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October 29, 2011

A Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Our Journal Study Group, minus Teri, went to the preview of the new Islamic Art Galleries at the Met this week.  Wow!  The space was closed in 2003 for renovation and they even brought in artisans from Fez, Morocco to create special architectural decorations.  There are 15 galleries full of amazing art - beautifully arranged.  At the end of our walk through all 15 galleries, we split up and each went to sketch one thing - meeting 30 minutes later to share our sketchbooks and go to lunch.

I sketched 5 very small (3 inches high or less), wonderfully decorated cosmetic flasks which were used to hold Kohl powder.  The notes said that the powder was picked up with a small brush inserted through the tiny hole on the top.  They were made in the 10th-12th C in Iran or Central Asia.  I put the shapes of a gorgeous vase and an ewer behind them to add some scale and contrast.


After lunch we went to "Stieglitz and his Artists: Matisse to O'Keefe"  This was his personal art collection - much of it from artists he supported in the early part of the 20th C..  It was my second visit to this exhibit and I'm sure not my last. 

Alfred Stieglitz introduced America to Matisse and Picasso through shows at his gallery "291."  Both artists were later exhibited in the famous 1913 Armory Show (International Exhibition of Modern Art) which was a landmark exhibition.  These drawings from 291 were donated to the Met and were among the first pieces by either artist in the Met's collection. 

The first time I went, I sketched an early Matisse drawing in order to learn more about his "lines."  It is called "Nude With Bracelets" (1909).   Scan11054.size.jpg


During the second visit I sketched another Matisse nude and a very small Picasso drawing done on ledger paper.  I was able to link to the originals from the Met's Collection.

Matisse Reclining Nude (1907) and Picasso Study of a Harlequin (1904-5 to show the originals)



October 25, 2011

Doodling in Class

My husband and I are taking a course at Columbia about Art vs Culture.  It is a small discussion class at the Heyman Center and the first text that we read was The Two Cultures - a transcription of the 1959 lecture at Cambridge by CP Snow.  The "artists" were the great writers of the time and the scientists were in the hard sciences - physics, chemistry, and mathematics.  The premise was that these cultures were so different, that artists and scientists could not communicate with each other.

This past week we began class by reading Genesis 3 to reflect on the tree of life and tree of knowledge and then went on to consider 4 discussions between artists and scientists.  Scientists are making rapid technological advances ( like cloning), but are the "artists" capable of understanding and discussing the possible perils of these discoveries, thus beginning a dialogue about good and evil inherent in them?  Can they be translators for the society at large. 

Just because we can DO something, should we DO it? 

I doodle to keep my mind on the discussion - and here is my tree of knowledge and two classmates - all scribbled on the back of a handout with ball point pen.


October 11, 2011

Picasso's Drawings - 1890-1921

Picasso's drawings, from 1890 (age 9) to 1921 are currently on exhibit at the Frick Collection.  My husband and I walked down for a quick visit this past weekend and this is a drawing inspired by one of his standing nudes.  The fountain and plant were added later when I sat down with my husband in the Garden Court of the museum.

The drawings combine his early, very realistic style, with an evolving cubist style - and he was a master of both.  The majority of the drawings, and a video about the exhibit can be seen here.  I was disappointed that the one I chose to draw is not one of the drawings that is reproduced.




October 8, 2011

9/11 Memorial and Battery Park Figure Al Fresco

This past week, my friend Teri and I visited the new 9/11 Memorial and then met Pat for lunch and Figure Al Fresco at Battery Park City. 

It was a gorgeous cool, sunny day - with an intense blue sky- much like 9/11/2001.  My daughter was working on the 45th floor of the American Express Building, directly across West St. from the North Tower and witnessed the first plane strike.  She evacuated onto West St after the South Tower was hit, and fled minutes before the North Tower collapsed onto West St., damaging the edge of her building. 

Here is my sketch of the Memorial site showing the placement of the two pools, the Museum and Freedom Tower which are being completed, and the planned Performing Arts space.  The Freedom tower, named 1WTC, is at the 84th floor and still growing. 



Here are 3 of many photos that I took on the WTC Site.  The scale of the pools really surprised me and are quite beautiful - the sound of constant water passing over the falls and then down into the center square felt very calming. 

The South Pool:  Those are tiny little people seen above the edge of the pool to give you some idea of the scale.


The North Pool:  The building on the top right is the new Freedom Tower, which will be the tallest building in the US.  The building in the top center is the building my daughter worked in that year.


Here is the photo I took of 1WTC - Freedom Tower - from several blocks south of the Memorial site. 


Just one page from my figure drawing sketchbook that afternoon.  This was a 20 minute sketch with a watercolor pencil.




October 4, 2011

Our Meet-up Drawing Group - at Carl Schurz Park

The Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group met in Carl Schurz Park this past weekend.  There are lovely views over the East River from the Embankment - and the added bonus was the annual Gracie Square Art Show.

My first sketch was the view across the East River at 84th Street.  It was an opportunity for me to leave my comfort zone and try to paint trees, sky with gray clouds, and water.  The pigeon sat in front of me on the railing and I quickly sketched him, begging him to give me a full minute before flying off again.



I sketched Amanda, another Meetup member, during our 2nd sketching period.  And was surprised to discover that Ben sketched me while I sketched her.


Ben's sketch of me:


There was a wonderful wire sculpture artist at the art show and I requested permission to sketch his bass player . He said "go for it."  Ron Stattner's website is <>.  I think you'll enjoy seeing his work.