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January 14, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - My New Class

Today was the first day of the first week of the Jeanne Oliver Course that I am taking online.. <jeanneoliver.ning.com>           WOW! 

Jeanne selected Henri Matisse as her Artist and I've already watched over 2 hours of wonderful videos and haven't yet watched more than half of them. 

Each week, for 9 weeks, a different artist selected by Jeanne will present "her Master" through videos and exercises.  We will learn more about the artist, analyze technique, and then paint in the style of their artist.  The goal of the class is to study individual artists so completely and to practice their specific techniques enough that we can use this information to develop our own voice and style.

Matisse is one of my favorite artists and I have sketched from his paintings and drawings in museum exhibits many times (22 times according to my sketchbook index), so listening to her and seeing how she is studying him in depth is fascinating.

Here is the last Matisse painting entry in my sketchbooks - Matisse's oil painting of Lady in Blue, 1937.


Jeanne is creating a pattern book for herself from Matisse's paintings in the last video I viewed today. I wanted to have at least one sketchbook page to honor the beginning of this wonderful 9 week class. So I went back to images that I made at a 2005 Matisse Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams   His Art and His Textiles    June 23–September 25, 2005

"This is the first exhibition to explore Henri Matisse's (1869–1954) lifelong fascination with textiles and its profound impact on his art. It features forty-five painted works and thirty-one drawings and prints displayed alongside examples from Matisse's personal collection of fabrics, costumes, and carpets. The exhibition marks the first public showing of Matisse's textile collection—referred to by the artist as his "working library"—which has been packed away in family trunks since Matisse's death in 1954."

He used patterns from the first piece of fabric in his collection in many of his paintings (a blue and white toile that he called "Toile de Jouy").   



And here a color painting of my 2005 pen and ink sketch, some patterns from the Indigo and white toile: 




And lastly, here is a painting in which this textile pattern is a major part of the background.


It is probably not too late to sign up for this online class for anyone that is interested.











January 11, 2014

Beginning of a New Year

I am celebrating my 20th weekly ballet class after my return to my favorite form of exercise.  I always loved dance - of all kinds - and took ballet classes once or twice a week during many years of my adult life.  But I "lapsed" when I retired and during the summer decided that I had to return - at least for the entire barre part of the class.   


My friend Teri, a mixed-media artist, told me about two online Art Journal groups she joined for 2014.  I looked carefully at both of them and decided on a "Documented Life" project. 


I love memoirs and have many ways that I document my life and those in my family - including all of my ancestors back for several hundred years. 

Each week there is a prompt posted, and members create a journal page in a modified Moleskine Weekly Planner.  I love the idea of a weekly prompt, and for years did the weekly Everyday Matters challenge.  But I wanted to draw/paint in ink with watercolor on my favorite watercolor paper.  I tore a sheet of Fabriano Artistica  140 lb extra-white Soft Press paper into folios, made signatures with two folios per signature (i.e. 8 pages), and started the prompts on the first signature.  I have the pages in the signature numbered so I can bind the book, in order, at the end of the year. 

Week 1:  Front Door

I live in a New York City apartment building and sketched and painted the small hall off the elevator and my front door.


Week 2:  A Selfie

I debated about drawing a self-portrait, but recently did that for my FIT Figure Drawing class.  So instead I sketched and painted "The Selfie of My Dreams."


January 7, 2014

Our Visit to Washington DC

We spent a long weekend in Washington DC visiting our son, his wife, and two children.  When they moved to DC, I started a "Washington DC Travel Sketchbook" and used it to record events of our visits.  I finally finished one sketchbook and this time brought Volume 2 - a Moleskine Watercolor book.  Here is my 5 year old grandaughter Annabelle helping me finish the title page.



She loves to draw and paint.  Together we spent hours drawing and painting at the table and then at the National Museum of the American Indian. 

One of Annabelle's Nutcrackers, a memento of the ballet this year.   


Two year old William in his Santa hat.  We used a new set of Prang glitter paints for his hat and shirt.  Annabelle loved the glitter.


 I loved this painting at the American Indian Museum - Maidu Creation Story by John Fonseca (2000).



  Here are several of the images I sketched from the painting while Annabelle was painting a rainbow. 


William has a favorite little stuffed Elmo and several days before we arrived he ate the black felt pupils off the eyes!  I brought black embroidery thread and stitched new pupils making William very gleeful. 


I am hoping that these sketchbooks - and our shared time painting - will create wonderful memories for our grandchildren.  Already Annabelle loves looking at the first volume and identifying the paintings. 

January 3, 2014

Happy 8th Anniversary to Paper and Threads

 I reflected on my 2013 progress in my last blog post and now want to enumerate my current goals for 2014.  My 8th blog anniversary is tomorrow making this the perfect time to plan for another year.

Goals for 2014:   

My main goals remain:  Daily Sketch, Blog 2X/week, Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators every month and each Wed during the summer at the Battery Park Conservancy. 

I wanted to give a little structure to the beginning of the year - when it is so easy to slow down after the Holidays are over, so I planned a few classes! 

1. I want to take another Fine Art class each semester as a Senior Scholar at FIT.  Registration for Spring semester is January 24th and I won't find out which class I will get until that day.

2. I signed up for an online Craftsy Class called The Art of Dying with Jane Dunnewold - to inspire me to use some of my dyes and the many techniques I've learned over many years.  I use the dyed fabric for bookcloth and assorted other art quilt projects.

3. I also signed up for an online 9 week Class with Jeanne Oliver called Studying Under the Masters.  It begins on January 14th.  I always copy drawings and paintings from the exhibits I attend, so this will be FUN!

4. As the year progresses, I may look for a calligraphy class at the Society of Scribes to move beyond Italic Calligraphy and make an Artist Book based on a favorite 1868 book about educating women.

5. I will continue making books - and have a list of structures I still want to explore. 

6. Lastly, I look forward to many art playdays with my friends Teri, Pat, and Benedicte.  They make all of this even more fun. 


Undoubtedly I will dream up more projects as the year progresses and will be "flexible" and enjoy where each of these individual activities take me.   

What are your goals??? 






January 1, 2014

Reflections on 2013


It is time for me to reflect on my accomplishments in 2013 and set a few goals for 2014.  This is my review of 2013 - I'll add my plans for 2014 at the end of the week.   I do this each year and find that it really helps me focus, without being too constraining.

My interest in drawing restarted when I partially retired from Medicine in the summer of 2005.  I found the Everyday Matters Yahoo group online and joined in September in order to learn more about sketchbook art. 

My interest in drawing and watercolor painting intensified and my blog was born on January 4, 2006 so I could fully participate in this wonderful online art community.  Since then I've been teaching myself and learning from art blogs, books, and museum exhibits. My sketchbooks definitely give extra meaning to my life in retirement.  

My long term art goals were developed after I retired completely in 2009 and remain the same:

To develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric. 

2013  Goals and Progress 

1.  Sketch everyday and blog twice per week, expanding my knowledge of art, various media and techniques, and bookbinding.

I didn't sketch everyday, but there were enough days that I filled multiple sketchbook pages, thereby averaging more than one/day over the year.  I have trouble finding something to sketch during quiet days in the apartment because I think I've sketched almost everything!  

In January I decided to sketch/paint a series of elephants from photos and videos, using every type of pen, pencil, paint, and pastel that I own.  Over the next few months I did 20 and learned lots about the tools I have.  My favorite elephant was created using painted paper made on a Gelli plate and the collage techniques of Eric Carle. 


Most of my other daily sketches are done in museum exhibits, while traveling, during times with my grandchildren, and when I wanted to practice a skill (especially figure drawing at the Society of Illustrators and the Battery Park Conservancy). 

2.  Take more classes.  

In 2013 I took a one day class on Making Paste Paper with Lynn Gall at the Center for Book Arts and a one semester class called Figure Drawing I at the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

I love to take an occasional online class to remain inspired and took Kate Johnsons "Ink and Watercolor Wash" miniclass,  a Strathmore online class with Steven Cefalo called "Drawing on Toned Paper," and a class by Mary Ann Moss called Sewn - which was really an opportunity to create designs on paper with every tool and many types of paint and ink that I have. 

3.  Learn More Bookbinding Techniques

I make my own watercolor sketchbooks using the Cased-In method and during the last 5 years learned several other techniques.  But I never made books using many of the classic/standard methods and decided that I'd like teach myself - making it a monthly project throughout the year.  Each month I researched the history of the chosen structure, watched some You Tube videos, and established a method from my growing bookbinding library. 

In order, from January through September, I made:  Coptic, Long Stitch, Flag, Accordion, Portfolio, Japanese Stab, 7 Folded Book Structures, Two Sewn as One, and a Flexagon.    

During the year I also made several other books using pamphlet stitches and an experimental book structure combining Coptic stitching on an accordion and a single "flag" in each accordion fold. 

Here is the pile of books made:



For anyone who would like to see individual blog posts, there is a bookbinding category on the right side of my blog if you scroll down. 


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