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September 16, 2010

Fun "Art" Day With Pat

Two members of our Journal Study Group are in Europe at the moment, so Pat and I consoled ourselves with lunch, an art auction preview, the Pastel Society of America Show, and a late afternoon stop for coffee and sweets.

Swann Galleries is auctioning several hundred prints of old New York today. so we went to enjoy them during the previews.  I was so inspired by these drawings of master artists that I wanted to go out then and sketch my way through this wonderful City.

We walked from Swann to Gramercy Park and went to see the current exhibit from the Pastel Society of America.  Neither of us use pastels and were amazed at the photographic detail possible.  When we left the National Arts Club, we stopped across the street and did quick sketches of the entrance for me to work out my need to "sketch NYC."

                        NationalArtsClub.jpg

 

 

While drinking our coffee, both of us wanted to do another in our Carla Sonheim 100 Faces project.  So we sketched each other, across the table, with our non-dominant hands.  Quite a challenge.  Here are 4 more of my Face series, these are all full face instead of profile like the last ones I uploaded.  Pat is the one with sunglasses on her head and reading glasses on her nose!  It makes her look really young which she says is OK, because in her mind she is 22 years old.

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September 12, 2010

Keeping a Visual Journal

Most of the time my watercolor sketchbook is a visual journal and I try to incorporate part of my  life in my sketch of the day.  But I don't always think that I have enough time, or the perfect location, and I skip a wonderful opportunity.

Catherine Carey of In and Out of the Studio wrote about this recently and I remembered it while we were eating a quick lunch with our 7 year old grandson after we took him to MoMA. 

Catherine said, 

"In this week's sketchbook journal workshop we have been talking a lot about painting very simply and quickly. It is not about laboring over a masterpiece. It is about getting the impression of "here and now" on the journal page.
 

I understand that it is difficult to take a chance on a page being less than perfect, or even less than good, because someone might look at it, and of course, we will look at it ourselves and feel as if we have failed if it isn't great (or good).


I think that I have made a dicision somewhere along the line that has made it easier to "let go" and just get it on the page quickly and simply. There are a lot of things in this world, and if I labor too long over each page, I'm just not going to be able to get to all those things. If I just do snippets here and there, I'm going to be able to cover a lot more ground.

Decide what it is that made you stop to paint - and paint THAT. Then move on!"

So I sketched during our special lunch, just the scene of the area where waiters were placing orders, and picking up bills, menus, etc.  And Henry watched the drawing and then the painting, with great interest, making lunch and my journal page more special.  I sketched what was in front of me quickly and painted it, and then was ready to move on!  Now - to remember this!

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September 5, 2010

Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators

The August summer break just ended at the Society of Illustrators and last night I went to Figure Drawing with my friends Istar and Casey.  Casey is visiting her family in N.J. from France and was able to come into the City for a visit.  I hope that she posts a few of her figure paintings to her blog when she returns home.  Her ink/watercolor drawings inspired me and gave me a new goal for 2011.

My current sketch book is slightly too big for my scanner, so there are lots of ugly scan marks.  I also had to increase contrast so my 6B pencil lines were darker, and all of my left-hended smudges then were more noticeable.   

There were two models, clothed, for every pose.  This was a sketch done of both of them during 5 minutes - just to try to capture their positions and clothing.

                    Scan10384.size.jpg

During another 5 minute pose, I sketched only the male model because he was in a challenging twisted position.

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I sketched both models during the next two 20 minute poses - the male model without and with shirt and the woman in a negligee.

 

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vvvvv

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This is the beginning of my second year of live figure drawing and I am trying to spend more time on faces.  After I finished sketching both models during a 20 minute pose, I spent some time trying to better capture the face of the male model. 

                       Scan10389.size.jpg

 

September 2, 2010

Learning to "Paint Outside the Lines"

Linda Kemp's book, Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines, was mentioned on the Everyday Matters message board, and on View From the Oak Blog.  When I have gift cards, I buy this type of art technique book for my library and this year it is one of my goals to actually read and sometimes do exercises or demos from some of these books.  This was my book for August.

In order to really understand the technique of painting just the negative space, I had to try the first two exercises in this book.

Exercise 1:  Paint many different size circles in groups and paint only the negative space.  This painting has 5 layers.  I was quite messy, and didn't keep nice smooth edges, but I accomplished my goal.  I did understand the concept after doing this exercise.

I just found Linda doing this exercise on a You Tube Video.

Kemp1.jpg

Exercise 2:  Same technique, but with a stem with 2 leaves, and a watercolor underpainting.  Again, I was quite messy with the outlines, but now understood working wet-in-wet and creating interesting color washes.

Although I did this exercise from her book, I just found a demo of it on her website.

Kemp2.jpg

Extending the Lesson Using My Original Image:  Friends brought a lovely bouquet of flowers Saturday evening and I decided to use the flower and leaf shape from one of the flowers to create my own negative painting.

StephsFlowers.jpg

Then I created Two Magnetic Bookmarks using the same flower and leaf shapes.  The technique for making these was posted previously.  But now I use individual magnets sold at Staples as adhesive business card magnets - and I cut them in half vertically. 

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August 29, 2010

Square Watercolor Journals

I never thought that I would LOVE a square watercolor journal, but Roz and Kate both talk about them regularly.  When Fabriano Artistico changed their watercolor paper from "grain long" to "grain short, " I made a square book that is approximately 7.5" square.  It takes 2 sheets (22 x 30") -without any waste - and it JUST fits in my mini-backpack  

I just made my second square journal.  The cover was made with cloth that I dye-painted with Procion MX dyes and fused toThai mulberry paper with Wonder Under.  The paper is FA 140 lb soft press extra white - 6 signatures with two folios per signature. 

FRONT COVER:

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BACK COVER:

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Since the book cloth is so "busy" I used Canson Mi Tientes for the end papers.

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I started making my own watercolor journals because I couldn't find any that I liked.  I took a 1 1/2 day workshop on making cased - in journals and now love making and using the journals.  There is lots of information and photos of many journals in the Bookbinding category on the right.

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