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December 30, 2008

Some Christmas Journal Pages and EDM Challenge #203

It is hard finding time to do a daily sketch over the Christmas Holidays - Unless the journal pages are fast and simple.

Here are beautiful Christmas trees that are put up for a month along the Avenue.


My new favorite Christmas candy -


Another Toy Soldier from Rockefeller Center.  I painted one last year and now should make this a tradition when I go down to see the fabulous tree.


The facade of the newly renovated Guggenheim is now visible again.  We took our oldest grandson for lunch and then a visit last weekend.


Finally did last week's EDM Challenge.  In our apartment, the children drink their apple joice from juice boxes or sippy cups.




December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008 - Part 2

This was the year that all 3 of our children and their families were with us for Christmas.  Next year we'll have to share some of them again with their other grandparents.  We gave each of our 5 grandchildren a toy they wanted, a book that they didn't have (hard to find!), and something that I made for them.  For the second day in a row, I want to add "some threads" to my blog.   

Although I make each grandchild a hand-quilted quilt when they are born, I also make them a machine quilted one during the first year.  These are indestructable and can be washed and dried endlessly.  This is 9 month old Annabelle's new quilt, which matches her very pink room.


I make each of our grandchildren a photo pillow for their room when they are toddlers.  Callum just turned 2 and here is his pillow with a photo that I took of him this summer.


Robbie (age 3) is our "train guy" and he loved the train pillow that I made for his big cousin Henry.  He just moved from his crib to a bed, so I made him an identical pillow to match his new comforter and sham.



Sydney (age 4) loves princesses, fairies, ballet tutus, pink and purple.  Henry is a bit of a sports fanatic at age 5.  I made each of them new pillowcases for their beds - which can be interchanged with other special ones, some of which I made previously (i.e. Spiderman!).  Here are their folded pillowcases.


I love making gifts for our grandchildren.  But as the numbers increase, and I need to recreate many of the same things for each of them as they reach a certain age, my list of projects keeps growing!  My daughter-in-law just brought me a photo of a tooth fairy pillow as a suggestion for the next age!  Our oldest grandchild is now 5 so it won't be much longer before the tooth fairy enters our life!

December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

I love sewing for Christmas and for many years made several dozen Christmas ornaments for friends and family each year.  Even after giving a full set to each of my children when they got married, our tree is still full.    Since I regularly ignore the "threads" part of my blog since I started drawing and painting, I thought that I would end the year with several blog entries of my other passion.


This year I made a collection of angels for my granddaughters and friends at work.  The angel dresses are created from old patchwork quilt scraps. 



I made my grandsons and other friends a reindeer.  Each of these reindeers is about 8" tall and quite goofy looking which makes them very endearing.



I finally completed another one of my Holiday goals.  I made quilted silk wedding canopies (chuppahs) for each of my children's weddings.  This year I took some of the leftover silk that I dyed and made Christmas doves for them and another dove from scraps of my wedding dress for me.




Finally, I made big stockings for my children as youngsters and then one for each of their spouses and children through the last few years.  And a decade ago we decided to go "green" and use big (24 X 30 inch) Santa gift bags instead of wrapping presents and now everyone has a gift bag that we fill.

This was our 5th and youngest grandchild Annabelle's first Christmas so I made her a stocking and gift bag.  The "santa A" was taken from a Santa alphabet that I saved from the cover of a Marshall Field's Christmas catalogue years ago. 




I also made other gifts or stocking stuffers for each of our grandchildren.  We were so thrilled when Henry was born 5 years ago, that I started to make gifts for him.  Now each of the other grandchildren "needs" the same present as they reach a given age which keeps me really busy in my studio.  More "threads" photos tomorrow.

December 22, 2008

Art Progress 2008

Progress on My 2008 Art Goals: This was my second year to list my goals - and it is now time to reflect on my progress (written in bold type).

1. Continue doing a daily sketch, a weekly EDM Challenge, and two blog postings per week.

I did at least one drawing per day for another full year, sometimes more than one. I missed 3 EDM weekly challenges. And I averaged at least 2 blog entries per week. My contact with the Everyday Matters art community is both my continued inspiration and the source of my knowledge. My online friends are even more delightful in person and I was thrilled to spend time with several again this year.

2. Work in Progress:

a. Continue my figure drawing in the Michaelangelo Sonnet recycled book - I only have a few more blank pages. I completed this recycled book and now I am filling another recycled book with figure and face practice drawings.

b. Continue to play and experiment with images from my London photos for my recycled Eliz. I book. I only added drawings on 2 pages of this recycled book. I am working from my London photographs and just forget about them when I sit down at night to fill a journal page.

3. Focused Project: Fill up my 1929 NY State Tax Report recycled book. I have lots of NYC sketches in my Moleskine journals and I'd love to return to the same sites with my New York journal. I only added paintings to 10 pages to this journal this year. I find that I am more likely to use my Moleskine daily watercolor journal when I am out sketching in New York City.

In the NY recycled book I want to:

a. Continue to work on my "10 blocks from home" series. None done. Why not? I really loved this idea, and frequently intended to take an hour to walk 10 blocks and then sketch. But I didn’t! It was too hot, or too cold, or raining. But if these were important to me, I would have finished this series by now. Maybe next year I need to set a deadline for completion. I’m much better when I can focus on a project in this way.

b. Create a travel sketchbook as if I were wandering the city as a visitor. I have many urban sketch pages in my Moleskine watercolor journal. I take it with me when I leave our apartment and frequently sketch "what is in front of me." These are more likely to be visual journal pages than finished drawings/paintings of NYC landmarks.

4. Finish all 52 weeks of the Eric Maisel’s . I'm on week 31 and I have no idea where this work will lead - but it is fun! and enlightening!

I finished the entire year-long creativity program and for my big creativity project during weeks 44-52, I sketched all of my previous homes, made floor plans from memory, and wrote an essay about each house or apartment. This was a wonderful project and I’m extremely pleased with myself for finishing this book. I think the major benefit of the "course", which included lots of writing, was to further beat down my internal critic. The exercises that I did in weeks 1-43 were totally for and about me - my ideas, reflections, exploration, and creative play. And then I was able to plan a bigger 8 week project which is now part of our family memories.

5. New Skills:

a. FACES: I really need to spend time drawing faces and bought a fun book for myself to work through over the next year. This year I sketched many more figures and faces. Most of the faces were from photos, although I did sketch some people in airports and in conferences. My goal was to sketch faces on figures, and not leave them blank, and I even managed to do that. But I still need much more practice and will keep this goal at the top of my list for 2009.

b. TREES: Practice drawing more. I didn't. I just don’t like landscape painting and get no joy out of trying to become better at sketching trees. I am learning how to clearly enunciate what is my passion and to not feel guilty about ignoring other subjects.

c. LEARNING FROM the MASTERS: Sketch at art exhibits and from books of drawings. I’m so fortunate to live in New York City and to be surrounded by amazing museums and outstanding art. This year I sketched works by many artists from exhibits and even more from books of master drawings that I own. Some of the artists that inspired journal pages are: Van Gogh, Degas, Picasso, Cezanne, Lucien Freud, EH Shephard, Klimt, Wm Steig, Modigliani, Courbet, Goya, Maillol, JMW Turner, Matisse, Kirchner, Seurat, and Morandi. I even bought Arches MCM paper to do Seurat drawings on the type of paper that he used - and after copying several of his drawings, used his technique to sketch my son-in-law and 2 grandchildren.

I was intrigued by Leon Kosoff’s repeated paintings of the same master artist’s painting in the National Gallery in London and thought that this might be a fun exercise for me. I searched for a painting that I truly loved (and contained faces and figures) and did my first annual painting of Van Gogh’s Card Players at the Met last January. I plan another visit to paint it the week between Christmas and New Years this year and hopefully will do the same annually

6. Bookbinding: Recycle old books as watercolor journals and take a bookbinding class. I made great progress on this goal! I recycled more unloved, $1 books and took a bookbinding workshop and made 3 new journals for myself! I used one of this year’s recycled books for our vacation in Montreal and Quebec City and another for our summer beach and lake vacations. I am almost finished with the second journal that I made after my bookbinding workshop and so far really like the size and paper that I chose.

7. Attitude Adjustment: I love books and therefore imagine that most of my art work will be small - and in sketchbooks. But my daily sketchbook has become more of a visual journal and I find that I'm not willing to take big risks - and be really playful on those pages.

I became a little more playful and experimental in my Moleskine and rarely used loose pages. When I did, I usually finished the sketches with a watercolor wash and collaged them into my daily journal. I took Danny Gregory’s course in Illustrated Journaling in Nov-Dec and I’m interested in seeing how that will affect my daily journal sketching.

I look forward to continued inspiration and learning from the art community at Everyday Matters and extend wishes for a Happy, Healthy, and artistically productive New Year to each EDM member.


December 21, 2008

Rice Mice

The wife of one of my professors wrote this book for her 3 small children in 1978 when she was terminally ill, to share some of her memories from her childhood in Denmark.  Her husband, Sam Refetoff, gave me a copy when my children were very young and I made Rice Mice for them.  In the book every mouse is accompanied by a poem and my children wrote poems to capture their individual mouse's personalities.  


Some time during the ensuing years I made two Christmas Rice Mice and every year they are part of our table decoration.  They are approximately 5 inches high and filled with standard white rice.


I sketched them last year for my journal page on December 24th and then again last evening.  This year's painting is more accurate because I took the time to put in the polka dots!  Since I didn't post the journal page last year, here are both 2007 and 2008.  This year I painted a shiny gold acrylic background around the mice - wish it could be scanned and look that way!





Several years ago I made Rice Mice (singular is Rouse Mouse!) for my 3 oldest grandchildren as stocking stuffers, using scraps from quilts that I made for them.


I think it might be time this morning to make one for each of the baby grandchildren for their stockings.  Those for the children have embroidered eyes instead of buttons - which is not nearly as cute, but much safer!

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