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January 11, 2010

More Exercises from Bert Dodson's book

As I started 2010, I finally overcame my block in the chapter 2 exercises in the Bert Dodson book Keys to Drawing, and now I'm working on Chapter 3.  This is a great set of exercises re: measurement since I often have trouble fitting figures onto the page. 

Here are two figures drawn by marking the top, the bottom, and then the midpoint.  Then a quick drawing was done and the actual midpoint measured by sighting before working further on the drawing.  This is very different than my usual technique of starting with the head and then hoping that the feet fit on the page!





January 6, 2010


While reflecting on my progress for 2009, and setting art goals for 2010, I re-energized and finally worked through my block in the Dodson Keys to Drawing book.  More specifically, I was stuck at Exercises 2D and 2F - making a tonal value strip and then using it to reproduce a black and white photo from the book.  I know that I should make quick value sketches, but never do.  And almost everything I draw or paint could be improved to increasing the darks and lightening the lights.  I also really don't enjoy working with pencils (except watercolor pencils) for a finished drawing.

But I was motivated to get over my block and move on, because I really, really do want to work on the other chapters of this book.  I did all of the other Dodson exercises in my daily sketchbook, but probably should have done this exercise on smooth drawing paper.  Oh well!  It's done, as is Exercise 2F and more experimentation with all of my pens and inks doing the same head over and over, and all of my pencils using the same figure over and over.  These changes didn't change my preferences - and I discovered that I CAN'T draw with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and I still hate charcoal and Conte pencils because of the scratchiness!!





January 4, 2010

Art Goals 2010 - on the 4th Birthday of my Blog

This is the 4th Birthday for my Blog, the perfect time for me to post my preliminary art goals for 2010 and to thank the people who make visits to it everyday.  I know some of you online, and met many of you in person.  I'm always amazed when I realize what a big world opened when the development of the internet permitted all of us to  connect with each other - from one end of the world to the other. 

This year I retired completely in July 2009 and my art projects made it a very easy transition.  I always was a seamstress and quilter (the Threads part of my blog), but maintaining a visual journal was a new passion when I partially retired in 2005.  Developing a blog early in 2006 was a critical next step, and I thank my fabulous son Jason for making it possible.  So I look forward to a new year, new friends, and great adventures through art.

Art Goals 2010: Preliminary Planning

Overall Goal for 5th Year:  Improve drawing and watercolor painting skills while maintaining an illustrated journal and continuing to participate in an on line art community through my blog.

Specific Goals:

1. Maintain an artist journal - doing one page per day minimum - to include illustrated journal pages, travel sketches, skill practice pages, figure drawing, etc.

2. Publish blog entries twice each week - share EDM challenges and other select pages in order to participate in an online art community.

3. Attend Figure Drawing sessions at least 1-2 X /month.  Try other tools and techniques during 20 minute poses.

4. Build More Art Skills:  Take another on line art class with Kate Johnson when she schedules one.  Prepare a schedule for working through my art technique library - resuming Dodson drawing book exercises this month.  Copy the Masters in Museum exhibits locally. 

5. Continue with Sketchcrawls, Meet-up Central Park Drawing Group, Journal Study Group to sketch NYC.

6. Deal with my Internal Critic and Fear of Failure:  Develop a strategy to fool my internal critic so I can continue to add to "My Apartment" journal.  The journal and project need to be converted from "too precious" to a playful experience using some of the strategies I have copied and saved from my reading about creativity.

7. PLAY:  Try some new art tools - Schmincke watercolor paint triad, dip pens, Pentel pocket brush pen, oil pencils for figure drawing, etc

8. Bookbinding - continue to make watercolor journals for myself, trying different sizes and dye painted fabric as book cloth.

9. Optional: Add to Theme Projects (London, NYC) - Try to complete some other pages in these 2 journals or just get over the angst of having two unfinished journals and move them on to the "completed journals shelves." 

10. Keep myself open to new projects and adventures. Be willing to "stretch" whenever the opportunity arises.

January 1, 2010

Art Progress 2009

Progress in 2009

Many EDM members post their annual art goals and it is very educational and inspirational to read their blog entries.  This was my 4th year of setting Art Goals at the beginning of the year and reflecting on my Progress at the end.  Each year I’m impressed with the value of this exercise.

One of my biggest accomplishments this year:  I am getting much more comfortable with limiting myself to sketchbook art through illustrated journaling and I just finished an online class with Kate Johnson called Keeping an Artist’s Journal.

I continued to do a daily journal page every day in 2009. Occasionally, very busy days precluded completion of the page, but I almost always finished it early the next day. And many days I did multiple daily sketches as part of "sketchcrawls" or figure drawing sessions. My journal pages are a mixture of daily life events, EDM challenges, sketchcrawls locally, and skills practice, including copying pieces from many museum exhibits.  One of my greatest pleasures is having one of my grandchildren search for a particular journal page I did for them.

I averaged two weekly postings to my blog in order to share my drawings with other EDM members, and was thrilled to have random comments from others who wanted permission to use an image from my blog or inquire about tools or techniques. I even did one commission piece for a company in London, which was very satisfying, but also something I decided I’d rather not do again. In May, I participated in the informal "Every Day in May Challenge" for the 3rd year. The challenge is to make art everyday, for me it is to upload my art from everyday.  I try very hard to work as I do every month, not spending a whole lot of time thinking about posting each drawing even if it is one I don't like!  The other eleven months of the year I can select a few from each week and skip the ones I hate.

One of my goals for 2009 was to do travel sketches around New York City as if this weren’t my home town. This year I joined the Meet Up Central Park Drawing Group and sketched with them both in the Park and at other parks and museums. I also have friends who enjoy sketching and we had several sketchcrawls around New York City.

I retired completely from Medicine in July and finally decided that I had time to start figure drawing sessions. I love sketching dancers and other figures, so I was practicing figure drawing from photos and posemaniacs.com for several years. But I have now gone to 5 evening sessions at the Society for Illustrators in Manhattan and love it!  It is an interesting setting, there is live jazz, a wine bar, and two models posing continually over 3 1/2 hours. 

Following a cased-in bookbinding workshop at the Studio on the Square in the summer of 2008, I’ve made all of my own watercolor journals and use 140 lb Fabriano Artistico Extra-Bright Soft Press watercolor paper. I also continue to recycle books with watercolor paper and taught several of my art buddies to make them. This year I used my watercolor journals as my daily journals and the recycled books for vacation sketching.  The books fit in my little leather backback perfectly, and the paper is exactly what I like.  And bookbinding is really fun!

What goals weren’t completed?

1.  I intended to work through Bert Dodson’s book Keys to Drawing and got bogged down in the tonal bar/tonal matching exercises (page 60-61). I’m not sure why, probably because I need to work on this so much that it seems like too big a challenge.

2.  I also only added a few drawings to three of my themed journals: London, NYC, and "My Apartment".

My London journal was my first recycled book and I used many different types of paper in it for experimentation - some of which I now hate. I was spending 2 weeks every 2 months in London that year and have 3 travel journals from the trips - 150 pages of sketches - which were done there.  I lost interest in working from photos after we returned.

My NYC journal was my second recycled book and it also has some paper I hate. But I also started to use my daily watercolor journals for NYC drawings, instead of carrying around the NYC journal, and therefore this journal is still incomplete and likely to remain so.  I will try to add more pages to my "10 block" series of drawing in my neighborhood, but only if there are enough pages of paper that I like.

My apartment journal (a large one made in my bookbinding workshop) only has one page done since I started it last year. I think this project (and especially the journal) became too precious and I stopped looking at it as "play". That was deadly! I need to beat down my internal critic, find a solution, and restart the project.

I continue to enjoy my friends at Everyday Matters and thank them for being a source of inspiration - and for leaving generous comments on my blog which keep me going.  Although I don't always have time to comment when I'm "wowwed" by their work, I go to the homepage and read every message, and look at each blog and Flickr link daily.  The talent of the group is amazing!!

I really miss the first EDM Superblog and some of the members whose work I saw there every morning when I signed on.  I feel as if the group activity is now so diffuse (with the 2nd Superblog, Facebook, Message Board, and Flickr group), that it takes longer to stay in touch. 

January 4th is the 4th birthday of my blog and my goals for 2010 are almost written to post on the 4th. 

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