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October 19, 2018

Visit to London: Part 1

My husband and I just returned from our 10 day London vacation.  We rented a lovely one bedroom flat in South Kensington and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  I sketched at least one page per day, sometimes two.  But I just concentrated on our activities for the day and sketched on site, took a photo, and painted later. 

After we landed at Heathrow we were able to take the Piccadilly Underground to Gloucester St. Station, and then waited at Starbucks for the owner to email us when she arrived.    

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The National Gallery has the Courtauld Impressionist Paintings on exhibit while the Courtauld is being renovated.   It was wonderful wandering around Trafalgar Square area, and seeing the exhibit, before taking a long walk all the way back past Harrods to our flat. Cezanne did 5 card player paintings, one with 5, one with 4, and three with 2 players.  I painted the Met's Cezanne painting of the 4 Card Players several times, and then painted some of the individual players from Cezanne's preparatory paintings.  And here is another one from the Courtauld.

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After lunch in Shoreditch we returned to Sloan Square by Underground and walked the whole area in Chelsea where our daughter and her family lived a decade ago.  At the end of the afternoon we stopped on Fulham Road for a glass of wine across from the gym where our family went and our little grandchildren took swimming lessons.  

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We had never been to Shoreditch, but wanted to try a new restaurant that was described in the New York Times.  The area had lots of graffitti and murals painted on walls.  This Rooster was painted directly across the street from the restaurant.  Fun adventure and lunch at BRAT was delicious. 

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We spent one day in Oxford, one hour by train out of London.  We made all the arrangements for the train and a University Tour weeks ago, and it was the worst weather we had in 10 days.  However, Blackwells Book Shop, which began in Oxford, was a wonderful place to stop, browse, and have coffee and lunch in Caffe Nero in the bookstore.  The sun came out just as our tour was beginning, and the rain began again almost as soon as we stopped for dinner before our train ride back to London. 

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October 16, 2018

Art Tools for London

Art Tools for Travel to London:  I wanted to use gouache on a sketchbook page, and decided to draw representative art tools that I am taking to London.  The blue green color is from my Pelikan Gouache set, and it didn't go on as flat I hoped. 

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Pen Pocket for London Travel Sketchbook - made from Laminated NYC Subway Fabric:  Several years ago I started to make pen pockets for my sketchbooks, and then I just carry my waterbrushes,  a few special pens and pencils in a pencil case, and my very light plastic palette with my regular watercolor paints in a separate bag.  My pen pocket has a pencil, eraser and a few Pigma Micron pens.

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We have several more days in London, and the sketchbook with pen pocket travel with me easily during the day.  We take long walks between our destinations and events, and I have managed to draw on at least one page per day, plus a note and a 2 X 2" highlight drawing on a grid I made before we left NYC.  When drawing a full page, I do the drawing, take a photo, and paint each page later.  My goal is to capture some aspect of our experiences each day, not look for iconic London scenes.  Although my husband supports my drawing and painting, I try to limit the time spent by making it part of each day, not the focus of the day. 

October 12, 2018

London More than a Decade Ago

London was the first European city my husband and I visited when we finally had jobs, and we explored London for two weeks.  Over the subsequent years we visited again several times and grew to love the City even more. 

In 2006-7 our daughter, her husband, and their children lived in Chelsea  and we were fortunate enough to stay with them multiple times.  The highlight was the birth of their 3rd baby right before Christmas. 

We haven't been back since, partly because all of those memories were so wonderful and those children are here in NYC.  

I kept a sketchbook and painted everyday, filling 3 fifty page watercolor books.  I looked at them recently and decided to post several of the pages, just to reflect on the City for our visit.  

Admiralty Arch

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Piccadilly Circus

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October 8, 2018

Another Week at my FIT Class

Homework:  Our Professor emailed us a copy of the Titian Painting "Danae" and asked us to draw and shade the figure using the painted image as reference.  We had to preserve the proportions of the painting, but could choose to leave out the background.  I'm beginning to be more comfortable using General's Extra Soft Charcoal Pencils. 

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This past week we had two male models, clothed.  Class began with a demo of the approach to portrait drawing, and then we had a choice of drawing some or all of each figure.  The model with the hat broke his pose about every two minutes, with slight shifts in position.  It is rare to see such bad models at FIT. 

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This is part of a 20 minute pose and class ended before we finished.   

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October 5, 2018

Sketchbook Skool Week 3: Playing with Gouache

I bought tubes of Winsor Newton Artist Grade Gouache in September 2012 - and squeezed out paint into a new palette.  I quickly learned that they flaked, and came out of the wells easily when they dried making them not portable. 

This week our Sketchbook Skool artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis ("August Wren"), an illustrator, showed us how she used gouache and watercolor paints interchangeably and together, adding other layers to either a wet or dry layer.  My 2012 tubes of gouache were dried out, but several months ago I bought myself a 12 color set of Pelikan pan gouache.  Here are my color mixing studies that I did for homework. 

Pelikan Set of 12 Gouache:  Samples of the 12 colors on the top left.  An opacity test on the bottom left.  Mixing studies on the right, from top to bottom: 1 and 2: yellow and yellow ochre in the center, with progressive addition of 2 blues; 3 and 4:vermillion red  and magenta red in the center with the addition of two blues, and finally 5 and 6: yellow and yellow ochre in the center with the addition of the two reds. 

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Testing combinations of paints:  Watercolor and gouache over samples of dry gouache or watercolor; watercolor and gouache mixed on palette;  gouache over dry gouache; and gouache mixed with Chinese white to increase the opacity. 

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