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May 30, 2012

Two Museum Visits

I'm taking a rest from my Venice Sketchbook - and posting two paintings done at recent museum visits.

The Jewish Museum in New York has a lovely exhibit of Edouard Vuillard and His Muses (1890-1940).  I knew very little about Vuillard's life, and really enjoyed seeing his paintings put in context.  The museum website has a brief summary of the stages of his career and a wonderful collection of paintings of people in beautiful interiors.

I painted a detail from one of the interiors that I really liked  - in part because of the composition/placement of the two figures.

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Last week we visited the new Barnes Mseum in Philadelphia.  Dr. Albert C. Barnes, physician and chemist, began collecting impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern art in 1902.  The collection was housed in a suburb of Philadelphia, with limited hours, and poor lighting.  Barnes' main goal was to use his collection for education and he developed a school on the premises. 

Barnes arranged the art himself - very symmetrically - on the wall, and without regard for the artists or the chronology.  When he died, his will stipulated that the collection could never be moved, and that all of the art must remain in exactly the same position as the day he died.  There were 24 galleries and the 181 Renoir paintings were placed throughout most of the galleries.  There are also 69 Cezannes, 59 Matisse, and 46 early Picasso paintings - these are the big 4 artists.  But there are many other artists, and even El Greco and Goya!.

The will was challenged, and primarily to save the collection by increasing visibility and revenue, a new Museum on Ben Franklin Parkway, just opened.  It has 24 identically-sized galleries and every piece of art except one is in exactly the same place on each wall. 

Reservations must be made to see the beautiful modern museum and the collection - and it is really worth it.  Those who visited the original location said that the lighting is so superb now that every painting looks like it was cleaned!

If you want to see the holdings for a specific artist, use this link.

Since we were there during opening week, small groups of visitors were taken on tours of the collection - no dawdling allowed!  As in the original location, no sketching and no photos were permitted.  But I was able to buy this postcard to record our visit in my sketchbook that evening.

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May 5, 2012

Drawings From Christie's Impressionist/Modern Auction

I found several drawings that I loved at the Christie's Auction Preview last week and was also able to photograph them.  It is almost my favorite part of the previews - the room full of works on paper which are 90% drawings.

I loved this Van Gogh charcoal drawing and and just knew that I wanted to draw it.

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But I have NEVER used charcoal!  I hate the feeling of my charcoal pencils on paper and never even tried the sticks/vines.  This posed a dilemma - but I discovered that a 6B charcoal pencil was soft enough not to make my teeth vibrate.  So I took a very small piece of my watercolor paper (4" x 7", 140 lb soft press) and did a quick sketch just to see if I could quickly capture the image. I used a large graphite blending tool - probably incorrectly - for shading! 

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THIS DRAWING SOLD AT AUCTION ON MAY 2ND FOR $722, 500 - DOUBLE THE AUCTION ESTIMATE THAT WAS PRINTED ON THE CARD!

 This is a Matisse that I'm saving for a rainy day drawing:

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THIS DRAWING SOLD AT AUCTION ON MAY 2ND FOR $122,500.

May 2, 2012

My Love Affair With Cezanne's Cardplayers

There are many, many museums in the city and I love to visit the art museums to see the exhibits and sketch from the Masters.  We saw a Leon Kossoff drawing exhibit at the National Gallery in London (2007) and I was impressed with his return visits to sketch the same few works by Masters many times during his career.  

I thought it might be fun to try this, in part to see how my art skills evolve and how my familiarity with the painting may change my drawing over time.  On my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008, I sat in front of Cezanne's Card Players and sketched it.

I sketched it annually and then sketched many of the preparatory paintings in a big 2011 Cardplayer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   

 Cezanne did 5 oil paintings of the Cardplayers - one with 5 figures, one with 4 (owned by the Met), and 3 with two figures.  The 2011 exhibit at the Met was unable to reunite all 5, but there were many preparatory drawings and paintings of individual figures.  I sketched some of them on 3 occasions.

I was thrilled to learn that a previously unseen preparatory watercolor of Paulin Paulet, a gardener from Cezanne's family estate, was being auctioned at Christie's NY by a private collector.  He is the only figure that appears in all 5 paintings.  There was a full page picture of the painting in the NY Times on Friday and I painted it in my sketchbook.

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On Saturday, at the auction preview, while many people were viewing the painting, I sketched the head again with a watercolor pencil.  I may never get the head tilted like Cezanne!

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And then waited until I could get an angle for a photo without reflections of the spotlights.

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Last night this watercolor sold for $19.1 million dollars!! 

 

  

April 27, 2012

April Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

This week was my monthly visit to the Society of Illustrators for figure drawing.  I love the event, but can't seem to get there more than once per month.  There are 2 models and live music and a bar!  What more could I want?  More time in my life to do everything that I would like to do! 

This post will have 2 five minute, 2 ten minute, and 2 twenty minute sketches.  The black and white sketches were done with a 9B graphite pencil, the color sketches were done with watercolor pencils and then brushed with water in a Niji waterbrush.  The first 4 images were scanned.  The last two were photgraphed because of the size of the paper.

This year I read a very interesting book about figure drawing, Peter Steinhart, Undressed Art, or Why We Draw.  Although I see this book in stores, I rarely see it mentioned in art blogs.  I recommend it for anyone who is interested in drawing, especially from live models.  It is much more a historical perspective and source of inspiration, than a how-to book.

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April 23, 2012

Still Drawing Faces

I started drawing 100 Faces several years ago as part of Carla Sonheim's book Drawing Lab.  I forget about them sometimes, but recently started carrying my cards and supplies with me again when I'm going to be out and about.  Here are the latest 6 - all done in classes or seminars. 

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Gay Kraeger posted a video this week on How to Paint a 20 Second Face.  Here is the link to her video:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaykraeger/6951556124/

And here is my painting:

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