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February 6, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Botticelli 1

This is Week 4 of my online course and I'm still loving it.  This week mixed-media artist  Jenny Wentworth was apprenticed to Sandro Botticelli.  After watching videos about Botticelli, his techniques and paintings, Jenny painting two compositions - one to teach us about egg tempera, and the other using acrylic paints. 

I selected the Botticelli that I wanted to copy - A Woman Receiving a Gift From Venus and Three Graces.  This was a fresco from Villa Lemmi near Florence and the villa was owned by Giovanni Tornabuoni who was the uncle of Lorenzo Medici.  The fresco was discovered in 1873 under a layer of white wash - and was removed, transferred to canvas, and installed in the Louvre.  I selected one of the graces for my painting.

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Here is my copy of the original - without the cracks in the fresco.

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This is a watercolor, in which I added Titanium white gouache to do the textured painting in the background and on her robe.  I'd never used this technique, but loved the different quality of the opaque-watercolor tinted gouache.  The face and hair were painted with watercolor, without added gouache.   I used 10 X 14" Arches 140 lb Cold Press paper, Winsor-Newton watercolors, and Schminke Titanium White Gouache.

We are encouraged to take periodic photos of our painting, in progress, but I regularly forget.  This time I forgot to take a photo of the drawing, but then took a few intermediate photos with my cell phone. 

Stage 1 - After painting the background and robe

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Stage 2 - After adding an underpainting for her hair with yellow ochre.

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Stage 3 - After painting the face, neck and underpainting the inside of the robe color.

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Next I need to watch more videos and then do my own composition in the style of Botticelli. 

February 3, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Cezanne Part 2

Each week of the this class, or with each Master Artist, we are encouraged to do at least one copy and then to try to apply techniques that we learned to our own art composition. 

Cezanne painted figures, still lifes, and landscapes.  But his landscapes usually had architecture - sometimes with many, many buildings going up a hill.  I painted and sketched Cezanne's Card Players many times - both from the painting at the Met (with 4 card players) and the preparatory paintings and drawings that were at the Met several years ago in an exhibit reuniting many of Cezanne's Card Players.  http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/05/cezannes_cardplayer.php

This was a personal challenge project to try to work on some compositions repetitively.  The painting that I copied for this course, Ginger Jar and Fruit, was a still life, so I searched through my Paris photos and found this church which I photographed on the way back from an exhibit at the Henri Cartier Bresson exhibit.  I don't know the name of the church.

My goal now was to paint a landscape with architecture, to simplify the composition, to use an underpainting (except for the sky), and to use short brushstrokes to mix the watercolor pigments on the paper.

Here is the reference photo - in the snow!

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And here is my Cezanne-ish painting of the same subject.

 

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I really enjoyed Cezanne week, but today will move on with Jenny Lee Wentworth as she apprentices herself to Sandro Botticelli - one of the great early Renaissance painters.  It is snowing again in NYC so I'm delighted that I will be comfy at home to start watching the videos. 

January 31, 2014

Cezanne - Studying Under the Masters Week 3

This is Week 3 of Studying Under the Masters and artist Terea Sheeley selected Cezanne as her Master.  I watched almost 4 hours of video that she prepared, including her copy of one of his masterpieces in acrylic, and her original still life composition done in watercolor, in the style of Cezanne.

It took me awhile to make my choice among Cezanne's paintings, but finally decided to copy "Ginger Jar with Fruit" which he did in oils, but I wanted to paint in watercolor.  This is a painting from the Barnes Collection - and I must have seen it in the new Barnes Museum in Philadelphia last year - among the 69 Cezannes that he collected. 

Here is the original oil painting:

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Here is my watercolor copy:

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I finally had to stop "fiddling" because there are areas that still need some dark lines.  I always remember that it is hardest to know when to stop and I decided this might be it.

While watching Teresa, I learned lots about the very short brushstrokes that Cezanne used, and this painting of his is a great example of that.  It forced me to do many things - work big  (a 6 X 9" painting on large sheets of Arches CP 140 lb paper), to use an underpainting also with short brushstrokes, to work with a drier brush, and to limit my palette.  I used Yellow Ochre, Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Payne's Gray, Neutral Tint, and Ivory Black for the background.  I also used an occasional dab of my cool and warm primaries -yellows and reds and blues - for the fruit.   

During Matisse week Jeanne Oliver decided that it was important to take many photos of work in progress, like Matisse.  I took 6 - and here are 3 of my photos - taken with my Android phone while sitting on my comfy couch.   

Work in Progress #2:

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Work in Progress #3:

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Work in Progress #6:

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I now need to apply what I learned about Cezanne to my own composition and will try to finish that before Monday morning when the next artist is posted.  Next Week is artist Jenny Wentworth studying under Sandro Botticelli.  

There is still time to enroll in this class.  It costs $62 for 9 weeks of instruction with 9 different artists, and the class will remain on line for 2 years.  I'm choosing to do one artist per week, but many of my fellow classmates are planning on one artist per month.  The only thing you will miss is participation in a live chat - but I missed all of them and just read the transcript.

You can learn more by going to Jeanne Oliver's website and clicking on Studying Under the Masters. 

January 28, 2014

Wonderful Art Inspiration

This is a terrific week in New York City to tour exhibits and galleries for inspiration.  After I registered for my Spring Semester Class at FIT (Painting on Fabric), Pat, Benedicte and I went to the Morgan Library and Museum for 3 exhibits:  Leonardo, Spanish Drawings, and St. Exupery's Little Prince.  http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/

The DaVinci drawings were spectacular and it was a spiritual experience being in the same gallery with them.  The Spanish drawings were also inspiring, especially those by Goya.  And the newest exhibit, The Little Prince, was amazing.

St. Exupery fled France with his wife after the Nazi invasion and lived in New York City with an enormous amount of support from friends.  He created The Little Prince while here, and after the publication of the book rejoined his squadron in Northern Africa where he died on a solo mission in his airplane.  Right before he left, he gave a big bag of manuscript pages and original illustrations to a friend, who gave them to The Morgan, and these make up most of the exhibit.  This illustration with the boabab tree was changed for the final - but I loved this iteration of the drawing best!!

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Master Drawings New York Week began last Friday and we scheduled two days to gallery hop on the Upper East Side of New York City.  Yesterday Pat, Benedict, Judy, and I went to 13 galleries and throughly enjoyed drawings from the 16th C. through the present.  One gallery had iPads mounted next to giclee prints by a Mexican Artist named Elena Climent - and the iPads scrolled through each of the layers she drew from the first scribbling through the final piece.

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I love Delacroix's drawings and watercolors from Morocco, and was thrilled to see one drawing of 4 heads of a Moroccan Man.  I took this photo and then drew one of the heads quickly to remember our day.  And this morning I sketched another copy of it to make myself yet one more magnetic bookmark.  For information about my magnetic bookmarkds see http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/06/more_watercolor_magnetic_bookm_1.php

 

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When exiting a gallery on E. 79th St. we saw a pile of architectural trash from a renovation.  The textures on the back of granite pieces stopped my artist friends in their tracks.  They took photos of the trash and I took one of them.  From left to right:  Benedicte, Pat, and Judy in Artic NYC.

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Tomorrow we are going to visit the remaining 14 galleries - and hopefully find lots more inspiration. 

This is Cezanne week with Artist Teresa Sheeley, so I am reviewing old notes and Cezanne paintings I did in the past and selecting a painting to copy now.

January 25, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Antoni Gaudi

Week 2 of Studying Under the Masters:

Artist Junelle Jacobsen presented Antoni Gaudi this week, master architect of Barcelona, Spain.  I never visited Barcelona, but was familiar with Sagrada Familia, his still unfinished Basilica, and some of his other whimsical, energetic, colorful building ornamentation.  There were 15 videos presented (approx. 4 hours), and we learned about Gaudi as a person, as an architect and artist and then saw wonderful examples of his work, both in photos and video.  Junelle then encouraged us to sketch from some of his architecture, paint some of his stained glass in watercolor, abstract his architecture in a painting, and use some of the characteristics of his art/architecture in our own composition.  And we watched her do all of this.   Junelle even translated a Gaudi mosaic in paper for her final art project of the week.

My Week: 

It was great fun to do more research on Antoni Gaudi and watch numerous YouTube videos.  I also looked at Pinterest Boards displaying many photos from Barcelona. 

I sketched a sculpture I loved from a façade on Sagrada Familia and was disappointed to find out that the sculptor was Subirach and not Gaudi.  I also sketched 6 towers from the roof of Casa Battllo - but didn't add the colors.

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I painted one stained glass window complex from Sagrada Familia in watercolor.

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I painted the Nativity façade of the Sagrada Familia in watercolor, making it more abstract and looser than the actual building.

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At the end of this week I couldn't think of anything I could paint and "use the style of" Gaudi's architecture.  And then I thought of New York City water towers that exist on the top of all tall buildings in the City.  What if they were all redesigned by Gaudi?  What a whimsical colorful city we could have.  I took a quick photo yesterday on 23rd St and this morning made it into a Gaudi Water Tower. 

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I am loving this 9 week class.  Each artist is following the same basic structure and providing us with lots of information.  We can feel their enthusiasm and watch them draw, paint, sculpt, collage etc on some of the videos.  And then we can gather all of this together in our brains and create our own art.

Next Week:  Cezanne with Teresa Sheeley. 

Students may still enroll.  Some of the students are planning to work on one artist per month because we have access to the class information and videos for 2 years.