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May 22, 2015

Urban Sketchers and Figure Al Fresco This Week

An Urban Sketcher from Sydney Australia connected me with a Sydney watercolor artist who was coming to visit New York City and we spent two days together this week.  I'm constantly amazed at the international world of sketchbook art and the friends I meet through Everyday Matters, Urban Sketchers, and my blog.  On Monday Eunice and I met for coffee, and were in the café so long that we ordered and ate lunch!  This is a picture of us following lunch and before we went downtown to buy art supplies.  It was wonderful to meet her and I'm delighted that she will be visiting regularly.

 

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On Wednesday we met for a combined Weekday Urban Sketchers and Battery Park Conservancy Art Day.  Eunice and I sketched Pier A, at the tip of Manhattan overlooking New York Harbor, and while we sketched we watched Navy and Coast Guard vessels arrive for the annual Navy Fleet Week.  Notice the Statue of Liberty, which is on the other side of the harbor, right above the back of this destroyer.

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We were freezing while we sketched and had to go into Pier A for hot coffee.  Here is my "as yet" unpainted drawing over New York Harbor.   Pier A is on the left and way in the distance is Governor's Island and the Verrazano Bridge

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In the afternoon we moved to the Battery Park South Cove for Figure Al Fresco, the weekly figure drawing session sponsored by the Battery Park Conservancy.  The wind and cold made it unpleasant, so I did only the 1, 5, and 10 minutes sketches.   From left to right - 10 minute, and two five minute sketches done of our model who was sitting or standing on rocks in the South Cove. 

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Next Wednesday it is supposed to be in the 80s, so we will meet again under better weather conditions for outdoor sketching. 

May 14, 2015

Fashion at the Met and Warhol at MoMA

Every May, the fashion world of NYC comes together for the Costume Institute Met gala.  This year the exhibit is China:  Through the Looking Glass.  It is the most extravagant fashion exhibit I've seen there, in part because the exhibit is both in the Costume Institute galleries, and throughout the Asian Galleries.  It took us 2 hours to go through the galleries (even without reading many labels!).  And I did just a few sketches to remember the event.

This is a wonderful Met video of the exhibit. 

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/china-through-the-looking-glass/video 

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Pat, Benedicte, and I also went to MoMA to see the new Warhol exhibit, and to attend the first of many sessions about Warhol's Materials and Methods -something they are calling Warhol's Pop-Up events.  A museum art educator discussed Warhol's career and led us through 2 exercises.  In the first, we used one of his iconic shapes and created a new product/brand/logo.  I created a shopping bag, with an extravagant hat on it, for my store called "To the Races."  I imagined a shop for hats to be worn to the Kentucky Derby and Ascot. 

For  the 2nd exercise, we were given stacks of ads from the 1950s-1960s (I think) and a light box, and asked to trace images from these ads to create a new ad.  I just collected women's faces and made it an ad for Lifesavers - a hint at the rise of feminism during that time. 

Warhol is not an artist I admire.  I keep looking for evidence that he did more than transform work by others.  But it is always fun to work with the MoMA educators and I probably will sample one session from each of the 4 who will be leading these sessions in the next few months to see how they differ.  

 

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May 8, 2015

Battery Park City - Figure al Fresco

There is a free, outdoor Figure Drawing session in Battery Park City at the tip of Manhattan every Wednesday afternoon from May through October.  Yesterday was the first session, and many of the artists, and the model, were old friends.

The model is Donna - an incredible, colorfully dressed, experienced model.  I prefer the younger models who are dressed in tank tops and leggings so I can draw their full posture, but yesterday Donna was dressed in so many layers and colors that I had to pull out my watercolors for the longer poses.

This is the 5 minute sketch - in graphite.

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There were also two 10 minute sketches and one 30 minute sketch, which I did in graphite and then added paint.  But I missed the lines after painting, and brought them home and added India ink lines with my flexible nib over the watercolor.  Over and over I find that line is the most important element for me in art.  I prefer drawings to paintings, and ink and watercolor to any other paint medium.  And among oil paintings, I gravitate to the paintings with definite black lines in the paintings, like Matisse and Beckmann to name a few of my favorite artists.

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For this 30 minute pose Donna added yet one more scarf, a deeper auburn color over her bright pink one.  Her dress was a multicolor print and I simplified it to only capture the colors. 

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April 25, 2015

Video of Interview Done by MoMA of Our Art Friends Group

Museum of Modern Art New York-  Matisse: Beyond the Cutouts Studio

IMG_20150107_162530514.size.jpgLeft to Right:  Teri, Pat, Benedicte, and Me all busy creating collages. 

Late last year Associate Educators, Sarah Kennedy and Alison Burstein, at the Museum of Modern Art asked several of us if they could interview us about our participation in their programs.  Pat, Benedicte, Teri, Judy, and I are regular participants in their art-related events - Print Studio, Matisse - Beyond the Cutouts Studio, and even the Toulouse-Lautrec twice monthly Café Society Drawing Sessions.  Participation is free with Museum admission.  Work done in those sessions frequently appeared in this blog over the months and years.

The 4 minute video just appeared on their blog and I finally decided that I would share it here.  They would like their programs to be widely advertised and I hope that readers of my blog will share the information for MoMA. 

Here is the link to the MoMA blog for the video:

http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/blog/the-moma-studio-experience 

Pat and Benedicte are two of my friends who were interviewed.  Pat is the first person you see, with her sketchbook.  Benedicte has the lovely French accent.  And I'm the one in the red sweater.  There is also a photo of us with Judy (left) and Teri (right) on a day when all 5 of us were in the Print Studio in 2012.

Having friends with whom I can share my interests, makes this piece of my retirement come alive.    

It is hard to find information on the MoMA website that lists the events that are related to the exhibits - and there is a Warhol event that will be held after the Soup Can exhibit opens this month.  My advice is to go to the exhibit listing, and follow the "events" links that are embedded after the description of the exhibit. 

 

April 17, 2015

Drawing From Imagination - Yikes!

As a child and younger adult, I could draw from 2D images and always told my husband I was just a good copier.  When preparing for my retirement from a 40 year career in medicine, I started drawing more and from 2005 (when I joined Everyday Matters), I started drawing from life - and slowly developed some skills with LOTS of practice. 

But I always knew that I could not draw completely from imagination, and the second homework assignment from Adolfsson and Defline in Sketchbook Skool Storytelling still aren't done!  So I decided to do my own "100 day project" to try to extend my doodling and develop some small ability to use my imagination. 

I dedicated a 100 page 4 X 6" book that I made with copy paper for daily sketches from my imagination.  And to avoid any excuses, I made a pen/pencil holder to wrap around the book so I can take it anywhere and always be ready. 

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I didn't intend to show any of my drawings, but Jonathan Twingley's Week on Sketchbook Skool - Stretching is all about imagination.  So I decided to post a few drawings since I started on April 6th, and to periodically add some observations about my own brain.   

An Early page - my barn:

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I finally read Perfume by Patrick Suskind and decided to draw perfume bottles:

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Working at my Sewing Machine in my Studio:

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Sailors from the Musical Revival of "On The Town":  I specifically looked at the costumes Wed. PM and drew these Thursday. 

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Thursday Urban Sketchers-NYC met at Lincoln Center and I drew and painted the Metropolitan Opera House for the first time: 

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This morning I decided to see whether I had stored this building in my brain, and now could recall it well enough to draw it in my imagination book.  This is my 5 minute drawing in pen.

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I definitely internalized the Opera House and can remember the structure I analyzed. 

I have over 100 sketchbooks since 2005, and all were drawings from direct observation.  How long will it take for me to be able to draw more from my imagination, and what are the exercises that will help me on this pathway?  I'll report back periodically.