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January 31, 2012

An Afternoon at the MoMA Print Studio

The Museum of Modern Art, in conjunction with two upcoming exhibits  (Print/Out and Printin'), set up a Print Studio in the Education Building.  I spent the afternoon there yesterday and made a small collage book.

The "heart of the Print Studio" is a collection of books known as the Reanimation Library.  It is fascinating and well worth reading about the development of the collection and its permanent home in Brooklyn.  It was developed as a resource for all artists, regardless of their medium. 

When I arrived, I met my friend Judy and had a little tour of the Print Studio.  Here is an overhead photo of the space, with the Reanimation Library on the back wall, copiers, scanners, and computers in the back corner, and work tables for visitors supplied with a variety of art tools and paper.

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I don't have much experience with collage and wanted to make one during the afternoon.  One of the staff said, "Why don't you make a book?  We haven't had anyone do that yet."  I browsed books on the shelves and pulled 6 that had interesting illustrations and photos, and was immediately drawn to one called The Story of Writing.  I love text mixed with images and made some copies of great alphabets from the book.  I then made a few copies from a Science text called Pathways in Science:  The Next Generation and settled down to "play."

I folded 2 folios and added images that appealed to me for the front cover.  I really intended to make this a book about text and writing.  Pages 2 and 3 were from the frontpiece of the science book - a wonderful bookplate for assigning the book to students and the title page with the stamp for the Reanimation Library on the title page.  I was still interested in pursuing the theme of language and writing - and the next thing I knew, I was making a book about human reproduction and the inheritence of genetic traits.  I was very much in the zone and channeling in a unique way.  Fascinating what our brains do if left to wander!

At the very end of my "art play," I opened the 3rd book I brought from the shelves, The Atlas of Human Anatomy, and copied a pregnant uterus for one final collage.  At the end I sketched a human figure and cell, some genetic symbols, and added watercolor pencil and stamps.    

Here are the pages of my finished pamphlet stitched booklet. 

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January 21, 2012

Several Daily Sketches - from this week

The new American Wing Galleries just opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the space is amazing.  I realized that I know very little about early American Art and, but quickly realized that I don't especially like the realism and preponderance of portraits and landscapes.  I do love Winslow Homer watercolors and couldn't find one.  Maybe when the collection is expanded to include more 20th C. artists, I will fall in love....  My one sketch for the visit was from a marble urn with 2 American Indians perched on the sides.  I sketched one of them at the Museum and painted him at home - purely from my imagination since he was sculpted in white marble.

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I had my 3rd lesson by Jane Davies on Self-Portraits and just had to show you the results of my loosening up exercise.  These were blind contours - some as one-liners and others not.  I giggled when I looked down after each one....  I actually like the wonkiness of blind contour drawings, but I've never been sure that I gained much from doing them - except having fun.

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January 11, 2012

More From My Self-Portrait Class

I sketched two of my previous photos from the line drawings over photos in my last post- one was drawn upright and one was drawn upside down. Then I took another photo and sketched it without first adding lines.

All 3 were done on one 9 X 12 page with a graphite pencil.

All three look like different people and none of them me. The one on the upper right could be my high school year book picture from 50 years ago!   I obviously have to practice, practice, practice!

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January 9, 2012

Self-Portrait Class with Jane Davies

I wanted to take an online class in January, when I spend more time at home and more time inside.  Since I am still working through Carla Sonheims 100 Faces project, and I'd love to be more comfortable with Mixed Media/Collage, I signed up for Jane Davies Self-Portrait class.

Today I finished four 9X12 journal pages (90 lb watercolor paper in a Strathmore Visual Journal).  The basis of each were grayscale enlarged photos of me - taken randomly with hair up and hair down.  The goal for this week was to start us working with images of our faces, loosely, in ways that force us to abstract some of the lines and  experiment with paint, ink, color, and collage.

The first 3 images were drawn and then painted +/- collage on top.

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The blue paper used for collage in the above self-portrait was made with soy wax on paper and acrylic paint.

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The 4th image was traced on artist tissue paper and then collaged over a painted/collaged background.

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Looking forward to our week 2 lesson tomorrow! 

December 30, 2011

Last Blog Drawing and Art Progress For 2011

I sketched today during a Gallery Talk on Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

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Last January I outlined my art goals for 2011 - just to have a map to guide me through the days.  I maintain a sketchbook for pleasure and get joy from recording the little things in my current life.   No one is monitoring my progress, but I still like to reflect on how I spent my time, so I can make plans for 2012.  Here is my progress on 5 goals.

 1.  Continue to work on drawing skills with daily drawings and monthly live figure drawing. 

I averaged more than one sketch per day for the full year, and went to figure drawing monthly at the Society of Illustrators.  I also went to figure drawing at the Battery Park City summer program for the first time.  Although I want to eventually try using just a brush and watercolor to "draw" figures, I stretched a little and sketched figures, during the 20 minute poses, with a watercolor pencil and then water to shade the figures. 

I'm working on a 100 Faces project from Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab book and added 33 portraits - drawing from live people who usually didn't know they were being sketched.  I now have almost 70 done.  And I even tried sketching portraits of my mother and a few grandchildren, although I still struggle trying to schieve a likeness of their faces.

2.  Continue to work on watercolor painting skills.

I'm not sure that I'm making progress although I am trying to increase my range of values.   And I'm using watercolor pencils more in my daily sketches, especially when I'm sketching faces on subways and buses.

3.  Continue making my daily watercolor sketchbooks and expand my bookbinding skills.

I made and used 7 watercolor sketchbooks and one recycled watercolor book during the year and now I'm working on an artist's book -  collaging, drawing, and painting Christmas ornaments that I made over the last 30+ years to document my collection. 

4.  Continue education through on line classes, workshops, and directed reading.

Participated in the three 2011 Strathmore online workshops.

Took an online mini-class with Kate Johnson on watercolor pencils

Took an online class with Mary Ann Moss to make a "Remains of the Day" journal and then slowly filled it over the entire year.

Took a class with Judy Coates Perez at Quilt Festival, painting and drawing on fabric with Tsukineko inks.

Worked through several DVDs on Art Journals, Read Cathy Johnson's Artist's Journal Workshop twice, Reread Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit, Read Eric Maisel's Coaching the Artist Within and Peter Steinhart's The Undressed Art or Why We Draw.

5.  Enjoy and nurture connections to the art community. 

I blogged 8-9 times per month (2X/wk), met regularly with members of my Journal Study Group to visit museum exhibits, go on sketchcrawls, and "make art" together, attended 8 Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group sessions, and followed Everyday Matters (Yahoo Group) and many art blogs for inspiration and contact with the broader community.

I'm am thoroughly enjoying my retirement and I'm thrilled that I found another passion to add to my other lifelong interests.  My blog will be 6 years old next week and hopefully I will make some plans for 2012 by then.