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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." 

March 21, 2012

Testing Pens

I like drawing with pen and then adding watercolor washes - meaning that I need a reliable, waterproof ink pen.  I'm not ready to try fountain pens, so I collect pens to try whenever I'm in an art supply store. 

I usually use Pigma Micron or Zig Millenium pens in 01 and 05 sizes on my Fabriano Artistico soft press paper.   In this sketch I used a Zig Millenium pen to draw my 4 new pens, and then applied watercolor several minutes later.  I made happy faces to "paint" with water for another test of the ink.

I was very surprised that my Zig millenium pen was the one that lifted the most with water.  The other 4 did reasonably well in my test.  Now I just have to remember where I bought them!  And which ones were recommended to draw over acrylic paints.

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March 18, 2012

Gwen Diehn's New Book

I was thrilled to receive my advance copy of Gwen Diehn's new book, The Complete Decorated Journal.

In 2003, I bought The Decorated Page and fell in love!  I always wanted to keep a travel sketchbook and she introduced me to the concept of an "illustrated journal."  I then bought The Decorated Journal when it was published, and over the last 6 years reread both of them several times, and filled over 50 sketchbooks. 

Gwen was asked to combine the books and add new bonus material, including 13 Artist Profiles, and I was thrilled when she asked me to be in one of the profiles.  We started a conversation several years ago through the Everyday Matters Message Board and I now sketch with her several times each year when she visits NYC.   My inclusion in her book is so meaningful to me, because without her books, I might never have walked this pathway. 

I'm including scans of the front and back cover, and my Artist Profile as an early peek.  I'm not aware of any other book that provides so much information, inspiration, and color photos of many artists' journal pages.  And there is a wonderful section at the end about bookbinding and making your own journals - from the simple to the more complex.

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Thank you Gwen. 

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