Sunday, January 5, 2020
West Side story: Sketching Holy Angels
I hate New Year's
What's wrong with the old one?
Who could ever hold one?
Our great friend the cabaret artist Guy Boleri penned those immortal lines in his musical version of "A Christmas Carol." Scrooge sings them.
Much as I love Guy's musical, I am no Scrooge. I love Christmas and I love New Year's.
Resolutions? I am full of them!
One is to write in this Web log every day in 2020.
Another is to sketch every day.
OK, with both resolutions I think I will make it six at least out of every seven days. Because there will be one day once in a while when you just cannot get to it and then you do not want to bog down.
But so far on the sketch front I am doing pretty much perfectly!
I have gone out every day in 2020, minus one because it was impossible. And I sketched the last three days of the old year as well.
One thing I drew was Holy Angels Church, pictured above, on Buffalo's West Side.
Now I will sound like my old Web logger self and point out that this was Leonard Pennario's church when he was a boy. And when he came back to Buffalo in the last year of my life and I met him, he asked to go back to the church and have a look. We did that.
Pennario had his moment and gazed at Holy Angels. He said, "She looks beautiful."
That is an old-fashioned thing that I love. Ships and churches are feminine and so are a lot of other things.
My great-uncle Andrew, the Rev. Andrew Kunz, was treasurer of the order of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Pennario always referred to them by that full formal name) and was at Holy Angels for something like 50 years starting in 1905 or thereabouts.
All these things were in my head as I sketched. So was F. Scott Fitzgerald who also went to Holy Angels School, for a little while anyway. I kept thinking of him, of Leonard, of my Uncle Andrew.
I also brooded about Holy Angels closing. It is scheduled to close next year, I mean this year. What a crying shame. I am glad it was still open when Pennario went looking for it. So I thought about that too.
Then gradually as happens, all the thoughts fell away and all I thought of was shadows and angles. That is a wonderful thing about drawing. Your mind gradually clears of everything except what you are working on.
Here is a photo I took when I was through in case I needed to refer to it. I try to remember to do that when I am folding up and getting ready to go home. The sun finally came out!
After drawing all week I can say that the sun has been out during that time for all of 10 minutes, total. This is bogus, you know? I can see why John Singer Sargent liked to work in Italy. I tried to get the sun in there when it came out. You always have to work fast because it will not be there long!
That happened again to me today, the sun coming out late and just for a bit, when I was drawing a shopping strip with a hair place and a halal market. Buffalonians can try guessing where I was. I think I will post that one tomorrow.
This is my year!
I will be unstoppable!