April 4, 2020

Another Walk, and More Fashionable Dogs

We are locked down in NYC and my last walk, with social distancing,  was on March 13th.  I miss my neighborhood drawings lots and haven't settled into a regular drawing project since then.  When I fractured the wrist on my dominant hand in 2018 I almost immediately began a sketchbook to draw with my non-dominant hand.  I'm not sure what is different now.  But I know that this is temporary.  In part it is because there are too many emails arriving daily about art online.  How to choose, how to fit them in.  I also think that it is my voracious reading to escape from my own worries that is just as much a part. The days are filled with reading news, watching news, and keeping in touch with our kids and grandkids by ZOOM and FACETIME.  We've also had wonderful calls from old friends from across the country, and those calls are so meaningful.  

Today I'm posting another one of my drawings done while window shopping at Canine Styles.  The dogs were still dressed for winter, and standing in snow when I sketched this. 

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April 1, 2020

Union Rat Seen on My Neighborhood Walk

Union Rat:  "The giant inflatable rat, with its sharp buck teeth and beady red eyes, has been a staple of union construction protests in NYC and across the country for decades."  I was taking my walk one morning, turned the corner, and was face to face with "Scabby" the 12 foot inflatable Union Rat placed in the bed of a pick up truck.  These rats are placed in front of construction projects that are not using union labor. 

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March 28, 2020

Drawing in Central Park March2020

When I was still taking a walk every day I very quickly sketched this "bigger than life size" sculpture of Romeo and Juliet  in front of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.  It was really cold, and the wind chill even lower that day.  I still have drawings from my walks that aren't painted and that gives me something to do now that all outside activity is over for the last week.  I love and appreciate all of the opportunities that are being arranged every day, but somehow my brain is happiest now reading.  Our Book Group met via Zoom Monday night and it was wonderful! 

Most of my time is spent keeping up with the news, reading for pleasure, and watching a few episodes of a streaming series in the evening with my husband. As retired physicians we applaud the front line doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, EMS workers that are working so hard under such miserable conditions.  We have children and grandchildren spread out from Manhattan to Long Island and DC and we've been able to use Zoom with 3 grandchildren in NYC and Facetime with the others. 

Stay in, and stay healthy friends. 

Romeo and Juliet Sculpture in NYC Central Part:

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March 25, 2020

A Hat Mannequin in a NYC Store Window

This is another drawing I did when taking a quick daily walk around my neighborhood for fresh air.  Unfortunately, many people in Manhattan were not practicing social distancing, and were walking in groups making it difficult to keep 6ft between people. Last Sunday night at 8PM Gov Cuomo imposed a "stay at home restriction" for NY State except for walks to get groceries or meds. 

A grocery store 2 blocks from our apartment designated 7-8AM as Senior Citizen shopping time - and it took us only 10 minutes to get a few things this morning.  This week we even had our monthly book group meeting on ZOOM which was wonderful.  We can do this!!

 

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March 21, 2020

The Surge Has Arrived and NY is the Epicenter

Yesterday was a pivotal point in NYC.  Schools were shut for one week already, workers were working from home if possible, city residents were decreasing their activities, limiting groups to 10 or less, and slowly the test kits became available.  My husband and I had enough food in the apartment and were comfortably staying at home with one walk per day (with social distancing) for fresh air - and not even together.  Then Cuomo "shut the valve," a move also favored by our Mayor.  Our lives won't change substantially unless we are exposed.  But case numbers are increasing dramatically every day.  Seeing those ignorant kids in FL filling the beaches for Spring Break makes me so angry. 

The surge in cases arrived, and hospitals are having trouble keeping up with patient influx for testing and hospitalization.  Their supplies are very limited and soon all protective gear will be gone and ventilators are already down to just a few in most NYC hospitals.   

Our children are adults and parents, and they are now worried about us because of our age.  Last evening they asked us to stop our walks until we see what is happening.  I can do it, my husband less so.  I will miss drawing on my walks! 

This drawing was done at Canine Styles -part of my window shopping series -  the dogs are standing in artificial snow.

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March 18, 2020

First Daffodils I Saw in 2020

My daily solitary walk is giving me some fresh air, keeps me sane, and lets me do a quick drawing.   When I come home I return to my heating pad for back therapy and I'm usually anxious to pick up my current book.  I think I finally figured out why reading is taking precedence during this period of self-induced isolation.  I escape to another time and/or place and I don't feel guilty when I'm reading.  At many other times in my life a full day of reading made me feel guilty because my Mother asked me why I was reading so much, or I was studying for exams or conferences, or I had way too many things to do for my job and family. 

I turned a corner on my walkthis week and saw my first flower box full of daffodils for the season.  They were gorgeous and needed to be in my sketchbook during these troubling times. 

Quick News:  Morton Williams, a family-owned grocery store in Manhattan, emailed customers yesterday to say that their first hour after opening each day (7-8AM) was reserved for Senior Shopping.  We were there at 7 and only had contact with the one cashier, walking just 2 blocks to and from the store.   

 

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March 14, 2020

Drawing at Museum Exhibits February 2020

On Thursday March 12th New York City began a shut down due to the community spread of Coronavirus.  The period of containment was over and as early as March 2nd we knew that a 50 year old patient in Westchester, with no history of travel or exposure to known COVID 19 patients, was evidence that we now had community spread of the virus and were in the beginning of an epidemic here in the US.  Our governments inability to prepare for this and very limited test availability has substantially increased the infection rate.

My husband and I are both retired physicians and spent our lives dealing with isolation, both to protect us and reverse isolation to protect our sickest patients.  We made a decision right then that we would begin "social distancing," at first by clearing our calendar for March and avoiding public transportation.  The deaths in China were very high for those over 65 and we are both in an even more vulnerable age group.  As these two weeks passed, we limited our time outside our apartment even more and now take short solitary daily walks for fresh air and spend the rest of the time in our apartment.  My husband walks in Central Park and I walk in our neighborhood along uncrowded streets.   

The drawings posted today were from before March 1st: from USK at the Met in the SAHEL exhibit and with a friend at the Whitney at the Vida Americana exhibit.   

Sahel at the Met:  A wonderful large sculpture

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Vida Americana at the Whitney - A large wooden sculpture

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Stay safe and stay healthy!  Read lots.  I do one quick drawing on each walk and don't finish it until I come home.   

March 10, 2020

Quick Daily Walk Drawings: Lion, Dog, and Cat

I am enjoying my daily walks and for the first time in months, I am drawing daily.  As I tour the neighborhood I pause for a few minutes if something appeals to me and do a quick sketch, finishing it later at home.  Last week I walked 1 mile in my neighborhood each day and this week I increased each to 1.5 miles - mainly as exercise for my back.  I used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for the ink.

This is a stone lion sculpture in the window of a nearby bookstore.  

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This was one of several simple drawings on the windows of a Vetinary Clinic.

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March 7, 2020

Walk #2

I walked a mile around the neighborhood each day this week, and my back does feel better, except for when sitting without a supported back.  Each day I take a few photos, and look forward to drawing something on my walk.  I stand and draw quickly (because I begin to slump) and then paint them at home.  I am a window shopper, and have no problem finding something to draw.  This is from Day 2.  The small stuffed animals are from Jellycat - the bigger size monkey became my 15 year old Grand daughter Sydney's "Lovey" and is still a precious belonging.

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

April 2020

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