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July 12, 2014

Summer Mornings in Central Park

My husband and I love to go to the Conservatory Water early in the morning for coffee and some quiet time in Central Park.  This is the Conservatory Water, which is on the East side of the Park just north of 72nd St.  We call it the "Toy Boat Pond" because there are privately owned and rented remote control boats sailing the pond.

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There is a patio with tables, chairs, and umbrellas, and a full Snack Bar and we sit with our coffee while my husband does the NY Times crossword puzzle and I sketch. 

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This morning we even had soft live music from a keyboard and bass.

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I worked on my homework for Sketchbook Skool - this week Koosje Koene is the teacher and the focus is "Selfies."  I took a photo from the beach this week and sketched my self-portrait in graphite from the photo. 

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Yesterday I did my first self-portrait of this class - sitting in front of a mirror.  I look sad, forlorn, and worried - probably because I was waiting for the results of medical tests (which were fine).  I didn't intend to post it, but my dear friend, a wonderful art historian, said "I think if your self-portraits show those emotions, it's a testament to your skills and honesty as an artist.  So there!"  What a good friend!  So here it is -  

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I also did a quick sketch of tourists who were eating at the table next to ours. 

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July 1, 2014

Central Park Drawing and Art Meet Up Group

Our Meetup Group met at the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace in Central Park last Saturday. 

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/bethesda-fountain.html 

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/bethesda-terrace.html 

It was sunny and very hot and we all looked for shade during the 3 sketching sessions.  I took one 12 X 18' sheet of watercolor paper so I could make a composite of several drawings.  In the end I did two paintings - without linking them.

I stood under the arches of the 72nd Street portico and sketched a man dressed in a gold sequin top hat and tails - and then the Angel of the Waters atop the fountain.  The man was posing for pictures in exchange for some small donation to his pail.  I painted him in bright gold gouache, which can only be seen in the original.

 

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For our second 20 minute drawing, I turned around and sketched the arches on the other side of the portico, with the long staircase leading down to Bethesda Terrace from 72nd St.  through the Park.  It was a bit boring, but my position under the roof was cool.  For our 3rd drawing, we walked over to the Band Shell and Mall area, just south of 72nd St.  and I was thrilled to see two young ballet dancers posing for photos on the stage.  They are teenagers who are in New York City for the American Ballet Theater summer program.  When I first saw them they were doing amazing jumps but they eagerly took simple 5 minute poses for me to draw and paint them.    They look like ghosts as I painted them over the prior painting. 

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June 15, 2014

9/11 Memorial Museum

I am devoting this blog post to the recent opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum - with only one small drawing that I did there on June 9th for my daily sketchbook.

The following description of the  9/11 Memorial Museum was taken from the website:

https://www.911memorial.org/ 

"The 9/11 Memorial Museum opened on May 21, 2014. It is located beneath the
Memorial plaza. Visitors enter the Memorial Museum through a pavilion where two
steel “tridents”— remnants of the North Tower’s façade — stand in the building’s atrium.
The main exhibition space is located seven stories below the 9/11 Memorial at the
bedrock foundations of the World Trade Center. The Museum offers displays of
artifacts from the WTC and 9/11 attacks, interactive exhibitions, contemplative areas,
and programs that convey individual and collective stories relating the experiences
of survivors, responders, area residents and eyewitnesses. A memorial exhibition
honors the individual victims of the attacks." 

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The museum is the low building behind the row of trees, between the Memorial pools that were created in the foot prints of the North and South Towers.   

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As soon as you enter the building you begin to descend stairs and ramps, past two of the original girders from the North Tower and adjacent to the Vesey St. stairway  down which many of the survivors fled from the area.

I loved seeing artwork that was created to commemorate the event and the victims, including a 60 foot quilt that contains photos of the victims from both Towers,  the Pentagon, and the Flight that crashed in Shanksville PA.

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 This tall ceramic urn, which was created by a University of Minnesota Professor and contains the names of

all of the Victims.

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Vehicles damaged on 9/11 make up some of the artifacts within the museum.

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The bottom level, at the end of the ramps, has one wall which remains from the "bathtub" that was part of the foundation of the North Tower.

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This area also contains a girder from the site of destruction

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- and the main historical account of 9/11, the cleanup, and the building of the Memorial and Museum.  The main exhibit is very well done will take several visits to look carefully at all of the photos, videos, and other displays.

 

 

 

June 13, 2014

Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group


Lower Manhattan From the Brooklyn Heights Promenade  


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Our Meetup Sketching Group met here from 11AM-2PM last Saturday.  The weather was gorgeous and it would be hard to find a more breathtaking urban scene.   This is lower Manhattan - with the ferry terminals to the left and the new World Trade Center Tower to the right.

 

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 We love our yellow taxis so much that even our water taxis are yellow.

 

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The Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge - from the Promenade.

 

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I did this painting during our Meetup.  I sketched and then met with the whole group to share our sketches.  I then painted my sketch with watercolors and met again to share our sketches.

 

This is an 11 X 14" piece of watercolor paper to which I glued a piece of the New York City Subway Map.  After the glue dried, I painted a thin layer of Golden Absorbent Ground over the map.  It is a wonderful surface for graphite and watercolor.  I have used this technique before for smaller pieces, and decided it would be perfect for the NYC skyline from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

 

May 9, 2014

Inspiration - Part 1

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala occurs in May each year, the evening before a big Fashion Exhibit opens to the Members and then the Public.  Two years ago the Alexander McQueen exhibit was the 8th most visited overall exhibit in Met history.  The 2014 Gala was held on Monday night for the opening of "Charles James - Beyond Fashion."  He was a great Anglo-American couturier who died in 1978.  He was born in Britain but spent his entire career in America and his innovations were extraordinary.  The Met website has photos and videos.

http://metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/charles-james-beyond-fashion 

My daughter and I went to the member previews on Wednesday - and loved seeing the clothes and especially the 15 Ball Gowns that were distributed throughout one huge gallery - and could be seen from all sides. 

Here is my favorite - called the Swan Gown.  The color depth for the tulle skirt was achieved by using  shades of brown, and a layer each of purple and yellow.  I spent Tuesday mixing complementary colors to make brown-taupe dyes in my silk painting with dyes class, but never considered how mixing the colors in sheer layers could achieve such depth of color. 

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Charles James' other clothes (approximately 50 garments) were displayed in the new Anna Wintour Costume Institute on the ground level.   I decided to quickly sketch one of his innovations - a white Satin Evening Coat filled with eiderdown to compete with Schiaparelli's popular mink evening jackets.  Each of the lines in my drawing were seams and each section of the jacket was stuffed separately with down.

I finally bought myself a really warm short black down coat this winter and never was happier - or warmer!  Thank you Charles James.  I also read that he introduced strapless gowns and wrap dresses.

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If anyone would like to see how the guests in the gala were dressed, here are two links. 

Walking the Red Carpet - in Ball Gowns:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/05/fashion/met-gala-red-carpet.html?_r=0

http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG10809711/Met-Ball-2014-Stars-at-the-Anna-Wintour-Costume-Center-Gala.html 

Next:  Inspiration Part 2:  Jasper Johns at the Katonah Museum of Art