February 21, 2017

Art Wednesday February 15th

On Wednesdays I have Figure Drawing at Battery Park City in the afternoon and a Watercolor Comps Illustration class at FIT in the evening.  I really enjoy both of these classes, and look forward to dinner at Brookfield Place between the events.  Here are two figure drawings from last week - each were 20 minute poses.  I used a soluble graphite pencil for both but only had time to add water with a waterbrush to the first one.  I spent way too much time trying to draw his feet in the second pose.

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Our Illustration Instructor gave us two photos to work with as he makes sure that the entire class gets some instruction with watercolors.  On the left is Sargent's preliminary watercolor painting of Madame X that we had to draw as homework and paint in class.  On the right are fruits to be painted in class after Madame X.

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We had to paint Madame X with only Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue with a little Viridian Green for the couch.

And were expected to paint the fruit with combinations of colors, including the complementary colors for shading and shadows.  

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February 17, 2017

Plaster Casts Drawings at ICAA

The NYC UrbanSketchers Weekday group gathered at the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (20 W44th St) to draw plaster casts that were stored by the Met Museum many years ago , and donated to the ICAA in 2004 who refurbished them and make them available to the public.  They are beautifully displayed in a brightly lit room on the 6th Floor, and we had tables and chairs for the 4 hours we were there.

This is the head of an Equestrian Statue by Donatella, the original is in front of a church in Padua, Italy. 

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Tuesday was Valentines Day and sketching this putto (plural Putti) is a celebration of this Holiday.

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The cast drawings were made with a Caran d'Ache Mahogany Watercolor Pencil, but no water was added.  The backgrounds were done with a watercolor brush and paint removed from the tip of the watercolor pencils with a water brush, and then used. 

February 13, 2017

Art on Wednesday February 10

 I am going to a Wednesday afternoon figure drawing session on Wednesday afternoons during February and March.  I haven't done any figure drawing since October and sketched John on drawing paper (not watercolor paper) with a soluble graphite pencil and water.  The shadows are due to scanning the slightly buckled paper.

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I then went directly to my evening Illustration Class at FIT (Watercolor Comps and Illustrations) and was delighted to learn that we had a model to start our series of classes.  Our Professor demonstrated his method of watercolor painting and mixing colors on the paper. 

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February 11, 2017

Missing Blog Post

Yesterday I added a post to my blog, updating a Feb 2006 blog post on a my color project, and although my post on Facebook and Feedly still have the entry, it does not appear on my actual blog this morning.   

This is the link, and I'm posting it here so I can find it again.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2017/02/january_mixing_blues_1.php 

 

 

  

February 7, 2017

Deliberate Practice - Drawing Hands Feb 6

I use "deliberate practice" to learn how to draw hands.  This is a slow process, I even drew all of the photo images from an American Sign Language website several years ago.  Now I keep a pile of photos cut from advertisements in glossy magazines, and try to draw a few each month.  The three drawings below were drawn with a Caran d'Ache Mahogany Watercolor pencil, without adding water.  It most closely resembles the Master Drawings that I see in exhibits and museums, but is a pencil which can be sharpened for smaller sketchbook drawing. 

 

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February 3, 2017

Urban Sketchers NYC at Natural History

Yesterday was my first sketching session with Urban Sketchers - NYC in a long time and we met and sketched at the American Museum of Natural History here in NYC.  In honor of Groundhog day most of us sketched the groundhog - and then moved on.  There were approximately 20 of us at lunch and sharing our sketchbooks.  Fun Day!

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I still love drawing elephants and unfortunately the African elephants are not well lit.  I did take a minute to draw a detailed eye, because they are so hard to see unless you are close to them.  Any artist can participate in the weekday or weekend sketch events and should visit the USK-NYC blog for the schedule

nyc.urbansketchers.org/

 

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January 31, 2017

Master Drawing Week 2017

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This is the book created for each annual Master Drawing week.  It can be requested from the website and arrives in the mail at least a month before the event.  Each gallery has an entry and there is a list of participating Galleries as well as a map on the back cover.  

The variety of elevators in the Upper Eastside Townhouses is part of the fun of this annual gallery-hop.  Benedicte, Pat and I took this photo in an elevator lined with mirrors.

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And here are a few of my favorite drawings. 

Fritz Haas (1864-1930):  On The Grand Canal.  We are returning to Venice in May, so this may be my favorite drawing of the entire day.

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Theodore Gericault (1791-1824):  Study of Arabs 

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Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863):  Chevalier au Cheval.  I love Delacroix drawings, especially from Morocco, but this may be the most expensive drawing of the day per square inch?  $4200 for a 2 X 2" drawing.    

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As we passed Gagosian Gallery, we stopped in for a quick look at the exhibit "Picasso's Picassos", that was extended to 2/17.  These are paintings from his daughter Maya's Collection.  We each sketched one - this is Maya's mother Marie-Therese Walters.

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Gustav Klimt (1862-1918):  Portrait of a Woman in Blue 

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Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805):  Study of Feet    

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I don't have the artist for this sudy of hands, but it fits in with my deliberate practice "drawing hands" and I just wanted a copy!    

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Il Guercino  (1591-1666):  Cosmographer with an Astrolab and Compass in a Landscape ($20,000).  He is one of my favorite artists since I saw an exhibit of his drawings in London in 2006.  I copy his drawings whenever I see one in an exhibit here in NYC., but there wasn't time on this visit.  

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Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) :  Untitled.  I love his figure drawings, and not his abstract paintings. 

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Our last stop was at the Academy Mansion (2 E63rd St).  There were 4 galleries renting space in the Mansion for Master Drawing week, and it is an amazing building that was built as a private residence in 1921, donated to the National Academy of Science for 20 years, and now owned by a real estate conglomerate - and rented out for film shoots and other events. 

This annual gallery hop never is disappointing.  It is so hard to imagine seeing the inside of so many townhouses on the Upper Eastside and such wonderful varied collections of drawings.  I just chose to include a few of my favorites in this blog post.  Below:  A David Hockney drawing (Peter Running 1968) used on a gallery banner.

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January 27, 2017

New York City Ballet Working Rehearsals

Last week my husband and I went to the NYCB working rehearsals 3 days in a row.  These are offered as part of becoming a FRIEND of the ballet company and they are amazing!  On Wednesday we listened to Andrew Litton conduct all of the music for 3 upcoming ballets.  On Thursday and Friday we watched two 2-hour working rehearsal sessions of ballets being performed this week.  I try to do a sketch each time I'm there, but the lights are usually too dim.

This is a sketch of an assistant conductor following along in the score (left) with just a glimpse of Andrew Litton conducting.  The full orchestra was in the pit, but I could see the very top of the harp. 

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The Prodigal Son Ballet - several dancers were in costume, on the stage, before the lights went down.

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A full dress rehearsal with orchestra of "Scenes de Ballet" - a wonderful ballet danced completely by students from the School of American Ballet.  The sets were gorgeous and the students amazing.  The choreography depicts a Russian ballet studio, with a very long barre diagonally in the middle of the stage.  Dancers are in pairs, with one on the left of the barre, and then another dancer on the right side pretending to be the mirror image of her.  The precision was extraordinary.  The auditorium was completely black when the curtain went up, so I memorized one dance position, and then sketched the dancers at home, reversing one to get the mirror image.  It was really hard.

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January 24, 2017

New York City Women's March

What an amazing day.  I've lived in Manhattan for more that 20 years and I've never seen such a large, very happy, energized crowd - of all ages, races, and both sexes.  A friend of mine made me a Pussy Hat - THANK YOU Michelle - and I felt appropriately dressed as I got off the subway and walked to our groups starting place. 

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We were 4 blocks away from the start of the March when suddenly the streets were packed from sidewalk to sidewalk and extra streets had to be closed down. 

Progress was very slow.

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But that gave us time to read some of the very clever signs. 

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This one says "Hate does not make America Great Again."

Meanwhile my two grandchildren who live in Washington DC, and were with the big March there, had their own signs.  Annabelle made herself one to stress Girl Power. 

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And William (Age 5) carried one made by a friend that said  "Be Kind, Tell the Truth, Be Respectful.  I expect at least as much from the President as I do from my 5 year old!

 

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As I look at the Womens' Marches that took place around the world, I'm in awe!  New York's crowd was estimated at 400, 000, LA 750,00, and DC 500,000.   This power needs to now be converted into a movement that will change Republican policy.  Everyone needs quaranteed human rights, women need to control their own bodies, diversity of all types needs to be respected, and this country needs affordable health care. 

Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

February 2017

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