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March 29, 2016

Still Life Painting Sessions in Battery Park City

The Battery Park City Winter Art Sessions are divided between Figure and Still Life Drawings.  Here are my still life drawings from the last 2 sessions.

As I was walking to Battery Park, a florist delivery man lost two orchid flowers from the plant he was carrying and I picked them up before they could be squashed by feet on the crowded sidewalk.  They were a perfect subject for a quick painting. 




The Artist in Charge of the session created a still life set up that made me think of San Antonio Spring Fiesta because of the colors and the tambourine and maracas.  We lived there for 18 years and the bright Fiesta colors were absorbed and internalized.



I threw my articulated wood hand model and silk rose in my bag on my way to the next session, and then added Danny Gregory's Shut Your Monkey book which I was reading on the subway and during my lunch at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan.  Danny's book is all about your inner critic, how to analyze and deal with the one that each creative person has.  His is a monkey.  Mine is a hypercritical, old lady - who sometimes looks like a bag lady.



 I ended that afternoon by sketching my hand model in 3 different positions with a soluble graphite pencil. 


Tomorrow is the last of our 9 sessions and I'm so happy that it is figure drawing!

March 25, 2016

Degas - A Stange New Beauty

Yesterday my friends and I went to a Museum of Modern Art Members Preview of the new Edgar Degas exhibit.  I was surprised to read that it is his first solo exhibit at MoMA!  In this exhibit they feature Degas' monotypes, and his working process - along with other drawings and paintings that were definitely influenced by his monotype working style.  Here is a 4 minute video about Monotypes, as an introduction.  Scroll down the museum page for video. 


I was fascinated learning about Degas' working methods and that is what I will remember most from this exhibit. 

1.   His monotypes were usually printed twice from plates - the print of the plate drawing and the ghost print (a second printing that is much more faint).  Some were then colored with pastels.   Others were left untouched.   Here are 3 examples:

His first Monotype -The Ballet Master -  done with artist Ludovic Napoleon Lepic, a printmaker.


A beautiful expressive portrait of his friend, actress Ellen Andree: 


A monotype made of a Brothel scene "The Name Day of the Madame,", then colored with pastels: 



2.  Charcoal drawings were made of the same subject and a quote from him says:  It is essential to do the same subject over again, ten times, a hundred times."  This way to work, multiplying and varying a subject is common to Degas' way of working.


I loved this charcoal drawing and sketched the figure on the left during out visit.



3.  This pair of drawings consists of a charcoal drawing on the left (3 drawings of Ludovic Halevy).  The one on the right is a counterproof made by placing wet paper over the drawing and then rolling both sheets through the printing press. 



4.  There were 3 full sketchbooks included in the exhibit.  I loved how he included multiple drawings on each page in Carnet 1.



5.  Carnet 3 has very thin paper and he used this quality to redraw images on the reverse side of the original drawing, making it possible to change the drawings slightly reversing the images.   It was difficult to take a good image from this video display, but the image on the left is the an image seen through thin paper, and the image on the right shows how it was retraced and changed.



6.   It is postulated that this painting of 4 ballet dancers was made from images that were manipulated in such a way. 



For more information about this very interesting and educational exhibit, you can read about it on today's  It also was reviwed in today's New York Times. 

March 22, 2016

Wednesday Figure Drawing at Battery Park City

I first want to send condolences to the people of Brussels for the horrible terrorist bombings this morning.  A good friend of ours was in the airport, close to the bomb blast, but is uninjured.  Wednesdays are my day to go past the World Trade Center Memorial as I cross Lower Manhattan to go to figure drawing, and these random bombings reawaken many of the feelings I had living in Manhattan in 2001.   

I love going to Lower Manhattan for Figure Drawing on Wednesdays.  When I was looking up at the Freedom Tower (WTC1) last Wednesday and posting photos to my blog, I had no idea that we would be reflecting on yet another terrorist attack in Europe this Wednesday. 

We had a model that I've drawn before, and this week she had her Very Curly Hair au naturelle, and stayed in the same clothes for most of the session.

These are my first two minute poses - always used for warmup.  I sketched her with a 4B graphite pencil on newsprint - which is hard to flatten out for photographing.



These are three 5 minute sketches done with a General Sketch and Wash pencil - with paint added in the final seconds before the end of the pose, or in one case during her 5 minute break. 





One 10 minute pose:



The final pose - done in 15 minutes - and not painted because I was too tired.


On Wednesday May 4th, the Figure Drawing sessions will move to the South Cove of Battery Park City - through October 26th, weather permitting. 

March 18, 2016

Visit to the Oculus With NYC Urban Sketchers

New York City Urban Sketchers met at the new Santiago Calatrava Oculus on Wednesday, and viewed the inside and sketched the outside.  As I walked from the Fulton Center subway stop I took photos of the exterior from the East, the interior, and exterior from the West.  While the group was sketching at the foot of the Freedom Tower, I went across West St. to Brookfield Place and sketched from there.  The Oculus is still a construction site inside and out, but it is fun to see this very interesting new center to the Lower Manhattan Transportation Hub.

Oculus from the East (Dey and Church St.):  That is the World Trade Center Freedom Tower behind it.



The Entrance I went in is at the NW corner of Liberty and Church St, just inside the door to WTC4.  Follow the signs to the Path Station down 2 escalators, and two long white marble corridors to the Oculus. 


Interior:  The wall covered in posters hides the continuing construction, but it is really the side walls and ceiling that are the main attraction.   




Oculus From the West:  I sketched this view (see below), from the front of Brookfield Place and across West Avenue from the Oculus.



It will still be a few months before all of the entries are open and the construction tools are gone.  This is a map of the area, including all of the World Trade Center Buildings that will eventually be accessible from the whole Plaza.  This is the Map I photographed from within the Concourse linking many of the buildings.  


My Oculus Painting From the West:  I was lucky that the trees were still mostly bare. 


March 15, 2016

Long Weekend in Washington DC

My Husband and I spent a long weekend with our Grandchildren in Washington DC.  We don't see them nearly enough, so I like to add their photos in a blog post so I can document our visit.  Our Grandson spent time with a wood carver when we were walking through a street market, and loved feeling the discarded wood chips.



His big sister is harder for me to capture in a photo.  We watched her with a little computer designed to teach kids how to code, but only saw the top of her head.



We also spent time painting together during the weekend and these are my sketchbook pages from our projects.  I taught her how to make wet-in-wet watercolor backgrounds, and she saved hers to draw on after I left.  I sketched two items that were close by for mine.


 The next day we sketched some of the many daffodils blooming in the neighborhood.