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April 15, 2007

EDM Challenge #114: Draw Something Ugly


I had a great deal of difficulty selecting something from my everyday life that was ugly, kept for sentimental reasons, and worthy of a sketch.  Our almost 35 year old salad spinner, purchased by our first Nannie for our small kitchen in LaJolla, is now cracked, but still working.  It is really ugly, especially with a crack in the lid.  It is also probably vintage and nearly a first edition!  But I just didn't feel like sketching and painting it.  So I selected my very favorite, brown leather, pocket-sized Filofax - which was purchased new when we moved to New York City in 1993.  The snap on the small piece  which closes the notebook is broken, and the estimate to replace it was $50 approximately 5 years ago.  A new comparable Filofax was only $85 and I just wasn't ready to retire mine.  So I made a small quilted wrap for the notebook and added a long piece of velcro along the end to close it.  It is still my only calendar and general all-purpose  notebook and it travels everywhere with me in my purse.

April 9, 2007

Quarterly Progress Report for EDM Group

Goals for 2007:  I am annotating this list  - after each goal.  So far I think I'm on my own schedule and having lots of fun.

1. Continue to sketch/paint everyday in my large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.  I have done at least one sketch each day although I upload only EDM challenges and an occasional other sketch each week.

2. Complete each EDM weekly challenge and try to expand my skills by what I choose to paint for the challenge.  I have done and uploaded each of the challenges.

3. Make plans for how I will use my new Eliz. I recycled book.  I'm currently considering using it for more London sketches -  from photos that I have taken during our visits.  I have another Cachet journal for London Volume 3 and decided that I want to continue to use the same journal type for all of my London travel.  I sketched Big Ben in my new Eliz recycled book, but still need to add watercolor.

4.  Recycle another book since I have more paper from my previous purchase.  This time I will look for an old New York book that I can use for special days out and about my own city.  I have made 2 more recycled books, one for New York and one for figure drawing and have at least one page done in each.

5.  Spend more time sketching human faces and figures.  I'm not sure yet whether I want to take any life drawing classes because I love the challenge of learning on my own.  I collected some copies of Holbein's portraits and Rodin's figure drawings from our museum visits this week.  And I now own two Hockney drawing/portrait books.  I will recreate some of these pieces from the 16th C, 19th C, and 20th C for fun and then immerse myself in my city and draw people to try to develop my own style. I am sketching ballet dancers and yoga positions to practice figure drawing.  I also completed some sketches of hands and faces.

6.  Read some of the new art books on my shelf - starting with Betty Edward's book on color.  I decided to work through Anne Elsworth's Watercolor Skills Workbook and completed 2 chapters, i.e. two full lessons - and posted the exercises to my blog.

7.  Make a "larger-than-journal size" watercolor of the house my daughter and son-in-law rented this year in London so we have a personal visual memory of this wonderful year when they return to New York mid-year.  Not done yet.

8.  Be a visitor in my own city and keep a Manhattan "travel" journal.  I now have scattered journal pages throughout my daily sketchbooks.  I have a new recycled New York book and two sketches done already.

EDM Challenge 113: Draw a Fence


There are many wonderful, artistic fences in our neighborhood, but New York City is much too cold to wander around and spend time outdoors sketching.  So I opted for a really simple sketch of the fence for our apartment building service entrance.  Most apartment buildings in the city have a main entrance and a service entrance - or multiples of both depending on the building size.  The service entrance is used for deliveries and remains locked much of the day.  What is sometimes surprising to folks who live in other parts of the country, everything, or almost everything, can be ordered and delivered to your apartment.  My personal favorite is our fire wood delivery man and the Christmas tree delivery guys because I love the holidays in the city.  Even all of the very good restaurants deliver right off of their regular menu, although if I'm eating that well, I want to enjoy the restaurant ambience for those prices.


April 8, 2007




I haven't found a watercolor journal that I really love - and wanted something similar to the Moleskine sketchbook, but with watercolor paper instead of that waxed cream-colored paper.  Last year I was intrigued with Jan Allsopp's recycled books and decided that I would try to make some for myself.  I searched for very old books that were still in good condition - but unloved - and really cheap.  Here are the 3 that I made from books published in the 1940s and sold in London for 1 pound and 3 pounds or in New York City for $1.00.  Interestingly, it was the 1929 New York State Tax Report book that I found in London on Charring Cross Road for 3 pounds.  I bought 7 different types of watercolor paper to mix in the individual signatures for experimentation and used a coptic stitch for binding, using Martha's excellent instructions

Fanfare for Elizabeth:  I wanted to create a travel journal for some London sketches.  I take many reference photos while I'm visiting and only do 1-2 pages in my Cachet London Travel Journals each day (not from photos).  I will probably be able to sketch from photos for many months and wanted to recycle a book that was very English.  During one of my London visits I read Philippa Gregory's book The Other Boleyn Girl so this book was perfect at 1 pound.  I saved the photos that were in the original book and added them to some of my new pages. 


Report of the State Tax Commission 1929 - State of New York:  This was the year of our Stock Market Crash so it seemed like a historically important book for my hometown.  It was a duplicate from a British Library - and probably doomed to remain on that bookshelf until it was completely discarded.  I plan to use it for a travel sketchbook as I play tourist in my own city.  I kept the original title page, complete with the British Library of Political and Economic Science seal for the front of my book and used a subway map for the end papers.



Sonnets of Michael Angelo:  This was my $1.00 book bargain - and scattered throughout the sonnets were Michaelangelo drawings!  I added as many original pages as I could in my signatures and used a map of Italy as the end papers.  The spine wasn't in great shape so I strengthened it with book cloth on the inside and hoped for the best.  I am working on figure drawing this year and will add my sketches/paintings to this journal.




April 2, 2007

Ballet Dancers

Frazier1.jpg Frazier2.jpgFrazier3.jpg

One of the joys of my visits to the Royal Academy of Arts in London is seeing the prints of Donald Hamilton Fraser's ballet dancers in the Museum Shop.  I purchased a "postcard book"  with 18 of his postcard size prints of dancers during one of my visits and I tried to capture his sketches in ink with watercolor washes as part of my figure drawing exercises.  I love ballet, I love dancers, I love sketches and painting of dancers, and especially his prints which I knew nothing about before visiting the Royal Academy this year.

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