Artists Capture A Surreal DC From Their Windows

Inspired by this New York Times story that asked illustrators in New York to draw the view of their city under lockdown from their window, a group of artists do the same for the Washington, D.C. area. (Read the Baltimore version, organized by the artist Nguyen Nguyen, here).

Shaw, D.C.

It’s 1 am on Saturday night and it’s so quiet out. Usually, at this time of the night, the plastered patrons of the club across the street would be making a racket, either getting into fights and being thrown out by the bouncer or yelling at each other trying to get a ride home.

— Robin Ha

Adams Morgan, D.C.

On a normal spring weekend, I might collect a stack of books from my shelf, put them in a box outside my apartment and peek out on passersby from this window as they consider the titles. These days, I don’t think a box of free books on the street would be as appealing. But I still take in the view from my bedroom window. D.C. is blooming into spring and my neighbors still have to walk their dogs, bounce their babies, take the bus. I’m grateful for my room, this window and for the sun shining through.

— Ruth Tam

Bloomingdale, D.C.

Out my living room window I see trees lining the street, bursting with new growth. I also see joggers and people walking dogs all all hours of the day. Most of the row houses seem empty, like that part of the block left town. Sometimes I open the window to let the outside in: the sounds of the occasional car and sirens far away come through the window screen, and a nice spring breeze too.

— Marcella Kriebel

Petworth, D.C.

I lack object permanence and forgot(?) that trees leaf out again in spring — so I am surprised and delighted every time I look up from my desk and see this stand of trees. This is my attempt to capture how the sunset light comes in sideways and they just…light up. Pure joy to look at.

— Lily Strelich

Trinidad, D.C.

The magnolia outside my window blooms continuously, but has one big bloom in spring and another in late summer. This moment, when there are still petals and the leaves are coming out, is a nice one. The other day I was talking on the phone, looking out this window, and a bubble came floating through. My neighbor, a little girl, was blowing bubbles and drawing with chalk. At least that hasn’t changed.

— Josh Kramer

Elkridge, Md.

The last time I drew outside my windows was about a month ago. A couple things that have changed: flowering trees are in full bloom, gas prices are down 10 cents (with car wash).

— Theresa Pasag

Takoma Park, Md.

The view out the window, watching squirrels and birds enjoying spring.

— Elizabeth Graeber

Arlington, Va.

A couple did a virtual yoga class in my apartment building’s courtyard. It was vivid and surreal (and may have been the only human activity I saw that day).

— Bruno Gabrielli

Kingman Park, D.C.

Inside feels like a prison and now even the outside world does, too. It’s boring to see the same view and go on the same walk every day, but I try to find new things in my surroundings. The other day I found a bush of mint (I took some for tea), I saw a new color of azalea I hadn’t seen before, and the tree across the street blossomed flowers the color of hot fuchsia. I guess the good part of all this is you become better at noticing.

— Malaka Gharib

And bonus … Oregon

I moved back to Oregon [from the Parkview neighborhood of Washington, D.C.] at the end of March to ride out the pandemic with my parents. Here’s a doodle of my mom, after doing yard work all day, reclining on the porch.

— JoAnna Wendel

Writer, editor and illustrator based in Washington, D.C.

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