March 24, 2017

Marsden Hartley Exhibit at Met Breuer and Lobsters

My friend Pat and I met for lunch on Tuesday and then visited the Marsden Hartley exhibit at the Met Breuer.  As we were entering, we met our friend Judy T. and then enjoyed the exhibit together.  This exhibit focuses on Hartley's years in Maine.  I must admit that I didn't like his landscape paintings, but did like his figures and a few landscapes with churches and another with a wonky lighthouse.  I sketched from 3 paintings and here display them on the same sketchbook page and include a link to a Met video with some of the paintings. 

http://metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2017/marsden-hartley

 

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I sketched the lobster because I was interested in Hartley's simplification of his lobster painting.  After recent allergy testing, I was convinced that I could never again eat lobster, and always needed to carry my epipen to restaurants where there may be cross-contamination among shellfish in the kitchen.  We always have a wonderful lobster dinner with our friends at the beach, and I tolerated lobsters boiled for 19 minutes each year.  My allergist was horrified, and I've agreed that I will NEVER do that again.  She says you might get away with it, "until you don't - when the stars and the moon line up in a different way."

So this is my goodbye to Lobsters:  A rough sketch from an uncooked lobster (2003), the conversion of that sketch to a painted drawing in my sketchbook, and another painting of a lobster, uncooked, from one our beach feasts in 2012. 

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March 21, 2017

Weekends in Manhattan

"Art on Paper" at Pier 36 in Manhattan:  Each year my husband and I visit the annual Art on Paper exhibit on Pier 36 and then walk back through the Lower Eastside to lunch in Little Italy.  I never saw a Picasso blown glass piece before (not on paper I know, but with some Picasso drawings in one booth).  The Gallery owner assured me that it was a piece made in collaboration with Egido Constantini, a Murano glassblower.  Think of it as an upside down globe.

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New York Philharmonic Young Peoples' Concert:  We take grandchildren to the New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts 4 times each year.  Before the main concert, there is always a short concert for Young Composers (an NYC program in the schools) to have their work played by Philharmonic musicians, and I sat right in front of the bass player.

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"Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group"  Yesterday was the 10th Anniversary of the Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group and we had a big party at the Manhattan Ballroom - during which we put together still life arrangements, from objects brought by group members, and sketched, painted, and ate!  Congratualiations Jesse Richards.  You're a great Meetup leader!

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March 17, 2017

Marathon Art Wednesday March 15th

In spite of our Tuesday snowstorm, both Battery Park City and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) sessions were open on Wednesday.  I put on many layers and snow boots, and went downtown to draw. I was so happy I did. 

Here are 3 of my drawings of David, our model at Battery Park City.  They were all drawn with soluble graphite and then either painted with clear water or watercolor paint.

10 Minute Model Pose

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20 minute Model Pose - with watercolor painting

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20 Minute Model Pose: Drawn with General's Sketch and Wash soluble graphite pencil and painted with clear water.  I have never enjoyed drawing with charcoal, maybe because it is so messy.  But I love master drawings done with charcoal.  Wish I could make the leap!  So for now I continue to draw with the soluble graphite pencils.

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We had a model dressed in costume at my evening FIT Illustration class.  We made quick drawings of her 20 minute pose and then painted her and a background during several more 20 minute poses.  I am really enjoying the emphasis placed on the use of watercolor in this class and look forward to the new assignment when we arrive each week.

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March 14, 2017

Sotheby's Asian Modern and Contemporary Auction

This is Asia Week in New York City - when museums, galleries, and auction houses focus on Asian Art.  Several years ago my friend Pat and I discovered the Asian Modern and Contemporary Auctiuon Preview at Sothebys and we look forward every year to visiting some of our now favorite artists.  One of them is B. Prabha and her two paintings this year did not disappoint us.  This was my watercolor copy of one of her oil paintings - drawn at the preview and painted at home. 

B. Prabha Fisherwoman

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I also fell in love with "The Victims" by Kattingeri Krishna Hebbar, and I wrestled with drawing it from the rectangular image onto the page in my square sketchbook.  But I wanted the experience of putting this beautiful painting into my muscle memory, and tried to convert oil into watercolor when I had time at home.

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This is my photo of the original Hebbar painting.  Hope you like it as much as we did.  Pat, Benedicte, and I were sketching in different parts of the exhibit when a Sotheby's employee stopped to talk to me while I was sketching.  I told her we came to see the auction preview each year and have favorite artists - Naguib Mahfouz, M.F. Husain, and B. Prabha among them.  She said that they were artists who didn't become abstract expressionists, and remained true to their figurative paintings.

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March 10, 2017

Marathon Wednesday March 8, 2017

During February and March I spend Wednesday afternoon at Figure Drawing in Battery Park City, with multiple 2, 5, 10, and 20 minute poses.  These are two of my drawings of Marilyn from yesterday.  They were drawn with a General Sketch and Wash pencil of soluble graphite, and then "painted" with clear water.  I was thrilled that I had two great hands to sketch, and I'm trying so hard to improve these skills.

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XXX 

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After supper at Hudson Eats in Brookfield Center, I move uptown to FIT for my Watercolor Comps Class.  Last week we used a full palette, and tried to use pale and intense colors for a vase of sunflowers- reviewing  how to control pigment and water.   This week, our challenge was to significantly increase the amount of water we used, still controlling it, while painting a copy of a commercial perfume bottle photo.  We talk lots about illustrations and commissions during the evening and I love the studio time.  Photo left, my painting on the right.

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March 7, 2017

New Museum Exhibit Openings

An Alexei Jawlensky exhibit just opened at Neue Gallery and Pat, Benedicte and I began our Art Exhibits day there.  I was only familiar with one of his portraits before seeing the exhibit, and really liked most of them.  I was less impressed with his landscapes and didn't like most of his abstract art.  This is a photo from the stairwell at the museum, since photos are not permitted.

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I really liked the portrait of The Gardener and sketched him, adding paint from an online image when I reached home. 

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After lunch we walked several blocks to the Met for the Seurat Circus Sideshow exhibit.  It was also a good exhibit, featuring many of Seurats' conte drawings (which I first saw at MoMA several years ago and love more than his paintings) and several of his circus pointillist paintings.  But it also contains works from his contemporary artists and their circus art - including Daumier.

I definitely will return to the exhibit to sketch more, but at that hour of the afternoon I just sat in front of a HUGE mural painting by Fernand Pelez and sketched a great clown.  There are 3 groups of life-size circus performers across this very large painting and the clown captured the feeling from this exhibit best for me.

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March 3, 2017

Watercolor Comps Illustration Class at FIT

The first 4 classes of my Watercolor Comps Illustration class at FIT were designed to teach, or review, painting with watercolors.  We had two classes with nude models, and several exercises using very limited palettes.  The first model was painted with only French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna, and the second model was painted, in two poses, with Alizarin Crimson and Viridian Green.  The other exercises, in the first 3 weeks, also used limited palettes and photo illustrations to copy.  This week we had a demo using liquid Frisket and then were each given a color copy of a painting by Eli Rosenthal to try to reproduce.   We expanded to a full palette of our choice in an effort to maximize the lightest lights and darkest darks - beginning with an underpainting in some areas - and using varying amounts of water to soften edges.

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February 28, 2017

Urban Sketchers NYC February 21, 2017

We had a great day at Weekday Urban Sketchers last Tuesday, and a big crowd of artists.  At 10:30, in spite of the cold, we gathered in front of Lincoln Center to draw the Hippo Ballerina in Dante Park on Broadway.  She is 15 feet tall and 2.5 tons and really cute!  I sketched a frontal and lateral view.

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The group then walked around the block to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church for a Juilliard Historical Performance where Juilliard students played period instruments in a free concert.  I loved every minute of it and especially seeing a theorbo played for my very first time.

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After lunch at the Rubenstein Pavilion we went to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to see Curtain Up which celebrates 40 years of theatre in New York and London.

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February 24, 2017

Francis Picabia Exhibit at MoMA

I Love Francis Picabia's drawings and paintings, but not of machines!  The current exhibit at MoMA is huge and it covers every aspect of Picabia's art - through the twists and turns.  There are several tours of the exhibit, lead by a museum curator, an artist curator, and an artist on the MoMA website.  And if you want to learn something about Picabia, these are worth watching.  I went back to the exhibit with my friends and sketched and painted one of the earliest paintings in the exhibit, and then a portion of one of his Monster Series.

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

March 2017

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