September 27, 2016

Painting Class at FIT

I am taking a painting class at FIT this semester - using either oil or acrylic.  After using acrylic for the first time last semester, I was happy to get more experience with it now.  In my first week, I selected a still life from among 4 that our professor set up, sketched it on the 18 X 24" canvas, and then painted it in monochromatic colors.  I used raw umber mixed with a little yellow ochre. 

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During the rest of the class, we added color over the underpainting. 

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Last evening was week 2 on this painting, and I spent my time repainting the flower on the right, and then continued to add paint/color to the background.  I still don't have a feel for acrylic paints, but hopefully I will end this semester with more skills.

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September 23, 2016

Experiments at Figure Al Fresco

I did some more experimentation at figure drawing this week at Battery Park City.  Drawings 1-4 were done with a General Sketch and Wash pencil, with or without added watercolor paint.  As I draw faster, I have more time to play, even during the shorter poses.  Poses 1 and 2 were 5 minutes and 3 and 4 were 10 minutes. 

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Poses 5 and 6 were drawn with an 8B graphite pencil, and then ink.  The backgrounds were prepainted wet-in-wet watercolor paintings and then more watercolor was added near the end of the 10 minute pose. 

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September 20, 2016

I am currently taking Liz Steel's "Seeing Now Buildings" course online.  Next to drawing figures, buildings are my second love.  I've drawn buildings while sitting next to Liz on several of her visits to NYC.  Her ability to "see" the structure of a building and draw it quickly is astounding.  I was in Washington DC when I read through Lesson 1 and did my homework.  I chose a church that was only several blocks from my son's house and it was a challenge. 

My first sketch, drawing the edges, later became my final sketch.  And I didn't have time to paint it on site and may keep it as a pen and ink sketch.

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The second part of the Homework was to understand the building a little more by painting the shapes - including the negative shapes of the windows and doors and some shadow shapes.  Liz said that this is great preparation for drawing looser - something I would like to learn to do.

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The 3rd part of our homework was to draw the volumes - based on the geometric shapes.  This was definitely the most challenging part and I had to walk around the building for a better understanding. 

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I had a much better understanding of the building after drawing edges, painting shapes, and determining the volumes.  It will be fun to draw it again during another visit - preferably at a time when the leaves which covered so much of the building have fallen.  I was very limited in my ability to see it from a distance, or in a photo. 

  

September 16, 2016

Wednesday Figure Drawing (9/14)

 I returned to Wednesday afternoon Figure al Fresco after our week in Washington DC.  Julie Pierce, a friend of my friend Eunice, was visiting as a guest from the Sydney Australia Urban Sketchers group.  These two 5 minute sketches were drawn with a General Sketch and Wash pencil and shaded with a waterbrush and then watercolor.

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The rest of my sketches (10-20 minutes) were drawn on prepainted watercolor paper - with leftover acrylic paint from my palette in my FIT art class.  It was fun seeing the drawing emerge from among the many colors and brushstrokes.

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This outdoor figure drawing group meets weekly on Wednesdays, weather permitting through the month of October.  It is sponsored and funded by the Battery Park City Conservancy as one of their adult programs.

September 14, 2016

Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC

For the last week we were in Washington DC helping to take care of two of our grandchildren.

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While they were in school on Friday we visited the Hirshhorn Museum (one of the Smithsoniam Museums on the Mall) and looked at their permanent collection for the first time in decades.  I loved the Gallery that was full of DeKooning paintings and Giacometti sculptures and spent a few minutes sketching several pieces in my watercolor sketchbook. 

These were three of the busts of his Brother Diego:

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And this is one of my Favorite Dog Sculptures.  I've seen it in other museums, and finally took time to sketch it.  The painting was done later at home.

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Midway around the circular gallery space there is a gorgeous room which overlooks the Mall, showing the other museums and the National Archives. 

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When I returned to pick up my husband, who was sitting in this room doing a crossword puzzle, I found an art class setting up to draw and paint the rooftops across the Mall.  They were interested and very well behaved!    

Art Smart Studio Class

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I spent time talking to the Art Smart Lady, Lorina Harris, and was inspired to also draw one of the museum rooftops before we left. 

 

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This is the West Wing of the National Gallery of Art.

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September 9, 2016

Figure Al Fresco at Battery Park City - August 31st.

The Battery Park City Conservancy holds outdoor figure drawing sessions on Wednesday afternoon, May 1-Oct 31.  They have a stable group of models and this one loves to change her clothes periodically during the 2 hour session.  Her bright colors may be responsible for my use of color in these drawings. 

I had a long slim piece of paper that I prepainted with acrylic paint and used it to sketch Leticia in a 10 minute pose.  I sketched her in pencil and then used a Sharpie pen to make sure that I didn't ruin one of my Pigma Micron pens.

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Ten Minute Pose -  sketched with a General Sketch and Wash pencil and then shaded with water and a waterbrush.

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Twenty Minute Pose:  Sketched and shaded as above, and then painted with watercolor.

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Eight Minute Pose to finish the session:  We were all tired, in the heat of the afternoon, and I went back to drawing on newsprint to draw our reclining model.  Can't account for the gray-blue background after scanning the drawing.

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September 6, 2016

Gallery Visits with My Friends Sept 2nd

A Gallery visit with my artist friends Pat and Benedicte.  This was one of the first days of the summer that we were together, and planned a visit to Galerie St. Etienne at 24W57th St.  It is one of our favorite galleries and even though it was closed for the upcoming holiday, we were allowed in to see the exhibit and draw!  We usually each have a favorite and take a few minutes at the end of the exhibit to draw it.  Drawing the Masters is one of my regular activities, a planned part of my self-learning process.

A Selfie to send to Teri who planned to join us and was then stuck at home waiting for a repair man.

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I love to draw and my favorite subjects are people and buildings, and could have done copies of several by Klimt and Schiele.  But I loved this pose by Oskar Kokoschka and the use of a wash.  The hand was rather crude, but I loved the foot.  I sketched it separately because I couldn't fit it on the sketchbook page. 

Kokoschka Seated Female Nude Facing Left, 1913:

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My Copy - which was painted at home: 

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The Gary Nader gallery, in the same building, had remnents of a recent exhibit of Cuban paintings, and I sketched the main figure - a Caballaro on his horse, and painted it at home. 

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The only other gallery that was open in the building, due to changing exhibits, was John Szoke - Works on Paper.  I made a very quick pencil sketch of a Picasso print and then finished it at home.  I used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for the ink drawing and almost forgot that the ink isn't water proof on my Fabriano 140lb Soft Press paper.  Neither is Carbon Platinum Ink.  The paint I applied was supposed to be in the white areas of the face, but I stopped just in time when beginning to brush on the paint on the head band.

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A favorite drawing of ours by Egon Schiele - but too hard to draw in the time we had at Galerie St. Etienne. 

Standing Woman in Green Shirt, 1914:

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September 3, 2016

Estaban at Figure Al Fresco

Figure Al Fresco:  The Battery Park Conservancy sponsors 3 adult art classes each week, May through October.  The sessions are free, held in beautiful sections of the Park, and art supplies are provided.  These drawings were done in the figure drawing session.  I loved this warm up exercise - five 2 minute poses, with the model maintaining the same pose and turning slightly every 2 minutes.  My drawing sequence isn't in order because I glued together 3 papers on Photoshop - and as a lefty I start on the left side of the page to prevent spreading graphite.

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 Four five minute poses drawn with a soluble graphite pencil and shaded with water and a waterbrush.

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I rarely use the full time during a 20 minute pose and I occasionally add one of my fellow artists to the drawing. 

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August 30, 2016

NYC-NJ Skylines

While Callum was drawing two skylines during our adventure last week, I also sketched but then didn't paint each page until this past weekend (See last post for Callums drawing of the Freedom Tower).  I finished both drawings over the weekend and now post them, along with a few highlight photographs.

 

World Trade Center 1: Freedom Tower - with nearby construction on another WTC building.  

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My photo of the Freedom Tower from the base.   

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A sketch of the Jersey City skyline from our walk up the Battery Park City Esplanade.  There were lots of benches in the shade, and Cal and I sketched, and discussed perspective while my husband finished the NY Times Crosswaord Puzzle.  Cal abandoned his drawing so we could discuss drawing 3D boxes viewed first from the top and then the bottom.  His curiosity and joy make my day.

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My photo of the Santiago Calatrava Oculus, which is part of the new Transit hub.  I still think that it looks like it was "stuffed" between the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial.   The retail mall, which extends around the inside of the Oculus on two levels, just opened!

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

September 2016

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