December 19, 2014

MoMA Toulouse-Lautrec Drawing Session

I went back to the Museum of Modern Art Toulouse-Lautrec Drawing Session again this week and these are 3 of the drawings I did.  The entire 90 minute session is tightly structured and we move from contour, to blind contour, to gesture, to moving gestures, and then some still poses.  These are poses of about 5 minutes duration - each with some change of props to create a café performer atmosphere.  The model is one of the actresses I sketched there before.

The drawings were done with a soluble graphite pencil and a waterbrush, and then photographed because of size. 

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December 16, 2014

Christmas Ornaments - 2014

Each year I make Christmas ornaments for family and friends.  After doing this since 1975, we have a full tree, as do our children. 

This year my daughter-in-law asked me to make more angels, and ordered fabric from the San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team to make Good-Luck angels for another Championship year.  We raised our children in San Antonio where my husband and I were on the University of Texas Medical School Faculty and created genuine fans.

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I also made many Thermofax screen evergreen trees while in a class at Quilt Festival in Houston and made them into ornaments with lots of sewing with green and gold metallic threads.  These are some of the color combinations.

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I played with different color paints on the screens and liked the effects. 

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Here are more as I hung them in the studio as I made them. 

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I love my teensy studio - and it is fun for me to have a reminder of how much stuff can fit in one room that is 6 by 9 feet!

 

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December 13, 2014

The Art of Bill Traylor (1854-1949)

Pat, Benedicte and I saw our second Bill Traylor exhibit last Friday.  The New York Folk Art Museum had an exhibit in 2013 and Betty Cunningham Gallery just had an exhibit.  We made it down to the Lower Eastside one day before it closed! 

Bill was born a slave on George Traylor's plantation, and continued to work there after he was emancipated.  At age 74 he moved to Montgomery Alabama and soon was homeless.  Charles Shannon, a young artist, met Traylor at age 85, sitting in front of a blacksmith shop drawing with a pencil stub.  He provided Traylor with art supplies for the next 3 years and bought over 1200 drawings from him.  This exhibit was from the Shannon Collection.

 

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His drawings are owned by many major museums and I made a composite drawing of images I liked at both exhibits. 

 

2013: 

 

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2014:

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December 9, 2014

Toulouse-Lautrec and I - a Hand-Bound Book

I made a book of my figure drawings for my end of semester FIT bookbinding project and will present it to the class tomorrow evening.  The Museum of Modern Art currently has a Toulouse-Lautrec Print exhibit and I sketched a figure from one of his prints during my first visit.  That drawing became the illustration that is embedded in my book cover.  The book cloth is hand-dyed fabric that I made.

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The book is 24 pages long and contains a mixture of Toulouse-Lautrec quotes and 14 of my drawings.  The drawings were done during two MoMA drawing sessions during which actress models were dressed in café society clothes with props  Each session was 90 minutes and each of these drawings were not much more than 5 minute poses. 

The session started with an introduction to Toulouse-Lautrec and a combination of contour drawings and gesture drawings for warm up.  After each of the 5 minute poses, the museum educator walked around with a few of our drawings and made comments.  I already posted some of my drawings from the first drawing session.  These are from the second session. 

 

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I'm thrilled with my book and the Basic Bookbinding class that I took this semester.  I was a self-taught bookbinder and learned so many tips from a professional. 

December 6, 2014

Two More Picasso Exhibits

Pat, Benedicte and I went to Chelsea on Wednesday to see more art exhibits, including two Picasso exhibits.  Pace Gallery had more of Picasso and Jacqueline art, in addition to other pieces.  I sketched there and added paint at home.  The two Pace Picasso exhibits were extraordinary!  So glad I was able to see both of them.

 

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Picasso used Delacroix's Women of Algiers painting for inspiration and created several paintings based on the Delacroix.  This was a small painting, but wonderfully complex and colorful.

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I loved the position of the naked woman on the floor, but mangled her legs while sketching her.     

 

 

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We also went to the Gagosian exhibit:  Picasso and the Camera.  They are a very different type of gallery.  They took our bags away from us as soon as we arrived.  And when I made a mark on the press release copy they were distributing, a guard pounced on me within 5 seconds and told me "no sketching allowed."  We later questioned the staff and learned that IPads were allowed for drawing.  There was one simple nude painting we liked and Pat made a quick sketch on her iPad and then found the image online.  This is her!

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December 3, 2014

Picasso and Cubism - Picasso and Jacqueline

This is Picasso month for me - one of my favorite artists because of his line - and obviously his amazing creativity and range.  I spent all day Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my friends Benedicte, Pat, and Teri, seeing 4 new exhibits, and we started with the Lauder Cubism exhibit.  It was amazing!  And the cards beside each piece were extremely educational.  I loved this piece and sketched it in the exhibit - adding paint at home.

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Yesterday Pat, Benedicte. and I met at Pace Gallery on E. 57th St for the Picasso and Jacqueline exhibit - before we went gallery-hopping and eventually spent the afternoon at the Toulouse-Lautrec-inspired Figure Drawing session.  I chose 2 Picasso linocuts of Jacqueline to draw, because of the lines.

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Today we are going to Chelsea to continue our Gallery visits, beginning with the 2 new Picasso exhibits there.  New York City has so many art exhibits and activities this month - into January - that it would be possible to schedule wonderful activities everyday.  But I have too much sewing to do for our family Christmas ornaments, presents etc,  that choices must be made! 

 

 

November 30, 2014

Grandma and Zach's Adventure on Saturday

Zach is our 5 year old grandson and the middle boy of our Son's 3 children.  His older brother is 9 and his younger brother is 2.  He thrives on a little bit of alone time with us and is one of the greatest kids to take on an adventure.  Several weeks ago he replaced his cousin for our regular New York Philharmonic Concert for Young People, and when he turns 6 he'll join his brother and two cousins for 4 concerts during the year.  I sketched Zach and his big brother while we were waiting to enter Avery Fisher Hall.

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He recently told me that he wanted to see Mood - the store with Swatch the dog and all of the fabric.  He saw the finale of Season 13 Project Runway and was fascinated.  Swatch was sleeping when we arrived at Mood, but we got a picture with him. 

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We watched ice skating in Bryant Park on our way to the Museum of Modern Art.

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At MoMA, we went to the Matisse Cut-Out exhibit, and Zach sketched a few collages before we went to the Matisse Open Studio to make some ourselves.   

 

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In the Beyond The Cut-Outs Studio, he made one page in the Studio that he loved so much that we made 3 color copies of it! 

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November 25, 2014

Matisse as a Set Designer

 Another Workshop Associated with the Beyond the Cut-Outs MoMA Matisse Studio:

"Artist Sarah Crowner references Matisse's work on set design by creating a large-scale, boldly colored curtain. In a daylong, interactive workshop, participants are invited to consider their surroundings and make cut-outs that reflect the geometry of New York City’s rich urban setting. The curtain is brought to life as a dynamic backdrop that integrates the individual cut-outs into a single decorative composition, unveiled at the end of the workshop as participants parade their collective design through the space. " 

My friends Pat and Ken were with me last week at this Open Studio Event - and within the space of 4 hours, a group of us decorated a 45 foot wide and 12 foot long multicolored curtain.  The  goal was to create collages that were inspired by Matisse to create a Cityscape, and we had many B and W photos of New York City and many Matisse art books to use as inspiration.

It was great fun to translate photos into shapes that were simplified silhouettes.  We had black Heat and Bond fusible fabric, and as we created each series of collages, the MoMA education team ironed them in place.  Here are 5 that I made from photos and one from several Matisse collage shapes.   

 

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After 4 hours, the MoMA team lifted the curtain and carried it to the balcony overlooking the Open Studio, and here is the end product.

 

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It was a wonderful project - and the team who guided us and did lots of ironing looks appropriately excited.  The curtain is currently folded up and will be brought out again sometime in the future. 

 

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November 21, 2014

Egon Schiele and Toulouse-Lautrec

My blog post today recounts two museum experiences this week.  The Neue Galerie is exhibiting Egon Schiele drawings and paintings, and I love to draw his figures, even the tortured looking ones.  This figure was drawn over a prepainted page.  When I'm away from home, I use up the extra liquid watercolor paint so I can close the palette by brushing it on sketchbook pages, starting on the last page of my watercolor sketchbook.

 

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At the very beginning of the exhibit I was really attracted to the very clean lines of this portrait of Karl Otten, and went back to try to capture it for myself.   Someday soon I may return to the exhibit just to draw several pages of Schiele hands!

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MoMA has a Toulouse-Lautrec Print exhibit that doesn't end until March.  This month they announced twice monthly figure drawing sessions associated with the exhibit and the first model and the props really captured the Café Society that Toulouse-Lautrec loved.  While I was waiting for the session to begin, I made a quick sketch from the artist book on my table on another prepainted page.

 

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I'm posting the first few and last few figure drawings that I did.  The one on the right was a one minute warm-up and the only one I sketched with her form-fitting, one-shoulder black knit dress with very long fringe and black bootie.

In the one on the left you can see her long black gloves and the tulle fascinator she wore on her head.

 

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There were café props - cocktails, champagne, hats, cane, boa to name a few.  These were the last few drawings I did - each not more than 5 minutes.  The Art Educator really structured the experience - and the 90 minutes moved along very quickly.  The museum will continue these sessions twice monthly through March.

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3.  

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4.  

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

December 2014

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