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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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March 23, 2012

Exquisite Corpses - a New Exhibit at MoMA

 

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                                Left to Right:  Benedicte, Me, Teri, Pat

Benedicte, Teri, Pat, Judy and I went to the Museum of Modern Art yesterday to see the new Exquisite Corpses exhibit.  This was a surrealist game of the 1920s and 1930s - initially played by group construction of a sentence. 

The goal of the pictoral form of Exquisite Corpse is to form a picture rather than a sentence. The method for three players is as follows:

  • the first player draws the head
  • the second player draws the midsection
  • the third player draws the legs and feet

Each player folds the paper after finishing the drawing, hiding it from the next player. Usually a the picture extends past the fold just a little bit so that the next player's drawing will join with the first player's.  With more than 3 players, more folded sections are made and the body is divided up differently.

There were only 2 classic examples of Exquisite Corpses in the MoMA exhibit - the rest of the drawings and paintings were deformed-dysmorphic figures by single artists. 

This one was created by Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morise, and Man Ray in 1926-7.  If you look carefully, you can see where they folded the paper as they passed it on to the next player.

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We were inspired and went to the MoMA Sculpture Garden, to play our own game of Exquisite Corpse - with 4 players (Teri declined and worked in her sketchbook instead). 

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         Left to Right:  Me, Judy, Pat, Benedicte (See Judy and Pat's blog entry here and here)

This was the one I started in the first round - with 5 folds.  I did the head and passed it on.  When it went around the circle and returned to me, I sketched the feet.

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Here are all 4 created in the second round:

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Of course it took us awhile to work out the simple rules - with much laughter - and fun.  We then headed off to lunch and 3 drawing exhibits at the Morgan Library. I love having "art buddies."