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September 29, 2011

I Love Figure Drawing

This shouldn't be a surprise to me since I spent >40 years learning about and caring for the human body.  But I still am surprised by the almost unconscious pull toward drawing people.   Last week I was tired, and it was raining, and I didn't go to figure drawing, the first time I planned to return after the August break.  So I pulled one of my two books of photos off the shelf and sketched two nude figures.  They were sketched with a watercolor pencil and then wet to create some shading.


On Friday morning my husband and I went to an open rehearsal of the New York Philharmonic and we sat close enough for me to sketch 3 violinists.  I am obsessed with trying to figure out the positions of their hands on the bow and the chords.  Their hands are so graceful in those positions.  The middle sketch is of Conductor Alan Gilbert's mother.  She was a member of the orchestra for many years before her son was selected as the new music director and conductor.  As the mother 3 children, including  two boys, I am intrigued with this beyond belief.  One of my sons chose the same specialty as mine - but in Pediatrics - and I never anticipated that would occur. 



Tuesday evening I had an enormous challenge when I finally returned to the Society of Illustrators to draw.  One of the two models didn't come, and the other was, in medical terms, morbidly obese.  And she had the biggest hair I've ever seen.  She was a wonderful artist's model and her positions were equally challenging.  She invited all of us to attend the NY Burlesque Festival this weekend to see her and some of the other models!  Here are the two 20 minute poses that I did on watercolor paper with a watercolor pencil.  The red color is her kimona.




September 8, 2011

More Sketches With Watercolor Pencils

I just did several exercises from the 3rd Lesson in Kate Johnson's Mini-Watercolor Pencil Class. 

Exercise 1:  I sketched randon tools from my sewing desk with neutral hue watercolor pencils (7 total) and decided that I liked the Albrecht Durer (A.D.) Dark Indigo and Burnt Umber best.  They have now been added to my everyday pencil/pen/eraser case so I can really try them out.


Exercise 2:  I used one watercolor pencil to do an entire drawing - trying to achieve light, medium, and dark values.  This sketch of my Grand daughter's dog was done with a black  A.D. pencil.


Exercise 3:  I quickly laid down lines for this portrait (taken from a photo) with the Burnt Umber A.D. pencil and then painted it with W-N watercolors.



I will be in Chicago next week, so I scheduled a blog post with photos of my watercolor sketchbooks - that I make with my procion MX dyed fabric as bookcloth.  There is also a link to a tutorial for the method I use to make watercolor sketchbooks from inexpesive out of print books.

August 25, 2011

Figure Al Fresca - 3

Here are a few sketches from this week's Figure Drawing in Battery Park City - on the tip of Manhattan.  I struggled with some of the sketches, but I'm not going to blame the model! 

We sketch in a beautiful area right along the edge of the Hudson River where it enters New York Harbor, and this is now Zone A.  Evacuation is being advised due to an anticipated storm surge of 6-12 feet due to Hurricane Irene which will arrive early Sunday morning.  Evacuation may become mandatory by Saturday, but all mass transportation will be discontinued late Saturday afternoon, so people are being encouraged to leave now and tomorrow.

Two minute poses:


Five minute pose:



Two 10 minute poses - for which the model put on a dress and attached a feather in her hair.



August 19, 2011

Figure Al Fresca -2

This week my friend Pat met me for lunch and then went to the Battery Park City Summer Drawing figure drawing session.  She always worries about whether it will be too hot, but the setting is beautiful, with cross breezes from the Hudson River.  This was a great opportunity for her to figure out whether she could sketch all of the poses on her iPad - and she could!

I'm used to 2 minute warmup poses and find the ten 1 minute poses at this site a real challenge.  But I thought I should share a few.  We did 12!


The next drawings are from the 5 minute and 10 minute poses - with which I'm much more comfortable.  The model was terrific and suddenly, when you looked up, she had transitioned to a new pose effortlessly and quietly.



The two hour session ended with a 20 minute pose.  I sketched her in brown watercolor pencil and then added watercolor and watercolor washes.





August 16, 2011

Exercises for Figure Drawing

I really enjoy drawing figures and have a variety of exercises that I've done over several years to practice sketching body parts:  faces, hands, and feet. 

Drawing faces:  I save full face portraits from magazines and for this exercise I divide them in half vertically.  I collage one half of the face to a sketchbook page and then sketch the missing side - trying to copy the original as closely as possible.  I saw this idea on a website or blog, but don't remember where.

Drawing hands:  I have an articulated hand, that I bought second hand at a mannequin supply store in Manhattan, that I can position and then draw.  And for almost two years I worked my way through a website with photos of hands forming the American Sign Language letters.  I just finished Y and Z - so I'm done.

Drawing feet:  So far most of my sketches are of my feet and my husband's feet as we sit watching TV.

Here are the last 6 pages in my practice sketchbook.