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April 23, 2011

Plein Air Painting

I don't consider myself a plein air painter because I really don't like to paint landscapes.  My sketching around the city, to me, is urban sketching - and these are two very different things in my mind.  So when Lillian Kennedy (the Boulder Colorado artist who I featured in the last blog post) invited me to sketch in Central Park, I was a little nervous.  But when she called to tell me she was at Bethesda Fountain, I decided I could draw and paint that - and already have several times.  Still, we were sitting back on the hill and I had to include more landscape than I am comfortable with.  But it was good for me! 

And we were serenaded while being blown around a bit by the wind - necessitating a walk to Pain Quotidien for hot coffee - which is actually in Central Park.  Lillian had to teach me that!


We also were in a spot that is a favorite for wedding photos and here you can see Lillian's painting, her acrylic paint set-up, and the groom adjusting the bride's dress for the photographer.



April 20, 2011

Sunday Sketchbook Pages

Our Central Park Drawing Meet-up Group met at Belvedere Castle, in the sun, on Sunday and I spent several delightful hours talking to and painting with Lillian Kennedy - a Boulder, Colorado artist.  One of her students put us in touch with each other and I was able to meet her before she began teaching students her New York City class.  She has a lovely blog and posts one video lesson per week,  Here is my Castle painting and a quick one of mini-daffodils that were blooming in the Shakespeare Garden below the Castle.




Lillian and I went into the Met to see the Cezanne Card Player exhibit after the Meet-up Drawing session ended and I sketched, and then painted another card player for my collection.  This study by Cezanne is an oil painting - and I used watercolors instead.  Since painting is not permitted in the museum (or photography in this exhibit), I used a photo from the exhibit catalogue to do the painting at home.


April 16, 2011

Postcard Project For a Special Friend

Our good friend and Journal Study Group artist Melanie Testa was diagnosed with breast cancer in January.  Pat, Teri, Benedicte, and I were devastated and questioned Melly re: all of the things we might do to help her through the chemotherapy-surgery-radiation.  She received the love and support of the "art quilt community" and they made a group quilt for her to wrap up in during the bad days.  When we asked Melly what we might do, in addition to planning fun activities for her "upswing week," (the week before the next course of chemotherapy), these were some of her suggestions:

"If you would like to 'do' something for me, a nice handmade post/card, an occasional email, a live plant, a cheap iTunes card sent three or four months from now."

We immediately launched a postcard project and were joined by Pamela from San Diego and Gwen Diehn (honorary members of our Journal Study Group),  We each selected a day of the week, and on our individual day every week, we mail Melly a postcard that we make.  My day is Saturday.  At the end of this project, we will work with Melly to see what we can make to keep all of the postcards together.

It was only after she received our second cycle of postcards that she realized that there was a postcard campaign.  She has received 4 cycles of chemotherapy so far and next week will be her upswing week, so she should have more than 70 postcards of love by now.

This was a snippet from one of her recent emails (Melly - I hope you don't mind me sharing this):

"I have been loving the postcards you guys are sending. Pamela always sends a quilted card, exquisitely finished with a quote or poem printed on the back. Perhaps when she comes next she might describe and demo the process. Gwen keeps me up to date on her most current creative endeavor-I have gotten small pieces of the puzzle and this week, I may be seeing the whole picture, it is amazing. Pat, I imagine you stamping out each word, I want to see you do it. Shirley's colors are getting brighter and more confident and she seems to settle into her style with each month, day, and certainly each card. Benedicte is firmly entrenched in envelope use. Teri pipes up and and pulls things from her hat. My collection of cards is growing and I feel truly honored that you guys have been doing this for me. I have pulled the stack out my desk, I will need a new and longer ribbon to contain them all."

Here are my last 2 postcards for Melly: my tulips from last week and my daffodil from this week - which will soon be delivered to my corner letter box for mailing.




April 11, 2011

Drawing Lab Faces Project

I am still sketching faces as part of the Carla Sonheim Faces Lab from her book Drawing Lab.   My goal is to draw 100 - slowly - and I'm nearing 50 now.  Here are 6 more that haven't been posted - 3 from the crosstown bus and 3 from people sitting in rooms I've been in.




April 9, 2011

Sketching at the National Museum of the American Indian

Thursday morning I met my art friends Teri and Judy at the National Museum of the American Indian - NYC branch - to see and sketch in two exhibits.  Preston Singletary, a glass artist, uses symbols from his Tlingit Native American heritage and the pieces are magnificent.  I chose to draw these two glass sculptures because of the legends.

The first is the story of the Raven and the Sun.  This is the end of the story: the beautiful ball of light reached him, the Raven captured it in his beak!  Moving his powerful wings, he burst through the smokehole in the roof of the house, and escaped into the darkness with his stolen treasure.  And that is how light came into the universe. 


My second drawing was of an Oystercatcher Rattle - used by the shamans for healing.  The writing on the journal page, taken from a quote in the exhibit says: "In the old days things were made for a purpose, and there was a story and maybe even a dance that went along with it."  This sculpture represents the oystercatcher bird, and on his back we see the shaman, the seducer, and probably a goat.  These figures are very symbolic in this story.


The other exhibit we saw was Small Spirits: Dolls from the National Museum of the American Indian.  I sketched one doll while at the exhibit and the second from a museum photo because I couldn't get the mother and child out of my mind.




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