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December 31, 2010

Art Progress - 2010

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1. Maintain an artist journal - doing one page per day minimum - to include illustrated journal pages, travel sketches, skill practice pages, figure drawing, etc.

I did maintain my daily sketching, doing at least one journal page per day with only a rare "missed day." When I’m just too busy or tired to do one, I usually add two sketches the following day. And on sketchcrawl days and on days when I go to figure drawing I have as many as 19 sketches for the day.

2. Publish blog entries twice each week - share EDM challenges and other select pages in order to participate in an online art community.

I posted to my blog twice weekly almost every week and everyday in May - an ongoing project. I love my friendships which began because of my blog and continue to be amazed at how important it is for communication among like-minded people. This year I spent time with two EDM members - in person (Liz and Raena) and met 2 members of my Journal Study Group because of my blog. I stopped doing EDM challenges early this year and haven’t figured out why. It is probably a combination of having enough self-imposed challenges and exercises to do from some of the books I read monthly.

3. Attend Figure Drawing sessions at least 1-2 X /month. Try other tools and techniques during 20 minute poses.

I attended monthly figure drawing sessions at the Society of Illustrators and went twice during several months, especially to make up for their closure during August. The only new tool used was a blending stump - but I did sketch more faces on the figures, so I think I’m progressing.

4. Build More Art Skills: Prepare a schedule for working through my art technique library - resuming Dodson drawing book exercises this month. Copy the Masters in Museum exhibits locally.

At the beginning of the year I selected 12 books to work through monthly during the year - to learn new skills. And I completed every one! I decided to do this because I want to learn on my own, not through art classes and lessons, and it is perfect for me. I didn’t resume the Dodson drawing book. I’m stuck at the point that I need a live model in bright sunlight. However, I continue to work from the Master drawings in the galleries and museums here in NYC. These are the books I read:

January: Betty Edwards: Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors

February:Cathy Johnson: Watercolor Tips and TechniquesFebruary:Hannah

Hinchman: A Life in HandFebruary:Barbara Steicher: Sketchbooking

March: John Raynes: Drawing and Painting People

April: David Rankin: Fast Sketching Techniques

May: Diana Trout: Journal Spilling

June: Gerald Brommer: Collage Techniques

July: Jeff Mellem Sketching People + ½ Carla Sonheim Drawing Lab

August: Linda Kemp: Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines

September: John Raynes: Figure Drawing Workbook

October: Melanie Tests: Inspired to Quilt

November: Second 1/2 Carla Sonheim Drawing Lab

December: North Light Books Staff: Sketchbook Confidential

5. Continue with Sketchcrawls, Meet-up Central Park Drawing Group, Journal Study Group to sketch NYC.

I have a wonderful group of friends to sketch with - the Central Park Drawing and Meet-Up Group that meets now twice each month (except during the coldest months), and my Journal Study Group. I also spent 3 days with EDM member Liz Steel who was visiting NYC from Australia and spent an afternoon sketching with Liz and Jason Das (Urban Sketcher).

6. Deal with my Internal Critic and Fear of Failure: Develop a strategy to fool my internal critic so I can continue to add to "My Apartment" journal. The journal and project need to be converted from "too precious" to a playful experience using some of the strategies I have copied and saved from my reading.

When EDM member Casey Toussaint was visiting me this summer, we discussed this common problem and challenged each other to do at least one more page in the sketch books that we made during our bookbinding class. I have now completed a total of 2. I have no problem using my other hand bound watercolor sketchbooks or plain watercolor paper or the Strathmore Visual Journals that I received from Rice Freeman Zachary as a "giveaway." There is something about the fact that the above mentioned precious sketchbook was made during my only bookbinding workshop and is as perfect as a sketchbook can be because of the equipment available.

7. PLAY: Try some new art tools - Schmincke watercolor paint triad, dip pens, Pentel pocket brush pen, oil pencils for figure drawing, etc

I have tried lots of new tools this year - Schminke watercolor paints in cool and warm triads, a Pentel pocket brush pen, a ruling pen, dip pens with several types of nibs, several types of paper, including Yupo, Neocolor II watercolor crayons, and Shiva paintstiks. I also learned how to make foam stamps and copied a master painting in stamps and learned how to make and use Thermofax screens. My art buddies challenged me to make a multimedia book using everything I owned - working in layers - and with many images per page and I completed a 16 page journal.

8. Bookbinding - continue to make watercolor journals for myself, trying different sizes and my own dye painted fabric as book cloth.

I learned how to make book cloth from my hand dyed and painted fabrics and made 7 watercolor sketchbooks for my daily journal. In addition, I made several other types of books including a hidden spine and Australian piano hinge book (both inspired by Gwen Diehn) and another recycled book for summer beach paintings.

9. Optional: Add to Theme Projects (London, NYC) - Try to complete some other pages in these 2 journals or just get over the angst of having two unfinished journals and move them to the "completed journals shelf"

I completed 11 pages in my NYC recycled sketchbook this year and I’m almost done with it! Most of my NYC sketches are in my regular daily sketchbook, because that is what I carry with me, so I will not make another NYC sketchbook when this one is done. I’m going to move my London book to the finished stack because I completed 3 fifty page sketchbooks during our many visits to London in 2006-7 and I really don’t enjoy sketching from my photos now that we are home.

10. Keep myself open to new projects and adventures. Be willing to "stretch" whenever the opportunity arises.

I think that this was easy to accomplish, because I was surrounded by such wonderfully creative friends and our Journal Study Group provided amazing inspiration and lots of sharing of specific skills. And as added inspiration, Gwen Diehn became an honorary member and spent full days with us when visiting her family in NYC.

December 13, 2010

Figure Drawing December 7, 2010

My friend Melanie Testa and I went to the Society of Illustrators Figure Drawing session last week - and enjoyed a 3-piece jazz combo, a glass of red wine, and 3 hours with 2 models for every pose.  One of the models was new to me - and was the tallest and thinnest I sketched there.  It took me awhile to get used to the thinness of her extremities and seemed to draw her, rather than the other model during each pose.  Here is one 5 minute sketch, two 10 minute sketches, and two 20 minute sketches.  In the last drawing, I added the second, seated model, as an afterthought and she probably should be larger.

See Melanie's blog for her sketches from the session.  She is also posting them today.

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I met Melanie just over a year ago and love having someone to share art, surface design and quilting, and bookbinding with.  This was our first Live Figure Drawing together, although we regularly sketch around New York City, and work on projects with our Journal Study Group.

December 12, 2010

Sonheim Lab Drawings 35, 37, 38

I still sketch from Carla Sonheim's book Drawing Lab, and hope to finish all 52 exercises by the end of Winter.  I periodically post some of my 100 Faces (Lab 16), but have only completed  36/100.  I have a zipper pouch with cards cut from watercolor paper, pencil, pen, eraser, 8 watercolor pencils, and a watercolor brush that I carry with me when I know I might have a chance for a live Face Drawing.  I'll post a picture of my great pouch with the next batch of faces.

Lab 35:  Browse a magazine and rip out a few pages that speak to you.  Then collage one or more elements to a page and add a sketch around the collages.  I picked up the Sunday NY Times magazine and found this mask/color samples, and didn't want to look for anything else.  It spoke to me!

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Lab 37  Instructions for this lab are as follows:  Quickly make a list of 20 things.  Using a random number generator (she provides the URL for one on the web), draw each item in the order that they are "selected" as a random number. 

My list of 20 items is on the left side of the spread.

This was great fun and another one of her terrific methods for making original drawings.

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Lab 38:  Sidewalk Crack Drawings

I photographed sidewalk cracks for several months while walking around New York City.  When I finally got to this Lab, I selected a photo, rotated the image on the computer, and finally saw a little lamb.  I should have left out the curb edge (upper left corner) and the bottom of a scaffold support (bottom left corner) - but I hope you can see my lamb anyway.

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Katherine Tyrrell, on her blog Making a Mark, posts monthly data re: art book ratings and sales.  I'm not surprised that Drawing Lab remains tops in sales for Drawing Books.  It is a great book if you want to loosen up and have fun - especially with a group.

November 15, 2010

100 Faces - A Sonheim Drawing Lab

I still draw faces when I'm out around NYC - as part of Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab book.  This is a long term project for me, and I probably will still be working on my 100 Faces months from now. 

These are 6 of the recent faces that I drew from life - a security guard at the Social Security Office, a girl on the crosstown bus, audience members at the theatre and at a Textile Study Group lecture,  a page at WABC-TV, and an usher from the NY Philharmonic open rehearsal,

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I got bogged down at Lab 36 of the Drawing Lab book and finally skipped it and moved onto 37.  My goal is to continue working through the exercises sequentially now to the end of the year.  And I'm simultaneously reflecting on any progress in 2010 and making some personal art goals for 2011.

 

November 11, 2010

Figure Drawing and Illustrators Week in New York City

I discovered that they were having a special evening at the Society of illustrators this week after I arrived.  There was a brief announcement the week before that I didn't hear and a listing in the program for Illustrators Week.  There were 4 musicians (instead of the usual two), at least twice as many artists sketching, and an audience full of well-known illustrators (but certainly not to me).  The energy in the room was amazing and the drawings that I could see from my seat were incredible. 

There were two models, as usual, and an illustrator - in street clothes with an added mask, or hat - posing with them for 10 minute poses.  It was difficult for me to draw 3 models in 10 minutes, so I focused on what I could do and just enjoyed the experience.  Here are sketches with two illustrators who were sitting near me - both are fashion illustrators

This was one of the models with Bil Donovan - a very friendly and amusing man.  I sketched in 9B graphite and had trouble increasing the contrast without also increasing the smudges!

 

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The final illustrator modeling (out of approx 10) was Robert Richards.  He sat behind me throughout the evening and almost every other illustrator took the time to come greet and speak to him.  When I looked him up, I learned:  "The New Yorker multi-talent Robert W. Richards started his career as an illustrator for the fashion world; his striking talents delighted the fashion tsars in Paris and Rome. His clients included Yves St. Laurent, Valentino and Gaultier, among others. He drew portraits of Hollywood stars like Cher and Tony Curtis, and worked for years with gay publications like The Advocate and Mandate."

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It was a memorable evening - and I will certainly attend if they celebrate Illustrators Week the same way again next year.