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March 1, 2016

Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum in NYC

On Friday my friend Eunice and I went to the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum - my first visit since the major renovation.  We loved "Beautiful," the Triennial Design Exhibit.  There are many types of articles: jewelry, clothing, furniture, textiles, books, ceramics, wallpaper, drawings, and calligraphy to name some.  What makes the visit even more enjoyable are the number of ways you can interact with the designs.  When you enter you are given a wand - with a stylus at one end and a scanner at the other.  The scanner allows you to upload information and photos of each item in the exhibit to a personal account by touching an icon on the exhibit card.  With a unique password on your ticket, you will then be able to open "your virtual tour" when you reach home.  The stylus lets you create designs on many flat computer screen tables that are scattered throughout the exhibits. 

I loved a wallpaper design from the exhibit which was created by "Studio Job" a company founded by Nynke Tynagel (Amsterdam) and Job Smeets (Brussels).  Here are 3 of their wallpapers strips - each 29 feet without repeats! 

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This image was drawn from my favorite - the strip in the middle.  The background was a wet-in-wet watercolor page and the face was drawn on top of it and then painted after it dried.

  

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There are several other current exhibits at the museum, and I want to return soon to really carefully look at the Pixar exhibit and the Design Lab.    

February 26, 2016

Battery Park City Still Life Paintings

Still Life #1  We had limited props for our still life drawings yesterday, but some of the clippings from the Park Conservancy, including pussy willows, were lovely.  I decided to play by drawing the arrangement with a brown watercolor pencil and then painting with watercolor over the watercolor pencil.  Brenda Swenson sketched with a watercolor pencil and then painted with watercolor in her demo in Sketchbook Skool Seeing.  And I haven't used the technique since then. 

 

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Still Life #2:  My 2nd still life was set up with childrens' art tools from a supply closet, and two of my brushes.  This was another experiment - using glazing like Felix Scheinberger demonstrated in Sketching Skool Expressing.  I put water on my watercolor paper and then dropped in 4 colors to make the background.  After it dried completely, I sketched the "tools" in pencil and then painted them in their original colors as a glaze.

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I feel completely free to play when I'm at these art sessions and quickly get in the flow and experiment.  It feels great. 

February 19, 2016

Figure Drawing in Battery Park City - Feb 17

Wednesday was figure drawing day in Battery Park City.  I sketched the figures with a soluble graphite pencil (Sketch and Wash by General) and then added water to move the graphite for shading.  Several minutes later I added watercolor to the figure. 

These two 10 minute poses were drawn and painted over a previous watercolor background. 

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These are two 15 minute poses drawn with the soluble graphite and then watercolor. 

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Next Week at BPC:  Still Life Painting 

February 1, 2016

Master Drawing Week in New York City 2016

Last Week was the annual Master Drawings Week in New York City.  I've gone with my Art Pals for the last several years, partly because I love drawings, and secondly because it is a wonderful opportunity to see elevators for 1.5 people and grand staircases in some of the most elegant townhouses between 5th  and Madison on the Upper Eastside.  Some European gallery owners rent space in NYC galleries for the week, making the selection even broader in scope.  There is a published book of galleries that can be requested from the website, and copies that can be picked up in the first gallery you visit.

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And there is even a map of gallery locations on the back of the booklet.  We began on 66th St and ended on 86th St - only missing a few along the way.

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I love pen and ink drawings - and these are two photos I took of favorites.  The first is from the 18th C. Italian artist Giuseppe Bernardino Bison and the second by Gustav Klimt. 

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Last week I watched a very short Matisse video of The Piano Lesson and then was delighted to see one of several preliminary drawings exploring different positions of the 3 individuals in a Master Drawing gallery.

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But the highlight of the day for me was my 3rd Joaquin Torres-Garcia exhibit this month.  He is described as the first South American Modernist and I now know many of his paintings for the first time.  I saw the big Torres-Garcia exhibit at MoMA at the beginning of the month, a lovely exhibit at Gary Nader Gallery at 24 W57th St last week, and then a collection of privately owned Torres-Garcia works of art on this tour.   There were drawings and paintings in the Gallery, and a watercolor sketchbook that was spread out in a glass case.  It was one of the pages in the sketchbook that I was inspired to paint in my sketchbook when I got home that evening. 

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My version - for inspiration! 

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January 28, 2016

Before and After the Blizzard

My husband and I joined friends on Thursday and Friday for rehearsals of the New York City Ballet (NYCB).  We sit in the first ring for these rehearsals, far enough away from the stage not to distract the dancers.  When we sit down, they are usually milling around the stage for a few minutes - some in costume (principle dancers) and the others in practice clothes.  Once the lights go down, it is so dark that I can't see my sketchbook.  So I watch the dancers for those first few minutes, memorize a few of their practice positions as they warm up, and scribble very quick sketches.  The ink and paint are added at home from memory.

 Thursday:

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Friday

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On Saturday we were taking 4 NYC grandsons to the New York Philhamonic Young People's Concert.  Just as we were ready to leave the apartment to pick them up, Lincoln Center cancelled the Concert.  We took a walk in the snow near our apartment, but hurried back because of the winds.  Before 9AM on Sunday we walked to Central Park and enjoyed the beautiful, still very white snow.  The paths were packed and we walked in crunchy white snow as the dogs were frolicking!

Looking South over the Great Lawn. 

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By 9:30 AM on Cedar Hill:  Parents and children were already crowding the best sledding hill just south of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

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This was the second biggest blizzard measured in Central Park - ever - and it missed the old record by 0.1 inch!