Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Lark in the Park, Plus a Portrait

Yesterday Mr. C, our daughters, and I headed into New York, possibly for a little museum-going. It was Wednesday noon; surely we'd have no trouble getting in to MOMA. We didn't count on the ominous skies, which may have contributed to the impossibly long gallery lines.  So we decided to enjoy art of a different sort and headed off in opposite directions for a bit--Mr. C toward 30th St and guitars; we girls toward 57th and vitrines.

After gazing at the displays in Bergdorf's windows, we ventured into Central Park, not a place I usually seek out, but my daughters were interested. And there, just a few paces in, on the path that led to the wildlife center (and zoo) sat an array of artists with their charcoal work on display, some life-like, some caricatures.

Again, I never linger, certainly never commission a drawing, but my daughters responded positively to the work of an older Polish artist (his business card stated his background in theatre-painting, portraits, and his affiliation with both Ukrainian and Polish artists' organizations), so we sorted out a price for a charcoal sketch of both girls together, sitting one at a time.

As Mr. C and we were to meet up in a couple of hours and as I was really quite tired from walking through the city, it was lovely to sit on a shade bench and watch the artist work.  I did not look at the portrait until each girl had completed her sitting, but I did enjoy watching all the passers by look at the drawing in progress, look at my daughters, and look again at the image. What were they seeing?

Upon completion, I was delighted with the result and not a little bemused by my transaction with the artist. After he'd completed the work and I complimented him, he silently, carefully put the portrait in a mat, wrapped it up, handed it to me, and said, "Mat $10 extra." But of course. And this small blip, which usually would have irritated me, didn't matter today, so pleased were we all with the relaxing time in the park and with the portrait.

Sometimes you can look at art, but sometimes you can be art. 

**paintings of Central Park (both 1901) by Maurice Prendergast, originally from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada


materfamilias said...

This is wonderful. And the timing is lovely for me. My parents had charcoal portraits done for myself and my siblings decades ago. Perhaps 20 years later, I recognized the artist doing similar sketches at the mall in the small northern town we lived in. I had my second daughter with me at the time, then perhaps five or six, and I had the artist sketch her. She's in labour tonight, delivering her first baby, so your post is just very full for me. I suspect this day and those portraits will be precious in your daughter's memories, although I may just be being sentimental. I rather feel I can get away with that, considering the circumstances...

Jen Lawrence said...

What a fun way to spend an afternoon and to get your art hit in spite of the MOMA lines.