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January 18, 2008

Art Supply Shopping Day

I had a completely free day on Wednesday - no work or family activities - or required errands.  For a full week I've been planning a slow leisurely trip to Pearl Paints on Canal Street in Manhattan.  Since I have not carried my recycled NY sketch book with me recently, I brought it and no other paper, 

As soon as I got off the subway I decided to sketch a roofline and water tank - one of my favorite NYC icons.  Then I browsed all 6 floors of Pearl Paints - picking up art supplies for my grandchildren and small new items for me (they have open stock Albrecht Durer WC pencils I can't resist).  I think I was in there more than 3 hours!  At lunch at Pain Quotidienne in Soho, I sketched a few of my new supplies and then a wall unit facing me in the restaurant.  What a wonderful day - full of inspiration and needed mind clearing relaxation. 

The map that is on the edge of each page is a piece of the end paper that I used for this recycled book that I used to cover the gap between the signatures.  The two pages were actually sketched on two different types of wc paper - I'm growing to love HP, tolerate CP, and hate rough!




December 27, 2007

Art Progress 2007

Progress Report for 2007

I copied my Goals from the 2006-2007 Progress/Goals entry on this blog and recorded 2007 PROGRESS after each Goal.  I am currently reflecting on where I am and where I want to be at the end of 2008, so my 2008 GOALS will be posted this weekend.

1. Continue to sketch/paint everyday in my large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

 I did do a daily sketch - and sometimes 2-3.  On a few days when I was too busy to even open my sketchbook, I did my daily sketch the next morning and then another one at my usual time in the evening.  The majority of my sketches are pen with watercolor washes.  Most of the time I used the large Moleskine watercolor journal (I'm halfway through the 5th for the year), but I also added sketches to my London sketchbooks and all 3 recycled books that I made. 

2. Complete each EDM weekly challenge and try to expand my skills by what I choose to paint for the challenge.

For the second year, I did all of the EDM Challenges in the 3-10 days after they were posted and tried to stretch my skills slightly by what I chose to sketch.  I posted all of them on my blog, as one of my planned 2 entries per week.

3. Make plans for how I will use my new Eliz. I recycled book.  I'm currently considering using it for more London sketches -  from photos that I have taken during our visits.  I have another Cachet journal for my London Travel Sketchbook Volume 3 and decided that I want to continue to use the same journal type for all of my London travel

I completed 3 full Cachet Linen Watercolor sketchbooks during our London travels.  There are approximately 150 pages in total from our 6 visits to London - my goals certainly were exceeded and I will always treasure these books.  One sketch that I never posted was added as the final page to honor the birth of our grandson last Christmas in London.  This sketch was made using colored pencil from a postcard I purchased at the Guercino drawing exhibit we saw at the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House.


My Eliz. I recycled book has been used for playful sketches of Big Ben and most recently the Tower of London from photos that I took - using different techniques, even collage.  If you look closely you can see I used the Holbein Henry VIII painting from the Tate Britain exhibit for the collage.



4.  Recycle another book since I have more paper from my previous purchase.  This time I will look for an old New York book that I can use for special days out and about my own city.

I recycled two additional books - one for New York and one Michaelangelo Sonnet bookfor some of my figure drawings.   

5.  Spend more time sketching human faces and figures.  I'm not sure yet whether I want to take any life drawing classes because I love the challenge of learning on my own.  I collected some copies of Holbein's portraits and Rodin's figure drawings from our museum visits this week.  And I now own two Hockney drawing/portrait books.  I will recreate some of these pieces from the 16th C, 19th C, and 20th C for fun and then immerse myself in my city and draw people to try to develop my own style. 

I was very productive sketching figures - or body parts - and almost filled my recycled Michaelangelo Sonnet book for some of the sketches and my Moleskine for the rest.  I alternated among Derwent light wash pencils, Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, Zig Millenium pen with watercolor wash, and 2B pencils for the sketches. 

My references included:  Greek and Roman sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photos of dancers, photos of nude figures from an artist book  I purchased just for these exercises (The Nude Figure by Mark Smith), and occasionally even real people!  But very few of my figures have faces - a goal for 2008!

6.  Read some of the new art books on my shelf - starting with Betty Edward's book on color.

I continue to read art technique books, but never opened Betty Edward's book.  This year I did 5 lessons from a Watercolor Skills book by Linda Elsworth.  There are 5 more lessons to do, but I was temporarily derailed by a lesson on landscapes, my least favorite type of sketching/painting. 

In May 2007 I decided to finally start an Eric Maisel book entitled The Creativity Book - a year's worth of inspiration and guidance (it has been on my shelf for several years).   There are 2 exercises to complete per week and I am now on Week 31!  I have done some sketching and painting, but mostly writing, as I explore creativity in general and my creative dreams in particular. 

7.  Make a "larger-than-journal size" watercolor painting of the house my daughter and son-in-law rented this year in London so we have a personal visual memory of this wonderful year when they return to New York mid-year.

I did this painting and included it as part of a big "London" Christmas gift that I gave to my daughter and son-in-law.  The gift also included a DVD of all of the photos (1000s) that I took of their family and London and a Guest Book that our family kept everytime we visited them.  I printed some of my sketches for the book and even included an essay re: my reflections on our visits.  I was also able to make a photo collage of them at the moment when they were leaving New York in May 2006 and then leaving London in June 2007.  The children grew lots during the year and and another grandson was born there mid-year.


8.  Be a visitor in my own city and keep a Manhattan "travel" journal.  I now have scattered journal pages throughout my daily sketchbooks

I did continue to sketch in NYC throughout the year - and even started a series of sketches entitled "10 blocks from Home."  My New York City sketches, however, are scattered through my New York recycled book and my regular Moleskine sketchbook.  This occurred because I used whatever book I had with me when I decided to sketch.  Since I use both sides of a page in my Moleskine, I can't easily move these sketches - and I just have to be OK about this level of disorganization!

November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving in New York


While my husband and I were preparing dinner for our 15th Annual NYC Family Thanksgiving holiday, cousins were balloon handlers for the giant Snoopy balloon in the Macy's parade.  This sketch was taken from a photo on the front page of the New York Times yesterday - showing the Kermit balloon floating down the Avenue.  We learned that it is really hard work!


Yesterday my 88 year old mother and I took the 5th Avenue bus down to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas decorations and the annual tree.  Although it won't be lit until Wednesday night, the lights are already on the tree and the entire area around the skating rink is beautifully decorated and full of visitors.  This sketch was made from a photo that I took of one of the 3 soldiers on the north border of the rink.  It was really cold and outdoor sketching just wasn't going to happen!

I love the Christmas decorations in New York City - and even don't mind the crowds.  My, mother, who hasn't been in NYC for the holidays for many years, had a wonderful time.  She's amazing and kept up beautifully!



October 13, 2007

New York Sketches

I still try to do occasional sketches of Manhattan, as if I am a tourist in my own town.  While waiting to meet my daughter and grandson one rainy day this month, I sketched the National Academy of Art - which is just north of the Guggenheim Museum on 5th Ave.  I also did my first sketch of the Status of Liberty - from a poster - using a Juniper Green watercolor pencil.  The head and the uplifted arm had to be redrawn.  





September 19, 2007

EDM Challenge #136: Draw Something Live


We took Henry and Sydney to the Central Park Zoo following the Carousel last week, arriving just in time to see the penguins being fed.  The penguin house is dark - with a climate controlled space for the penguins which means water droplets across the windows.  In addition, they move too quickly for me to draw in the dark - so these were sketched from a few of my favorite photos. 

Every penguin has a numbered tag and the animal feeders have a clipboard with a long list of them. This is to insure that each of them is first fed one "special fish" that is loaded artificially with
their vitamins.