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September 12, 2017

Simple Figure Sketches - Overcoming Resistance

I love to draw figures and to draw and paint buildings.  But my figures are drawn without context/backgrounds, and my buildings don't have any people in or around them.  It is time for me to address these issues, so I took Suhita Shirodkar's online Craftsy class (Figure Sketching Made Simple) because I love her loose sketches. 

The class was great, but I couldn't get myself to draw any people in the days following the class - a common form of resistance that I can blame on my "inner critic."  I needed a low stakes intervention, and while browsing last Sunday's NY Times T magazine on Mens'Style, I saw the photo included below.  I grabbed a ball point pen, tore some used copy paper into quarters, and worked my way through the ads in the magazine in less than 30 minutes - drawing 16 figures! 

 

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I threw away two that were really awful, and saved these 14.  It was a start!   

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I decided to continue this as a low stakes project this month - drawing simple figures from photos - so I made a small folder to keep scrap paper drawings in as I practice. 

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Later, I was throwing away a New York City Ballet 2017-18 schedule and couldn't resist a quick sketch of one of the photos. 

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I still have to overcome resistance and shut up my inner critic MILDRED so I can practice drawing live moving people!  Onward!

 

 

September 8, 2017

NYC Urban Sketchers Visit to the General Pencil Factory

Yesterday a limited number of NYC Urban Sketchers were able to tour a 6th generation family pencil company that was founded in 1889.  It took our "leader" Raylie 2 years to make this arrangement because they don't normally give group tours.  It is located in Jersey City - and I took a Path Train over the river to meet the group.  This is the front side of the factory. 

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Raylie from Urban Sketchers, and Kirsten, a 6th generation family employee and our tour guide.

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This morning I got out my supply of General Pencils.  I love and use the Sketch and Wash soluble graphite and have the most of them on hand at all times.  They are the ones with the silver tips.

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I loved the area on the back of the building around the loading dock.  I sketched this while there and didn't have time yet to paint it.  The conical machine and all of the pipes on the upper left, transport excess saw dust from the pencils which is then  recycled to make fireplace logs.  The color squares on the upper right are the colors of the watercolor pencils that they gave to us, and the "bag" on the bottom right is a carrier for sawdust.

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I loved the tour and the short glimpse into the method for making pencils.  I spoke to a woman who is still working there after 50 years!  I will always remember the place and time that I saw this as I use my General pencils!  Thanks Raylie!

September 5, 2017

WWI: Beyond the Trenches

Last week I visited the another WWI Art exhibit (through Sept 3, 2017)   It is 100 years since the beginning of WWI, and the first art exhibit I saw was at the National Air and Space Museum in DC.  That exhibit focused on artists who were selected and embedded with the troops, and the sculptors who made bas relief sculptures in the stone chambers they lived in underground.

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In the exhibit at the NY Historical Society, many artists' paintings and sculptures were exhibited, including a very large mural by John Singer Sargent and two sculptures by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. I knew that she was the patron who started the Whitney Museum with her art collection, but I didn't know that she was a sculptor and when traveling the battlefields of WWI set up field hospitals for the soldiers.

I copied a detail from a painting by Claggett Wilson (Front Line Stuff 1919).  He was in the Marine Corps and fought at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood where he suffered the effects of poison gas.  At a hospital in Dijon and later in the Army of German Occupation, he recorded his experiences in watercolor and then went on to become an art teacher at Columbia University in NYC.  This is from one of his many paintings in the exhibit.

 

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The Met currently has an exhibit entitled WWI and the Visual Arts (through Jan 7, 2018) and the Museum of the City of New York has an ongoing exhibit entitles Posters and Patriotism: Selling WWI in New York. They are on my "to see" list.

September 1, 2017

My Newest Watercolor Sketchbook

Just a quick photo today of my newest handbound watercolor sketchbook.  I dyed the fabric and made it into bookcloth, fusing it to mulberry paper for strength.  There are 48 pages of Fabriano Artistico made from 2 sheets of 140 lb Soft Press paper, which is my favorite watercolor  paper.  I made the pen/pencil holder from another piece of dyed fabric, and love having it attached so I can easily carry it with me and have a pencil, eraser, and 3 pens.  I now have 5 of these pen/pencil holders and so far I can find one that blends with each of my newest sketchbooks.

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