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April 28, 2010

Central Park Sketching and Art Meet up Group

Our Meet-up Group is now meeting twice each month - and because of a very rainy Sunday, we met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this week.  I went over early so I could see the Members Preview of the new Picasso exhibit.  It is a collection of the Met's Picasso holdings and it is really impressive.  In the second room they have the collection of small caricatures that he did of his artist friends in Barcelona ca 1900.  I fell in love with these when they were in the Barcelona Modernity exhibit several years ago and took a few minutes to sketch one.


Our Meet-up group then did several 30 minute sketching sessions in the American Wing of the Museum and shared our sketchbooks after each one.  I sketched a sculpture in the Atrium, an art nouveau Roseville Vase on the Mezzanine, and a painting by Robert Reid in the Gallery.





April 23, 2010

Museum of Modern Art Visit

I spent several hours at the Museum of Modern Art today - primarily to see the Tim Burton exhibit before it closes on Sunday.  There are hundreds of drawings and many sculptures.  Many of the drawings are from sketchbooks and many are preparative pieces for his movies.  The exhibit was sold out today, and the crowd was young and enthusiastic as noted in the NY Times piece below. 

Tim Burton Retrospective:  THE mouth of a giant monster, its razor-sharp teeth glaring overhead and its tongue forming a long red carpet, ushers visitors into the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Although the intentionally lighthearted chronicle of the filmmaker’s work received only mixed reviews when it opened in November, Mr. Burton’s fans don’t seem to care. More than 450,000 people have already attended the show, and by the time it closes on April 26, attendance is expected to exceed that of recent blockbusters like the museum’s “Van Gogh: The Colors of the Night” last year and “Dali: Painting and Film,” in 2008.  

Visitors to the show are relatively young, somewhere in their 30s on average, which makes them a decade younger than usual for MoMA, recent surveys showed. And a surprising one-third of this audience had never stepped foot in the museum before.
I loved this sculpture entitled Robot Boy, 2000.
Marina Abramovic:  The Artist is Present  Marina Abramovic has a controversial exhibit at the Museum, that I did not see.  However, the performance artist herself is sitting all day, everyday in the large 2nd floor atrium as described in the New York Times piece below.

From The New York Times  March 11, 2010  "She’s scheduled to sit there all day, every day, during museum hours, for the run of her show. The museum estimates that, if she can stick to the plan, she will sit for 716 hours and 30 minutes, earning her a record for endurance in the performance art sweepstakes.  And every now and then someone will slip into that chair across from her — that’s what it’s there for — and spend some time exchanging stares, or energy, or going blank, or thinking, maybe for the first time, about that hard, high-flown, funny word “endure.”

Today there was a line of people who wanted to sit and stare at her - usually for 30-45 minutes each.  Someone I spoke to said that she sat with her 3 times already since the show started- it is like meditation!  I don't get it, but it was fun to sit there and sketch her.  She never moved a muscle!




April 19, 2010

More Dodson Drawing Projects: Chapter 3

I am slowly working my way through the Dodson Keys to Drawing book projects.  I have two more projects in Chapter 3 and five more chapters total.

I posted Project 3A - Standing Figure - in January. 

Project 3B is to draw a lounging figure.  I used a photo from my book The Nude Figure by Mark Edward Smith. 


Project 3C is to draw a reclining figure (foreshortened).  I used another photo from my book The Nude Figure by Mark Edward Smith. 


Project 3D is to draw a full face portrait.  I used a photo of Obama and practiced using a grid system.  The drawing can be seen here.

Project 3E is to draw a three-quarter view portrait.  I used a photo from


Although there is a section on drawing profiles, there is no project for drawing a profile in the book.  But I decided that I needed the practice.  I used a photo from 


April 16, 2010

Family Research

In 2000 my husband and I realized that we knew little about our ancestry, and family members who knew the information were aging.  We decided that we would like information about our family at least back to our great grandparents.  I honestly believed that this was going to be a combined project, but I loved doing the research and problem solving and my husband loved learning about my discoveries.  My ancestors were all in America by 1880 - pre-Ellis Island.  My husband's family only started to arrive in 1900, so the approach and the records were vastly different.  I love learning new things and New York City has wonderful resources between the New York Branch of the National Archives and the Milstein Division of the New York Public Library. 

Over the course of the next several years, I easily completed research back to our great grandparents - with census records, passenger lists, naturalization papers, and birth-marriage-death certificates, solving a few family mysteries along the way.  However, the family that I knew the least about was "Parker" - my maiden name.  One of my goals this year was to review my research records and resume the search. 

 These 3 journal pages were done as I prepared for the project. 


I kept detailed research journals since the beginning of my research - and I'm now on #8 (4000pages)!



Packing for Research Day: I spent all day Tuesday at the New York Public Library - trying hard to find the father of my Great-great grandfather John Parker, in Wilkes County, North Carolina - through marriage bonds, land deeds, estate sales and inventories - collecting information about every Parker head of household in Wilkes County in 1820.  I will continue to research these Parkers until I have enough information - but research in the South is very different because the records are so different and so many were lost in burned courthouses during the Civil War.


April 12, 2010

Meet-Up Central Park Sketching and Art Group

Our Meet-Up Central Park Sketching and Art Group met at the Conservatory Gardens on Saturday.  All of the flowering trees were in full bloom and the early flowers ranged from buds to full bloom.  It was gorgeous, but problematic for anyone with several tree allergies.  I loaded up on meds and went, planning to stay only as long as my allergies would permit.

We had 4 30 minute sketching sessions in 4 different areas of the Gardens.  After each one, group members lined up their sketchbooks and shared their work.  Nearly 100 photos are already posted on the site and can be seen here.

I sketched both fountains in May of last year and did both again.  The 3 Dancing Maidens is a real challenge in 30 minutes and this year I didn't need to stretch one of the arms to double normal length to have two maidens holding hands.  Neither year did I have time to do more than a pencil sketch.




During the other two sessions I sketched two of the blooming flowers.  The daffodils were gorgeous.  The other flower (I have no idea what they are) were beautifully colored, each little component in shades from pink through blue to purple - the same colors as hydrangeas.





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