November 18, 2014

Sketchbook Skool Semester 3 - Danny Gregory

Danny Gregory was the last artist in the 6 week Sketchbook Skool Semester 3 "Storytelling" online course.  He moved from LA to NYC immediately before, driving the entire way.  So his sketchbook tours and demonstrations were all from his cross-country journey.  His parting gift to us was a full PDF copy of his travel journal! 

Our homework was to take a trip, even around our home or neighborhood, and to document it in pictures and words.  My journey was one day in my life - and I have 3 Sketchbook pages for the "trip."

I left my apartment at 8AM, and took a bus and subway to my ballet class.  After ballet, I did a few errands and then took the Subway to the NYC Garment District to meet my daughter who needed advice on supplies to make for her childrens' teachers' holiday presents.  We had lunch on the Upper Eastside and then I returned home - leaving several hours later to go to the Theater District in midtown for a play reading.  Here are the pages - the writing is probably unintelligible!

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 The part of Cora Flood was played by Annie Parisi who I really love!

 

I took Sketchbook Skool Semesters 2 and now 3.  Even though I belong to Everyday Matters, and am familiar with many of the teachers, I find the format of the course incredibly interesting.  This semester I still need to work on homework from my imagination by Mattias Adolphson, A poster or book cover from Jean-Christophe Defline, and drawing bodies in motion like Veronica Lawlor.  These are wonderful challenges for me and should keep me busy until Semester 4.  Can't wait for the announcement of the next theme and lineup of teachers.

 

November 14, 2014

MoMA and Matisse - Part 2

I've been back to MoMA and the Matisse Programs two more times - attending two free workshops set up in the Education Building Studio area.  Elaine Reichek, a New York artist took us through the exhibit briefly, highlighting Matisse's designs for scarves and a tapestry, and then provided us with materials and inspiration to make fabric collages of our own.  I embroidered a felt collage shape that I sketched from Matisse's 1001 Nights (in the exhibit) and then layered the felt collage onto cotton and linen with machine stitching when I got home.  I even fringed the linen and stitched a few pomegranates as Matisse might have done. 

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This week I attended a handmade paper workshop sponsored by the Matisse Education staff and presented by Dieu Donne, a NYC-based Studio.  We each made 1-2 pieces of cotton paper and added designs with stencils and pigment, or paper/fabric collage, during the paper making process.  I made one piece and used colored fabrics and pieces of a dictionary page for my collage. 

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The ripples around the edge are expected when there are materials that have different rates of drying.  The grayish color is due to the scanning process - they are actually a lovely edge feature.

 

I was working in the Matisse "Beyond the Cut-Outs" Open Studio after the workshop, just as several MoMA studio staff where adding more fabric pieces to one of the supply bins for us to use.  I was mesmerized by 2 pieces of taffeta and immediately used them as the background for a paper/fabric collage I was making.  The sketches were done previously by me and I just resized them to use for the collage on the copier that is available in the Open Studio.  I machine stitched the layers together at home to finish them. 

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Two years ago MoMA had an Open Studio in conjunction with two large Print Exhibits and I was there 8 times over 2 months.  I find that it is pure play  - the materials are not mine, there are many supplies that are inspiring, and color copies of our projects are added to several large boards, in rotation.  I am also working on a series of dancer collages that I posted in Matisse- part 1.  This week I cut up copies of each of them and used them to make another iteration.  What next?  Who knows what will inspire me next week.

November 11, 2014

Deliberate Practice

I love figure drawing, and I wanted to draw some figures, channeling Matisse.  There is a Beyond the Cut-Outs Studio at the Museum of Modern Art every afternoon except Tuesday, so I am trying to build my stash of figures that I can turn into cutouts for collage when I attend.  Here are three sketchbook pages.

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I need to "deliberately practice" drawing hands and feet - and I keep a sketchbook just for that purpose.  The poses at the figure drawing sessions are never long enough for me to concentrate on hands, so I clip photos from magazines and use those.  I'm HOPING that someday this work will pay off.

 

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November 7, 2014

Matisse and Lawlor

I sketched my favorite drawing at Christie's Impressionist and Modern Auction Preview on Monday, and on Thursday I painted the first panel of Matisse's 1001 Nights in the Matisse Cut-Out Exhibit.  He is one of my favorite artists and I love studying his lines.

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Veronica Lawlor was the teacher for Week 5 in Sketchbook Skool Semester 3.  I'm not sure that I will ever be able to draw bodies in constant motion, like Veronica, but I will practice.  I sat in the Grand Central Food Court this week having coffee and sketched 6 random people - two pairs that were very busy talking to each other, and two others that were either almost stationary or asleep. 

 

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November 4, 2014

International Quilt Festival - Houston

I started quilting in 1980 - fulfilling a long term creative wish.  The hand piecing, applique, and hand quilting were wonderful ways to be creative and make things for my husband and growing children, in the process keeping me mentally balanced between a very demanding career and a family.  This past week was my 30th annual Quilt Festival and these are my sketchbook pages.

The George Brown Convention Center from our hotel window - looking lots like the Pompidou Museum in Paris:

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A gecko painting from the Thermofax screen I used in Sharon Wagner's Class.  The image was too big to make a silk screen print on a sketchbook page, so I sketched and painted it.

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A quick sketch of Lesley Riley who was moving in front of our class as we started the process of learning how to use Transfer Artist Paper:

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A Field Mouse and Rider made as part of the "Celebration of the Doll" exhibit:

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A "reportage" drawing in about 5 minutes - capturing 3 quilters waiting to be allowed on the down escalator when the doors to the Exhibit/Vendors opened on Saturday morning.  This was part of my Sketchbook Skool homework from Veronica Lawlor - week 5 of Storytelling.  

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October 28, 2014

Mid-Semester in My Bookbinding Class

We made 5 books in class so far this semester, learning basic skills as we made each one of them.  Tomorrow our mid-semester project is due and for this we needed to make a book, using any of our techniques,  with added autobiographical content. 

The first 3 books were previously posted. 

This is Book 4:  A Pamphlet Book in Boards.  I used plain black book cloth for the cover and my wild, previously created, paste paper for the end papers. 

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Book 5:  A Quarter Round Hard Back Book With 10 Signatures.  This was a completely new binding for me and I always wondered how it was done.  The cover is made of black book cloth and my paste paper.

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Mid-Semester Project:  My Great Great Great Great Grandmother was kidnaped by the Delaware Indians in 1757 in Lancaster Pennsylvania during the French Indian War and then returned to her family in 1764 as part of the peace treaty and return of the captives negotiated by Lt.-Colonel Henry Bouquet.   There is good documentation of the kidnapping from Ben Franklin's newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette.  I saw and touched the newspaper in the the Rare Book Room of the New York Public Library.  And there is a handwritten list of captives who were returned to Fort Pitt and her full name appears on it.  The list is maintained at the William L. Clements Rare Book Library at the University of Michigan.  I always wanted to write the story for my grandchildren and used this assignment to do that.

My hardback book is 40 pages of text with 11 illustrations which are copies of paintings, maps, and lists. 

The Cover:  With a copy of a painting called the Prize, by John Buxton.  I had a lovely email exchange with the artist and I'm thrilled that I could put his painting on the cover.

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The Title Page:  Who Was Christina Wampler

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One of the pages - with text and an embedded copy of another painting - One Mile to Bushy Run Station by Robert Griffing.

 

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This book was finished just in time for my oldest grandson, Henry, to read it as his 6th grade class reaches the French-Indian War in American History.  It isn't perfect, but it was a labor of love!   

   

October 27, 2014

MoMA's Blockbuster Matisse Cut-out Exhibit and Studio

Matisse Cut-outs opened at MoMA in mid-October and it is quite wonderful.  There are several that I've never seen, and many that I'm thrilled to see again.  It is extremely crowded and it is recommended that visitors get timed-tickets online for the day of their visit.  When I was there last Thursday, the line for general admission/timed tickets for 10:30 was already very long by 9:30! 

MoMA has an activity project to accompany the exhibit, much like Print Studio in 2012 when they had two huge Print Exhibits in the galleries.  I loved Print Studio which was open in the education building 6 days each week.  Last week I went to the exhibit in the morning and to the opening afternoon of Beyond the Cut-Out with friends. Here is a description of the activity program.

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Opening Day at Beyond the Cutouts:

There were scissors, glue, and many different plain and printed papers to play with and I chose the project inspired by artist Arturo Herrera.  For this I made cut-outs that will be made into a book.  I love Matisse's figure cut-outs, so that was my focus for the afternoon.  Here is a series of 4 I made as a start.  

 

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

November 2014

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