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January 13, 2009

EDM Challenges #205 and 206

I usually drink Diet Coke from bottles, but painted the soda can that I could find.  I'm fascinated with the bold words "New York" which appear several times around the rim.  Do cans sold in other cities have a city-specific name?

                 Soda.jpg

We spent almost 4 months in the UK, in the aggregate, the year my daughter and her family lived in London.  I was always learning new words for objects, but these remain among my favorites because the British word connotes something entirely different in America.

                    Jumper.Braces.jpg

 

January 11, 2009

Cezanne Card Players at the Met

In the summer 0f 2007, we saw an exhibit of Leon Kossoff's drawings at the National Gallery in London.  Although I didn't love the style of his Conte drawings, I was fascinated with his method of working as an artist.  Kossoff was born in London in 1926 and is a prominent member of the School of London which also includes Lucien Freud.  On the exhibit page, there is a link to one of his very rare interviews, actually done in his exhibit space.  Kossoff never paints from photos and although he doesn't consider himself accomplished in drawing, he starts every painting with a fresh drawing and then takes his work back to the studio for painting.  Since he was a child, he has drawn and redrawn many of the master works at the National Gallery, and in the interview he relays how he gets his inspiration from these drawings and every day wakes up saying that maybe today he'll learn how to draw! 

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/exhibitions/leonkossoff/default.htm

I wondered whether drawing and redrawing a masterpiece that speaks to you would lead to some type of magical experience if you were in the presence of the masterpiece and drawing it over many years.  So I thought I would try it when I returned to New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Last January I selected  Cezanne's Card Players which I have always admired.  It is prominently placed in the 19C galleries and actually has one of the few gallery benches in front of it in the middle of the room.

Using watercolors, instead of oils, was a challenge, but I really wanted my work to be more than just an ink or Conte drawing.

Here is the link to my drawing from Jan 2008:

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2008/02/museum_visits_in_new_york_city_1.php

Here is the link to the painting from from the 2008 drawing:

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2008/05/cezanne_card_players_painted.php

 

Yesterday I arrived at the Met when it opened and had 45 minutes during which I was completely alone drawing the Card Players in one of the 19th C. galleries.  The Met allows pencils, but not pens or paints, so like Kossoff, I returned home to finish it.  But I wanted to try to reproduce the colors, and worked from a photo that I took.

My 2009 Painting:

CardPlayers09SIZE.jpg

Cezanne made 5 Card Player paintings.  The first one has 5 figures and is part of the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia.  The Met has the second one which was painted in 1890-92.  - which has 4 figures.  The remaining 3 all have two figures.

I also thought that it might be fun to see how my style or skills change over the years - so far not much to my eye.  But I wonder whether next year I might decide not to draw in ink, or perhaps to change the colors, or even to move to more of an abstraction.  In the interview, Kossoff tells how he once went home from a National Gallery drawing session, and just painted the Rembrandt painting using his own style, without a predrawing on the canvas.  He has no idea why his mind just wanted to do that!

January 10, 2009

More Painted Christmas Trees

I continued to paint Christmas trees this year throughout the holiday season - and now post #3 and 4 from my journal.  I was disappointed to find that watercolor paint is absorbed so rapidly into Fabriano 140lb soft press paper that adding salt immediately didn't allow me to get a snow effect on a painted tree.  However, I read all of Vivian Swift's book When Wandrers Cease to Roam on New Year's Day, and was inspired to use her watercolor technique to paint a small tree with the suggestion of snow.

                      ChristmasTree4SIZE.jpg

Yesterday I was putting Christmas cards away and found another painted tree which inspired me to paint #4 in my daily journal, with a healthy amount of gold metallic acrylic paint added for a string of beads and stars.

                   ChristmasTree3SIZE.jpg

It is currently snowing in Manhattan, and there are Christmas trees propped up against trees in front of our apartment waiting to be picked up for the City mulching program.  They already have a wonderful layer of snow on their branches, giving me many trees to paint tonight if I want to bundle up and go downstairs! 

January 6, 2009

3rd Anniversary of my Blog on January 4th

I had no intention of starting a blog until I joined Everyday Matters in September 2005.  Initially I lurked and just enjoyed the energy and inspiration of the group, while sketching most days and doing the EDM weekly challenges in my sketchbook.  By December  2005 I was adding color with watercolor paint to my pages and faithfully reading the EDM messages.  Suddenly I wanted to participate more and my son set up the blog for me, with a few simple questions re: name, color etc. and some quick lessons via telephone on how to upload images and post comments. 

I love the connection that I feel to so many menbers of EDM and wish to thank all of those who have been with me for the journey.  I'm delighted that the EDM group has so many new members and hope that they find the inspiration and generous sharing that I found in the group.  I could never have imagined taking a 6 week class with Danny Gregory 3 years later, and was delighted to realize how much I've learned and grown artistically.

To celebrate, I decided to post a Christmas Eve photo of our grandchildren.  My husband just asked whether I thought we'd ever get a single good photo of the entire group.  If my portraits were better, I might try drawing them!  Six months ago I uploaded a photo which was the first time that all 5 were together.  These little people love me to draw and paint their toys, costumes, or the events we share and my granddaughter Sydney draws and paints with me regularly. 

5Bambinos.SIZE.jpg

January 5, 2009

EDM Challenge #204 and Some Figure Drawing Practice

We have had minimal snow in New York City since this challenge was posted, so I went back to photos from a February 2005 trip to Paris.  It was the first time we were in Paris in the snow and it was a beautiful site.  This drawing was made from a photo that I took from the window of an apartment that we rented on Quai de l'Horloge early in the morning.

                 Paris%20Snow.jpg

One of my 2009 Art Goals was to finish the pages in my 2nd Figure Drawing Practice watercolor journal.  I periodically sketch figures, faces, and hands from photos to obtain some fluency drawing the human body and experimenting with a variety of tools.  I'm finally willing to put faces on my full figure drawings - a major accomplishment of 2008!  Here are two figures that I sketched from photos during this wonderfully relaxing New Year's holiday weekend.  The rest of the time I've been reading, quilting, and binding 2 new watercolor journals for the New Year.

               Fig.Jan3.jpg

                      Fig.Jan4.jpg

 

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