May 23, 2020


I look forward to resuming my daily neighborhood walk (with mask, gloves, and social distancing).  My figures are already wearing their masks.  New York City still has to meet 3 criteria in order to begin Phase 1 of our reopening.  The fatality rate for my age group is 44% here, and <20% in my age group come off a respirator.  I'm glad that our Governor is being very cautious because our surge to the top of Covid 19 cases was quick, and it took weeks for the number of cases and deaths to decline to where we are now. 

My recent small figure drawings were made in anticipation of resuming my walks.  Drawing these figures each morning after breakfast is the way I'm slowly returning to drawing - so I will be ready when our "stay at home" restriction is lifted.  It hasn't been hard to maintain staying at home in view of the statistics listed above.  My husband and I learned about "deferred gratification" early in our lives and stay happy - ZOOM, FaceTime, and Google Meet keep us in touch with friends and family.




May 19, 2020


Waiting:  New York City is still in "stay at home" mode, but there were scary photos of young people standing outside restaurants drinking this past weekend when the weather was nice.  We watch Cuomo's Daily Briefing everyday and are waiting for the City to meet all of the statistics to begin a careful Phase 1 reopening.  My husband and I do stay at home except for our very brief trips to the neighborhood grocery stores before 7AM - having other groceries and drug store purchases delivered.  So my recent figure drawings are called Waiting.  The figures are collaged on a piece of paste paper I made. 

I'm listing my two artist figure drawing books below the image because I love having them as references.   



Mark Edward Smith  The Nude Figure:  A Visual Reference for Artists

Phil Brodatz and Dori Watson:  The Human Form in Action and Repose 


May 16, 2020

Future Joy

Can we even imagine when this Pandemic will be controlled?  Yesterday Gov. Cuomo began Phase 1 of his reopening plan.  This will be done by regions in the state, based on 7 Covid-19 statistics.  In Phase 1 Construction and Manufacturing can open.  Plans must be outlined and workers kept safe.  The State Government website has a dashboard for following daily health statistics, by region, and if the Rate of Infection goes above 1.0 in the next 2 weeks, closures will be reinstituted.  New York City residents will remain at home until at least 6/16. NYC's hospitalizations, and deaths are dropping, but we have an additional 3 criteria (beyond the region's criteria), that must be met before NYC can enter Phase 1.  My next figures drawn will be housebound again.  I was just happy for the people in the regions of NY State that could return to work! 


May 13, 2020

Bad Social Distancing

Bad Social Distancing: I'm trying to kickstart my drawings since the full quarantine went into effect on March 20th in NYC, and I stopped my daily walk and drawing sessions in my neighborhood.  These are figures that I sketch after breakfast from two figure drawing books.  In my last blog post I sketched social distancing, so this one is "Bad Social Distancing."  The drawings are done on a quarter of a piece of copy paper. painted with watercolors, cut out and then collaged to the page.  The background painting was made as paste paper -acrylic paints textured with a Lego plate.


Stay Home and Stay Safe.   

May 9, 2020

Social Distancing - 6 Feet

The first case in New York State was documented on March 1st.  March 16th was when the City shut down. New York State is still in P.A.U.S.E. (the name for the shutdown that began on March 22nd) and we are to stay at home, (except for grocery shopping and drug store shopping).  Social distancing at 6 feet and frequent hand washing are being recommended, and now face masks are required.  I can only observe Manhattan from my windows, and there are MANY fewer cars, bikes, and walkers.  But local news has frequent photos of the parks when the weather is nice and social distancing there is a myth.  Some of the hospitals have opened a floor for non-Covid patients so semi-elective operations can be done.  But while the case statistics are really good due to the leadership from Governor Cuomo, the number of new cases and the number of deaths have plateaued after a big drop from the apex.  On March 15th some regions Upstate may begin a very slow reopening.  New York City is no where near ready. 

I have had almost no interest in drawing since I stopped taking my walks on March 20th, so I've returned to my figure drawing book after breakfast to do these quarter-sheet of copy paper figure sketches.   Drawing one per day after breakfast from photos may kick start more drawing.  Time will tell.



May 6, 2020

British Glass in the New Galleries at the Met

British Glass in the New Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:  Early in March, when I was taking one walk each day, and making one quick drawing along the way, I met a friend in Central Park.  It was very cold and windy and we decided to go into the Met.  By then the museum was reported to be nearly empty, and we washed our hands multiple times while inside.  These drawings are from the new British galleries, selected because I love the shapes of glass bottles.  The two small drawings on the bottom are from a tapestry in the gallery.  I left these unpainted because I really have never achieved the ability to paint reflections in glass.



May 2, 2020

Rooftop Water Towers

This is one of the final drawings that I did in March when I was taking one walk per day - with no human contact because coronavirus had arrived on March 1st in New York City.  I walked 1-1.5 miles and sketched something I saw and liked in my neighborhood.  Then we were quarantined on March 20th and now I don't have an urge to draw, either something in my apartment or from photos.  This has to change - and I'm confident it will.  I sketched with my non-dominant hand, inside, for 6 weeks 2 years ago when I broke my wrist.  And I've had themes for drawing during certain months - elephants, figures in motion, hands from the American Sign Language alphabet to name a few.  But my pandemic brain needs to find something that excites me and that hasn't happened yet.  Patience....

I love the New York City Rooftop water towers and these were seen in a residential area on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan. 


April 28, 2020

Random Objects From a Pawn Shop Window

I stopped in front of this window which was full of watches, jewelry and random bits and bobs.  The clock hanging in the wire support caught my attention and then I just filled up the space around it.  The number of Coronavirus new cases and deaths each day in New York City are down to 1849 and 279.  But we are still in quarantine until May 15th.  At our age Covid19 has a high case fatality rate, which makes it easy to be happy and stay busy inside.  Our family are all well and we visit with Grandchildren on FaceTime and Zoom.


April 25, 2020

Elephant Bookends Seen While Window Shopping

I was walking down Madison Avenue on one of my daily walks before "lockdown" and saw these elephant bookends in a store window.  In 2013 I wanted a drawing challenge because I was bored with my apt. items - most of which were already drawn and painted.  I love elephants and decided to draw them from photos and videos using every possible art medium I had in my supplies.  I even did an Eric Carle type of collage with paper made from my Gelli Plate ( 

I loved the project and made both a photo book of my elephants and a zine.  Now I am watching the San Diego Zoo Elephant Cam for pure pleasure during the pandemic solitude. (


Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

May 2020

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