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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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April 3, 2012

The End of the Old, the Beginning of the New

I finished my last sketchbook with two pages of heads drawn during classes at Columbia University.  The first page was done on a paper napkin with a ball point pen while we discussed Chekhov short stories.  The second page of sketches are of Professor de Bary, a very elderly Emeritus Professor of Chinese Studies - who is incredibly sharp.  I loved the opportunity to draw him while he appeared to be asleep, but he remembered more of the panel discussion comments than I did when he lifted up his head.

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I barely finished making my new watercolor sketchbook in time to continue with my daily sketches.  The bookcloth was made with soy wax and a potato masher as resist and thickened Procion MX dyes.  The sketchbook is a 6 signature book with Fabriano Artistico Soft Press 140 lb paper and Canson Mi Tientes end papers.

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The first page is a drawing of my watercolor palettes.  I have fun starting some of the sketchbooks with my paint palette even though I add and/or change paints infrequently.

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March 30, 2012

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Paris Avant-Garde

Gertrude, Leo, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sara were avid collectors of art in Paris during the early decades of the 20th C.   We saw the preview of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before we left for California, and I didn't have time to finish sketches that I did at the exhibit until now.

The Met website presents lots of information about the Steins, highlights of the 200+ works of art, and even a virtual reconstruction video of the rooms and the placement of art on their walls.

My first sketches were from Gallery 1. 

"On October 15, 1904, the second Salon d'Automne (an exhibition of contemporary art held each fall) opened with retrospectives devoted to five artists who were considered among the most relevant for the younger generation of painters: Cézanne, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Renoir, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The impact on Leo was dramatic. Two weeks later he and Gertrude emptied their bank accounts and spent all their spare money on modern art."

I always loved Toulouse-Lautrec's drawings and combined 3 women from the works presented in this gallery.

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I wasn't very impressed with early Matisse landscapes in their collection, but saw a little of Matisse's later style in his painting of the Young Sailor I from 1906.

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My final sketch was of a very early Picasso nude and head.  I always sketch at least one of his drawings when attending an exhibit or auction preview - so this was an easy decision.

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