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February 2, 2013

More Elephants

I'm still drawing/painting elephants when I am home for the day and have 3 more to post today.  These were all done with different tools, to challenge myself to use more of the art supplies I accumulated over the last few years.

Yesterday I read Laure Ferlita's blog post about "Luring Back Her Muse" and realized that my elephant project is how I am doing the same thing.  I got to the point during these winter days where I was inspired to draw when out and about, but bored and apathetic when home. 

Elephant 6 was drawn with warm gray and black Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils and then painted with water. 


Elephant 7 was drawn with a Zebra Sarasa Clip 07 Brown gel pen and then painted with water.  I have several brown pens to use for drawing and I tested their water solubility, finally selecting this one for the pale color that I could achieve.


Elephant # 8 was drawn with a black Zig Millenium pen and then "painted" with a black Neocolor II watersoluble wax pastel - the only candidate in my box of 10 crayons.


I still need to try other tools that I have, including inks and dip pens, acrylic paints, oil pastels, pan pastels, and a variety of pencils that I hate using - including charcoal and Conte.  This project turned out to be fun and that was my intention.  These cold winter days mean that I am busy at home and less likely to get inspiration from walks/trips around New York City.

January 29, 2013

Figure Drawing Practice

I missed live figure drawing this month, but did a little practice anyway during quiet evenings.  I set the timer on for 90 sec and then sketched quickly to get a basic shape drawn with a watercolor pencil during that time.  These are a few that I did.


Portraits are still difficult for me - so I practice quick sketches on the bus or subway and when desperate for a model I sketch half a face from a photo.  I cut a face photo in half and then draw exacty what I see in the photo to complete the face.  I don't remember where I read about this xercise, but it's fun. 



January 26, 2013

Bookbinding: A New Project for 2013

I LOVE books - all books - and always have.  It is probably the reason that I gravitated to sketchbook/visual journal art when I was getting close to retirement. 

I decided to recycle orphan books when I couldn't find watercolor sketchbooks that I loved.  After several years I broke down and took a weekend class to learn how to make a traditional cased-in book - cover and all.  In the last 5 years I expanded my bookbinding adventures, sometimes from information online, other times from projects with my friends Pat and Gwen.  But I still hadn't explored some of the oldest and most common bookbinding methods.

This year I plan to do a little research on specific bookbinding methods and to practice making books exploring some of the variations.  I have reference books here in my personal library and there are many websites and videos available - making this a good DIY project.  

The book project for January was coptic stitch bookbinding and so far I made two books using two different variations of the method. 

Book 1:  I made the cover using bookcloth I made from fabric I painted, and filled it with my favorite watercolor paper.  The bug was painted in a class by Judy Coates Perez using Tsukineko ink thickened with aloe vera.  The back cover was made with fabric I made testing a new batch of procion MX stock solutions.




Book 2: I also made a smaller book, using decorative paper for the book covers, and card stock for the pages.  I am using this book to collect all of the information about coptic stitching that I want to remember and to document the methods that I used. 




Plan for February:  Long Stitch with leather wrap covers. 

A tutorial for recycling orphan books, and all of my prior projects can be seen in the Bookbinding Category in the right column on my blog.

January 22, 2013

A Collection of Elephants

This time of year, when I'm recovering from lots of Holiday preparations and celebrations, and I'm indoors trying to  "catch up," I need something to shake me up.  Night after night I struggled with decisions re: what to draw and finally decided to play with my many tools (pencils, pens, inks etc) while drawing lots of elephants. 

Here are my first 5 - each drawn/"painted" with a different tool.

Elephant 1:  Drawn with a Dark Wash Soluble Graphite Pencil by Derwent and painted with clear water.


Elephant 2:  Drawn with a Tombow marker, which is water soluble, and painted with clear water


Elephant #3:  Cretacolor 9B graphite and Cretacolor white pastel pencils on gray paper


Elephants #4:  Pigma micron ink pen and WN watercolors



Elephant #5:  Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

I bind Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press paper in my handbound watercolor journals.  No one believes me, but the Pentel Pocket Brush Ink is completely water soluble on this paper and even drying the ink overnight makes no difference.  Here is an elephant drawn with the pen and then painted with clear water!


January 19, 2013

Chelsea, El Anatsui, and the Highline

My friend Pat and I spent a day visiting art galleries in Chelsea and walking the High Line.  El Anatsui, born in Ghana and now living in Nigeria, creates enormous sculptures using copper wire and bottle caps/pieces of aluminum from cans and bottles. 

Here is an example of one of the massive sculptures in the exhibit Pot of Wisdom which ended on January 19th.  It is next moving to the Bass Center in Miami and the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa.  A second exhibit is opening in February at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.


A detail:



But he also has an outdoor installation, made of rusted metal and gorgeous reflective tiles, over the entire side of a building along the Highline,  This will hang for a year.  Here are my photos, taken from the Highline - between 21st and 22nd St.  Also look at the water towers which appear everywhere along the NYC skyline.



I love the way the clouds are reflected on the sculpture making it hard to see the dividing line with the real sky.



The Highline is an abandoned elevated railroad track in lower Manhattan.  It is slowly being converted into a wonderful, popular public park. 

We walked North along the newest section (extending the walkway to 30th St.) and found wonderful sights:  the top of the Empire State building, great graffiti art, and an apartment occupant, whose window is feet away from the edge of the High Line. 




This image appears to be part of the window surface - humorously put there to keep Highline pedestrians from becoming voyeurs.

There was a great pair of water towers right next to the sculpture and I painted them in my sketchbook, from my photo, to remember the day. 



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