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November 11, 2013

Maya Giving Birth to Buddha

Our Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup group met at the Rubin Museum of Art yesterday.  The museum staff was very welcoming and I was able to sit on an artist's folding stool and sketch/paint Maya Giving Birth to Buddha, a clay figure from the 9th C. Pala Dynasty, India.

This group meets outdoors during the warmer weather, and then moves indoors to one of New York's many museums during the cold weather.  Next month we are meeting at the Museum of the City of New York.

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November 8, 2013

The Richest Man in American History

We just returned from a two day visit to Tarrytown NY.  Yesterday we took the Grand Tour of Kykuit, the country home of John D. Rockefeller, his son John D. Rockefeller Jr., and "Junior's" son Nelson Rockefeller (4 time Governor of New York State/VP under President Ford).  It is a 40 room, 6 floor house set high on the Eastern shore of the Hudson River.  It is now a United States Historic Trust Site and it is really worth a visit.  The house is beautiful and comfortable and the surrounding gardens are amazing - especially the modern sculpture collection everywhere that you look.

In 2008 Forbes calculated that John D. Rockefeller was worth 663 billion in 2007 dollars!

Here is the main facade:

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And here is the view from the porch on the other side.  Those are the Palisades on the other side of the Hudson River: 

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This is the Southern facade facing one of the formal gardens.  You can see 4 floors - the other two are below ground.

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Just an example of the modern sculpture which was EVERYWHERE - a figure by Aristide Maillol:

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No photos were permitted in the house, but I did two VERY Quick sketches as our guide was talking.

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Today we went to the Union Church of Pocantico Hills - of which Rockefeller family members were founders.  They commisioned Matisse to design a Rose Window in honor of Abby Rockefeller - and he finished the paper cut designs 2 days before he died.  The family then commisioned a very large stained window by Chagall at the back of the santuary in memory of John D. Rockerfeller Jr.  Chagall visited the church several times and after completion of another stained glass window for the side of the santuary, he proposed replacing the plain glass windows for the entire santuary - 8 more total.  These are the only cycle of Chagall church windows in America. 

There is a modest entry fee, but it is amazing and well worth a visit.  No photos were allowed, but here are photos for the modest entrance and the largest Chagall window from the outside.

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We went to Tarrytown primarily to have dinner at Blue Hill Restaurant - which is set in the Stone Farms Center for Food and Agriculture - a non-profit experimental station.  The resturant serves food grown or raised on the farm and it is unique and DELICIOUS!

This is the entrance to the Stone Farms inner courtyard - all constructed from the old barns - and my photos of sheep in the barn and toulouse geese out in the grass.

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November 5, 2013

Two More Figure Drawing Classes at FIT

Each class begins with 4 Five Minute poses of the model just for us to warm up.  Now we spend the rest of the 3 hours with one long pose - with periodic breaks for the model during which the Professor shows us prints to demonstrate specific techniques as done by master artists.

Last week our assignment in class was to draw any part or all of the model using black and white charcoal with sanguine conte - red, black, and white.  It wasn't until I saw some of the prints from artists like Ruebens that I realized how subtly these 3 colors were used.  I chose to do a portrait, from the waist up, and to use the textile behind the model to add red.

IMG_20131028_204649_639.size.jpgLast night our Professor began the class by showing us many Matisse drawings, in order to illustrate how figures can be placed in specific settings - using Matisse's love of textiles and patterns.  He then draped the background for our model with 3 different textiles and placed her on a patterned pillow. 

We did our 5 minute warm up drawings and then spent the rest of the evening sketching her in one pose.

 

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Next week we are going to add color to our figure drawings, using nu-pastels.  I am now finally using charcoal instead of 9B graphite pencils for drawing.  The General Ex-soft pencils don't freak me out.  And I am getting more used to drawing and shading with the charcoal and conte.  So progress is being made. 

November 1, 2013

Greetings From Quilt Festival

I am currently at the 39th Annual International Quilt Festival at the Houston Convention Center - one of my favorite trips each year.  When I went for the first time, it was held in the old Shamrock Hilton Hotel.  It now fills this entire space.

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There are more than 1100 vendor booths - this is a photo I took of a small portion of the vendor floor from a window on the second floor. 

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Non-quilters may be surprised at the direction that quilting has taken from the days of quilting frames and scraps of old clothing.  This is a prize-winning group quilt made by the 3 artists photographed in front of it.

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I take several classes - there are more than 350 classes this year given by over 100 teachers.  But I also meet friends and make new friends.

Raena, a virtual friend from the online Everyday Matters art group met me there two years in a row for our very own sketchcrawl. 

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And Roz, who I met standing in front of Susan Shie's Obama Quilt in 2008, drops by every year for a quick walk around the exhibits.  And has even visited me in New York City!

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Last year we were trapped in New York City due to Hurricane Sandy.    I started attending Quilt Festival in 1983 when I was living in Texas and have only missed 2 in all those years - 1984 and 2012.  The category named "Threads" on the right side of my blog details my work as a textile lover!

I'll be back next week! 

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