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August 11, 2015

July Was Surface Design Month

I spent the month of July playing with fabric and dyes.  I use the fabric as bookcloth for my watercolor sketchbooks and a variety of other projects.  It takes me awhile to get out all of the dyes, tools, containers, and PFD fabric (prepared for dying), so I love it when I can find blocks of time to concentrate on fabric dying.  Then I can leave everything out in my apartment, play creatively, and dye lots of fabric in a short time. I used procion MX dyes, low immersion dying, fabric folding, clamping, monoprinting, corn dextrin and soy wax resists.

This is a photo of my total output for the month - July 2 - 31, working 1-3 hours per day for 19 days during the month.  I made over 20 tree stamped pieces of fabric and a total of 4 thick dye drawings of Axel and Alice.  The two best ones were on this blog already (July 31st).  The small piles of fabric in the middle and left were samples on which I was working out designs.

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On the left above, and spread out below, are 32 pieces of fabric (12 X 22") that can be used for bookcloth, but I'm sure that I will use it for other sewing as the need arises.

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I wanted to try a technique I learned from Susie Monday at a Craftsy demonstration at Quilt Festival in 2013.  I did a color drawing on a silk screen with Neocolor II crayons, and then used Golden Silkscreen Medium and a squeegee to transfer the print to fabric.  This is the first print - darker than I expected - but I probably left the medium on a little too long before pulling the print. 

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This is the second print - with a Sakura Pigma Micron pen outline to restore some of the shape lines.  The third print was too pale.  I could have added more crayon, but didn't.

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My final project:  Figuring out how to use the tree wood stamp (which I'll probably use to make some Christmas ornaments), and my first dye painting of Axel.  The thick dye was not quite think enough, the drawing line spread, and I continued to use this piece as a test sample while painting another drawing of Axel and Alice. 

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I'm thrilled that I set aside many blocks of time for one month to play creatively.  Some days I dyed 4-6 pieces of fabric, and the next day just had to wash out the excess dye.  Then I thought about other experiments as I went around the City, ready to begin again the next day.  I have a totally different mind set when I have unlimited supplies and a spirit of experimentation and play.  I made a list of techniques that I know and then added some new things to try - realizing they could be awful and need further manipulation. 

August 6, 2015

Wednesday is Art Day in Battery Park

This is a view of the Southern tip of Manhattan, and the trees along the water are part of Battery Park.  The multilevel triangular-roofed structure, at the bottom of the photo, is the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and we spend the morning painting, just to the south of that building, and in the afternoon draw a clothed model just to the north of it.  Turning my camera a little further North and you can see The Freedom Tower, the new World Trade Center, which dominates the skyline.

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The gardens surrounding the Museum are full of dinner-plate size hibiscus this month every year.

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If I turned around while painting, this is the view I would have seen.

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My first painting on Wed. was a composite of the 3 color flowers on display.  Then I just looked up, and decided to draw "what was in front of me" - the wall of the Museum with sky, clouds, and trees reflecting in one set of windows. 

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After lunch we moved around the Museum, to the area of the Park known as South Cove, for Figure Al Fresco to draw Rebecca.  She is a model who I like to draw best in very short poses.  Here are the last 4 of my 10 one minute poses. 

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This is a free program sponsored by the Battery Park Conservancy and they even bring art supplies to every session from the beginning of May to the end of October. 

August 4, 2015

Weekend Coffee in Central Park

We live within walking distance of the Conservatory Water in Central Park, and this is one of a series of photos I took this summer on mornings when we go for coffee and watch the activity of the toy boats in the pond.  This is Le Pain Quotidien café - the source of our coffee and my croissant.  Most people stop to buy food and continue on their walk, so slowly sipping coffee like we do is not a problem.  Children rent remote-controlled sailboats for the pond ($11 for 30 minutes).  The "big boys" bring their own toys and the handcrafted beauty in the photo below plays Dvorak's New World Symphony as it sails!

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I frequently draw/paint while we are there and here are 3 recent sketchbook pages.

Dogs can be off their leash until 9AM.  New York City dogs are very well behaved, as anyone knows who watches many dog walkers with 6 -8 big dogs on a leash.  They don't bark or nip each other, and I love watching a group of them sitting patiently watching an apartment entrance waiting for their "friend" to come out to join them.  One of the big dogs took a nap at my feet, and I sketched him in two positions before his owner woke him to go home.  

 

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This weekend I sketched a Mother and child on Saturday, and another contemplative young woman on Sunday.

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There are still lots of flowers in bloom, but there were lots of bees buzzing around, so I just looked from a distance and didn't try to draw them. 

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