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September 17, 2011

Chicago Vacation

We went to a family wedding in Chicago last weekend, and all of our children and their spouses were there too.  So we managed to get one of our rare family photos: my husband and I, our 3 children and their spouses.

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My husband and I lived in Chciago many years ago, and enjoyed staying a few extra days with friends.  We saw Millenium Park for the first time and enjoyed a return visit to the Art Institute.  This is a drawing of one of 3 "drinkers" of a Van Gogh painting that I had never seen.

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Our friends took us to see the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavillion.  It is magnificent!  Three times each day these bird-like wings open up, filling the building below with amazing light.  I drew the open wings from a photo I took while standing outside on the pedestrian bridge.

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September 12, 2011

More Watercolor Sketchbooks

These watercolor sketchbooks were made with my bookcloth - white cotton fabric that was manipulated and dyed using procion MX dyes.  All of them are full, even though I haven't numbered the last two before they were put up on the shelf. 

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I learned how to use soy wax resist with procion dyes earlier this year and just had to try it out with all of my dye colors.  Here is my "Harlequin" design,

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 I just finished two more - one 5.5 x 7.5" portrait style and one 8" square.  The blue one is my current daily sketchbook.  Each of my sketchbooks has Fabriano Artistico 140 lb Soft Press paper.  Getting the book size and the paper I liked was my initial motivation for making a sketchbook.  Then I decided that I really loved binding books and making my own bookcloth is a complete joy.  I get to work with different resists, fabric manipulations, stamps, screens and monoprinting.  My series of black sketchbooks that were made with commercial bookcloth are so blah!

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The recycled books, sketchbooks with black bookcloth, and covers of some of these books can be seen by scrolling through the following blog category.  There is also a tutorial for how to recycle a book to make a watercolor sketchbook - that was how I started on this journey.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/bookbinding/

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2008/03/recycling_an_old_book_as_a_wat.php

September 8, 2011

More Sketches With Watercolor Pencils

I just did several exercises from the 3rd Lesson in Kate Johnson's Mini-Watercolor Pencil Class. 

Exercise 1:  I sketched randon tools from my sewing desk with neutral hue watercolor pencils (7 total) and decided that I liked the Albrecht Durer (A.D.) Dark Indigo and Burnt Umber best.  They have now been added to my everyday pencil/pen/eraser case so I can really try them out.

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Exercise 2:  I used one watercolor pencil to do an entire drawing - trying to achieve light, medium, and dark values.  This sketch of my Grand daughter's dog was done with a black  A.D. pencil.

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Exercise 3:  I quickly laid down lines for this portrait (taken from a photo) with the Burnt Umber A.D. pencil and then painted it with W-N watercolors.

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I will be in Chicago next week, so I scheduled a blog post with photos of my watercolor sketchbooks - that I make with my procion MX dyed fabric as bookcloth.  There is also a link to a tutorial for the method I use to make watercolor sketchbooks from inexpesive out of print books.

September 5, 2011

Holiday Weekend Adventures with Our Grandchildren

NOTE:  My fabulous son Jason solved my blog problems this weekend, so hopefully there will be no further difficulties with access or comments.

We had from 2-5 grandchildren here with us, without their parents, from Thursday through Sunday.  My husband and I love to have them overnight and now that the 4 oldest are 4-8 years old, they are really capable of amusing themselves for long portions of the day.  However, we try to plan adventures whenever possible.

On Friday we took the subway to Bowling Green and started at the National Museum of the American Indian.  It was the first visit for everyone except me.  One highlight was getting an adventure brochure with 12 cards  for objects that they needed to find in the permanent exhibit.  The other was playing in the "tipi."

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On Saturday we took the bus to the Central Park Zoo and had unusually good luck seeing the animals.  The penguins were energetic, the polar bear was playing in the water, and the snow leopard was pacing on the rocks in his woodland enclosure.  We ended with the sea lion show and I was able to sketch the sea lions while we watched them being fed.  I used a mahoghany watercolor pencil and then painted them with watercolor later.

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Early Sunday morning the 2 year old joined the group and they all just wanted to play together in our apartment.   After everyone departed, I did a sketchbook page for Zach.

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August 31, 2011

Kate Johnson's Watercolor Pencil Mini-class

I am currently taking Kate's online mini-class about watercolor pencils.  I bought a selection of Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer open stock pencils many years ago and use them periodically - by trial and error.  They are wonderful for me to carry around as a limited palette, with a waterbrush, because I can use them anywhere - even in museums.  I also draw with a watercolor pencil on longer poses at figure drawing and then wet the pencil for shading.  But I knew that Kate's class would be a valuable experience - and being able to sign up for it at any time makes it available to all of her fans!

I worked through the exercises in Lessons 1 and 2 so far, really testing my tools - as she calls it.   I'm posting two of the small drawings that were part of lots of testing. 

In the first, I drew a small scene from one of my recent photographs with colored pencils.  Then I wet them and added a little ink.  These are giant habiscus flowers along the Hudson River embankment in Battery Park City.

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On the second page, I created blocks of color from the pencils directly on my paper - even blending two pencils to create color,  This was my palette to paint a drawing that I did of a favorite mug.  I love this technique, and was happy that I could even add a few more "dots" with the pencil after it was dry.

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