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April 6, 2012

Playing with Wet On Wet Watercolor

There is a huge amount that I don't know about painting with watercolor and I periodically try to play with some techniques to improve my skills.   This week I scanned the book Wet On Wet Watercolor Painting by Ewa Karpinska and then painted - flooding my 140 lb watercolor paper with water.

Here are the 4 samples - each made by dropping in two colors while the surface was very wet.  I loved tilting the paper and watching the pigment flow.  As the paper dried, I added a few paint lines and tried to mop up a little color.

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New York street planters are filled with Spring flowers this month and I sketched tulips and daffodils while walking to the post office.  I painted the flowers and let them dry overnight.  The following day I thoroughly wet the backgrounds with water and dropped in a few colors. 

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I really enjoyed the lack of control painting with very wet paper and will continue to explore how to use more water to achieve effects I want.  Next:  Time to paint canal water in Venice for practice!

April 3, 2012

The End of the Old, the Beginning of the New

I finished my last sketchbook with two pages of heads drawn during classes at Columbia University.  The first page was done on a paper napkin with a ball point pen while we discussed Chekhov short stories.  The second page of sketches are of Professor de Bary, a very elderly Emeritus Professor of Chinese Studies - who is incredibly sharp.  I loved the opportunity to draw him while he appeared to be asleep, but he remembered more of the panel discussion comments than I did when he lifted up his head.

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I barely finished making my new watercolor sketchbook in time to continue with my daily sketches.  The bookcloth was made with soy wax and a potato masher as resist and thickened Procion MX dyes.  The sketchbook is a 6 signature book with Fabriano Artistico Soft Press 140 lb paper and Canson Mi Tientes end papers.

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The first page is a drawing of my watercolor palettes.  I have fun starting some of the sketchbooks with my paint palette even though I add and/or change paints infrequently.

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March 30, 2012

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Paris Avant-Garde

Gertrude, Leo, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sara were avid collectors of art in Paris during the early decades of the 20th C.   We saw the preview of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before we left for California, and I didn't have time to finish sketches that I did at the exhibit until now.

The Met website presents lots of information about the Steins, highlights of the 200+ works of art, and even a virtual reconstruction video of the rooms and the placement of art on their walls.

My first sketches were from Gallery 1. 

"On October 15, 1904, the second Salon d'Automne (an exhibition of contemporary art held each fall) opened with retrospectives devoted to five artists who were considered among the most relevant for the younger generation of painters: Cézanne, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Renoir, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The impact on Leo was dramatic. Two weeks later he and Gertrude emptied their bank accounts and spent all their spare money on modern art."

I always loved Toulouse-Lautrec's drawings and combined 3 women from the works presented in this gallery.

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I wasn't very impressed with early Matisse landscapes in their collection, but saw a little of Matisse's later style in his painting of the Young Sailor I from 1906.

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My final sketch was of a very early Picasso nude and head.  I always sketch at least one of his drawings when attending an exhibit or auction preview - so this was an easy decision.

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March 26, 2012

Venice Sketches - 5

I am still painting from photos I took in Venice in 2002, trying to anticipate some of the travel sketches I will make on our Spring visit.

This building had a very stained wall, and beautiful flowers in a windowbox under the window.

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I did this canal sketch in pencil and then used a dip pen, Winsor-Newton watersoluble brown ink, and my waterbrush.  My fear was that I could get lost trying to use traditional watercolors on all of the houses - and I was pleased that I could add color to a drawing very quickly.   

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March 23, 2012

Exquisite Corpses - a New Exhibit at MoMA

 

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                                Left to Right:  Benedicte, Me, Teri, Pat

Benedicte, Teri, Pat, Judy and I went to the Museum of Modern Art yesterday to see the new Exquisite Corpses exhibit.  This was a surrealist game of the 1920s and 1930s - initially played by group construction of a sentence. 

The goal of the pictoral form of Exquisite Corpse is to form a picture rather than a sentence. The method for three players is as follows:

  • the first player draws the head
  • the second player draws the midsection
  • the third player draws the legs and feet

Each player folds the paper after finishing the drawing, hiding it from the next player. Usually a the picture extends past the fold just a little bit so that the next player's drawing will join with the first player's.  With more than 3 players, more folded sections are made and the body is divided up differently.

There were only 2 classic examples of Exquisite Corpses in the MoMA exhibit - the rest of the drawings and paintings were deformed-dysmorphic figures by single artists. 

This one was created by Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morise, and Man Ray in 1926-7.  If you look carefully, you can see where they folded the paper as they passed it on to the next player.

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We were inspired and went to the MoMA Sculpture Garden, to play our own game of Exquisite Corpse - with 4 players (Teri declined and worked in her sketchbook instead). 

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         Left to Right:  Me, Judy, Pat, Benedicte (See Judy and Pat's blog entry here and here)

This was the one I started in the first round - with 5 folds.  I did the head and passed it on.  When it went around the circle and returned to me, I sketched the feet.

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Here are all 4 created in the second round:

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Of course it took us awhile to work out the simple rules - with much laughter - and fun.  We then headed off to lunch and 3 drawing exhibits at the Morgan Library. I love having "art buddies." 

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