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January 15, 2016

NYC Urban Sketchers and Art Wednesday

Twenty-five NYC Urban Sketchers met at Kremer Pigments (247 W. 29th St, NY, NY) on Wednesday morning for a lecture-demo by Roger Carmona, the Store Manager.  Roger is an artist and an expert on Materials - specifically paints.  During the first hour he told us about many pigments and how they are created: mineral, earth, plants, animals, and synthetic.  They have samples of the many rocks that are ground to make pigments, including the very expensive lapis lazuli and the unbelievably expensive purple pigment made from mollusk shells.  Kremer, a German company, makes pigments and mixes them with various binders to make many types of paint.  During the second hour we watched Roger mix 2 blue pigments with watercolor medium (gum Arabic/glycerin/honey) all the while continuing the lecture and answering MANY questions.  The store sells the pigments, binder mixtures, and ready made paints in tubes and pans and I am dangerously oversimplifying what I learned. 

http://www.kremerpigments.com/ 

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KremersSIZE.jpgThe blue paint on my sketchbook page is the mixture he made of French Ultramarine and Phthalo Blue. 

 

After lunch with my artist friend Benedicte, the two of us walked to The Rubin Museum of Art because Pat told us we had to see two exhibits there.  The first was Becoming Another: The Power of Masks.    The masks, which come from parts of the world represented at the Rubin, were beautiful and each mask came with a story.  Benedicte and I separated to sketch our favorites. 

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The Monkey mask was my favorite.  His job in the annual monastic festival dance of the dead is to put black and white stones, for bad deeds and good deeds, on a scale to determine which weighs more when the God of Death is judging a sinner versus a pious man.  Strips of colored fabric are put on the pin on the top of the mask - and hang down covering the back of the head.

 

The second "must see" art was a photography exhibit by photojournalist Steven McCurry - part of his extensive India series.  This was one of my favorite photos - I really want to sketch these men in their unusual positions.  The website has more photos and terrific short videos by Steven McCurry.

http://rubinmuseum.org/events/exhibitions/steve-mccurry-india 

 

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January 12, 2016

I Love to Make Books!

Each year I make a "Remains of the Day" book - instructions by Mary Ann Moss - to keep photos and ephemera of my "Art Adventures" with friends.  I just finished the pages in my 2015 book and made a new book for 2016.  I love making these from my many dyed fabrics, and I refer to them regularly to remember the many gallery and museum visits we make during the year.  I have 5 completed books which were begun shortly after I retired.

This is my now complete 2015 book: 

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Here is a sample page spread, with a photo of Benedicte, Pat, and Me - along with photos from a day visiting galleries in Chelsea.  Some pages have pockets to hold things, other have lift up flaps - anything goes!

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These are photos of my new Remains of the Day book for 2016:

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Lastly, I made a new watercolor sketchbook with dyed fabric bookcloth and a pocket for the sketchbook to hold my pencils, pens, and eraser as I walk around sketching.   

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January 8, 2016

Art Goals for 2016

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My main goal is to develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.  At the beginning of each year, I like to define new projects which will help me progress and then remain open to new opportunities.

 

1.  Take Classes:

Studying Under the Masters 3:  I really enjoy this online class and registered for it during 2015, even though I was saving the content for Winter 2016.   In the weekly videos I learn more about specific artists I know and meet artists I don't know.  And then I stretch my painting skills by copying a painting of the Master and subsequently using those techniques in an original painting!  Since I convert my copies of masterworks from oil to watercolor for each artist studied, I also experiment and learn an enormous amount in the process.  This is the last time this class series will be offered by Jeanne Oliver and the artists for this series include Horace Pippin, Joan Miro, Marie Laurencin, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Klimt, and Alisa Burke.

Sketchbook Skool Semester 5:  I think Danny and Koosje have created a wonderful model for art education and a committed community of artists, new and old.  I'm already registered for Semester 5 which is called "Expressing."  And here's hoping there is a 6th Semester in 2016!

Craftsy:  I just signed up for "Sketching the City in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor" by Shari Blaukopf.    

Battery Park City Conservancy "Still Lifes and Figure Drawing" with Marla Lipkin a new 9 session class being offered this year locally in NYC from Feb. through March (9 sessions).  

Fashion Institute of Technology  (FIT):  Registration for Spring isn't until the end of January, but I intend to continue taking classes there as long as their Senior Learner program is in existence. 

 

2.  Maintain a Community of Artist Friends: 

It is impossible to attend all of the art activities scheduled in New York City, so my goal is to attend a minimum of one activity/week - Meetup, Urban Sketchers, Battery Park City (May-Oct), Society of Illustrators, and to add other museum and gallery visits with my friends into those days.  I will also continue to post new entries to my blog twice each week to continue my interaction with and inspiration from artists online.   

 

3.  Bookbinding:

Continue to make my own sketchbooks - for daily drawings and for travel.

Create a tutorial for my pencil-pen pocket for sketchbooks.

Create another batch of paste paper for my stash.

 

4.  Special Project: I also like to have one separate project each year.  Several winters ago I sketched/elephants for a whole month using every medium I had.  Another year I studied different methods for making books and made a different type of book each month for 8 months.   This year I am trying to figure out how I can use some of the figure drawings I've accumulated during the last 5 years and transform them into an artist book.  I already transferred images to fabric using a different method for each Quilt Journal Page (8.5 X 11") I created.  Last year I made a small book of the Figures I drew in the Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society sessions at MoMA. 

Here are the first 6 of the Quilt Journal Pages I made in 2012 using hand-dyed fabrics.  I transferred drawings I made of a pregnant model at figure drawing in order to create this Mother and Child series in fabric. 

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January 3, 2016

Art Wednesdays: December 23rd and 30th

Benedicte, Pat and I celebrated the holidays with two Art Wednesdays: 

The Frick Collection has an amazing exhibit of drawings by Andrea Del Sarto (1486-1530).  I love early master drawings and his drawings, mostly in red chalk, were beautiful!  All of the drawings are on the Frick website:

http://www.frick.org/exhibitions/del_sarto/introduction 

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After lunch we continued at the American Folk Art Museum exhibit: Art Brut in America:  

Art Brut is defined by Jean Dubuffet as follows:  "Works produced by people uncontaminated by artistic culture,where mimicry plays little or no part, contrary to the activities of intellectuals.  These creators derive everything's subjects, choice of materials, means of transposition, rhythms, styles of writing- from their own reserves.  We witness the artistic process in all its purity, raw, reinvented on all its levels by their maker."
 
Most of the art was collected by Jean Dubuffet and was made by patients in Psychiatric hospitals in Europe.  There were many pieces that I wanted to draw, to remember.  While we were there we were treated to a Jazz concert for an hour (every Wed from 2-3), and all three of us even sketched the bass player. 

 

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On Dec 30  Pat and I immersed ourselves in the Metropolitan Museum of Art current exhibits - with a brief break for lunch in the museum cafeteria.  These drawing were from my three favorite exhibits.

Annual Christmas Tree and Neopolitan Baroque Creche: 

 

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Jacqueline de Ribes:  The Art of Style

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Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom

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Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my blog and this week I will post my Goals for art on paper and fabric in 2016.  I don't post all of my art and textile projects, but I remain happy that I have a blog and can share so many experiences with friends from around the world.    

January 2, 2016

Happy New Year - and Best Wishes for a Great 2016!

I'm not ready for the Christmas Holiday to be over until I enjoy the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Tree - filled with gorgeous Italian ceramic and silk angels.  On Wednesday Pat and I immersed ourselves in art at the Met and I wanted to include this photo.  I draw one of the angels each year, but haven't had any time to paint her yet. 

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/christmas-tree

 

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On Thursday, New Years Eve, we had our 8th "Cousins New Years Eve Party."  We started this tradition when we had 4 grandchildren in NYC, and there have been changes as our youngest grandchildren join us.  Last year we even had Annabelle - our DC grandchild here.  We have a great time with them and the sleepover allows their parents to enjoy the evening and get a good night's sleep.   This year everyone except Charlie, the 3 year old, made it to Midnight to welcome 2016 - and then fell asleep to the sound of fireworks over Central Park.  Having the appropriate new lighted glasses is essential!

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