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March 10, 2015

Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky

This exhibit just opened at the Metropolitan Museum of New York and it is spectacular.  I went to the Member Previews last week, excited by the postcard that arrived about a month ago.  Pictographs are among my favorite images and I didn't know what to expect, but was thrilled to find several tanned leather hides and clothing with ink and pigment drawings. 



This is called the Grand Robe and I took a photo of it from the Exhibit Catalogue because no photos are allowed in the exhibit.  The catalogue says that there were hundreds of these robes made and only 5 remain.  Three are in this exhibit, including this one on loan from the Musee de Quai Branley in Paris.  There are 60 figures on this robe, depicting 14 battles - and I sketched a few of my favorites.  






I also attended a "Conversation with a Paper Conservator", who worked on the Maffet Ledger Journal over 18 months before, during, and after it traveled to Paris and Kansas City where this exhibit began.  George West Maffet distributed some ledgers among the Northern and Southern Cheyenne tribe in the  mid-1800s and this ledger contains narrative stories in drawings by 22 different artists.   Most of the drawings are scenes from battles against the Cavalry.  Not only was I interested in the paper conservation information, but it was so interesting to hear how they poured over the drawings to try to separate the artists and translate the images. 

Here is one of the paintings in the ledger.  In order for indian boys to establish their bravery, they had to coup a soldier, which meant touching them with their sword, or bow and arrow, and then escaping without being harmed.  The conservator said that they did lots of research to understand the implications of many of the drawings in the ledger.


This is a link for the Maffat Ledger on the Museum Website.*

There are 23 pages pictured at this link. 

All the while she was speaking, I wondered if any of our sketchbooks and journals would survive and be analyzed for information about the times in which we lived. 

This is a link to the video of current Indian Artists and how their work evolved. 


March 6, 2015

More Drawing with Toulouse-Lautrec

The Museum of Modern Art Toulouse-Lautrec Print Exhibit is closing mid-March and I will miss it terribly.  I will miss my regular visits to the exhibit, my drawings from his prints to warm up, and the Café Society Figure Drawing session that occurred twice each month since the Fall.  Today I am posting 2 warm-up Toulouse-Lautrec drawings and 4 drawings from my favorite model - Kelly.


Aristide Bruant -  Performer and owner of a Montmartre Café. 


Yvette Guilbert - Perfprmer and one of Toulouse=Lautrec's favorite models. 



These are some my 6 minute drawings of Kelly - drawn on 11 X 15" watercolor paper with soluble graphite and then shaded with a waterbrush.   These were photographed because they were too big for my scanner.






March 4, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann was the 3rd Artist in this series, and his apprentice was a UK painter named Gillian Lee Smith.  I knew very little about Beckmann, a German Expressionist Painter, but quickly learned that he was second only to Rembrandt in the number of self-portraits he painted.  He was born in Leipzig Germany in 1884, and decided very early that he wanted to be an artist.  He served in WWI as a medic but had an emotional breakdown and was medically discharged.  By 1930 he was a very successful German artist, but he was featured in the Degenerate Art exhibit in 1937 and his career destroyed.  He and his wife fled to Amsterdam for 10 years and then to the United States after WWII.  He had an art school teaching position in St. Louis and then New York, and died in Central Park in 1950 on a walk between his apartment and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see one of his paintings.  I chose Self-Portrait in Olive and Brown to copy.

My copy is on the left, the original on the right.  I used watercolor, white, and black gouache, for my painting on 9X12 Arches 140 lb cold press paper.  It doesn't have the same range of values as Beckmann's and  I don't feel as if I captured his stern, almost angry, expression, 




After doing a copy, each apprentice reflects on what they learned by copying the Master and then paints an original using some of those techniques.  I selected a New Year's Eve photo I took this year to paint.  Like Beckmann, it captures an individual and a face at one moment in time.  And I hope that it conveys the emotion of a young girl, celebrating the New Year, but in her own world.  I tried to use black to define the face and clothing like Beckmann did, but my lines, using a rigger brush are definitely not as bold. 


February 24, 2015

February Figure Drawing

Two Meet-up Groups are co-sponsoring Figure Drawing weekly during these cold weeks of Winter.  You must be a member of Meetup Draw New York or the Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup groups to attend, but it is really easy to join and both groups have drawing sessions in other indoor venues as well this month.  These are just 4 of the drawings I did on February 14th.


The drawings were done with a soluble graphite pencil and then shaded with clear water and a Niji waterbrush.  They were scanned, adjusted, and resized in Photoshop.


Five Minute Sketch: 



Five Minute Sketch of Each Pose Separately:



Ten Minute Pose:



Fifteen Minute Pose:


February 17, 2015

Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibit Figure Drawing at MoMA

 I did more figure drawing at the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit education session.  We had a new Art Educator and two models who were employees in the MoMA Education Department.  They received more instruction about poses than usual, but were really great at holding the pose.  The drawings were done with a soluble graphite pencil and then shaded with clear water from a Niji waterbrush.  The images were scanned, adjusted and resized in Photoshop.  There are 3 more sessions before the exhibit closes at the end of March.  I just selected 3 of my drawings from the 90 minute session.

While I was waiting for the Figure Drawing session to begin I copied this drawing of my favorite Toulouse-Lautrec model from one of his prints. 



These two models posed together and were drawn together in 5 minutes. 



Another 5 minute pose:



I was getting tired after many poses, and decided to concentrate on a portrait during the last 10 minutes of the session.