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January 12, 2011

Watercolor Pencil at Figure Drawing

Last night was my first session at Society of Illustrators for 2011 and one of my art goals for this year is to move toward use of watercolor while drawing figures.  I decided that a good place to start is the 20 minute poses - and to use a watercolor pencil and then brush in the watercolor pigment with water.  My paper buckled when I added water, but I cleaned up the scan buckling lines a little with Photoshop before posting these.  Next time I will take watercolor paper for these experiments.  Stay tuned to see how long it takes me to move to watercolor and paintbrush - I move slowly....

I still did my first 20 minute pose in 9B graphite.  The contrast was increased a little for posting.



These are the other two drawings - drawn with a Caran D'Ache mahogany watercolor pencil and then painted with water:



Open this link, if you also clicked on the Society of Illustors link for Sketch Night in the first sentence:


Joan was sitting right next to me!


January 8, 2011

Journal Study Group + Two

Our small, but active, Journal Study Group, had two guests this past Wednesday - Gwen Diehn and Vivian Swift.  Gwen is an honorary member now that she has a grandson in Brooklyn and we always look forward to her visits.  Her husband Phil usually joins us for the day's activities and on Wednesday he took this picture of the group. 

We had a long brunch at Landmarc in the Time-Warner building at this great table for 8, discussed everything art-related, and passed around sketchbooks.  Gwen is a fabulous bookbinder so we also needed to consult her on several upcoming projects.  There was eating, laughing, and a great exchange of ideas.


From the Left:  Benedicte, Pat, Teri, Me, Vivian, Melly Gwen

After brunch we walked across the street to see the current exhibits at the Museum of Art and Design (M.A.D.), followed by late afternoon coffee, tea, and ice cream in the Museum Cafe for some of us.  Vivian left us mid-afternoon to deliver the manuscript of her new book to her publisher!

The Global African Project is the current large exhibit at M.A.D. and most of us gravitated to this tableau by Black Coffee (the brand for 2 South African designers) for sketching. 


I sketched one of the figures and the dog, followed by a figure and costume by Missoni Spa from 1990.



I feel so fortunate to have such an inspirational group of friends in NYC.

January 4, 2011

Art Goals 2011


Five of our 6 grandchildren join me in wishing everyone a Wonderful 2011!

Art Goals 2011 : 5th Blog Anniversary

I am a self-taught artist - someone who began this journey slowly in 2003 because of Gwen Diehn's book The Decorated Page, and more intensely in 2005 when I partially retired, joined Everyday Matters, and then started this blog (Jan 4, 2006).  Needing to make things is not new to me.  I was a seamstress, then a quilter, then silk painter for decades.  But art on paper was new and wonderful. 

I set annual goals in art (and more briefly with my other passions) and outlined my art progress for last year in the last blog post of 2010.  Here are my preliminary art goals for 2011.

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.  Have fun and be bold - I am retired!

1. Drawing Skills: I will continue to draw daily and go to live figure drawing at least once per month, but I need to mix it up a little more. I may be daring and try one 20 minute sketch with a paintbrush!

A. Draw with Different Tools:

More drawing with pens: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, Ruling pen, dip pens, different color pens etc.

Try drawing with Conte pencils, maybe even charcoal, more soluble graphite - especially at Soc. of Illustrators.

Start working through my new figure drawing book from Casey, work on Dodson Drawing Book and finish my 100 faces project from Drawing Lab - trying to explore other tools,

B. Draw More Challenging Subjects: i.e. get back to architecture, body parts. ! can’t allow my handbound watercolor journals to become too precious. I will prioritize among my daily sketches - first a visual journal entry if I’ve been out and about that day or have an important subject to draw, then hands and feet or other body parts, then architecture (NYC etc).

Finish American Sign Language photos of hands and put together a book of reference photos of hands and feet

Make book from my reference photos (NYC photos to begin) so I have some things ready to draw at night when I’m stuck. Try to think like an architect when starting the sketch and analyze basic structure.

 Try self-portaits and drawings of our family.

2. Watercolor Painting Skills: Main Goal for the year is to increase range of values! Glaze more.

Technique: Work on textures, shadows, reflections, sunshine/shadow, day/night lights

EDM Challenges - have almost an entire year that I can do - will print out, cut up, and put in a container near my art supplies. When I am totally uninspired any day, I can pick a challenge from my "EDM challenge jar."

Other challenges: 3 watercolor pencils only, new background with preprinted pages, new borders, inchies in grid, or vertical slices, or progressive abstractions, tracing paper collage over painted pages, grids for portraits, more Yupo for fun, thermofax screens, Paint same picture in different color triads etc.

3. Artist Books: I would like to make more, but I need to be motivated re: subject.

Make my daily watercolor sketchbooks with book cloth I make with dyes/surface design techniques

Make accordion books for special projects

Make a flag book with Journal Study Group for our tags

4. Monthly Book Reading List: My Personal Creativity and Art Curriculum

To Reread: Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit,  Travel Sketchbook books - may get something different from these now  (Mari Le Glatin Keis: The Art of Travel with a Sketchbook, Moira Huntly’s: Sketchbook Secrets, Richard Schilling: Watercolor Journeys.  Add others - i.e. Taking a Line for a Walk etc

To Read: Select from among the Following:  Eric Maisel: Coaching the Artist Within, Bee Shay: Collage Lab, Michael Hampton: Figure Drawing - Design and Invention, Charles Reid: The Natural Way to Paint (figures), Lisa Engelbrecht: Modern Mark Making, Claudia Nice: Creating Textures in Pen and Ink with Watercolor, Cathy Johnson: Creating Textures in Watercolor, Bert Dodson: Keys to Drawing With Imagination, Jean Dobie: Making Color Sing

5.  Continue to develop the friendships that I've made with others - through Everyday Matters, my blog, and other contacts in the creative community - especially my Journal Study Group.



January 2, 2011

A Remains of the Day Journal

One day in December I followed a few links, to another few links, and unexpectedly found Mary Ann Moss, her blog Dispatch From LA, and a reduced fee for her "Remains of the Day Journal Class."  I was just finishing lots of sewing, quilting, drawing, and painting and knew that I would want something to look forward to as 2010 ended.  The class is ongoing and consists of 3 PDF files, 27 Vimeo videos which are very easy to access and detailed enough for instruction, a Yahoo group and a Flickr site.  It is self-paced and available online indefinitely.  Exactly what I needed in the midst of the holidays.

A Remains of the Day journal has a fabric cover, over paper, and random papers with lots of stuff sewn onto them as the folios.  Mine is 6" X 9", has 3 signatures, and 8-9 folios plus watercolor paper per signature.

The Book Cover:  I gathered scraps of many fabrics, both cottons and silks, that I hand dyed or screen printed, or painted with procion MX dyes.  These were sewn together with a variegated color Sulky rayon thread on the top and regular sewing thread in the bobbin.  I even had an old silk rose made from some of my dyed fabric begging to be used. 


The Complete Cover, Unfolded:


The Pages:  During the next week I went on a hunt for papers and ephemera that were meaningful to me.  I wanted stuff from art (including some of my early watercolor test pages), quilting and sewing (a piece of my wedding dress), family/grandchildren, Journal Study Group, museums, ballet, family research, cooking, books, NYC, women in medicine, Columbia University, travel (London and a piece of wrapping paper from Venice), hematology, and envelopes that were sent to me with specific types of return addresses - T.Gentry, New York Public Library, and an envelope from my Father one month after we moved to NYC.  And I found lots of papers to use - in turn making them part of a detailed memory book for me.

But I also didn’t want it to be a scrapbook. I wanted to add original art throughout the book, so I put in a few pieces of watercolor paper (90 lb Fabriano CP) and some plain paper and graph paper for drawing. There is also one transparency and one page protector that I used as folios.  I plan to draw/paint on watercolor postcards and tuck them into the pockets and flaps.

Here are a few of the pages (from 100 total), each containing a variety of paper scraps to "decorate the pages," make flaps, and pockets.  When the journal is used, more paper will be added with writing and drawing throughout.  It is hard to explain how these journals are used.  It is so different than the watercolor sketchbooks I make that it was FUN to make and I'm sure will even be more fun to fill up. 


There is a piece of watercolor paper extending up from the fold - this is one of many scattered throughout.  The beige paper on the left is a flap that will hold watercolor postcards and paper with writing.


More watercolor paper and a pocket sewn on to hold drawings and writing.


On the right:  Photos of grandchildren, a strip of Columbia University gift paper and a map of Central Park.  Watercolor paintings will be added as flaps from the side and top of the page.On the left:  A gridded piece of paper (for writing/drawing with a pocket meant to hold drawings, writings, other ephemera.



The page on the right is accordion folded and can have art work on the sections.  Paddington is from an old journal entry of mine the day my daughter and her family moved to London.


A plain piece of drawing paper with a photomicrograph of red blood cells to make a pocket on the right and a space for writing, drawing, and a smaller pocket on the left.


Places to write, a piece of watercolor paper in the fold, a card on the right to create a flap to hold more paintings.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class and the process of making the book, and I LOVE the book.  I expect it will get very fat as I fill it with random papers, but that is what will make it even more personal as a visual journal.  Mary Ann Moss makes these for series of photos as a daily visual journal and to add writings and postcards while she is traveling.

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