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March 29, 2014

Gauguin Metamorphoses

A big and unusual Gauguin exhibit recently opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Although there are several of his oil paintings - mostly done in Tahiti - the focus of the exhibit is on his experimental works across mediums:  ceramics, wood sculpture, wood cut prints, watercolor and gouache monotypes, and oil transfer drawings.   

The MoMA website is quite good - and you can both learn about Gauguin and see many examples of these works.  The first link is to the MoMA website, the second is a description of the exhibit from ArtDaily.org.



I loved learning about his experimental techniques - his monotypes and oil transfer drawings.  But when I wanted something to sketch, at the end of our visit, I selected one of his wood sculptures.  They were beautiful!

Here is a photo of the wood sculpture called "Nina"  - taken with my phone from the exhibit monograph (done in the Museum Shop because No Photography was permitted.


And here is my copy of Gauguin's simple self-portrait and the image of "Nina" from the wood sculpture. 


March 28, 2014

More Sewing With Sydney and Zach

Sydney (age 9) has a few more days of Spring Vacation and asked if she could come to sew with me.  She specifically wanted to make another fusible applique placement - with lots of satin stitching on the machine. 

When our children were very young I bought them hand crafted animal placemats in a store in Ghiardelli Square, San Francisco.  Each animal was represented with a head, feet, and tail.  I've designed many more since then.  Yesterday we had to create a drawing of monkey, and dragged out my previous paintings to copy them. 

Here is a painting that I did in Feb 2006 of Sydney's "Lovie" - the one in the center. 


She was 13 months old then and Monkey still sleeps with her and is a bit of a world traveler.   The other two "Lovies" belong to her big brother Henry and her cousin Robbie.

Syd picked out the fabric and thread colors for her newest placemat - and here she is sewing and then with her finished placemat!



I promised my son's child Zachary - age 4 - that we could make him a new Zebra placement!  So I had to design a zebra head, legs, and tail placemat for him and today he worked with me to trace the pattern, and learned about fusible.  And then he sat on my lap and did an amazing job working the foot pedal as we stitched his zebra.  



March 24, 2014

Figure Drawing at The New School - Parsons

I haven't gone to a Figure Drawing Session since my FIT Course ended last semester.  The Holidays were busy and then I started my Silk Dye Painting Class on the night I always went to the Society of Illustrators.  So I was a little apprehensive about attending a new drop-in location on Friday afternoon, but my friend Judy paved the way. 

They have 3 models who rotate the different sets of poses.  The first model did 20 one-minute poses.  YIKES!  These have never been fun for me - and she struck such bizarre poses that in the middle I just drew her head.  If you look at the right of these heads you can see that she literally threw herself on the floor and lifted up onto her shoulders with her feet in the air!



I already sketched the 2nd model 3 previous times - two at the Society of Illustrators and once in my FIT class.  Familiarity, however doesn't necessarily make it easier. 

Here are 3 five minute poses of Blaine - and one 20 minute long pose.



The 3rd model did some of the longer poses.  Here are 2 ten minute poses - and then one of approximately 15 minutes at the end of the session.



All drawings were done with a Derwent Sketch and Wash pencil - so I could add water if I wanted to after the session.  There are on large paper and were photographed, not scanned.

March 21, 2014

Odds and Ends

I decided to end my Studying Under the Masters Class after 8 weeks.  It was WONDERFUL and I learned so much more about using my watercolors and my palette - much more because I learned it on my own through trial and error.  The 9th apprentice and artist didn't interest me at all, so now I'm back to other projects.

I needed another new watercolor sketchbook and finally had time to make it.  I overdyed a monoprint I didn't like and then added a screen print of one of my figure drawings that I made into a thermofax screen.  This is a drawing of a pregnant model that I used before for other projects.  This is a 48 page, 140 lb cased-in watercolor sketchbook, made using my standard method.



I haven't talked much about my Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) spring semester class.  I am taking silk dye painting and we are learning many techniques on one 36 X 36 inch piece of silk.  In our second class we mixed a full range of dye colors from our 3 primaries plus black and now we refer to it as a general guide for all of our subsequent painting.  Here is the grid created with gutta and then "painted" with the dye colors we mixed. 


The second vertical row has our 3 primary and 3 secondary dye hues.  Row one has tints of those (diluent added to lighten).  Rows 3 and 4 are classic complementaries of the primaries and secondaries and their tints, and Rows 5 and 6 are their shades (black added to darken) and their tints. 

We've used many types of resists to make butterflies and flowers (gutta, wax and water soluble),  and played with salt and alcohol effects.  They are all on the left side of the silk.

We are now working on "grounds" of wax or gutta/turpenoid and painting leaves.  These are above and below the color grid - and this picture was taken before class this week before I finished my leaves.  At the bottom is a textile design I made using Tjantings, stamps, and several layers of wax and dyes.


The right side of the silk now has a self-portrait I "painted" on the top and will have a stamped textile design using thickened dyes on the bottom section to finish this piece next week.  Then the dyes will be steamed and the wax removed.   In two weeks we will start another project for the second half of the semester. 

Although I have experience with many of these techniques, I am still learning so much - and love being in a surface design studio for 4 hours each week! 


March 17, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Hopper 2

It is time for me to post my watercolor painting that was inspired by my week of studying and copying Edward Hopper.  I take lots of reference photos as I travel around - locally and abroad, but I didn't have many with intense sunlight and deep shadows.  The photo I chose was from our 2012 trip to Venice, Italy.  We rented a lovely apartment that was in a very quiet Calle near Piazza San Marco.


The entrance to our apartment building was through the furthest door  - next to the point where the two buildings meet.  The building faced the intersection of two small canals, and when we entered the building there was always water lapping on the stairs, under the door on the street level storage room.  The old well was beautiful and it was easy to imagine ourselves in this very old courtyard, so near the Doge's Palace several hundred years ago. 

The painting was done on Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper with Winsor-Newton watercolors.  This time I didn't use any white gouache.

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