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September 12, 2010

Keeping a Visual Journal

Most of the time my watercolor sketchbook is a visual journal and I try to incorporate part of my  life in my sketch of the day.  But I don't always think that I have enough time, or the perfect location, and I skip a wonderful opportunity.

Catherine Carey of In and Out of the Studio wrote about this recently and I remembered it while we were eating a quick lunch with our 7 year old grandson after we took him to MoMA. 

Catherine said, 

"In this week's sketchbook journal workshop we have been talking a lot about painting very simply and quickly. It is not about laboring over a masterpiece. It is about getting the impression of "here and now" on the journal page.

I understand that it is difficult to take a chance on a page being less than perfect, or even less than good, because someone might look at it, and of course, we will look at it ourselves and feel as if we have failed if it isn't great (or good).

I think that I have made a dicision somewhere along the line that has made it easier to "let go" and just get it on the page quickly and simply. There are a lot of things in this world, and if I labor too long over each page, I'm just not going to be able to get to all those things. If I just do snippets here and there, I'm going to be able to cover a lot more ground.

Decide what it is that made you stop to paint - and paint THAT. Then move on!"

So I sketched during our special lunch, just the scene of the area where waiters were placing orders, and picking up bills, menus, etc.  And Henry watched the drawing and then the painting, with great interest, making lunch and my journal page more special.  I sketched what was in front of me quickly and painted it, and then was ready to move on!  Now - to remember this!


September 5, 2010

Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

The August summer break just ended at the Society of Illustrators and last night I went to Figure Drawing with my friends Istar and Casey.  Casey is visiting her family in N.J. from France and was able to come into the City for a visit.  I hope that she posts a few of her figure paintings to her blog when she returns home.  Her ink/watercolor drawings inspired me and gave me a new goal for 2011.

My current sketch book is slightly too big for my scanner, so there are lots of ugly scan marks.  I also had to increase contrast so my 6B pencil lines were darker, and all of my left-hended smudges then were more noticeable.   

There were two models, clothed, for every pose.  This was a sketch done of both of them during 5 minutes - just to try to capture their positions and clothing.


During another 5 minute pose, I sketched only the male model because he was in a challenging twisted position.


I sketched both models during the next two 20 minute poses - the male model without and with shirt and the woman in a negligee.





This is the beginning of my second year of live figure drawing and I am trying to spend more time on faces.  After I finished sketching both models during a 20 minute pose, I spent some time trying to better capture the face of the male model. 



August 22, 2010

Recent Museum Visit Drawings

I love visiting all of the Museums in Manhattan, and always try to sketch one item during a visit.  Maybe I can internalize some of the skills of the Master Artist, or convert a 3D object into a reasonable 2D drawing, or just create a memory of the museum visit.

David Goldblatt, a South African photographer who documented life during apartheid, has an exhibit at the Jewish Museum.  I loved the position of this man, who was posing for a paid photograph while Goldblatt photographed him and the photographer.


The American Woman exhibit at the Met was a favorite among our visitors this summer.  I have visited enough times that I have sketched one mannequin in almost every room.  I sketched several during my recent visit with Liz Steel and this was one of them.


 I love Guercino - an Italian artist from the 1600s, and try to reproduce one of his drawings whenever I see one.  The Met has an exhibit of Italian Drawings from Correggio  to  Tiepolo including one of Guercino's.  His drawing was done in ink, mine was done with black pen and watercolor.


My quilt artist friends and I went to see the Exhibit honoring Women's Art at the American Folk Art Museum.  My favorite piece was a painting of a mourning family, with 4 women lined up on the left side of the cemetery stone and men on the right.  This is one of the identically dressed women.


August 12, 2010

Bethesda Fountain - Angel of the Waters

I sketched this fountain several weeks ago but didn't have time to paint it before uploading it.   Here are drawings of the Fountain from 2003 and the unpainted one from 2010. I was nervous about adding the trees and leaves, but I'm pleased with final page.


August 10, 2010

Liz Sketches New York City

I spent two more delightful days with Liz Steel, architect from Sydney, Australia and Urban Sketcher, in New York City.  Yesterday we were able to enter the Museum of Modern Art for a Member Preview, before the museum opened, to see the Matisse exhibit.  It was my 3rd visit to the exhibit and I still found some Matisse drawings and a sculpture that I wanted to sketch.





And then we needed refreshments before proceeding with a brief tour of the permanent exhibit and Picasso prints. Here is Liz just before she sketches our breakfast!


This morning we met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and before the museum opened at 9:30 Liz had already sketched the Met facade.  I snuck up on her as she was sketching the mansion across the street while sitting on the museum steps.  She is on the far right on this long distance photo.





Liz wanted to see The American Woman Fashion Exhibit and did several wonderful pages of sketches which I hope that she uploads tonight.  I still need to add paint to my pages.  I then gave her a tour of my favorite places in the Museum, finishing just in time for lunch.  She said that she NEEDED to taste a New York bagel, so we ate bagels with lox spread at Tal Bagel and then took the subway to City Hall to meet Jason Das, another Urban Sketcher.

Jason took this photo - the first one of both of us together on this visit.  Liz's travel charm, Borromini Bear, is between us.


The 3 of us then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge,  stopping to sketch the bridge in mid span.


Jason finishing his sketch:


We ended the afternoon sketching lower Manhattan from the other side of the East River in Dumbo, Brooklyn.


I wanted to add these photos to my blog today so Liz's family and friends in Sydney can see that she is thriving in New York City.  I loved meeting her in person and really enjoyed sketching with her for 3 days during this visit.  She is uploading photos of select journal pages with her iPhone, to her blog and Flickr page.  Tomorrow she will resume her trip around the world and we will continue to "visit" through our blogs.