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August 8, 2011

Madison Square Park, New York City

I was walking home from City Quilter and specifically walked across Madison Square Park to see the summer sculpture, a 44 foot head by Spanish Artist Jaume Plensa.  I took photos of the head around 360 degrees, intending to draw it at some point, and failed to notice the honey colored squirrel that I almost stepped on.  So I photographed him/her as well.

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I am having problems with server crashes for my blog - and I think that the actual blog postings are visible, but it may be difficult leaving comments.  To those of you who visit, thank you.  I love having the opportunity to "meet you" through comments, so I'm hoping that the technical details can soon be fixed.  'Til then, I hope that you will keep trying....

August 3, 2011

Figure Drawing Outdoors at Battery Park City

Today my friend Teri and I went to "Figure al Fresco" for the first time.  This is a free art program held by the Battery Park Conservancy from May 1st through October 31st.  There is one model in clothes for 2 hours - and art supplies are provided free.  It is held in a lovely area of the Park, right along the Hudson River and the staff is very professional and attentive.

There were ten 1 minute poses (yikes!), five 2 minute poses, two 5 minute poses, and two 10 minute poses.  A light rain started right before the final pose - 20 minutes - so we gathered our sketchbooks and headed back to the subway. 

This is my favorite 2 minute pose - I always find sitting positions, facing forward, a challenge.  The model wore glasses, and was pulling on a sandal.

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Here are the 5 minute poses.  I use a 9B graphite pencil and there is lots of smudging on the page, and even some sketches from the other side of the page are visible.

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And the 10 minute poses:

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August 1, 2011

Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Met

This exhibit has surpassed all prior exhibit records for the number of visitors, and I can't ever remember seeing lines so long in front of the Met and snaking through the galleries waiting to be admitted to the Galleries.  By mid-July they were reporting a half-million visitors entered the McQueen galleries.  And the last two evenings of the exhibit this week, the Met is staying open until Midnight!

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010) had amazing creativity, even though his clothes were more like costumes than clothes to wear, even for the "fashionistas."  The runway shows for every new collection were spectacles and it is fascinating to see videos of the shows, in the exhibit, along side the clothes and their accessories. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art website for the exhibit is fabulous and you might enjoy seeing the fashions, the videos, and the quotes from McQueen himself.  I have been several times and even standing shoulder - to - shoulder managed to sketch a few of the garments.  I haven't painted some of the pages yet, but I haven't even decided if I will.

The second garment, the long black coat, is constantly blowing up around the mannequin - a very effective way to show the fullness and construction.

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The coat from the garment on the left is made of duck feathers painted gold.  It was designed before McQueen's suicide and was only shown, after his death, to small groups of friends in a very small private venue.  I painted it with gold gouache, but the metallic sheen doesn't scan.  In the gallery there are 5 mannequins dressed in his final designs - and they appear in a large glass enclosed space that represents a huge gold casket.

The garment on the right is from his final runway show - Plato's Atlantis - and the designs were inspired by the fabrics he made.  This one is composed of images from snake skins. My painting really looks very little like the exquisite fabric.

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The final two sketchbook pages were done last Friday - and just represent images that I liked.  The second dress from the left was white, with a tan belt around the top.  Then it was painted during the runway show - and you can see the amazing production here in this very short video. It is the 5th video on the page - No. 13 Spring-Summer 1999.

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The shoe that I sketched on the upper right is actually a clay mould for ceramic shoes worn by models in the runway shows.  And they weren't even the most extreme shoes that the poor models had to wear!

 

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Hope you enjoy this brief visit - and can appreciate the genius of Alexander McQueen. 

July 27, 2011

Midnight in Paris

The heat in NYC was unbearable Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  So even though we rarely go to the movies, my husband and I went to see Woody Allen's new movie "Midnight in Paris.  It was great - especially the fabulous Paris scenes that started the minute it opened and didn't end until the final second!  So many memories of our vacations there flooded into my mind and I came home wanting to do a Paris journal page. 

Our last trip there was in February 2005 and I wasn't keeping travel sketchbooks then.  I always wanted to draw the Eiffel Tower, but was almost paralyzed by the complexity of the construction in my photos.  So I searched for Eiffel Tower drawings and actually found a tutorial - which was just perfect.

I decided to scan and print a Michelin Paris Guide map for the first layer, then absorbent ground to partially cover it, and finally ink and watercolor drawing/painting.  This is a technique that I saw on Jane LaFazio's blog in 2010 and use periodically in my journals.

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July 24, 2011

Figure Drawing - Beach Costumes

The models this Thursday at the Society of illustrators sketch night were dressed for the beach - with a parasol, sunglasses, tropical drinks, wraps, and flip-flops.  These were fun accessories to draw and the models were just great.  Nineteen sketches were done, but I'm only uploading several - all of the same model.

These are 2 two minute sketches, a 5 minute sketch, and a ten minute sketch:

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I switched to a watercolor pencil for drawing and large sheets of watercolor paper for the 20 minute minute poses and used the time to draw the models and shade and paint the sketches.  This seems like a good way to work with watercolor before I'm ready and able to "sketch" the figures with my brush.  These sketches were photographed because the paper is bigger than my scanner.

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