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April 16, 2010

Family Research

In 2000 my husband and I realized that we knew little about our ancestry, and family members who knew the information were aging.  We decided that we would like information about our family at least back to our great grandparents.  I honestly believed that this was going to be a combined project, but I loved doing the research and problem solving and my husband loved learning about my discoveries.  My ancestors were all in America by 1880 - pre-Ellis Island.  My husband's family only started to arrive in 1900, so the approach and the records were vastly different.  I love learning new things and New York City has wonderful resources between the New York Branch of the National Archives and the Milstein Division of the New York Public Library. 

Over the course of the next several years, I easily completed research back to our great grandparents - with census records, passenger lists, naturalization papers, and birth-marriage-death certificates, solving a few family mysteries along the way.  However, the family that I knew the least about was "Parker" - my maiden name.  One of my goals this year was to review my research records and resume the search. 

 These 3 journal pages were done as I prepared for the project. 


I kept detailed research journals since the beginning of my research - and I'm now on #8 (4000pages)!



Packing for Research Day: I spent all day Tuesday at the New York Public Library - trying hard to find the father of my Great-great grandfather John Parker, in Wilkes County, North Carolina - through marriage bonds, land deeds, estate sales and inventories - collecting information about every Parker head of household in Wilkes County in 1820.  I will continue to research these Parkers until I have enough information - but research in the South is very different because the records are so different and so many were lost in burned courthouses during the Civil War.


April 12, 2010

Meet-Up Central Park Sketching and Art Group

Our Meet-Up Central Park Sketching and Art Group met at the Conservatory Gardens on Saturday.  All of the flowering trees were in full bloom and the early flowers ranged from buds to full bloom.  It was gorgeous, but problematic for anyone with several tree allergies.  I loaded up on meds and went, planning to stay only as long as my allergies would permit.

We had 4 30 minute sketching sessions in 4 different areas of the Gardens.  After each one, group members lined up their sketchbooks and shared their work.  Nearly 100 photos are already posted on the site and can be seen here.

I sketched both fountains in May of last year and did both again.  The 3 Dancing Maidens is a real challenge in 30 minutes and this year I didn't need to stretch one of the arms to double normal length to have two maidens holding hands.  Neither year did I have time to do more than a pencil sketch.




During the other two sessions I sketched two of the blooming flowers.  The daffodils were gorgeous.  The other flower (I have no idea what they are) were beautifully colored, each little component in shades from pink through blue to purple - the same colors as hydrangeas.





March 30, 2010

The Mourners at the Met

One of the current exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is The Mourners numerous alabaster grave sculptures (1443-56) from the tomb of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Margaret.  There is a fabulous website with photographs of all of the sculptures.  Each can be rotated 360 degree on the website for full viewing.

"The Mourners from the tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy are deeply affecting works of art. Beyond their evident visual and narrative qualities, we cannot help but be struck by the emotion they convey as they follow the funeral procession, weeping, praying, singing, lost in thought, giving vent to their grief, or consoling their neighbor. Mourning, they remind us, is a collective experience, common to all people and all moments in history."

Sophie Jugie, Director, Musée des Beaux-Arts. Dijon

The sculptures are in perfect condition - and so impressive, all lined up in two rows in the middle of the Medieval Hall in the middle of the Museum.  I am most attracted to the ones with the the hoods over their heads and sketched one full figure and one head. 






I'm so delighted that our modem was replaced and we now have internet access again. 

March 22, 2010

A Productive Day at the Museum of Natural History in NYC

The Meet-Up Central Park Drawing Group met at the Museum of Natural History yesterday.  During our regular sessions we meet at the entrance, draw in a general region for approximately 30 minutes and then return to a central location to share our sketchbooks.  We then move to a new location and repeat the process again and again for almost 3 hours.

Yesterday we began in the African Mammal exhibits - on the balcony - and I was capitvated by the ostrich and babies.  I also did a quick sketch of a baboon (paint added today).



We then moved to the North American birds section (I'm not a bird lover) and I sketched a golden eagle.


Around the corner was the primate section and the chimp had such a wonderful hand pose, I had to sketch him.



Finally we went to the 4th floor to the dinosaur skeletons and I sketched the head of T.Rex.  The sketch was done in pencil and then I practiced using the dreaded Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and a watercolor pencil to finish the painting.


Patti Gregory (1960-2010

Yesterday morning I learned of the tragic death of Danny Gregory's wife Patti.  I only met Patti once 4 years ago, but was really impressed with her smile and energy.  Danny is the author of Everyday Matters, a book of sketches and writing from the time following Patti's subway accident which left her paraplegic.  I was just beginning this journey, which I call sketchbook art, and joined his Everyday Matters online art group in September 2005.  Over the last few years, by following Danny's blog, reading his subsequent books, The Creative License and An Illustrated Life, and taking a "visual journaling class" with him here in NYC, I learned more about them and their son Jack Tea.  My heart is breaking for Danny and Jack. 



March 16, 2010

Demon from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves

I went to the Morgan Library and Museum last week to see the current exhibits - and sketched a demon from the illuminated manuscript called the Hours of Catherine of Cleves (15th C.).  It has a very interesting history and the borders on each page are amazing and never repeated.  I sketched one of the demons (which appeared on the corner of the border of page 94 and was enlarged in a photograph as part of the exhibit.)


It is worth looking at the facsimiles on the webpage in my link to the exhibit just to see the quality of the painting and the brilliance of the colors. 

Donna posted drawings today that she did with her new Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  I agree with everything she says about the pen and ...

I decided to upload this drawing today in order to demonstrate that on my Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press paper, the ink that comes in the cartridges with the Pental Pocket Brush Pen is watersoluble.  The gray color of my demon is just ink pulled into the drawing with plain water.  I allowed the ink to dry for 15-30 minutes before "painting it" with the water.  I know that others don't have this problem, so I assume it is paper-dependent, since we have compared pen product numbers, etc, etc.