April 17, 2015

Drawing From Imagination - Yikes!

As a child and younger adult, I could draw from 2D images and always told my husband I was just a good copier.  When preparing for my retirement from a 40 year career in medicine, I started drawing more and from 2005 (when I joined Everyday Matters), I started drawing from life - and slowly developed some skills with LOTS of practice. 

But I always knew that I could not draw completely from imagination, and the second homework assignment from Adolfsson and Defline in Sketchbook Skool Storytelling still aren't done!  So I decided to do my own "100 day project" to try to extend my doodling and develop some small ability to use my imagination. 

I dedicated a 100 page 4 X 6" book that I made with copy paper for daily sketches from my imagination.  And to avoid any excuses, I made a pen/pencil holder to wrap around the book so I can take it anywhere and always be ready. 

ImaginationBook.size.jpg 

 

I didn't intend to show any of my drawings, but Jonathan Twingley's Week on Sketchbook Skool - Stretching is all about imagination.  So I decided to post a few drawings since I started on April 6th, and to periodically add some observations about my own brain.   

An Early page - my barn:

Barn.size.jpg 

 

I finally read Perfume by Patrick Suskind and decided to draw perfume bottles:

Perfume.size.jpg 

 

Working at my Sewing Machine in my Studio:

SewingHeatPads.size.jpg 

 

Sailors from the Musical Revival of "On The Town":  I specifically looked at the costumes Wed. PM and drew these Thursday. 

Sailors.size.jpg 

 

Thursday Urban Sketchers-NYC met at Lincoln Center and I drew and painted the Metropolitan Opera House for the first time: 

OperaHouse1.size.jpg 

 

This morning I decided to see whether I had stored this building in my brain, and now could recall it well enough to draw it in my imagination book.  This is my 5 minute drawing in pen.

OperaHouse2.size.jpg 

I definitely internalized the Opera House and can remember the structure I analyzed. 

I have over 100 sketchbooks since 2005, and all were drawings from direct observation.  How long will it take for me to be able to draw more from my imagination, and what are the exercises that will help me on this pathway?  I'll report back periodically.

 

 

April 13, 2015

Drawing Quick Portraits

My classmates in Drawing I at FIT:  I finally finished my composite drawing from my Drawing class.  Each week, when I finished the assigned drawings, I would add 1-3 classmates to this page.  The drawings were done very quickly with 4B graphite and then photographed because of the paper size.

IMG_20150413_072544737.size

 

The Central Park Drawing and Art Meetup Group at a Portrait Party met at a rented studio here in Manhattan last weekend.  We had no rules, and some participants sat for portraits and alternated the person "in the chair," and others just sketched members as they were sketching.  We had approximately 45 minutes for each session, and then went out in the neighborhood for a final sketch.  I did these with my Sketch and Wash graphite pencils, but then decided not to add water. 

Meetup Portrait Party  First Session

IMG_20150413_072505225.size.jpg 

 

 Meetup Portrait Party Second Session

IMG_20150413_072353216.size.jpg 

My only goal when I do these composites is to not have everyone looking the same - meaning that I have observed and tried to individualize their features. 

 

April 11, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Brett Whiteley

I am slowly completing Jeanne Oliver's Studying Under the Masters, Part 2.  In this online class, contemporary artists study under a Master by learning as much as possible about them, their work, and their lives.  They choose one artwork to copy and then try to incorporate some of the skills and techniques learned into one art work of their own.  Each apprentice shares all of their research on video and demonstrates, in detail, their painting process.  I took Part 1 (9 Master Artists) in the Winter of 2013. and already enrolled in the final Part 3 class which begins in May.  All of my paintings are done from oils done by the Master and converted by me to watercolor.  I have a blog category with my copy and original for each Master in Part 1 and Part 2.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/studying_under_the_masters/

British Artist Robin Fingher chose Australian Artist Brett Whitely as her Master and I chose one of his ink drawings to copy because we are just beginning to do ink drawings with ink washes in my FIT Drawing Class.  I used my new flexible nib by Brause and struggled with some beginner issues with blobs - one close to one eye!!

These are the Master Drawing on the left (called Vanessa) and my copy on the right.

IMG_20150401_092407467.size.jpg 

 

For my original drawing, inspired by Whiteley, I chose to recreate one of my figure drawings from the Toulouse-Lautrec sessions at MoMA. 

Kelly.size.jpg 

 

It was great fun combining ink lines with ink washes (as opposed to cross-hatching) and I did two drawings using the same technique at my drawing class this week. 

This was a still life created by our professor with 3 mannequin arms, one foot.

WitchIsDead.size.jpg 

And this was one I put together for the second half of our class.

CoffeePot.size.jpg 

 

April 8, 2015

Zach Makes a New Mouse

Rice Mice are very important in our family.  I started making them for my children decades ago and now I make them for and with my grandchildren.  There is an important story about their origin, and when I first posted it, I had many requests for the pattern and the book.  You can read the story here  

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2010/10/rice_mice_are_nice_mice.php 

 

My 5 year old Grandson Zach and I had a playdate during Spring Break , and he asked if he could make one with me on my sewing machine.  He chose the fabric and buttons, and sat on my lap at the sewing machine to control the foot pedal.  He added the rice and I stitched up the opening.

Zach and his New Rouse Mouse

ZachMouse.size.jpg 

 

The Rouse Mouse 

 

RouseMouse.size.jpg 

 

Zach and Charlie Compare Rice Mice:  

My oldest son's family has accumulated a whole family of Rice Mouse, and Charlie wanted to join the picture with his mouse. 

ZachCharlieMouse.size.jpg 

 

Their Family of Rice Mice

IMG_20140222_100332_427.size.jpg

IMG_20140222_100412_176%2Csize.jpg 

April 6, 2015

Jacob Lawrence - One Way Ticket at MoMA

One Way Ticket, Jacob Lawrence's Migration series, opened at MoMA this weekend.  At age 23 he painted these 60 panels to tell the story of the migration of blacks from the rural south to the urban north between WWI and WWII.  He did extensive research at the Schomberg Center in Harlem and painted a series that tells an amazing story through paintings and captions.  MoMA owns 30 "even-numbered" panels and the Phillips Collection in DC owns 30 "odd-numbered" ones.  Periodically they reunite them and I first saw them many years ago in DC.  I wasn't drawing or painting at that time, and only now do I realize how masterful he was at composition. 

Lawrence painted in tempera, and after drawing all 60 panels, he painted one color across all 60, and then added the second color, etc. 

Here is a 2 minute video from BBC World News: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32141921 

The MoMA website has all 60 panels and a wonderful description of the exhibit.  

http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1549#related_events 

I had trouble choosing just one panel to copy, but kept returning to panels with 3 images - and finally chose this one.

JacobLawrence22.size.jpg

The exhibit also includes art, music, and photography from his contemporaries, including Marion Anderson's Lincoln Memorial performance.  I loved one of Dorothea Lange's photographs of an ex-slave and sketched her as well.

DorotheaLangePhoto.size.jpg 

 

 

April 3, 2015

Sketchbook Skool Challenge from Brenda Swenson

It is semester break at the Sketchbook Skool and faculty from the first 3 semesters are posting weekly challenges on the Sketchbook Skool Blog http://sketchbookskool.com/blog/.  This week Brenda Swenson challenged students to do watercolor paintings on toned paper, using white gouache to add whites to the painting if needed.  I did two paintings and collaged them into my sketchbook to reduce the paper buckling for scanning.

A stylized bouquet of flowers on brown wrapping paper - watercolor and white gouache.

FlowersSBS.size.jpg 

One of my elephant series drawings that I redrew on Bugra brown paper:

ElephantChallenge.size.jpg 

 Lots of students are waiting impatiently for Sketchbook Skool Semester 4 to begin - and the blog is providing some relief with interesting videos and these challenges.  Happy Holiday weekend to all!

March 31, 2015

Drawing Class Last Week

Our Drawing Classroom has many different props to be used for drawing exercises.  This past week someone asked for bones instead of flowers and plants.  I think it was our last week of using graphite and shading.  Our Professor put a rib cage and vertebra from a dismantled skeleton on a central table for all to draw and positioned an overhead light to create shadows.  From my position, the top of the rib cage was on the left, and the vertebra in the lumbar region were on the right.  But I wasn't looking directly at the rib cage from the side - thus the peculiar shape. 

I finished my drawing and asked him for another bone, and he gave me a pelvis to hold and draw.  Here are both of my drawings - photographed, not scanned because of paper size.

IMG_20150329_160813742.size.jpg 

I still had time before our class ended to add two more classmates to my composite. 

IMG_20150329_160709981.size.jpg

 

After Spring Break we will start using pen and ink to draw.  This class is moving really slowly and I'd love to know what others have done in a 15 week college semester course. 

 

March 27, 2015

Urban Sketchers NYC at Chaim Gross' Studio

This week the "weekday" Urban Sketchers NYC group met at the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation.  This is a little known gem in the Village only several blocks from Washington Square.  Chaim Gross was a sculptor and painter in NYC from his arrival from Europe after WWI until his death in 1991.  After raising two children on the Upper Westside of NYC, he and his wife moved into a new home at 526 LaGuardia Place which served both as their home and studio.  It is open Thursdays and Fridays from 1-5 and artists are welcome. 

http://www.rcgrossfoundation.org/ 

 

GrossFoundation.size.jpg 

This is the first floor, just inside the entrance:

IMG_20150326_160345250.size.jpg 

Overlooking the studio - with an incredible number of pieces and everything left as it was when he died:

IMG_20150326_141809773.size.jpg 

 

The second floor contains his private art collection which is amazing, and special exhibits.  The 3rd floor has paintings from his contemporaries, and a huge African Art Collection.

 

My sketches:

Two heads - one black and white marble and the other beige - and 4 of his wood sculptures on the first floor and studio.

MarbleHeads.size.jpg 

ThreeWomen.size.jpg 

 

Yoruba beaded wooden sculpture and several other African art pieces on the 3rd floor. 

AfricanSculptures.size.jpg 

  

March 24, 2015

Drawing Class/Spring in NYC?

We are still drawing and shading with graphite in my FIT Drawing Class.  This week our in-class assignment was to draw and sketch this plant - dark green with light pink veins on the leaves.  The class sits in a BIG square, at drawing desks, at least 6-8 feet back from the central table.  A bright standing lamp is directed at the object to create shadows.  As before, I finished drawing the plant and vase, and then thought only about my watercolor paints!  And as before I remind myself that this is my first drawing class and I need to concentrate on the requirements of this course and use graphite to shade instead of paints to add color!

IMG_20150322_142620788.size.jpg 

 

I finished early and was bored again, so I added 3 classmates to what will probably become a crowd! 

IMG_20150322_142733759.size.jpg 

 

I bought beautiful tulips for our apartment last week in anticipation of the first day of spring.  My husband worried that they would be wilted by Saturday/Sunday.  Here they are in a quick painting. 

SpringTulips.size.jpg 

 

And here is the view from my Window at 6AM on the first day of Spring. 

IMG_20150321_064554524CROP.jpg 

We had 4.5 inches of snow in Central Park by the time the snow ended!  And we are all still wearing heavy down coats with hoods up! 

 

March 19, 2015

Working from Imagination - Can It Be Developed?

Sketchbook Skool Semester 3 overlapped with our vacation last Fall, and I still want to do homework assignments from Weeks 3 and 4.  I was too busy, that is my excuse.  But really that is subterfuge.  Both Mattias Adolfsson and Jean-Christophe Defline assigned us homework that required drawings from our imagination.  YIKES!  That is not easy for me - I draw what I see.   I can combine my subjects into new compositions, but I rarely draw anything completely from my imagination. 

So for 6 months I've been periodically thinking about my first day of school - many, many years ago for sure.  I had no specific story to tell, I can't even remember my kindergarten teacher's name.  But I did have an image of a corner of the room, with a rug, tables, chairs, and toys.  And I knew that my mother walked me to school and dropped me off in the classroom on my first day.

So I finally just sat down and started drawing.  I knew my hair style, and my Mother's hair style and the clothes I probably wore.  So here, finally, is a story about my first day of kindergarten.

FirstDaySchool.size.jpg 

Our second homework assignment from Mattias is to do a meta-drawing.  I think I need to let that roll around in my brain for awhile too, but hopefully not for 6 months.  I am even confused about the exact meaning:  Meta-film is a film about making a film.  Mattias elaborates on the assignment by calling it a drawing with enhanced reality. 

  

Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

April 2015

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Powered by
Movable Type 3.38