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May 5, 2012

Drawings From Christie's Impressionist/Modern Auction

I found several drawings that I loved at the Christie's Auction Preview last week and was also able to photograph them.  It is almost my favorite part of the previews - the room full of works on paper which are 90% drawings.

I loved this Van Gogh charcoal drawing and and just knew that I wanted to draw it.

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But I have NEVER used charcoal!  I hate the feeling of my charcoal pencils on paper and never even tried the sticks/vines.  This posed a dilemma - but I discovered that a 6B charcoal pencil was soft enough not to make my teeth vibrate.  So I took a very small piece of my watercolor paper (4" x 7", 140 lb soft press) and did a quick sketch just to see if I could quickly capture the image. I used a large graphite blending tool - probably incorrectly - for shading! 

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THIS DRAWING SOLD AT AUCTION ON MAY 2ND FOR $722, 500 - DOUBLE THE AUCTION ESTIMATE THAT WAS PRINTED ON THE CARD!

 This is a Matisse that I'm saving for a rainy day drawing:

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THIS DRAWING SOLD AT AUCTION ON MAY 2ND FOR $122,500.

May 2, 2012

My Love Affair With Cezanne's Cardplayers

There are many, many museums in the city and I love to visit the art museums to see the exhibits and sketch from the Masters.  We saw a Leon Kossoff drawing exhibit at the National Gallery in London (2007) and I was impressed with his return visits to sketch the same few works by Masters many times during his career.  

I thought it might be fun to try this, in part to see how my art skills evolve and how my familiarity with the painting may change my drawing over time.  On my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008, I sat in front of Cezanne's Card Players and sketched it.

I sketched it annually and then sketched many of the preparatory paintings in a big 2011 Cardplayer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   

 Cezanne did 5 oil paintings of the Cardplayers - one with 5 figures, one with 4 (owned by the Met), and 3 with two figures.  The 2011 exhibit at the Met was unable to reunite all 5, but there were many preparatory drawings and paintings of individual figures.  I sketched some of them on 3 occasions.

I was thrilled to learn that a previously unseen preparatory watercolor of Paulin Paulet, a gardener from Cezanne's family estate, was being auctioned at Christie's NY by a private collector.  He is the only figure that appears in all 5 paintings.  There was a full page picture of the painting in the NY Times on Friday and I painted it in my sketchbook.

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On Saturday, at the auction preview, while many people were viewing the painting, I sketched the head again with a watercolor pencil.  I may never get the head tilted like Cezanne!

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And then waited until I could get an angle for a photo without reflections of the spotlights.

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Last night this watercolor sold for $19.1 million dollars!! 

 

  

April 27, 2012

April Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

This week was my monthly visit to the Society of Illustrators for figure drawing.  I love the event, but can't seem to get there more than once per month.  There are 2 models and live music and a bar!  What more could I want?  More time in my life to do everything that I would like to do! 

This post will have 2 five minute, 2 ten minute, and 2 twenty minute sketches.  The black and white sketches were done with a 9B graphite pencil, the color sketches were done with watercolor pencils and then brushed with water in a Niji waterbrush.  The first 4 images were scanned.  The last two were photgraphed because of the size of the paper.

This year I read a very interesting book about figure drawing, Peter Steinhart, Undressed Art, or Why We Draw.  Although I see this book in stores, I rarely see it mentioned in art blogs.  I recommend it for anyone who is interested in drawing, especially from live models.  It is much more a historical perspective and source of inspiration, than a how-to book.

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April 21, 2012

Three Wonderful Days in One Week With My Art Buddies

This was an unusual week for Sketchcrawls with my NYC Artist friends.

April 13:  Pat, Benedicte, Melly, and I gallery-hopped in Chelsea - each picking out 1-2 galleries to peruse.  Gwen Diehn was supposed to join us, but she had a foot problem and rescheduled our day together after the weekend. 

We loved an Adolph Gottlieb monograph at Pace Gallery (but not the more recent paintings of bursts) and decided to get together to learn more about his pictographs and to play with and extend his techniques.  I loved the huge B & W Nick Brandt African animal photos at Hasted Kraeutler Gallery and stayed behind to sketch several of his elephants.  You can see 23 of the photos here.

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April 16:  We took Gwen on her first walk on the Highline - and after lunch found a beautiful place to sit, talk, and sketch.  This is the first time we saw Gwen since the publication of her new book - The Complete Decorated Journal: a Compendium of Journaling Techniques - which is an expanded combination of her Decorated Page and Decorated Journal.  Pat, Benedicte, Melly, and I are 4 of the new Artist Profiles added to the book.  Here is a photo of me, Pat, Teri, Benedicte, and Gwen.

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Pat, Gwen and I sketched the same roofline with a quintessential NYC water tower.

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April 18:  Judy, Pat, Benedicte and I met for brunch and the tours of the Whitney collection.  My friend Gail was the docent for the 3rd Floor tour of the Biennial, but we also dropped into tours by other docents on floors 5 and 2.  While waiting for the tour to start, I sketched several Alexander Calder figures from his massive piece called The Circus which is currently on display on the 5th floor.  The link only shows a small portion of this piece.

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I love having local friends with similar interests - both art on paper and textiles.  And as I've said before, I would never have met most of them without connecting through our blogs.

March 30, 2012

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Paris Avant-Garde

Gertrude, Leo, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sara were avid collectors of art in Paris during the early decades of the 20th C.   We saw the preview of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before we left for California, and I didn't have time to finish sketches that I did at the exhibit until now.

The Met website presents lots of information about the Steins, highlights of the 200+ works of art, and even a virtual reconstruction video of the rooms and the placement of art on their walls.

My first sketches were from Gallery 1. 

"On October 15, 1904, the second Salon d'Automne (an exhibition of contemporary art held each fall) opened with retrospectives devoted to five artists who were considered among the most relevant for the younger generation of painters: Cézanne, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Renoir, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The impact on Leo was dramatic. Two weeks later he and Gertrude emptied their bank accounts and spent all their spare money on modern art."

I always loved Toulouse-Lautrec's drawings and combined 3 women from the works presented in this gallery.

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I wasn't very impressed with early Matisse landscapes in their collection, but saw a little of Matisse's later style in his painting of the Young Sailor I from 1906.

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My final sketch was of a very early Picasso nude and head.  I always sketch at least one of his drawings when attending an exhibit or auction preview - so this was an easy decision.

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