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February 3, 2009

New Drawing Exhibit at the Met:From Raphael to Renoir

Raphael to Renoir: Drawings from the Collection of Jean Bonna
January 21, 2009–April 26, 2009
Galleries for Drawings, Prints, and Photographs, 2nd floor

This is a wonderful new exhibit (120 drawings - spanning 500 hundred years) and a wonderful opportunity to study masterpiece drawings.  I thoroughly enjoy trying to copy the lines in these beautiful works, and will probably return to draw and learn from a few more. 

Here are the two drawings that I did last weekend.

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri  (1591-1666) was called Il Guercino - the squinter - because of his crossed-eyes.  I first saw his drawings at the Courtauld Gallery in London and was mesmerized by his beautiful figures.  The original was done with pen and brown ink, I used brown colored pencil.



Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805)  At the entrance to the exhibit are three drawings of girls heads by Greuze- one more wonderful than the next.  The original was done with conte - I used colored pencil.



February 1, 2009

EDM Challenge #208: Out of Place

We picked up two of our grandchildren from nursery school and walked them back to our apartment through Central Park.  There was a recent snowfall and Robbie (age 3 1/2) and his cousin Sydney (age 4) were having a fabulous time making and throwing snowballs and our progress was really slow.  On a bench, on one of the paths in the middle of the Park, we saw a beautiful pair of brown leather cowboy boots, a new red and black backpack, and an open bird watcher's book.  

We regularly watch Law and Order, so my husband and I looked at each other suspiciously and for an instant wondered whether we would next find a body.  There were no people anywhere in sight - in any direction.  I took a photo so I could show a Park staff member when we passed one of the them on the second half of our journey.  We never heard more about the event and hopefully the tourist who left them there was able to retrieve their stuff when they returned.  


January 24, 2009

Sketching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

This last week I spent two mornings sketching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Deborah, an EDM member who lives nearby, joined me on Monday January 19th to sketch.  We previously conversed by email, so we sat and sketched and talked for several hours before moving to the museum cafeteria for lunch.  We chose the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas because there were benches nicely positioned in front of the primitive art.  Here are three of the artifacts that I sketched, colored with watercolor pencils, and then "painted" with my Niji waterbrush although I knew that this was bending museum rules slightly.  The watercolor pencils allowed me to replicate better the very unevern colors of this huge wood sculpture. 




Yesterday I met Jane, one of my new friends from Danny Gregory's recent illustrated journaling class, at the Met.  I taught her how I recycled old books with watercolor paper the previous Friday and she brought 3 fabulous books that she just finished to show me.  I sketched Aphrodite in the Greek and Roman galleries before Jane arrived, and then a primitive "Seated Figure" from Mali (13th C) in the Montebello exhibit as we toured it.  Both of these were also done with watercolor pencils and then finished with my Niji waterbrush. 




January 11, 2009

Cezanne Card Players at the Met

In the summer 0f 2007, we saw an exhibit of Leon Kossoff's drawings at the National Gallery in London.  Although I didn't love the style of his Conte drawings, I was fascinated with his method of working as an artist.  Kossoff was born in London in 1926 and is a prominent member of the School of London which also includes Lucien Freud.  On the exhibit page, there is a link to one of his very rare interviews, actually done in his exhibit space.  Kossoff never paints from photos and although he doesn't consider himself accomplished in drawing, he starts every painting with a fresh drawing and then takes his work back to the studio for painting.  Since he was a child, he has drawn and redrawn many of the master works at the National Gallery, and in the interview he relays how he gets his inspiration from these drawings and every day wakes up saying that maybe today he'll learn how to draw!

I wondered whether drawing and redrawing a masterpiece that speaks to you would lead to some type of magical experience if you were in the presence of the masterpiece and drawing it over many years.  So I thought I would try it when I returned to New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Last January I selected  Cezanne's Card Players which I have always admired.  It is prominently placed in the 19C galleries and actually has one of the few gallery benches in front of it in the middle of the room.

Using watercolors, instead of oils, was a challenge, but I really wanted my work to be more than just an ink or Conte drawing.

Here is the link to my drawing from Jan 2008:

Here is the link to the painting from from the 2008 drawing:


Yesterday I arrived at the Met when it opened and had 45 minutes during which I was completely alone drawing the Card Players in one of the 19th C. galleries.  The Met allows pencils, but not pens or paints, so like Kossoff, I returned home to finish it.  But I wanted to try to reproduce the colors, and worked from a photo that I took.

My 2009 Painting:


Cezanne made 5 Card Player paintings.  The first one has 5 figures and is part of the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia.  The Met has the second one which was painted in 1890-92.  - which has 4 figures.  The remaining 3 all have two figures.

I also thought that it might be fun to see how my style or skills change over the years - so far not much to my eye.  But I wonder whether next year I might decide not to draw in ink, or perhaps to change the colors, or even to move to more of an abstraction.  In the interview, Kossoff tells how he once went home from a National Gallery drawing session, and just painted the Rembrandt painting using his own style, without a predrawing on the canvas.  He has no idea why his mind just wanted to do that!

January 6, 2009

3rd Anniversary of my Blog on January 4th

I had no intention of starting a blog until I joined Everyday Matters in September 2005.  Initially I lurked and just enjoyed the energy and inspiration of the group, while sketching most days and doing the EDM weekly challenges in my sketchbook.  By December  2005 I was adding color with watercolor paint to my pages and faithfully reading the EDM messages.  Suddenly I wanted to participate more and my son set up the blog for me, with a few simple questions re: name, color etc. and some quick lessons via telephone on how to upload images and post comments. 

I love the connection that I feel to so many menbers of EDM and wish to thank all of those who have been with me for the journey.  I'm delighted that the EDM group has so many new members and hope that they find the inspiration and generous sharing that I found in the group.  I could never have imagined taking a 6 week class with Danny Gregory 3 years later, and was delighted to realize how much I've learned and grown artistically.

To celebrate, I decided to post a Christmas Eve photo of our grandchildren.  My husband just asked whether I thought we'd ever get a single good photo of the entire group.  If my portraits were better, I might try drawing them!  Six months ago I uploaded a photo which was the first time that all 5 were together.  These little people love me to draw and paint their toys, costumes, or the events we share and my granddaughter Sydney draws and paints with me regularly.