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February 6, 2015

January Figure Drawing

The Central Part Sketching and Art Meetup Group is now meeting each Saturday during the winter for figure drawing, and yesterday was the first session.  The model looked like a runway model, probably 6 feet tall and all angles and boney prominences.  I really enjoyed drawing her and here are 5, 10, and 20 minute poses, all drawn with a soluble graphite pencil, on 12 X 15" watercolor paper, with added shading done with clear water and my flat Niji waterbrush.   The drawings were photographed, not scanned.

Two 5 Mintue Poses:

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Two 10 minute Poses: 

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Two 20 Minute Poses:

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February 3, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Pablo Picasso

It is Week 2 for me in the online course Studying Under the Masters.  The Master for this week is Pablo Picasso, and over the years I have copied many of his drawings, because I love the images he can capture drawing only a few lines or one continuous line.  So it was time to copy a painting!  The painting "Reading at a Table" is at the Met, and as soon as I saw it in the new Reinventing Modernism Galleries, I knew that I wanted to try to paint her!  As before, the Master is on the left, and my painting is on the right.  I used watercolor and black and white gouache instead of oil, and loved trying to achieve some of the spirit of Picasso. 

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I debated a variety of portraits for my "painting inspired by Picasso" and finally realized that I could use one of my figure drawings from MoMA for the subject.  I made this sketch of the actress model in the Toulouse-Lautrec Drawing Session in 3 minutes, using only straight lines to draw her image.  I took a scan of that drawing as the basis for my painting and then experimented with backgrounds.  I loved the candle in Picasso's painting, so I added it to mine, and then needed to work out the rest of the setting and color palette. 

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And here is my finished painting.  I usually draw and paint in watercolor sketchbooks and for this series of paintings I'm using Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper in a 9 X 12 block.

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Next Week:  Max Beckmann, the German Expressionist Painting. 

January 30, 2015

Master Drawings Week in New York City

The annual Masters' Drawing week was held in NYC this week and the snow had little effect on the gallery hours and auctions.  There are 32 galleries on the Upper Eastside of New York that feature drawings from hundreds of years ago to the 20th C.  In addition, auction houses schedule their Master Drawings Auctions during this week, ensuring a truly international gathering. They publish a guide to the participating Galleries and we visit them!

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I love drawings and almost always love preparatory drawings to the famous oil paintings more than the painting, so this is one of my favorite art adventures. 

I went to 12 galleries on Wed and took a few photographs so I could either remember the drawings, or try to emulate them.  This 6 x 6" Study of a Horse's Head was drawn by James Seymour (1702-1752), and it was perfect for me to try out my new Brause pen nib and Herbin brown ink purchased in Paris.

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On Thursday my friend Pat joined me and we went to the remaining participating galleries.  Many of them are in townhouses between 5th and Madison Avenues and the teeny elevators are always a fun part of the whole experience.  This is a drawing of Albert Einstein by Josef Scharl.  The gallery owner told us that Einstein sponsored him for his green card, and they were lifelong friends. 

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January 23, 2015

Urban Sketching in Criminal Court

The Weekday Urban Sketchers of New York City met in Arraignments Court a week ago to sketch the proceedings.  The action was fast, with the accused appearing before the judge, with the prosecuting and defending attorneys making brief statements, mainly about setting bail and court dates for their court appearances.  Occasionally a guilty plea was entered and the judge informed the felon about the process and confirmed the decision.  Our small group sat at the back of the courtroom and watched and sketched for almost two hours, without anyone paying attention to us. 

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Judge, Lawyers, and the accused:  I grouped several of the felons, most in hoodies, the lawyers, and the judge in one composite drawing.

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Near the end of the morning a Mother and Child came in for a few minutes and sat opposite me.  Several minutes after I began my sketch, she departed, and was probably a Wife or  Girlfriend who just was there to hear the Judge and the bail decision.  Many of the accused had family members who were there to confirm that they weren't a flight risk, and had ties to the community.

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January 20, 2015

Fun Figure Drawing Exercises at MoMA

MoMA is offering drop-in Figure Drawing twice each month during the Toulouse-Lautrec Print Exhibit.  The models are actors and there are many props for them to use to evoke the café society of the Belle Epoque in Paris.  An art educator discusses Toulouse-Lautrec, his style, and his manner of capturing the performers on paper in the Cafes.  He then gives us many specific exercises during the 90 minute session - most are 3-5 minutes, the longest is 10.  Specific exercises include 1 min warm up to draw the whole figure, a quick seated pose, contour drawing, blind contour drawing, and gesture drawing.  Today I wanted to post other drawing techniques that were new to me as exercises and great fun.

Seated Pose - Model 1, Fast Profile:  I had great difficulty drawing this model's head because of her hair style. 

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Part 1 and Part 2 in Same Pose:  The model was seated on a windowsill and we had 10 minutes to sketch her.

Then we were given a small piece of colored paper and told to do a fast drawing of her in the same pose using a different tool.  I used a black Tombow marker. 

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Model 2:  The 1 + 9 Minute Exercise:  We were asked to draw the entire model in 1 minute.  After we put our pencils down, we were given 9 more minutes to add detail to only one part of the drawing.  I loved this exercise and realize that I usually go back and add detail everywhere - and this seems much fresher. 

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Capturing Active Poses:  Our model was asked to move from one body position to another, and then back again - relatively quickly (i.e. almost continuously back and forth).  We were asked to pick one point in the movement and draw it.  The model was repetitively lifting one leg to fix the strap on her shoe and then returning to a more stable position with both feet on the floor.  Her head rotated back to front as her body position shifted. 

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Model 2 - 10 minute pose to place her in an environment with a foreground, midground, and background. 

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A New Figure Drawing Exercise for Me:  Look at the model and draw her in only straight lines in 3 minutes.

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I will miss these sessions after they end in March.  The models are terrific, and the two art educators we've had were incredibly skilled at keeping the sessions moving along, introducing many ways to keep sketches fast, fresh and fun.