October 19, 2014

Sketchbook Skool Homework in Paris

I am enrolled in Sketchbook Skool Semester 3 - Storytelling, and just have to fit it in to an overfilled schedule at the moment.  I watched Koosje's videos during Week 1, but couldn't even think about the fun assignments until we arrived in Paris. 

Instead of illustrating a recipe, I outlined the steps for packing for our trip, and painted my suitcase, carryon, and mini-backpack.  We rented an apartment that was up 3 flights, so we packed very lightly. 

Recipe Equivalent for Koosje's Homework Assignment #1

 

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The apartment had a modern microwave and I just wanted to use it to boil water for my filtered coffee.  But first I had to read a manual in 3 languages, searching for the simple method of just setting a time and pushing a start button.  So this is my manual:   How to Boil Water for Coffee in a De Dietrich Microwave.

 

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Melanie Reim was the Week 2 instructor and I was thrilled to have her class videos to watch on the day we arrived, so I could try to stay awake.  For my home work I recorded what I was seeing in front of me In Notre Dame as we waited for the organ concert to begin.  But alas - no concert and no announcement.     

 

Notre Dame de Paris - the Organ Recital That Wasn't 

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My other "in the moment drawings" were of my husband - on the Metro, in a café, and then over onion soup for lunch.  Of course he doesn't think they look like him, but I think I'm getting closer. 

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At Lunch at Brasserie L'Atlas 

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Outdoor Painting in Paris + a Picasso

Inspiration for Drawing in Paris:  I wanted to have the courage to draw outdoors in Paris and found this wonderful, impressionistic drawing of Notre Dame in one of the books in my library.  The artist simplified!  And I could too!

On our first day in Paris, while walking around Ile Saint Louis, I saw the perfect view for me to draw Notre Dame - and just did it!  My husband leaned on the wall and worked on a crossword puzzle and I gave myself less than 30 minutes to do the sketch - and studied the colors/plus took a few photos for me to paint it in the apartment.  That became my working mode for all of these. 

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Notre Dame de Paris from Quai D'Orleans on Ile Saint Louis 

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Pavillion de la Reine on Place des Vosges:  My husband and I sat on the base of the central statue in Place des Vosges and while he did a crossword puzzle, I sketched, on a beautiful afternoon, surrounded by the sound of children playing. 

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Rooftops in Montmartre: 

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Top Floors of a Beautiful Apartment on Quai D'Orleans on Ile Saint Louis

IleSaintLouis.size.jpgPicasso's Paysans at the L'Orangerie:  We saw the renovated museum for the first time and I fell in love with an early Picasso and sketched it.  The original was gouache on brown paper.

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My next blog post will be Sketchbook Skool - Koene and Reim homework with a Paris focus!  I have one more hasty sketch that I need to finish before my sketchbook is full and I'm thrilled to have these memories of a terrific vacation.  

October 18, 2014

Home From Paris

We just returned from a wonderful week in Paris, and I'm thrilled that I have a travel sketchbook from our visit.  I recycled an Atget B&W photography book as a sketchbook and before we went I created 2x2" squares in a grid for each day, a map of Ile Saint Louis where we rented an apartment, and a double spread as a calendar.

Here are those completed pages. 

 

This is the double spread with the grid - where I painted some small reminder of each day,

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I painted a map of Ile Saint Louis before we left and then added the locations of the places I wanted to remember. 

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I prepared a double spread to keep a brief calendar for each day, which includes the weather, and events in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  Here is a sample of the completed page for our first 4 days.

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While we were there I painted some of my favorite scenes, an early Picasso gouache on brown paper, some quick portraits of my husband, and 4 homework assignments from the first 2 weeks of sketchbook skool.  I'll organize these and post them next week.  This was our 11th trip to Paris over 44 years and the only one for which I kept a travel sketchbook!  I still took hundreds of photos, but the sketchbook pages are so much more meaningful. 

 

October 10, 2014

Tombow Markers and Ball Point Pens

 These drawings were done with Tombow Markers and then watercolor.  The first is the Wall Street Bull sculpture, which sits on Broadway in the Financial District.   The sketch was done early one morning, and I was amazed how tourists paid so little attention to me that they literally stepped 12 inches in front of me to take photos of all of their fellow travelers!  In NYC people rarely pause to look at you drawing, but this was a real lack of understanding of personal space!

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The second drawing was done at Steps - the place where I take ballet class - from a group photo.  I outlined his pants and suspenders with black Tombow and then tried to tie it all together.  This was clearly play - with mixed results! 

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I walk a great deal in Manhattan and I find it difficult to always have my sketchbook with me.  My new idea is to always have plain index cards and a ballpoint pen in the front pocket of my bag.  For those of you familiar with Andrea Joseph's drawings, you can tell I was inspired by her Sketchbook Skool class.  These are ballpoint pen drawings done on the subway, and then cut out and collaged onto a sketchbook page. 

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October 7, 2014

We Are Going to Paris!

I made a recycled book from a $2.00 used book as my travel sketchbook and showed it previously in a blog post.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2014/09/making_a_travel_sketchbook_for.php 

 

I've done some preliminary drawing/painting etc before we begin and wanted to add those pages to my blog now.  I love "trip anticipation" and these steps make the upcoming trip even more fun.

 

Here is the cover of the book - and it has 32 pages of varying size watercolor folios mixed with some original pages of Atget's B and W photos.

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I sketched and painted a vintage Paris Metro sign in the Scupture Garden at MoMA this summer and decided to print it out and collage it for the title page of the sketchbook.  I will add my identifying and contact information here. 

This is a small page and the word Paris is actually cut-out letters at the edge of the next page.

 

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This is Page 2 - and contains Mickey - the Sendak traveler I put in all of my overseas travel sketchbooks.  The two squares are part of the 2" paintings I do - one for each day of our trip.   

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Here is page 3 with the cut-away Paris Letters and some more 2" squares for drawing. 

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Page 4 is a scanned and collaged map of the center of Paris.  I love maps and even still have one with all of our walks from our first 2 week trip there many, many years ago outlined in marker. 

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Page 5 is one of the original Atget page folios I bound into my book.  Don't you just love the old lingerie shop? 

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Page 6 will have our itinerary, collaged over the original French text from the preceding page, with our rental apartment address.

And Page 7 has my map of Ile St. Louis - the location of our apartment.  The other places we frequent on the island will be added to this page when we arrive.   We rented an apartment on Ile De La Cite several times and were thrilled to be staying now on the other island in a 17th C. building, above a boulangerie. 

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When I'm traveling with my husband, we walk lots and just stop at places that look interesting, and in the process I do quick sketches - painting them then or later in the day.  I have no idea what the watercolor paintings will be like in this book, but I loved Koosje Koene's travel pages of what she wore that day - and what they ate that day!  When we went to Venice in 2012, I sketched and painted the clothes I brought - inspired by a very old illustration from a travel sketchbook in an exhibit at the Morgan Library.  And in Venice I did a painting of several gondoliers showing what they wore! 

 

October 3, 2014

Urban Sketchers - NYC and Swann Galleries

The last time I went to Urban Sketchers NYC Weekday Group we met at Washington Square in Greenwich Village.  I sat across from the north side of the park and made a preparatory sketch of the Arch with a watercolor pencil.  It is my new trick for approaching the drawing of famous landmarks that I find intimidating.  Thank you Liz Steel!

After I finished my second bigger sketch I went back and added water to my prep sketch and kind of liked the less defined lines.

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Sketch #2 - done with a Tombow marker and watercolor:

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A musical duet played under the arch and I make a quick pencil sketch of the male musician/singer of Coyote and Crow.  I intended to paint him later that day, but never got around to it. 

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Pat, Benedicte, and I left early to go to Swann Galleries for the auction preview of 19th/20th C. and Modern Drawings and Prints.  They had several hundred prints and drawings and it was hard to choose one to draw.  This is an aquatint print.  I sketched this quickly with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

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September 30, 2014

Meetup Central Park Drawing and Art Group - Saturday

Last Saturday was the first meetup group I've gone to since June and it was nice to be out with a big group of sketchers, all selecting views that were in the same areas.  We met at Central Park South and 5th Ave in front of the Plaza Hotel.  We draw for about 45 minutes then spread our sketchbooks for viewing and then move to the next location - for three 60 minute sessions.

My husband and I were married when we were both in medical school - in different states - and while living on student loans.  We had 12 guests at our wedding, a lovely lunch, in NJ, and then we came to NYC for 3 nights at the Plaza for our honeymoon.  Someone Saturday asked if we had a room overlooking Central Park, and I laughed and told them we could only afford a room looking at a wall!  This is just the entrance façade.

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The group then walked into Central Park where I sketched two chess players in the Chess Pavilion and the near roofline of the Dairy Barn Visitors Center - which is a quirky painted building.  I sketched in Tombow brown marker and then painted with watercolor.

 

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September 26, 2014

Terracotta Daughters

Today my friend Benedicte and I went to see a unique sculpture exhibit at an unfinished commercial space near the 9/11 Memorial. 

Prune Nourry created Terracotta Daughters to reflect upon gender selection and the preference for male children in China.  Eight Chinese orphan girls were selected as models for the sculptures.  If I interpreted the movie correctly, Prune Nourry made clay models of each of them to use to make molds.  Then the molds for  heads, torsos, and legs were mixed and made into terracotta sculptures to make 108 unique daughters.

 

                                                 Prune Noury Terracotta Daughters

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These sculptures will next be seen in Mexico City and in 2015 they will be buried in China, like the original Terracotta Warriors.

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In 2030, the Terracotta Daughters will be dug up, at the time when the greatest gender imbalance will exist in China.

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Benedicte Sketching her favorite girl

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My Drawings 

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

October 2014

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