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September 1, 2015

Museums of Art and Design and American Folk Art

Pat, Benedicte and I spent a full day last week at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) and the American Museum of Folk Art.  There were two excellent exhibits at MAD, but as artists who like to draw figures, the Ralph Pucci Mannequin exhibit made us pull out our sketchpads and iPad, and want to draw.  One half of the exhibit showed his studio, with mannequin body part casts and partially assembled and assembled bodies.  I love the yellow full body casts on the top shelves. 

The other half was a huge demonstration of mannequins created by designers - for example Diane Von Furstenberg.  But one of them was even designed by one of my favorite artists - Maira Kalman.

Here are two photos I took of the studio section and one of Benedicte photographing one half of the line-up.

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I selected a few mannequins to draw.  The one on the left was designed by Maira Kalman.

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Next I sketched just the heads of the most bizarre mannequins.  Most of their bodies were the same shapes, but in different positions. 

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After lunch we went to the American Folk Art Museum to see the "Folk Art and American Modernism" Exhibit and my favorite piece was a 19th C. Archangel Gabriel weathervane.  I loved the patina and tried to create some of it with my paint colors.   

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August 28, 2015

Battery Park New York City - August 26th

I Love Battery Park!  For me there is something so magical about sunshine, lots of trees, Harbor and River breezes, and lots of activity.  The Art Program of the Battery Park City Conservancy, which runs from May through October, drew me down to the Park on Wednesdays (weather permitting), and now I can't wait and watch the weather forecast from Sunday through Wednesday morning.  From 11-1, the program is based in Wagner Park - the west side of Battery Park, along the Esplanade and in beautifully manicured flower gardens that extend from Pier A to South Cove.  From 2:30-4:30 there are clothed figure models to draw in South Cove.  This is a quick picture of one of the many shady areas in Wagner Park, and the people you can see on benches are some of the artists.  The rest are spread out in the gardens or along the Esplanade facing the Harbor.

 

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On the right side of the above photo, in deep shadows, is the Art Cart.  The staff from the Conservancy drives the cart to both sites, filled with free art supplies, including stools, drawing boards, paper, and a large variety of media.  I always bring my own supplies - but love the stools.  I used Photoshop to lighten the photo and focus on the cart for this blog post.

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This week I challenged myself to draw the setting for a beautiful water lily that I saw in one of the Gardens.  Landscapes are my least favorite types of drawings/paintings.  If I'm painting flowers I prefer to carefully observe one or a few. While I was there, the Conservancy gardeners were busily at work, I was in the shade and breezes, and loved the first hour.  Here is my sketchbook page.  I sat near the water during the second hour and prepared a new sketchbook, mixing my primary watercolors to put a sample of my palette on the front page.

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And here are several of my figure drawings from the afternoon session. 

Five Minute Sketch:

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Composite of 10 and 20 minute sketches:  These were sketched on the same large sheet of watercolor paper, but scanned individually and put back together in Photoshop.

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After Figure Drawing I walk with my friend Benedicte along the water, and we revel in the Harbor activity.  This was one of the first things we saw this week. 

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August 20, 2015

Urban Sketchers and the Seaglass Carousel

Today is the Grand Opening of the new Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park.  It took 10 years to reach completion and is a labor of love for the Battery Conservancy, a group founded by Warrie Price in 1994.  The WXY architectural firm's Mark Yoes and his team members conceived of the nautilus shape to honor the original New York Aquarium that once was located in Castle Clinton in Battery Park. 

Yesterday our weekday NYC-Urban Sketchers' group met there to sketch the exterior one day before the official opening.  Upon arrival we learned that it was Press Day and the "keeper of the press list" wouldn't let us any closer.  You can see  the table set up at the entrance.  I sat on a bench and started sketching, soon joined by 2 others from our group.  Several others were disappointed and decided to go sketch along the water where it was cooler.

 

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Much later, after my sketchbook page was painted, one of our members approached the Battery Conservancy Chief of Operations, and was granted permission for the 3 of us to enter based on our almost completed sketches.  The official program for the Press was over and press attendees were just riding the carousel, so I was even able to see the Nautilus spiral ceiling from the inside.    

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Warrie Price and NYC-USK: Much later, the Chief of Operations, Steve Lagerstrom, introduced us to Warrie Price.  From Left to Right - Raylie, Me, Maureen from Urban Sketchers, and Warrie Price the President and Founder of the Battery Conservancy.  The man behind Raylie is Mark Yoes, architect.

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Here is my sketchbook page.  I wasn't sure how long I could sit on the bench in the sun, so the sketch was done quickly and the measurements aren't completely accurate.  Just before we were given permission to enter, the carousel was started and I saw that great big pink fish pass inside the windows.

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When I went inside, I actually met Mark Yoes, completely by chance, as we discussed my open wet paint palette and painting.  I told him I would send him a link to my blog post and hope that he enjoys it!  Here are 4 of the many photos I took as the fish were whirling past me,

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There are many articles already printed, and even a short 1 minute video showing the 30 fish as they spin around and move up and down.  I'm including 2 links, one to the NY Times video and the other to the NY Times article plus video.  Seaglass will now become a favorite NYC destination for NYC families and tourists alike. 

 

Video:  NY Times   http://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/design/100000003846021/take-a-ride-on-a-seaglass-carousel.html

Video Plus Recent Article Describing the Project:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/arts/design/new-yorks-new-carousel-puts-you-in-a-whirling-school-of-mechanized-fish.html?_r=0 

August 17, 2015

A Fun Trip on the Staten Island Ferry

Our granddaughter from Washington DC spent last week with us in NYC and 3 of her NYC  cousins stayed over the first night, and then Zach stayed for two more.  We went to the Museum of Mathematics, an Art session at MoMA, Matilda The Musical on Broadway, and the Museum of Natural History.  On her last night, our remaining 3 NYC grandchildren returned from 7 weeks at summer camp, so she had a full week of cousins. 

One day we took Annabelle and Zach on the Staten Island Ferry to see New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.  The Ferry, which is free, runs every half hour from both Manhattan and Staten Island and the two ferries pass each other on each of these 30 minute runs.  Here is a photo of our ferry passing the one headed in the other direction.

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When the ferry reaches Staten Island all passengers must disembark, and can wait for the next return ferry in a waiting room with two huge fish tanks.  We took sketchbooks, and here is my painting of two of the fish.

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This is the fish that Zach sketched, but I don't have a copy. 

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On our return trip we had a great view of the Statue of Liberty, and the tip of Manhattan. 

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After ice cream with a visit to our son, Zach's Dad, we went to the big Dick Blick store where they each chose a new big art set. 

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They sketched with color pencils immediately, making 10 drawings in total, as soon as we got home!  They even put prices on them in case someone in the family wanted to buy one!  We were sad to return her to her parents and brother over the weekend.  This is her second week with us this year and we are already planning another visit.

August 6, 2015

Wednesday is Art Day in Battery Park

This is a view of the Southern tip of Manhattan, and the trees along the water are part of Battery Park.  The multilevel triangular-roofed structure, at the bottom of the photo, is the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and we spend the morning painting, just to the south of that building, and in the afternoon draw a clothed model just to the north of it.  Turning my camera a little further North and you can see The Freedom Tower, the new World Trade Center, which dominates the skyline.

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The gardens surrounding the Museum are full of dinner-plate size hibiscus this month every year.

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If I turned around while painting, this is the view I would have seen.

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My first painting on Wed. was a composite of the 3 color flowers on display.  Then I just looked up, and decided to draw "what was in front of me" - the wall of the Museum with sky, clouds, and trees reflecting in one set of windows. 

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After lunch we moved around the Museum, to the area of the Park known as South Cove, for Figure Al Fresco to draw Rebecca.  She is a model who I like to draw best in very short poses.  Here are the last 4 of my 10 one minute poses. 

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This is a free program sponsored by the Battery Park Conservancy and they even bring art supplies to every session from the beginning of May to the end of October.