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April 7, 2014

Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group

Yesterday we had a gorgeous day for outdoor sketching and our group met at Belvedere Castle in Central Park.  We had approximately 45 minutes to move to location, sketch, paint, and then gather to show our sketches.  Over 3 hours we shifted position 3 times and here are my 3 sketchbook pages.

Belvedere Castle - from the rocks overlooking Turtle Pond.  I sat in bright sunlight and listened to tourists search for the turtles - both swimming and sunning themselves below us.

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Instead of working more on my castle drawing, I sketched and painted another member of our group during the 2nd session.  She had beautiful hair which fell naturally, covering her face while she was drawing.  But I could always see the frame of her red glasses.

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We moved to The Shakespeare Garden for our 3rd session and I fought with a painting of a very small purple flower - one of the few that were blooming.   I couldn't capture the exact purple color or show the variation from intense color at the ends of each petal to white in the center.  I tortured these 2 small blooms - and finally said - "I did my best and have lots more to learn."

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February 28, 2014

Catching Up

There is a break this week in our lessons in the Studying Under the Masters course, so I decided to post information about my other Winter activities.

1.  Our grandchildren:  We took 8 year old Robbie and 4 year old Zach to the Museum of Modern Art last week to listen to the Children's audioguide.  The museum has short, interesting commentaries for about 15 of their major art works in the permanent collection.  Here they are listening to the commentary about Matisse's painting The Piano Lesson.  All of our grandchildren love to do this.

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2.  Surface Design:  This semester I'm taking a surface design class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) - fifteen 4 hour lab sessions using dye to paint on silk.  I have some experience with these techniques, but thought it would be fun to study with an artist from FIT. 

Here is a watercolor painting of one of 6 butterflies that I "drew" with gutta and water soluble resists on silk and painted with Sennelier dyes.   I also painted it as a watercolor so I would have an entry in my daily art journal. 

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3.  Family Research:   I signed up for Family History Writing Month in February and decided to write a story  (at least 250 words per day) about my Great-great-great-great grandmother Christina Wampler.  She was kidnapped by the Delaware Indians in Lancaster Co. PA in 1757, during the French-Indian War, and was returned with 206 captives to Carlisle PA in 1764.  The British took 1500 soldiers to the Ohio Valley to force the Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo Indians to sign a peace treaty and return their captives.  Her kidnapping and return were both reported in the PA Gazette (Benjamin Franklin, editor) and here is part of the handwritten captive list that I obtained from the Clements Rare Manuscript Library at the University of Michigan.

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She is #40 on this scanned portion of the list and was returned with one shirt, 1 legging, 1 shoe pack and 1 blanket.  I don't know her age when she was kidnapped, but the fact that she was able to tell soldiers her full name after living with the Indians for 7 years and speaking their language, makes me assume that she was probably older than 4-5 years.  Notice a captive named Flat Nose right below her - this is obviously a name given by the Indians.  There are also captives listed with only their first names.  She married Peter Graybeal, had a large family, lived in Ashe Co, NC and died in Jackson Co. Ohio.

I'm hoping that someone with more information about her may find this entry in a Google Search.  I exchange information with other Graybeal descendants, but there is so much more to learn. 

 

January 28, 2014

Wonderful Art Inspiration

This is a terrific week in New York City to tour exhibits and galleries for inspiration.  After I registered for my Spring Semester Class at FIT (Painting on Fabric), Pat, Benedicte and I went to the Morgan Library and Museum for 3 exhibits:  Leonardo, Spanish Drawings, and St. Exupery's Little Prince.  http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/

The DaVinci drawings were spectacular and it was a spiritual experience being in the same gallery with them.  The Spanish drawings were also inspiring, especially those by Goya.  And the newest exhibit, The Little Prince, was amazing.

St. Exupery fled France with his wife after the Nazi invasion and lived in New York City with an enormous amount of support from friends.  He created The Little Prince while here, and after the publication of the book rejoined his squadron in Northern Africa where he died on a solo mission in his airplane.  Right before he left, he gave a big bag of manuscript pages and original illustrations to a friend, who gave them to The Morgan, and these make up most of the exhibit.  This illustration with the boabab tree was changed for the final - but I loved this iteration of the drawing best!!

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Master Drawings New York Week began last Friday and we scheduled two days to gallery hop on the Upper East Side of New York City.  Yesterday Pat, Benedict, Judy, and I went to 13 galleries and throughly enjoyed drawings from the 16th C. through the present.  One gallery had iPads mounted next to giclee prints by a Mexican Artist named Elena Climent - and the iPads scrolled through each of the layers she drew from the first scribbling through the final piece.

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I love Delacroix's drawings and watercolors from Morocco, and was thrilled to see one drawing of 4 heads of a Moroccan Man.  I took this photo and then drew one of the heads quickly to remember our day.  And this morning I sketched another copy of it to make myself yet one more magnetic bookmark.  For information about my magnetic bookmarkds see http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/06/more_watercolor_magnetic_bookm_1.php

 

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When exiting a gallery on E. 79th St. we saw a pile of architectural trash from a renovation.  The textures on the back of granite pieces stopped my artist friends in their tracks.  They took photos of the trash and I took one of them.  From left to right:  Benedicte, Pat, and Judy in Artic NYC.

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Tomorrow we are going to visit the remaining 14 galleries - and hopefully find lots more inspiration. 

This is Cezanne week with Artist Teresa Sheeley, so I am reviewing old notes and Cezanne paintings I did in the past and selecting a painting to copy now.

January 21, 2014

Matisse, A Purple Coat, and the 1913 NYC Armory Show

I am posting the paintings that I did over the weekend, ending my week studying under Jeanne Oliver and Matisse, her master artist.  This was week 1 of 9 weeks of online study with 9 contemporary artists and the Master they wanted to study ("Studying Under the Masters").

In my copy of a Matisse painting which I posted previously, I was drawn to paintings in which he had his models wearing the purple coat from his "working library."  Here is a photo of the actual coat that was in the 2005 Matisse exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I saw it then, paired with a painting, and never forgot it.  When I found my copy of the photo, I immediately wanted to share it - I think it tells so much about how Matisse's love of textiles influenced his art.

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After painting a copy of a Matisse painting, "Lady in a Purple Coat," my assignment was to use what I learned to paint my own composition.  I resketched one of my figure drawings from the Society of Illustrators and placed her in an environment that made me think about painting Matisse - ish. 

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Matisse at The Armory Show in 1913: 

On Saturday my husband and I went to the NY Historical Society to see "The Armory Show at 100" exhibit. 

The Armory Show in 1913 contained nearly 1400 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures - showcasing American artists and introducing a new generation of Modern European Artists that shocked visitors to the exhibit.  Matisse sent 13 paintings (including The Blue Nude and Red Studio), 3 drawings, and 1 sculpture and was the artist that created the most outrage!! 

The Historical Society was able to borrow almost 100 of the original pieces and they have prepared a very scholarly introduction and discussion to the politics of mounting the exhibit and the public reaction that shaped Modern Art as we know it.  Much of the information is available online.

This is an extensive discussion of the Armory Show:  http://armory.nyhistory.org/about/ 

And here is the European Painting section which includes the "outrageous" "beast" Matisse (for my Jeanne Oliver classmates): http://armory.nyhistory.org/category/artworks/ 

And then look at the painting by American artist Robert Chanler in which his parodies the Fauves:

http://armory.nyhistory.org/parody-of-the-fauve-painters/  

While at the exhibit, I sketched a Redon and painted my sketch when I returned home.  Odilon Redon was featured in my Figure Drawing class at FIT this Fall and I never paid attention to him before.  So here is my version of Redon's oil on paper painting called "Silence." 

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January 11, 2014

Beginning of a New Year

I am celebrating my 20th weekly ballet class after my return to my favorite form of exercise.  I always loved dance - of all kinds - and took ballet classes once or twice a week during many years of my adult life.  But I "lapsed" when I retired and during the summer decided that I had to return - at least for the entire barre part of the class.   

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My friend Teri, a mixed-media artist, told me about two online Art Journal groups she joined for 2014.  I looked carefully at both of them and decided on a "Documented Life" project. 

https://arttothe5th.squarespace.com/ 

I love memoirs and have many ways that I document my life and those in my family - including all of my ancestors back for several hundred years. 

Each week there is a prompt posted, and members create a journal page in a modified Moleskine Weekly Planner.  I love the idea of a weekly prompt, and for years did the weekly Everyday Matters challenge.  But I wanted to draw/paint in ink with watercolor on my favorite watercolor paper.  I tore a sheet of Fabriano Artistica  140 lb extra-white Soft Press paper into folios, made signatures with two folios per signature (i.e. 8 pages), and started the prompts on the first signature.  I have the pages in the signature numbered so I can bind the book, in order, at the end of the year. 

Week 1:  Front Door

I live in a New York City apartment building and sketched and painted the small hall off the elevator and my front door.

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Week 2:  A Selfie

I debated about drawing a self-portrait, but recently did that for my FIT Figure Drawing class.  So instead I sketched and painted "The Selfie of My Dreams."

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