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March 25, 2016

Degas - A Stange New Beauty

Yesterday my friends and I went to a Museum of Modern Art Members Preview of the new Edgar Degas exhibit.  I was surprised to read that it is his first solo exhibit at MoMA!  In this exhibit they feature Degas' monotypes, and his working process - along with other drawings and paintings that were definitely influenced by his monotype working style.  Here is a 4 minute video about Monotypes, as an introduction.  Scroll down the museum page for video.

http://moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1613?locale=en 

 

I was fascinated learning about Degas' working methods and that is what I will remember most from this exhibit. 

1.   His monotypes were usually printed twice from plates - the print of the plate drawing and the ghost print (a second printing that is much more faint).  Some were then colored with pastels.   Others were left untouched.   Here are 3 examples:

His first Monotype -The Ballet Master -  done with artist Ludovic Napoleon Lepic, a printmaker.

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A beautiful expressive portrait of his friend, actress Ellen Andree: 

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A monotype made of a Brothel scene "The Name Day of the Madame,", then colored with pastels: 

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2.  Charcoal drawings were made of the same subject and a quote from him says:  It is essential to do the same subject over again, ten times, a hundred times."  This way to work, multiplying and varying a subject is common to Degas' way of working.

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I loved this charcoal drawing and sketched the figure on the left during out visit.

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3.  This pair of drawings consists of a charcoal drawing on the left (3 drawings of Ludovic Halevy).  The one on the right is a counterproof made by placing wet paper over the drawing and then rolling both sheets through the printing press. 

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4.  There were 3 full sketchbooks included in the exhibit.  I loved how he included multiple drawings on each page in Carnet 1.

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5.  Carnet 3 has very thin paper and he used this quality to redraw images on the reverse side of the original drawing, making it possible to change the drawings slightly reversing the images.   It was difficult to take a good image from this video display, but the image on the left is the an image seen through thin paper, and the image on the right shows how it was retraced and changed.

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6.   It is postulated that this painting of 4 ballet dancers was made from images that were manipulated in such a way. 

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For more information about this very interesting and educational exhibit, you can read about it on today's ArtDaily.com  It also was reviwed in today's New York Times.

http://artdaily.com/news/86043/Museum-of-Modern-Art-exhibition-explores-Edgar-Degas--rarely-seen-monotypes#.VvVB5OT2bNM

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/arts/design/the-moderndegas-you-havent-seen.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0 

March 22, 2016

Wednesday Figure Drawing at Battery Park City

I first want to send condolences to the people of Brussels for the horrible terrorist bombings this morning.  A good friend of ours was in the airport, close to the bomb blast, but is uninjured.  Wednesdays are my day to go past the World Trade Center Memorial as I cross Lower Manhattan to go to figure drawing, and these random bombings reawaken many of the feelings I had living in Manhattan in 2001.   

I love going to Lower Manhattan for Figure Drawing on Wednesdays.  When I was looking up at the Freedom Tower (WTC1) last Wednesday and posting photos to my blog, I had no idea that we would be reflecting on yet another terrorist attack in Europe this Wednesday. 

We had a model that I've drawn before, and this week she had her Very Curly Hair au naturelle, and stayed in the same clothes for most of the session.

These are my first two minute poses - always used for warmup.  I sketched her with a 4B graphite pencil on newsprint - which is hard to flatten out for photographing.

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These are three 5 minute sketches done with a General Sketch and Wash pencil - with paint added in the final seconds before the end of the pose, or in one case during her 5 minute break. 

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One 10 minute pose:

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The final pose - done in 15 minutes - and not painted because I was too tired.

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On Wednesday May 4th, the Figure Drawing sessions will move to the South Cove of Battery Park City - through October 26th, weather permitting. 

March 18, 2016

Visit to the Oculus With NYC Urban Sketchers

New York City Urban Sketchers met at the new Santiago Calatrava Oculus on Wednesday, and viewed the inside and sketched the outside.  As I walked from the Fulton Center subway stop I took photos of the exterior from the East, the interior, and exterior from the West.  While the group was sketching at the foot of the Freedom Tower, I went across West St. to Brookfield Place and sketched from there.  The Oculus is still a construction site inside and out, but it is fun to see this very interesting new center to the Lower Manhattan Transportation Hub.

Oculus from the East (Dey and Church St.):  That is the World Trade Center Freedom Tower behind it.

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The Entrance I went in is at the NW corner of Liberty and Church St, just inside the door to WTC4.  Follow the signs to the Path Station down 2 escalators, and two long white marble corridors to the Oculus. 

 

Interior:  The wall covered in posters hides the continuing construction, but it is really the side walls and ceiling that are the main attraction.   

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Oculus From the West:  I sketched this view (see below), from the front of Brookfield Place and across West Avenue from the Oculus.

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It will still be a few months before all of the entries are open and the construction tools are gone.  This is a map of the area, including all of the World Trade Center Buildings that will eventually be accessible from the whole Plaza.  This is the Map I photographed from within the Concourse linking many of the buildings.  

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My Oculus Painting From the West:  I was lucky that the trees were still mostly bare. 

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March 11, 2016

Wonderful Art in NYC Week

 

Art on Paper Art Show:  Some weeks there are major Art Shows all over the City.  Last weekend we chose to go to the Art on Paper show because of the number of drawings and watercolor paintings they exhibit.  During the show, Laurence Villieres sat on the floor and built this giant gorilla from pieces of cardboard she collects from the streets of Montreal.  Impressive!

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Sotheby's Auction Preview - Modern and Contemporary South Asia Art:  My friend Pat and I love this Sotheby's Auction preview which is part of NYC art Asia Week.  While Pat was copying a Matisse-like painting on her iPad, I sketched two of my favorite figure drawings - adding paint later.

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After lunch we went to member previews at the new Met Breuer and spent several hours viewing their opening exhibit -Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.  The paintings and drawings selected included work as early as Titian, and as late as Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein.  I especially loved seeing the many paintings that still had their underpaintings and drawings visible, with nearly complete oil painting on the rest of the surface.  The amount of information on each identifying card was both a wonderful extra, but also a problem in an exhibit that will be so crowded after the official opening.

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There was live music in the lobby gallery all day and I couldn't resist standing in the crowded space listening to jazz and drawing the bass player right before I left. 

March 4, 2016

Figure Drawing on Top of Watercolor Background

Yesterdaty was our Figure Drawing Day at Battery Park City.  I brought some small pieces of watercolor paper (6 X 10") that had watercolor on them from other projects, and used them for my drawings.  My mindset for these Wednesday afternoon sessions is to "play and loosen up." Yesterday I decided to draw the figures in pencil over the paint and then to paint the figures with more watercolor.  Here are 3 five minute poses and 1 ten minute pose.

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My other 10 minute pose was drawn over a dark brown block of watercolor and I decided to draw in pen and not add any other paint. 

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I also used a General Sketch and Wash pencil for our final 20 minute pose - drawing with the pencil and then adding only water to pull the graphite to shade the figure.

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