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March 4, 2020

Sketching on My Daily Walks

During my years in Medicine I was exposed to many contagious diseases, and was a young faculty member when we started to recognize HIV infections and develop appropriate methods for safely drawing blood and doing bone marrow aspirates and biopsies.  But epidemics of newly emerging respiratory viruses and ebola were limited mostly to other continents.  That will not be the case now, and living in densely populated NYC means increased exposure, and morbidity, with the coronavirus once you are in the vulnerable age range.  The first case in NYC (traveler from Iran) was announced on Sunday, and the second patient (with no obvious source and exposure to many people) was announced yesterday.  My husband and I have the luxury of staying home now, with daily walks in the neighborhood, and I take my sketchbook with me for a really quick sketch each day.  I also have a big pile of used books to read to keep me happy!

I was walking along a quiet side street on Monday when I suddenly saw a townhouse already decorated for St. Patrick's Day.  The leprechaun wasn't the only decoration, but it was the largest.  I used to wear green every St Patrick's Day to honor my Irish Grandfather.  Then I did extensive family research 2 decades ago only to discover that his entire family came from County Armagh in Northern Ireland in the 1880s.  Orange should be my color.

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I'll try to continue my walks and sketching, weather permitting, with an added benefit of exercising my back.

February 28, 2020

Juilliard Concert and the NY Society Library

I carry a very small purse when I'm moving around in New York City, but always have blank white index cards and a mechanical pencil in there.  At concerts, I never know whether I will be able to draw, and I've left a sketchbook in an auditorium (but quickly recovered it) and rarely bring one anymore.  This week I had a perfect view of the conductor at the Juilliard Orchestra Concert at Carnegie Hall.  And I also had a lovely violist straight in front of me.  The conductor David Robertson was in tails and I love watching, but not drawing, how much he moves.

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NOTE:  Graphite Smudges! 

The NY Society Library was founded in 1754 and is contained in a Townhouse on the Upper Eastside.  It is a subscription library but non-members can enter the first floor reading room, and the second floor exhibit space.  The weekday Urban Sketchers met there at 10, and I could only stay an hour and didn't even bring my sketchbook.  After I saw the exhibit I went to the reading room to browse and sketched  "what was in front of me" on my index card. 

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February 21, 2020

Artist Will Barnet at Alexandre Gallery

I first learned about artist Will Barnet in 2011 when The National Academy Museum in NYC had a 100 year retrospective for him.  He was able to attend the opening and visited it several more times, dying at 101 in Nov 2012.  I loved his stylistic, flat paintings and know his work through that exhibit, a second one in the same Museum in 2015, and two gallery shows at Alexandre Gallery at 724 5th Avenue (Current exhibit closing March 7th).  I sketched and painted only one corner of his painting called Three Generations to remember my visit to the exhibit. 

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At one of the Museum shows I learned that he used vellum to sketch on, and used additional layers of vellum to further simplify the images in sequence. I always meant to try that, but forgot about it over the recent years.

In the gallery exhibit they had several examples of his vellum drawings, side-by-side with the finished painting.  I loved the way that his wife Elena became a painting in the painting, and his arm went around her and into the painting.   

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February 15, 2020

Subway Quick Sketch - Feb 11th

I've been out of commission for several weeks with a flareup of back pain, and not much of my planned Figuary Drawing was done.  Instead I've been catching up with reading while stretching out on a heating pad.  On my way to the Courthouse to appear for my Grand Jury summons, I sketched this wonderful looking subway passenger - who fell asleep right after I sketched him.  Hopefully next week I'll be back to my usual self.

I sketched him with an Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil and then spread the color a little with water after the original drawing was scanned. 

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February 11, 2020

Juilliard Concert and Grand Jury Summons

Concert Evening:  My husband and I went to a wonderful Juilliard Concert last evening.  The Historical Presentation Graduate Students ( Juilliard 415) and the Juilliard Orchestra, performed on the same stage for the first time.  We love to go to the Classical and Jazz Concerts performed at Juilliard and the ticket prices are terrific.  I quickly sketched the conductor Nicholas McGegan, who was the most active conductor I've ever seen, and several musicians close to him. 

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Grand Jury Summons : Two weeks ago I received a summons for the Manhattan Grand Jury.  If selected you meet either every day for 2 weeks or half days for one month.  I thought for sure that I was over the age limit, only to learn that they have no age limit, and in fact my year of birth was printed on the summons.  They were seating 2 Grand Juries (46 jurors total) and jurors are selected randomly by cards pulled from a drum.  For the second time in the last decade I was not one of the randomly selected jurors - making me especially happy because I currently have a flare of low back pain.  This young woman sitting next to me was selected after I sketched her.

 

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