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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. 


November 23, 2008

More Sketchbook Pages

Suddenly we heard a large crash, then the sound of glass breaking - right in front of our apartment window.  When we went to look, there was already a huge crowd gathering and several observers taking cell phone photos of the large lamp post which had fallen across the Avenue.  Traffic was completely stopped and the fire engines had difficulty threading their way through the cars to reach the site.  This fire truck was parked in front of our window for 5-10 minutes and it took me at least one minute to decide that I needed my sketchbook. 


This is part of a homework assignment for Danny's Illustrated Journaling class.  I already sketched my medicine cabinet for an EDM challenge, so I decided to sketch my art shelf in the library.  This is where I keep my pencilcase (containing pencils, pens, and 4 waterbrushes), paints, and random art books of drawings by the masters that I use for inspiration and practice.  When I learned that Danny was teaching his first class, I thought it would be fun for me to take it to "shake things up a little."  I do a daily sketch already and just need a little boost and time for reflection about my Art Goals for 2009. 



October 8, 2008

Sydney and Shirley's Lions


My three year old granddaughter Sydney loves to draw and color.  She was exhausted last Friday evening - after running at least a mile through Central Park climbing the big rocks while we brought her to our apartment from Nursery School.  After dinner she went to bed, and then about 30 minutes later carried out this fabulous lion drawing! 


Yesterday I met a good friend between the New York Public Library lions and quickly sketched one to post with Sydney's lion.  I used a watercolor pencil to do the drawing and then "painted" it to get the shading.