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April 6, 2015

Jacob Lawrence - One Way Ticket at MoMA

One Way Ticket, Jacob Lawrence's Migration series, opened at MoMA this weekend.  At age 23 he painted these 60 panels to tell the story of the migration of blacks from the rural south to the urban north between WWI and WWII.  He did extensive research at the Schomberg Center in Harlem and painted a series that tells an amazing story through paintings and captions.  MoMA owns 30 "even-numbered" panels and the Phillips Collection in DC owns 30 "odd-numbered" ones.  Periodically they reunite them and I first saw them many years ago in DC.  I wasn't drawing or painting at that time, and only now do I realize how masterful he was at composition. 

Lawrence painted in tempera, and after drawing all 60 panels, he painted one color across all 60, and then added the second color, etc. 

Here is a 2 minute video from BBC World News: 

The MoMA website has all 60 panels and a wonderful description of the exhibit. 

I had trouble choosing just one panel to copy, but kept returning to panels with 3 images - and finally chose this one.


The exhibit also includes art, music, and photography from his contemporaries, including Marion Anderson's Lincoln Memorial performance.  I loved one of Dorothea Lange's photographs of an ex-slave and sketched her as well.




March 27, 2015

Urban Sketchers NYC at Chaim Gross' Studio

This week the "weekday" Urban Sketchers NYC group met at the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation.  This is a little known gem in the Village only several blocks from Washington Square.  Chaim Gross was a sculptor and painter in NYC from his arrival from Europe after WWI until his death in 1991.  After raising two children on the Upper Westside of NYC, he and his wife moved into a new home at 526 LaGuardia Place which served both as their home and studio.  It is open Thursdays and Fridays from 1-5 and artists are welcome. 



This is the first floor, just inside the entrance:


Overlooking the studio - with an incredible number of pieces and everything left as it was when he died:



The second floor contains his private art collection which is amazing, and special exhibits.  The 3rd floor has paintings from his contemporaries, and a huge African Art Collection.


My sketches:

Two heads - one black and white marble and the other beige - and 4 of his wood sculptures on the first floor and studio.




Yoruba beaded wooden sculpture and several other African art pieces on the 3rd floor. 



March 24, 2015

Drawing Class/Spring in NYC?

We are still drawing and shading with graphite in my FIT Drawing Class.  This week our in-class assignment was to draw and sketch this plant - dark green with light pink veins on the leaves.  The class sits in a BIG square, at drawing desks, at least 6-8 feet back from the central table.  A bright standing lamp is directed at the object to create shadows.  As before, I finished drawing the plant and vase, and then thought only about my watercolor paints!  And as before I remind myself that this is my first drawing class and I need to concentrate on the requirements of this course and use graphite to shade instead of paints to add color!



I finished early and was bored again, so I added 3 classmates to what will probably become a crowd! 



I bought beautiful tulips for our apartment last week in anticipation of the first day of spring.  My husband worried that they would be wilted by Saturday/Sunday.  Here they are in a quick painting. 



And here is the view from my Window at 6AM on the first day of Spring. 


We had 4.5 inches of snow in Central Park by the time the snow ended!  And we are all still wearing heavy down coats with hoods up! 


March 17, 2015

Asia Week Art and an Inspiring Video Drawing

I'm posting two completely unrelated Sketchbook pages today.  My friend Pat and I went to two Asian Art Auction Previews on Friday.  Sotheby's had a terrific preview for their Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Auction.  Over the last two years, I've discovered several Indian artists whose work I LOVE, and there were many paintings by each of them (Husain, Prahba, and Souza).  Christies was a disappointment for those of us who weren't there to see Asian ceramics, jades, brass sculptures etc., because they had 1600 art objects from one collection to auction!  But the paintings on the Chinese scrolls definitely made up for it.  I took lots of pictures so I can try to learn from the brush drawings of roosters, tigers, herons, camels, and chickens. 

I sketched one painting, and one detail of stylized cows from another painting at Sothbys, on one sketchbook page, to remember the day.



Yesterday I watched a video called The Life of an Artist (2012) by Adebanji Alade that was very inspirational. 

The Life of an Artist 

I paused the video while he was sketching on public transportation and sketched him, so I could remember his advice, "Sketch, Sketch, Sketch and Draw, Draw, Draw."   Oops - misspelled his first name on the sketchbook page!




March 10, 2015

Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky

This exhibit just opened at the Metropolitan Museum of New York and it is spectacular.  I went to the Member Previews last week, excited by the postcard that arrived about a month ago.  Pictographs are among my favorite images and I didn't know what to expect, but was thrilled to find several tanned leather hides and clothing with ink and pigment drawings. 



This is called the Grand Robe and I took a photo of it from the Exhibit Catalogue because no photos are allowed in the exhibit.  The catalogue says that there were hundreds of these robes made and only 5 remain.  Three are in this exhibit, including this one on loan from the Musee de Quai Branley in Paris.  There are 60 figures on this robe, depicting 14 battles - and I sketched a few of my favorites.  






I also attended a "Conversation with a Paper Conservator", who worked on the Maffet Ledger Journal over 18 months before, during, and after it traveled to Paris and Kansas City where this exhibit began.  George West Maffet distributed some ledgers among the Northern and Southern Cheyenne tribe in the  mid-1800s and this ledger contains narrative stories in drawings by 22 different artists.   Most of the drawings are scenes from battles against the Cavalry.  Not only was I interested in the paper conservation information, but it was so interesting to hear how they poured over the drawings to try to separate the artists and translate the images. 

Here is one of the paintings in the ledger.  In order for indian boys to establish their bravery, they had to coup a soldier, which meant touching them with their sword, or bow and arrow, and then escaping without being harmed.  The conservator said that they did lots of research to understand the implications of many of the drawings in the ledger.


This is a link for the Maffat Ledger on the Museum Website.*

There are 23 pages pictured at this link. 

All the while she was speaking, I wondered if any of our sketchbooks and journals would survive and be analyzed for information about the times in which we lived. 

This is a link to the video of current Indian Artists and how their work evolved.