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October 22, 2016

Barcelona Travel Sketchbook - 1

We returned from Barcelona this week, and I wanted to start posting some of my travel sketchbook pages.  Today I will post recurring features that I make part of each of my travel sketchbooks.  Then as I finally paint the rest of my drawings, I will add them to my blog.  I have photos taken of the site for each ink drawing, so I can remember the colors.  My husband is very patient, so I always have 15-20 minutes to do a drawing on site, but I don't want him to wait while I paint.  Sometimes I paint during lunch, or a late afternoon glass of wine.  But this time I returned with more unfinished pages than usual.  This plan will help me finish a travel sketchbook that I really enjoyed making, otherwise I may get busy and forget about my overall plan. 

I always draw Mickey in his bread dough plane (from Maurice Sendak) on the title page for overseas trips, and I add every piece of information I can think of to make sure a lost sketchbook will be returned to me.

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Before we leave I create a calendar on several pages, so I can fill in our activities at the end of each day.  This is an example from 3 days. 

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I also make a series of 2 X 2 squares that I can fill in daily, adding some image that will allow me to remember a highlight of the day.  Here are the squares I painted during the entire trip.

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A View from our hotel window.  I am far behind in Liz Steel's Buildings online class, but wanted a quick sketch of the top of the back of this beautiful apartment building in Eixample, Barcelona. 

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April 15, 2016

Abstract Painting and Surface Design

When I restarted drawing, and learning about watercolors, I was most interested in documenting my life by drawing and painting in sketchbooks.  I've now filled over 100 since 2005 and I love how much I remember about events when I browse through them.  This semester I'm taking an abstract painting class using acrylics, at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and was attracted to the course just to shake up my painting - not to switch my focus or medium.

Our first painting was "non-objective" meaning that it was not based on anything in reality. 

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2016/03/my_fiirst_abstract_and_acrylic.php 

The second painting was "objective" meaning that the artist begins with some images from his/her environment and then proceeds to abstract the image.   I like grids and quickly sketched a media wall in front of me as I sat reading. 

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My first painting in the course was in cool colors and I wanted to make this one in hot colors - and I added layers to the 16 x 20" canvas panel over 3 weeks.  This is my finished painting.

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After I completed this painting I quickly painted some of the things in our class studio - a stool, a high chair, an easel, a ceiling exhaust fan, and a wood stand that holds our paints, palettes etc.  Many of my classmates used the studio as their inspiration and I decided to try it as well.  I painted multiple layers on a 9 X 12" piece of watercolor paper, and this is the result. 

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I dye fabric for a variety of projects, including bookcloth for my handmade watercolor sketchbooks.  Most of the fabric designs are abstract, and it took me weeks to realize this similarity to my painting class.  This is my newest watercolor sketchbook - made with a piece of fabric that was tightly rolled and tied in a knot before soaking it in an equal mixture of red and black dye stocks.  The design and colors were a complete, and wonderful surprise. 

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I designed pen pockets for my sketchbooks this year and distribute Sewing Instructions if requested on my blog.  I have enough dyed fabric that I can make pen pockets to blend with the covers, and I'm able to use a similar color pocket with the new sketchbook. 

This is the new sketchbook and pocket - and below this photo are others that I made for prior books. 

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Please leave a request for the pattern PDF on my blog. 

January 12, 2016

I Love to Make Books!

Each year I make a "Remains of the Day" book - instructions by Mary Ann Moss - to keep photos and ephemera of my "Art Adventures" with friends.  I just finished the pages in my 2015 book and made a new book for 2016.  I love making these from my many dyed fabrics, and I refer to them regularly to remember the many gallery and museum visits we make during the year.  I have 5 completed books which were begun shortly after I retired.

This is my now complete 2015 book: 

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Here is a sample page spread, with a photo of Benedicte, Pat, and Me - along with photos from a day visiting galleries in Chelsea.  Some pages have pockets to hold things, other have lift up flaps - anything goes!

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These are photos of my new Remains of the Day book for 2016:

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Lastly, I made a new watercolor sketchbook with dyed fabric bookcloth and a pocket for the sketchbook to hold my pencils, pens, and eraser as I walk around sketching.   

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January 8, 2016

Art Goals for 2016

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My main goal is to develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.  At the beginning of each year, I like to define new projects which will help me progress and then remain open to new opportunities.

 

1.  Take Classes:

Studying Under the Masters 3:  I really enjoy this online class and registered for it during 2015, even though I was saving the content for Winter 2016.   In the weekly videos I learn more about specific artists I know and meet artists I don't know.  And then I stretch my painting skills by copying a painting of the Master and subsequently using those techniques in an original painting!  Since I convert my copies of masterworks from oil to watercolor for each artist studied, I also experiment and learn an enormous amount in the process.  This is the last time this class series will be offered by Jeanne Oliver and the artists for this series include Horace Pippin, Joan Miro, Marie Laurencin, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Klimt, and Alisa Burke.

Sketchbook Skool Semester 5:  I think Danny and Koosje have created a wonderful model for art education and a committed community of artists, new and old.  I'm already registered for Semester 5 which is called "Expressing."  And here's hoping there is a 6th Semester in 2016!

Craftsy:  I just signed up for "Sketching the City in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor" by Shari Blaukopf.    

Battery Park City Conservancy "Still Lifes and Figure Drawing" with Marla Lipkin a new 9 session class being offered this year locally in NYC from Feb. through March (9 sessions).  

Fashion Institute of Technology  (FIT):  Registration for Spring isn't until the end of January, but I intend to continue taking classes there as long as their Senior Learner program is in existence. 

 

2.  Maintain a Community of Artist Friends: 

It is impossible to attend all of the art activities scheduled in New York City, so my goal is to attend a minimum of one activity/week - Meetup, Urban Sketchers, Battery Park City (May-Oct), Society of Illustrators, and to add other museum and gallery visits with my friends into those days.  I will also continue to post new entries to my blog twice each week to continue my interaction with and inspiration from artists online.   

 

3.  Bookbinding:

Continue to make my own sketchbooks - for daily drawings and for travel.

Create a tutorial for my pencil-pen pocket for sketchbooks.

Create another batch of paste paper for my stash.

 

4.  Special Project: I also like to have one separate project each year.  Several winters ago I sketched/elephants for a whole month using every medium I had.  Another year I studied different methods for making books and made a different type of book each month for 8 months.   This year I am trying to figure out how I can use some of the figure drawings I've accumulated during the last 5 years and transform them into an artist book.  I already transferred images to fabric using a different method for each Quilt Journal Page (8.5 X 11") I created.  Last year I made a small book of the Figures I drew in the Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society sessions at MoMA. 

Here are the first 6 of the Quilt Journal Pages I made in 2012 using hand-dyed fabrics.  I transferred drawings I made of a pregnant model at figure drawing in order to create this Mother and Child series in fabric. 

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December 28, 2015

Reflections on Art in 2015

A Review of Art Experiences and Learning During 2015: A Progress Report

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January 4th is the 10th anniversary of my blog and it is always a good time for reflection and planning.   

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.

1.  Goal: To sketch and paint everyday, and to blog twice each week. These activities give my retirement life some structure and provide enormous inspiration within an artist community. 

Progress:  I no longer do quick sketches every day, but no week passes without me having several good drawing sessions.  It was really important to me to sketch daily when I was beginning this journey as I prepared for retirement from medicine, but the habits were formed and now I can rarely pass a few days without some scribbles, if not a full sketchbook drawing/painting.  My blog posts are important to me, and continue to give structure and meaning to my art adventure and posting twice each week is a great schedule.

 

2.  Goal: Take more classes online and in person to remain inspired:

Progress:  I participated in several online classes this year, just enough to be inspired on an almost weekly basis during some months:  Studying Under the Masters 2, Sketchbook Skool Semester 4,  and an assortment of Craftsy Classes.  These included:  Close-up Flowers in Watercolor (Nan Carey), Travel Sketching in Mixed Media and Sketching People in Motion (both Marc Taro Holmes),    I also took a surface design class through Craftsy:  Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist with Malka Dubrawsky.

Each semester, for 14 weeks, I took a class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and was lucky enough to register for Drawing and Watercolor classes in 2015.  As with the other classes I've taken there on subjects about which I already have some knowledge and experience, I always learn something new.  Our few drawing classes on perspective were excellent and our watercolor classes on different palettes and the use of Chinese White (with watercolor) and Black gesso (with gouache) as grounds were completely new to me.

 

3. Goal:  Continue to draw and paint locally:

Progress:  I belong to two Meetup groups and attend semi-regularly, schedule permitting: "Central Park Drawing and Art" and "Drawing New York."  We have an NYC-Urban Sketchers Weekday Group, and that provides other opportunities for group inspiration and contact.  Battery Park City Conservancy has weekly Nature Painting and Figure Drawing from May through October and I regularly participate in both the morning and afternoon sessions, weather permitting.  This year I attended figure drawing at Society of Illustrators with two visitors, my dear friends Sara from Alabama and Casey from France, and a series of Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society Figure Drawing sessions at MoMA.  And last, but not least, my very special days, spent with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, and sometime Teri, means that we rarely miss the best museum and gallery shows in the City.  I would feel very isolated without these special 3 friends and would have many fewer good laughs!

One of my favorite projects this year was participation in the 100 Day Challenge by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent.  My goal, especially after taking Sketchbook Skool Semester 4, was to draw more from my imagination.  I didn't upload my daily drawings to Instagram, or follow along with other people's projects, but once I committed to it, I was faithful to the project for all 100 days, and even created my little imaginary character Axel. 

  

4. Goal:  Make watercolor sketchbooks, for daily drawing and painting and travel:

Progress:  I made cased-in watercolor books for my daily sketchbooks, accordion journals for our outdoor Urban Sketchers sessions, a travel sketchbook for our vacation in Spain from an old book of Spanish Drawings, and a summer travel sketchbook from a recycled book called Colors of the Sea.  All of these are discussed and photographed in daily blog posts in my bookbinding category on the blog. 

July was my big surface design month, during which I spent part of almost every day dying fabric, exploring new techniques, and creating dyed fabric for bookcloth.  In the process I also made dye samples and created a unique sewing pattern for a pencil-pen pocket which goes around my sketchbook cover with Velcro.  It is a wonderful convenience when I am sketching as I walk around museums and galleries.

Even Axel and his friend Alice made an appearance on fabric - using thick dye for the drawing and color.  

This year I also planned to make another batch of paste paper to use for covering bookboards and/or as endpapers, but I didn't deplete as much of my stash as I thought I might.

 

I'd love to read what others are planning.... 

 

 

 

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