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January 17, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Matisse Copy

Class members are expected to copy an original Matisse painting in order to learn the characteristics of his style by doing it.  I watched Jeanne Oliver paint her original Matisse on videos and then chose "Woman in a Purple Coat" from 1937 for my painting.  I loved seeing that purple coat in the 2005 Metropolitan Museum of Art Matisse exhibit and there are at least 3 Matisse paintings of models in that coat on Google Images.  Since I paint with watercolors and have little interest in painting with acrylics at this time, I started with light colors and slowly built up to the dark ones.  I wasn't entirely sure that I could make such a huge transition, and my inner critic told me I was crazy to try using watercolors.  I took 2 photographs during the paintings and one of the final.

Here is the drawing and some paint added (Fabriano Artistico 140 lb hot press paper and Winsor Newton watercolors).

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Here is my work in progress at the end of last evening - out of focus, but can't go back!

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This morning I needed to tweak a few areas, especially the upper left corner, but I decided that I learned as much as I needed and it was time to move on to an original painting using style elements that I learned from Matisse. 

This painting is on 9 X 12 paper which is larger than I work in watercolor - so I was out of my comfort zone for sure. 

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On Monday we begin a week of study with Junelle Jacobsen on on Antonio Gaudi.  I know his architecture from photos, but nothing else, so this should be a steep learning curve for me. 

January 14, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - My New Class

Today was the first day of the first week of the Jeanne Oliver Course that I am taking online.. <jeanneoliver.ning.com>           WOW! 

Jeanne selected Henri Matisse as her Artist and I've already watched over 2 hours of wonderful videos and haven't yet watched more than half of them. 

Each week, for 9 weeks, a different artist selected by Jeanne will present "her Master" through videos and exercises.  We will learn more about the artist, analyze technique, and then paint in the style of their artist.  The goal of the class is to study individual artists so completely and to practice their specific techniques enough that we can use this information to develop our own voice and style.

Matisse is one of my favorite artists and I have sketched from his paintings and drawings in museum exhibits many times (22 times according to my sketchbook index), so listening to her and seeing how she is studying him in depth is fascinating.

Here is the last Matisse painting entry in my sketchbooks - Matisse's oil painting of Lady in Blue, 1937.

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Jeanne is creating a pattern book for herself from Matisse's paintings in the last video I viewed today. I wanted to have at least one sketchbook page to honor the beginning of this wonderful 9 week class. So I went back to images that I made at a 2005 Matisse Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams   His Art and His Textiles    June 23–September 25, 2005

"This is the first exhibition to explore Henri Matisse's (1869–1954) lifelong fascination with textiles and its profound impact on his art. It features forty-five painted works and thirty-one drawings and prints displayed alongside examples from Matisse's personal collection of fabrics, costumes, and carpets. The exhibition marks the first public showing of Matisse's textile collection—referred to by the artist as his "working library"—which has been packed away in family trunks since Matisse's death in 1954."

He used patterns from the first piece of fabric in his collection in many of his paintings (a blue and white toile that he called "Toile de Jouy").   

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And here a color painting of my 2005 pen and ink sketch, some patterns from the Indigo and white toile: 

 

 

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And lastly, here is a painting in which this textile pattern is a major part of the background.

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It is probably not too late to sign up for this online class for anyone that is interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 11, 2014

Beginning of a New Year

I am celebrating my 20th weekly ballet class after my return to my favorite form of exercise.  I always loved dance - of all kinds - and took ballet classes once or twice a week during many years of my adult life.  But I "lapsed" when I retired and during the summer decided that I had to return - at least for the entire barre part of the class.   

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My friend Teri, a mixed-media artist, told me about two online Art Journal groups she joined for 2014.  I looked carefully at both of them and decided on a "Documented Life" project. 

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I love memoirs and have many ways that I document my life and those in my family - including all of my ancestors back for several hundred years. 

Each week there is a prompt posted, and members create a journal page in a modified Moleskine Weekly Planner.  I love the idea of a weekly prompt, and for years did the weekly Everyday Matters challenge.  But I wanted to draw/paint in ink with watercolor on my favorite watercolor paper.  I tore a sheet of Fabriano Artistica  140 lb extra-white Soft Press paper into folios, made signatures with two folios per signature (i.e. 8 pages), and started the prompts on the first signature.  I have the pages in the signature numbered so I can bind the book, in order, at the end of the year. 

Week 1:  Front Door

I live in a New York City apartment building and sketched and painted the small hall off the elevator and my front door.

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Week 2:  A Selfie

I debated about drawing a self-portrait, but recently did that for my FIT Figure Drawing class.  So instead I sketched and painted "The Selfie of My Dreams."

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January 7, 2014

Our Visit to Washington DC

We spent a long weekend in Washington DC visiting our son, his wife, and two children.  When they moved to DC, I started a "Washington DC Travel Sketchbook" and used it to record events of our visits.  I finally finished one sketchbook and this time brought Volume 2 - a Moleskine Watercolor book.  Here is my 5 year old grandaughter Annabelle helping me finish the title page.

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She loves to draw and paint.  Together we spent hours drawing and painting at the table and then at the National Museum of the American Indian. 

One of Annabelle's Nutcrackers, a memento of the ballet this year.   

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Two year old William in his Santa hat.  We used a new set of Prang glitter paints for his hat and shirt.  Annabelle loved the glitter.

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 I loved this painting at the American Indian Museum - Maidu Creation Story by John Fonseca (2000).

 

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  Here are several of the images I sketched from the painting while Annabelle was painting a rainbow. 

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William has a favorite little stuffed Elmo and several days before we arrived he ate the black felt pupils off the eyes!  I brought black embroidery thread and stitched new pupils making William very gleeful. 

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I am hoping that these sketchbooks - and our shared time painting - will create wonderful memories for our grandchildren.  Already Annabelle loves looking at the first volume and identifying the paintings. 

December 28, 2013

End of Year Potpourri

January 4th is the 8th anniversary of my blog.  I had no idea that I would enjoy connecting with a creative world as much as I do.  I've met wonderful artists online, and then in person, and shared so many experiences.  And the blogs that I follow are a continual source of inspiration and information.

I want to wrap up a few projects now before I write a Happy New Year blog post and my yearly "Progress and Goals".

Bookbinding: I made another watercolor sketchbook using hand dyed fabric for the book cloth.  This is the 21st cased-in book I made using my dyed fabric and the 48th watercolor sketchbook for daily drawing and painting.  My earliest books were spiral Aquabee and Moleskine watercolor books.  The rest of my handmade books are travel sketchbooks and figure drawing books.

By making my own books I can control the size and the paper - and that keeps me happy.

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 2.  Paper:  This is a page in a watercolor pamphlet stitched book that I started several years ago to draw and paint the tree ornaments that I made since 1976.  While the tree is up I try to identify all of the ones that weren't painted yet and this year I found two hearts from wildly different times.

Here is a link to this project and previous pages (although 6 pages have never been posted):  http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/12/paintings_of_christmas_ornamen.php

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3.  Threads:  Here are the final products from my Santa's Workshop 2013 - a cotton velveteen quilt and photo pillow for my 2 year old grandson William.  We are going to visit him right after New Year's, so these were the last gifts completed. 

This quilt design was developed when Henry was 2 (now 10) and every grandchild loves the texture of the velvet on one side and cotton on the other.  I machine quilt them in a crosshatch design and they are completely washable.

The photo was taken this Fall and I printed it on EQ fabric sheets.

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