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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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December 28, 2015

Reflections on Art in 2015

A Review of Art Experiences and Learning During 2015: A Progress Report

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January 4th is the 10th anniversary of my blog and it is always a good time for reflection and planning.   

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.

1.  Goal: To sketch and paint everyday, and to blog twice each week. These activities give my retirement life some structure and provide enormous inspiration within an artist community. 

Progress:  I no longer do quick sketches every day, but no week passes without me having several good drawing sessions.  It was really important to me to sketch daily when I was beginning this journey as I prepared for retirement from medicine, but the habits were formed and now I can rarely pass a few days without some scribbles, if not a full sketchbook drawing/painting.  My blog posts are important to me, and continue to give structure and meaning to my art adventure and posting twice each week is a great schedule.

 

2.  Goal: Take more classes online and in person to remain inspired:

Progress:  I participated in several online classes this year, just enough to be inspired on an almost weekly basis during some months:  Studying Under the Masters 2, Sketchbook Skool Semester 4,  and an assortment of Craftsy Classes.  These included:  Close-up Flowers in Watercolor (Nan Carey), Travel Sketching in Mixed Media and Sketching People in Motion (both Marc Taro Holmes),    I also took a surface design class through Craftsy:  Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist with Malka Dubrawsky.

Each semester, for 14 weeks, I took a class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and was lucky enough to register for Drawing and Watercolor classes in 2015.  As with the other classes I've taken there on subjects about which I already have some knowledge and experience, I always learn something new.  Our few drawing classes on perspective were excellent and our watercolor classes on different palettes and the use of Chinese White (with watercolor) and Black gesso (with gouache) as grounds were completely new to me.

 

3. Goal:  Continue to draw and paint locally:

Progress:  I belong to two Meetup groups and attend semi-regularly, schedule permitting: "Central Park Drawing and Art" and "Drawing New York."  We have an NYC-Urban Sketchers Weekday Group, and that provides other opportunities for group inspiration and contact.  Battery Park City Conservancy has weekly Nature Painting and Figure Drawing from May through October and I regularly participate in both the morning and afternoon sessions, weather permitting.  This year I attended figure drawing at Society of Illustrators with two visitors, my dear friends Sara from Alabama and Casey from France, and a series of Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society Figure Drawing sessions at MoMA.  And last, but not least, my very special days, spent with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, and sometime Teri, means that we rarely miss the best museum and gallery shows in the City.  I would feel very isolated without these special 3 friends and would have many fewer good laughs!

One of my favorite projects this year was participation in the 100 Day Challenge by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent.  My goal, especially after taking Sketchbook Skool Semester 4, was to draw more from my imagination.  I didn't upload my daily drawings to Instagram, or follow along with other people's projects, but once I committed to it, I was faithful to the project for all 100 days, and even created my little imaginary character Axel. 

  

4. Goal:  Make watercolor sketchbooks, for daily drawing and painting and travel:

Progress:  I made cased-in watercolor books for my daily sketchbooks, accordion journals for our outdoor Urban Sketchers sessions, a travel sketchbook for our vacation in Spain from an old book of Spanish Drawings, and a summer travel sketchbook from a recycled book called Colors of the Sea.  All of these are discussed and photographed in daily blog posts in my bookbinding category on the blog. 

July was my big surface design month, during which I spent part of almost every day dying fabric, exploring new techniques, and creating dyed fabric for bookcloth.  In the process I also made dye samples and created a unique sewing pattern for a pencil-pen pocket which goes around my sketchbook cover with Velcro.  It is a wonderful convenience when I am sketching as I walk around museums and galleries.

Even Axel and his friend Alice made an appearance on fabric - using thick dye for the drawing and color.  

This year I also planned to make another batch of paste paper to use for covering bookboards and/or as endpapers, but I didn't deplete as much of my stash as I thought I might.

 

I'd love to read what others are planning.... 

 

 

 

December 22, 2015

Wednesday is Art Day

NYC Urban Sketchers meet once on a weekday and once on the weekend, most weeks.  During December the weekday group met in several "houses of worship" in New York City.  On December 9th I sketched this interior at St. Barts on Park Avenue.  Drawing and painting interiors are something I like to do, but rarely manage.

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In the afternoon Benedicte, Pat, and I went to the Whitney Museum for a Tour of the current Archibald Motley exhibit which was led by a friend of mine.  It was wonderful, and since I knew nothing about him and immediately fell in love, I'm going to include information from the exhibit at the end of this blog post.  These are quick drawings done while on tour and come from several different paintings, including an early self-portrait of Motley.

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This past Wednesday we met at the very small Shrine of St Elizabeth at Bowling Green and I sketched another interior. 

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We had to leave after an hour and we walked to Pier A in Battery Park and had lunch on the outdoor deck.  It was beautiful sitting in the sun at the edge of the water in New York Harbor. 

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A BRIEF PRESENTATION FROM THE ARCHIBALD F. MOTLEY JR. EXHIBIT AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM:

Archibald Motley (1891-1981)  was born in New Orleans and moved with his family to Chicago as a child.  He was one of the first African-Americans to attend the School at the Chicago Art Institute and continued his education with a year in Paris.   http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/ArchibaldMotley

 

I loved his use of color and spatial relationships - and everything he painted reflecting the Jazz-age in Chicago.  "The artist created a far more daring visual language than many of his contemporaries, fusing vivid narrative with dizzying spatial distortion and jarring hues to produce striking settings for characters of diverse racial backgrounds and social classes. And while his portrayals range from serene and august portraits to abrasive or outrageous caricatures, all were his instruments for addressing the poignancy, folly, and complexity of modern life."  

 

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The First Hundred Years:  Painted over 9 years and never signed.  And after this painting, Motley never lifted a brush again during his lifetime.  This overt political painting is said to be a modern allegory on the history of race relations in American.  He began the painting in 1963, and finished it in 1972.  It includes the heads of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln - and a confederate flag, a lynching, and a KKK member, among other atrocities. 

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Today is Wednesday, and we are off to the Frick Collection, followed by lunch and the Folk Art Museum. 

 

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