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May 10, 2014

Inspiration - 2 Jasper Johns

Last week we took a Road Trip to the Katonah Museum of Art in Westchester to see their current exhibit of Jasper Johns prints.  For much of his career, Johns worked exclusively with a Master Printmaker named John Lund and even moved John and his family into the gatehouse near his studio in Connecticut.  Here is the museum brochure for the exhibit with photos of both Johns and Lund.




One series of prints featured in the first gallery was "Seasons" - one that is my personal favorite.  Johns typically starts with a painting, then makes prints, and then reuses and manipulates those plates with John Lund to make different iterations. 

Seasons: From left to right - Sring, Summer, Fall, and Winter


When we arrived a docent was discussing the 4 prints and we were able to sit, listen, and sketch.  Johns reused many symbols in his work and while I listened, I sketched many of them in my sketchbook.

The big shadow is Johns, which was outlined for him by a fellow artist.  The smaller one is the shadow of a 3 year old child.  Johns loved the Rubin Vase (which is either a vase or two faces) and the duck/rabbit image and used them frequently in his work.   The docent said that this was actually the time that Jasper Johns began to put a little bit of himself in his work and almost everything in these 4 prints is a special symbol for him.


After we toured the exhibit, we spent a few minutes in the small educational center and I made my own Rubin Vase, inspired by this Rubin Vase - American Flag print.   Interestingly, we were told that while we were there Jasper Johns made a short unannounced visit to the museum and none of us recognized him. 


Johns Flag.Rubin Vase:  Can you see the 3 faces when you allow your eyes to switch from the vases?



My Rubin Vase:  A small collage using materials that they have in the Center for programs with children.RubinVase.size.jpg 

May 9, 2014

Inspiration - Part 1

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala occurs in May each year, the evening before a big Fashion Exhibit opens to the Members and then the Public.  Two years ago the Alexander McQueen exhibit was the 8th most visited overall exhibit in Met history.  The 2014 Gala was held on Monday night for the opening of "Charles James - Beyond Fashion."  He was a great Anglo-American couturier who died in 1978.  He was born in Britain but spent his entire career in America and his innovations were extraordinary.  The Met website has photos and videos.


My daughter and I went to the member previews on Wednesday - and loved seeing the clothes and especially the 15 Ball Gowns that were distributed throughout one huge gallery - and could be seen from all sides. 

Here is my favorite - called the Swan Gown.  The color depth for the tulle skirt was achieved by using  shades of brown, and a layer each of purple and yellow.  I spent Tuesday mixing complementary colors to make brown-taupe dyes in my silk painting with dyes class, but never considered how mixing the colors in sheer layers could achieve such depth of color. 



Charles James' other clothes (approximately 50 garments) were displayed in the new Anna Wintour Costume Institute on the ground level.   I decided to quickly sketch one of his innovations - a white Satin Evening Coat filled with eiderdown to compete with Schiaparelli's popular mink evening jackets.  Each of the lines in my drawing were seams and each section of the jacket was stuffed separately with down.

I finally bought myself a really warm short black down coat this winter and never was happier - or warmer!  Thank you Charles James.  I also read that he introduced strapless gowns and wrap dresses.


If anyone would like to see how the guests in the gala were dressed, here are two links. 

Walking the Red Carpet - in Ball Gowns:



Next:  Inspiration Part 2:  Jasper Johns at the Katonah Museum of Art 

May 5, 2014

Just Graphite

Sometimes I like to just draw with a mechanical 2B graphite pencil - and today I'm posting 2 of these drawings.

This is a drawing of my ballet teacher.  I took a quick photo of her before class (with her permission) and then made the drawing in my sketchbook several days later at home.


My husband and I went to the previews for the Impressionist and Modern Auctions that are being held in New York City this week and my favorite art was the drawings!  I always take my sketchbook and at Christies sketched an Egon Schiele figure called AKT (1918).  The auction estimate price was $150,000 to 200,000!  The auction is May 7th, so I will try to remember to check the auction page online to see the sale price. 


I decided to add an image of this drawing that I found online - the actual drawing does include all of her hair.   It is outrageous to think of these drawings, by many different artists, commanding such prices at auctions.  But I do love making copies that I can enjoy.



May 2, 2014

One Watercolor a Day - 3 Exercises

I am still periodically doing an exercise from this book, and here are three recent pages.  I'm painting in a Strathmore 9 X 12 watercolor (140lb) Visual Journal - and using my usual Winsor-Newton watercolor palette.  The paintings are too big for my scanner, so I'm photographing them and then trying to lighten the blue-tinged background page in Photoshop.

Exercise 7:  I painted the shapes of peppers and then actually drew their shapes on the top half of the page.  And then I sketched the red and orange peppers on the bottom half of the page - trying not to just color them in like a coloring book.  The yellow pepper at the bottom was another one that I painted first and then added ink because it was fun!




Exercise 8:  Paint a plant paying attention to all of the different colors in the leaves.  This is one of my house plants -  the one with the most color variation. 


 Exercise 9:  Draw a bird  - which was hard for me unless I wanted to freeze in Central Park as I waited for some of their regulars to appear.  However, I took many photos of geese at the Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture last Fall.  I was able to combine photos and paint 3 Toulouse geese for this exercise.  My friend Teri knows that I am doing these exercises in an attempt to loosen up my painting - and when she saw this page - and their sample in the book - she just laughed!  Apparently I'm not loose yet! 



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