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February 3, 2017

Urban Sketchers NYC at Natural History

Yesterday was my first sketching session with Urban Sketchers - NYC in a long time and we met and sketched at the American Museum of Natural History here in NYC.  In honor of Groundhog day most of us sketched the groundhog - and then moved on.  There were approximately 20 of us at lunch and sharing our sketchbooks.  Fun Day!

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I still love drawing elephants and unfortunately the African elephants are not well lit.  I did take a minute to draw a detailed eye, because they are so hard to see unless you are close to them.  Any artist can participate in the weekday or weekend sketch events and should visit the USK-NYC blog for the schedule

nyc.urbansketchers.org/

 

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January 31, 2017

Master Drawing Week 2017

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This is the book created for each annual Master Drawing week.  It can be requested from the website and arrives in the mail at least a month before the event.  Each gallery has an entry and there is a list of participating Galleries as well as a map on the back cover.  

The variety of elevators in the Upper Eastside Townhouses is part of the fun of this annual gallery-hop.  Benedicte, Pat and I took this photo in an elevator lined with mirrors.

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And here are a few of my favorite drawings. 

Fritz Haas (1864-1930):  On The Grand Canal.  We are returning to Venice in May, so this may be my favorite drawing of the entire day.

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Theodore Gericault (1791-1824):  Study of Arabs 

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Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863):  Chevalier au Cheval.  I love Delacroix drawings, especially from Morocco, but this may be the most expensive drawing of the day per square inch?  $4200 for a 2 X 2" drawing.    

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As we passed Gagosian Gallery, we stopped in for a quick look at the exhibit "Picasso's Picassos", that was extended to 2/17.  These are paintings from his daughter Maya's Collection.  We each sketched one - this is Maya's mother Marie-Therese Walters.

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Gustav Klimt (1862-1918):  Portrait of a Woman in Blue 

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Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805):  Study of Feet    

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I don't have the artist for this sudy of hands, but it fits in with my deliberate practice "drawing hands" and I just wanted a copy!    

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Il Guercino  (1591-1666):  Cosmographer with an Astrolab and Compass in a Landscape ($20,000).  He is one of my favorite artists since I saw an exhibit of his drawings in London in 2006.  I copy his drawings whenever I see one in an exhibit here in NYC., but there wasn't time on this visit.  

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Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) :  Untitled.  I love his figure drawings, and not his abstract paintings. 

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Our last stop was at the Academy Mansion (2 E63rd St).  There were 4 galleries renting space in the Mansion for Master Drawing week, and it is an amazing building that was built as a private residence in 1921, donated to the National Academy of Science for 20 years, and now owned by a real estate conglomerate - and rented out for film shoots and other events. 

This annual gallery hop never is disappointing.  It is so hard to imagine seeing the inside of so many townhouses on the Upper Eastside and such wonderful varied collections of drawings.  I just chose to include a few of my favorites in this blog post.  Below:  A David Hockney drawing (Peter Running 1968) used on a gallery banner.

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January 27, 2017

New York City Ballet Working Rehearsals

Last week my husband and I went to the NYCB working rehearsals 3 days in a row.  These are offered as part of becoming a FRIEND of the ballet company and they are amazing!  On Wednesday we listened to Andrew Litton conduct all of the music for 3 upcoming ballets.  On Thursday and Friday we watched two 2-hour working rehearsal sessions of ballets being performed this week.  I try to do a sketch each time I'm there, but the lights are usually too dim.

This is a sketch of an assistant conductor following along in the score (left) with just a glimpse of Andrew Litton conducting.  The full orchestra was in the pit, but I could see the very top of the harp. 

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The Prodigal Son Ballet - several dancers were in costume, on the stage, before the lights went down.

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A full dress rehearsal with orchestra of "Scenes de Ballet" - a wonderful ballet danced completely by students from the School of American Ballet.  The sets were gorgeous and the students amazing.  The choreography depicts a Russian ballet studio, with a very long barre diagonally in the middle of the stage.  Dancers are in pairs, with one on the left of the barre, and then another dancer on the right side pretending to be the mirror image of her.  The precision was extraordinary.  The auditorium was completely black when the curtain went up, so I memorized one dance position, and then sketched the dancers at home, reversing one to get the mirror image.  It was really hard.

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January 17, 2017

Picabia and Calder and Faces

I saw two art exhibits that inspired me to draw more faces.  There is a huge retrospective exhibit on Francis Picabia at the Museum of Modern Art:  Our Heads Are Round So Our Thoughts Can Change Direction.  I learned that he was from a very wealthy family and rarely stayed with one specific type of art - making it more difficult to be well known in the art world. 

This is a wall photo of Francis Picabia at the entrance to the exhibit, playfully sitting on a child's toy. 

Link to Museum Website:  https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1670?locale=en  

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I was immediately attracted to the set of paintings that he called "Transparencies."  He appropriated existing art for the layers in these large paintings - incorporating images from mythology, religion, and even other artists.  It is hard to imagine how he created the layers in oil paint.  In Salome, the painting below, it is speculated that there is the body of a contemporary nude dancer, a Boticelli head, John the Baptist's head on a platter, and figures, columns, and ceramics from the Greeks.

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I walked through the Gallery of "Transparencies" and sketched various faces, and then added the black head from one of the paintings that I think was part of his "Monster" series.

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Several days later, we joined friends at the Whitney Museum.  This is the best photo I was able to take of the architecture of the new building.  It was a cold, windy day, so I'm surprised to see any people out on the balconies.

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The main exhibit was "Portraits" from their collection. 

http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/HumanInterest 

I loved it because there was a very loose definition of portraits - and many were collections of symbols or favorite things of the artist. 

As soon as I saw the Calder wire head of Varese, I knew that I had to draw it from the front and side. 

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January 12, 2017

My Figure Drawing Artist Book

I love having a January special project for the cold days spent indoors.  Last year I didn't do anything with my figure drawings, as I had hoped, so that became my 2017 January project.  I had a $4.00 used accordion book with black paper which was perfect for my idea - with a full spread of 80 inches.  Each "page" of the accordion was 8" high by 10" wide.  I selected drawings that I did between July 2012 and October 2016, resized them, printed them out, and then carefully cut them out.  They were collaged to the book using a UHU glue stick.

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The Cover:  This was a large drawing that I did during a figure drawing class at FIT - my first semester there in the Senior Learner program.  I still need to add a title.

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Here are the 8 pages - scanned and uploaded.  I'm thrilled to have completed this project and have so many memories of the figure drawing sessions.  All of the clothed models, except two, were drawn during the last 3 years at the Adult Art Program at Battery Park City. And those two models were sketched at the National Art Club and MoMA. The nude models were sketched at the Society of Illustrators, Drawing New York Meet Up, or FIT.  All of the poses were 5, 10, or 20 minute poses.

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