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October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 My mother's huge retirement complex is always very decorated for the holidays.  For the last several weeks there have been 3 foot scarecrows scattered throughout the gardens and lining walkways.  I stopped during our walk to sketch one - quickly in pen on tinted paper and then watercolor pencil for color.

I'm off to the International Quilt Festival in Houston on Wednesday - 5 days with old friends.


October 29, 2011

A Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Our Journal Study Group, minus Teri, went to the preview of the new Islamic Art Galleries at the Met this week.  Wow!  The space was closed in 2003 for renovation and they even brought in artisans from Fez, Morocco to create special architectural decorations.  There are 15 galleries full of amazing art - beautifully arranged.  At the end of our walk through all 15 galleries, we split up and each went to sketch one thing - meeting 30 minutes later to share our sketchbooks and go to lunch.

I sketched 5 very small (3 inches high or less), wonderfully decorated cosmetic flasks which were used to hold Kohl powder.  The notes said that the powder was picked up with a small brush inserted through the tiny hole on the top.  They were made in the 10th-12th C in Iran or Central Asia.  I put the shapes of a gorgeous vase and an ewer behind them to add some scale and contrast.


After lunch we went to "Stieglitz and his Artists: Matisse to O'Keefe"  This was his personal art collection - much of it from artists he supported in the early part of the 20th C..  It was my second visit to this exhibit and I'm sure not my last. 

Alfred Stieglitz introduced America to Matisse and Picasso through shows at his gallery "291."  Both artists were later exhibited in the famous 1913 Armory Show (International Exhibition of Modern Art) which was a landmark exhibition.  These drawings from 291 were donated to the Met and were among the first pieces by either artist in the Met's collection. 

The first time I went, I sketched an early Matisse drawing in order to learn more about his "lines."  It is called "Nude With Bracelets" (1909).   Scan11054.size.jpg


During the second visit I sketched another Matisse nude and a very small Picasso drawing done on ledger paper.  I was able to link to the originals from the Met's Collection.

Matisse Reclining Nude (1907) and Picasso Study of a Harlequin (1904-5 to show the originals)



October 25, 2011

Doodling in Class

My husband and I are taking a course at Columbia about Art vs Culture.  It is a small discussion class at the Heyman Center and the first text that we read was The Two Cultures - a transcription of the 1959 lecture at Cambridge by CP Snow.  The "artists" were the great writers of the time and the scientists were in the hard sciences - physics, chemistry, and mathematics.  The premise was that these cultures were so different, that artists and scientists could not communicate with each other.

This past week we began class by reading Genesis 3 to reflect on the tree of life and tree of knowledge and then went on to consider 4 discussions between artists and scientists.  Scientists are making rapid technological advances ( like cloning), but are the "artists" capable of understanding and discussing the possible perils of these discoveries, thus beginning a dialogue about good and evil inherent in them?  Can they be translators for the society at large. 

Just because we can DO something, should we DO it? 

I doodle to keep my mind on the discussion - and here is my tree of knowledge and two classmates - all scribbled on the back of a handout with ball point pen.


October 23, 2011

Keeping a Visual Journal

This time each year my mind turns to quilting and sewing and my sketchbook reflects that shift.

1.  I will attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston the beginning of November - and have only missed one year since 1983!

2.  We have a new grandson on the way and I'm hand quilting his baby quilt.

3.  I start to think about making Christmas presents and ornaments.

So my days are full of my other passion - THREADS - and I frequently mark the day in my sketchbook with sketches/paintings that are related to how I spent the day quilting.  My sketchbook is a visual journal of my days and in years to come I will have wonderful ways to savor memories.

Here is a painting of the simple quilt square I'm using for the baby quilt and a photo before the squares were sewn together and prepared for quilting. 



When I was tired after an evening of hand quilting, I quickly sketched my hand quilting tools before bed.


I decided to declutter my studio, looking through 30 years of Quilter's Newsletter magazines - to save special pages and to give away issues that weren't ripped.  This took parts of several days and I marked the event with a journal page.


I celebrated the end of the week with a "field trip" with my art buddies -  who are also quilters/sewers.  We ventured out of New York City to Newark NJ to see a quilt exhibit from the Newark Museum's wonderful collection.  No photos were allowed, but I sketched a wonderful image from a quilt called Chanticleer (1935).  So did Pat and Benedicte - on their iPads.  I'm hoping that one of them got a photo because it can be obtained sneakily with an iPad 2.


October 19, 2011

October 2011 Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

 The following 3 figures were drawn on "costume night" and the model (an actor and dancer) wore interesting vintage clothing.  These are the 3 twenty minute poses and all were drawn with watercolor pencil and then shaded with water during the 20 minutes. 

My paper is too big for the scanner, so they were all photographed, leaving something to be desired in color and muddy background.  The paper really is bright white.




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