Last night I went to an opening of a friend of a friend's art at the Cornelia Street Cafe. Robert Woodward makes beautiful semi transparent scultptures with resin, found objects and swirls of color, unexpected holes, and lyrical lines of metal. I had a glass of wine, talked to the owner of the cafe about my upcoming show, met some cool artists and writers, and chatted with both my daughters—Natalie working downstairs in the performance room and Caitlin dropping by to see the art and then go meet friends...
So I had a glass of wine, no food, happy art eyes, and was taking the subway home and felt the urge to sketch despite tippiness. I was surrounded by a group of sandy footed black kids in flip flops, holding beach gear, and clearly had their usual high energy well dampered by a day at the shore.
I selected an older Vanessa Redgrave-ish lady dozing diagonally across from me. I had to lean around a wide person to see both sides of her face. At some point the young man next to her became convinced I was drawing his portrait! He began to pose, with a deeply pleased and self conscious grin on his face, and I really didn't notice him for half the trip. The boys were of interest, some claiming they could really draw anything and others saying there was no way they could draw even a rabbit. One child said dourly that the beach had been bad for her as she'd cut her mouth on something...and it turned out she loved to read (Junie B. Jones books).
The posing young man said "Can I see?"
I realized what had happened and laughed.
"Oh no, I wasn't drawing you, I was drawing her!"
At this point the young woman minding the boys began to laugh and repeat what I'd said. The older woman chuckled.
I sketched the young man in one stop, showed him, he nodded with appreciation and ran off the train.
"Wait, you forgot your umbrella!" shouted the lady.
"It's yours...." called the young guy.
She didn't want it. The boys considered wanting it but one of them decided I had better have it as they would fight over it.
I took the umbrella and declared to the car, "it is nice to get paid for what I do!"
Then the boys wanted me to do their portraits but it was my stop. I told them to draw each other and thanked them for making my ride much more interesting.
Just this morning I'd been complaining all our umbrellas had disappeared, funny how the universe resets the balance.