s antebellum tour of the city. P.S. The magnolia trees are everywhere, and they are very satisfying to draw! More in another week…Veronica
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has the latest, and largest to date, Roxy Paine steel tree sculpture on its rooftop. It’s beautiful and I’m going back with bigger paper to make a larger drawing. This sculpture is incredible! I overheard two ladies talking about the scupture, “It’s like it keeps growing and growing into this incredible creature!” All said with a very strong New York accent and undulating forward arm motions to describe the ongoing growth of the sculpture. I couldn’t have said it any better myself! I really love Roxy’s tree sculptures. I have drawings that I made of his steel tree sculpture that was set in Madison Square Park on 23rd & Fifth Ave in 2007. Anyway, will go back soon to make a bigger drawing, though I fear that it will never be large enough for my taste!
According to my “earth” calendar, today is Midsummer Party day in Denmark. Many northern European countries celebrate Midsummer by building bonfires and having lots of fun. It’s origins go waaay back.
Recently, I read how Denmark has been deemed the happiest country in the world. I remember being very intrigued by this and wondered how this could even be calculated. I read that because of their type of economy and welfare program, they have a good level of income equality. Could this be the reason they are so happy?
So, today, when I checked my calendar and saw that Denmark will be holding these celebrations, I couldn’t help but picture all the happy people laughing and clapping and hopping around the fire. It was a strange vision for sure! haha!
Perched high above the city, along cobbled stoned streets and winding alleyways sits the glorious Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.
Upon approach it was clear this place was special, so grand, immaculate in all it’s white, and such presence. Yet another magical element to this magnificent city, (the glory of its churches). I understand why so many pilgrims would hike these crazy hills to reach such a beautiful place of worship.
The church stands tall in the heart of Montmartre (the butte Montmartre) , once a principal artistic center of Paris. It was there in the mid-1800s artists such as Johan Jongkind and Camille Pissarro called home and by the end of the century, (with its counterpart on the Left Bank, Montparnasse) artist associations such as Les Nabis and the Incoherents were formed, (not to mention being a stones throw from the Moulin Rouge, where Toulouse-Lautrec designed those incredible posters). Yes, a religious experience all around, and one I will treasure forever.
So, how does the Basilica stay so stay white? … Sacré-Cœur is built of Travertine stone quarried in Chateau-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution.
And why is it called a Basilica? … The name Basilica is given to certain churches granted special privileges by the Pope.
Just a little trivia this somewhat sunny Sunday morning, see you next week! - Michele
Two weeks ago I had the privilege to get close to an old and familiar subject. Up and down the Hudson this summer various communities along the river are taking part in Hudson Celebration 2009 marking the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river that bears his name. Growing up in Newburgh, New York I had the opportunity to get aboard the Clearwater Sloop several times. It was onboard that I received my first lessons in environmental stewardship, the reason for the Clearwater’s existence. The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater took part in the opening ceremonies and the Great Flotilla Day where several notable ships made the journey from New York Harbor hundreds of miles north to Albany and Rensselear.
One Drawing a Day, that’s 365 drawings in a year. Not bad, it’s fortunate for my colleagues and I that we love to draw. As reportage artists, Illustrators, designers, photographers, film makers and painters we love to think with our hands.
The drawing for today speaks for itself. That’s my Grandpa, he has the thousand yard stare. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without him. He is as close to my beginning as I will ever know. We don’t have the long lineage story of how we came to be where we are.
He grew up in Dominican Republic, met my Grandma, had 11 kids and came to America. The past is not something he has ever been interested in talking about but who he is and what he has done is sufficient. Happy Father’s Day abuelo.
OTRA is one hot latin jazz dance band that I saw performing at the Blue Nile in New Orleans. I met Sam Price, the bassist, when I was drawing him performing with another group at a club on Bourbon Street. “You’ve got to come to Frenchman Street and draw!” he said, and drew me a map to get there the following evening to see his own band perform. Frenchman Street is very cool, Sam was right; a small winding street with little jazz clubs interspersed with pink and blue shotgun houses and magnolia trees. On a warm spring night the air smells like honeysuckle and the people and music spill out of the tiny clubs on to the street. So I went to the Blue Nile and saw Sam’s band Otra – they were HOT! Sam gave me one of their CD’s, I’ll give you the description from the liner notes and let them describe their music: “The backbone of OTRA is no doubt the fire-hot, hip shaking beats oozing out of percussionists Humberto ‘Pupi’ Menes and the always smiling Cristobal ‘El Canon’ on timbales. Together the soaring horns, propulsive grooves, and shake that a** sound make OTRA an unbeatable combination.” – Indeed! Check out their sound at www.otramusic.com- it lives up to their description!! - Veronica
Hi, Margaret here!
Last Saturday was National Pigeon Day. There is a gathering of pigeon lovers who extol the wonders and glories of pigeons. I could only stay for a little while, but for the brief time I was there I never saw an actual pigeon! How ironic that there would not be a pigeon at this ceremony, the park is filled with them. There was, however, a man in a pigeon costume. His name is Amos Latteier. He was amusing. You’ll see him in the lower left hand corner of my drawing. He’s the one with the clawed feet and silver leotard with fabric feathers on it. He has large plastic eyes on the sides of the leotard head and a large beak attached to the head as well.
I’m cheating and adding a second drawing of some pigeons because I don’t feel right about not having a pigeon in the drawing for National Pigeon Day.
The group was small, but dedicated. They sang songs, “Coo, coo,coo,” and had a puppet show and generally paid homage to the feral pigeon. What can I tell you, when I heard about this gathering I had to see it with my own eyes!
A few years back, I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a couple of (very large) horses. I mainly did a lot of shooting that day as their handler had them trotting, galloping and doing all kinds of things. But as I was looking through the photos recently, I found a few drawings that I did that day. Here are a couple.
Here is a drawing by Greg Betza of his son…who turned 1 this week! He’s just about to grow out of that chair…
A trip to Paris is never short of wonder. There’s no other place like it, the shops, the history, the food, THE ART! Here’s a drawing I made in the Musee National Picasso during a trip abroad traveling with my associates at 1482. Spending the day with Picasso’s lifework (in awe, I might add) was truly divine. What an awesome experience ….
Looking forward to sharing some more drawings from abroad next week, enjoy! - Michele
* On a side note, I’d like to plea to the dear thief who stole the sketchbook, PLEASE RETURN IT, the world needs it.