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January 5, 2008

Faces and Face Parts

One of my Goals for 2008 is to learn how to draw faces.  In preparation, I purchased two complementary books which I read and now will use as references as I work myself through a series of photos to understand the basics.

Carrie Stuart ParksSecrets to Drawing Realistic Faces: The is portrait drawing as taught by a forensic artist and she covers every part of the face individually.

John RaynesDrawing and Painting People: This is a more complex book, covering drawing and painting faces, facial expressions, and poses.

Here are a few of my first practice pieces.  I really do need to learn how to sketch with pencil without smudging it all over the page!  I wanted to have a reasonable number of baseline sketches so I can redo them at the end of 2008 to see if my concentrated effort will improve my skills. 



I came down with a head cold at work on Thursday and in the evening this photo for a spa advertisement looked very tempting and soothing.  So I sketched it.






December 31, 2007

Art Goals 2008

I really enjoyed formulating my Art Goals last year and decided it was definitely worth doing again.  The contemplative/reflective part of the process leads me to question what my BIG Goals are, and this year I had to write about many facets of this question in the Eric Maisel creativity exercises that I'm doing.  At the moment I can say:  1.  I've always liked to make things; 2.  I love to preserve memories; and 3.  I want to say "I was here, this is what I cared about, this is who I was."  

My other major passion is sewing/quilting/textile surface design and I should have a 2007 Progress Report and 2008 Goals for "works in textiles" as well as "works on paper."  But I don't.  Each year these two circles of interests intersect a little bit more and this year I did calligraphy with acrylic inks on canvas fabric, painted a Santa Claus with procion dyes on silk, and converted a few quick dancer sketches into a silk collage - which still has to be quilted.  I also made quilts, pillows, and gifts for my grandchildren.

My 2008 Art Goals:

1.  Continue doing a daily sketch and a weekly EDM Challenge.  These are the "morning pages" and "artist date" equivalents for me (which I also continue to do since 2003 when I worked through The Artist's Way - which then led in 2005 to sketchbook drawing and watercolor painting).  My goal is still to post a blog entry twice each week: the EDM Challenge and 1-2 other sketches done during the week. 

2.  Work in Progress:

a.  Continue my figure drawing in the Michaelangelo Sonnet recycled book - I only have a few more blank pages.

b.  Continue to play and experiment with images from my London photos for my recycled Eliz. I book. 

3.  Focused Project:  Fill up my 1929 NY State Tax Report recycled book.  I have lots of NYC sketches in my Moleskine journals and I'd love to return to the same sites with my New  York journal.  

In the NY recycled book I want to:

a.  Continue to work on my "10 blocks from home" series. 

b.  Create a travel sketchbook as if I were wandering the city as a visitor.

4.  Finish all 52 weeks of the Maisel Creativity book.  I'm on week 31 and I have no idea where this work will lead - but it is fun! and enlightening! 

5.    New Skills: 

a.  FACES:  Last year I decided that I needed to learn how to draw figures better.  It was great fun to spend time in the Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and sketch dancers and nude figures from photos.  But now I really need to spend time drawing faces and bought a fun book for myself to work through over the next year.

b.  TREES:  Even urban landscapes have trees and I have paid little attention to sketching and painting the trees in my world.  Even though we live right in the middle of the city, I have several dozen trees that I can see from my second floor apartment windows and many of them are beautiful flowering fruit trees each spring.  I also live several blocks from Central Park.  Can I make myself sketch/paint more trees?

c.  LEARNING FROM the MASTERS:  I really enjoy recreating works from the masters as a way of learning how they made their works of art.  I always sketch at least one piece from each new exhibit I attend, either drawn "live" or from a postcard from the exhibit.  Yesterday I sketched one of Lucien Freud's portrait etchings at the current Museum of Modern Art exhibit.  In 2008 I will continue to do this and perhaps even purchase a few more books of drawings from specific artists for inspiration.

6.  Bookbinding:  I bought another unloved book from a curbside "old book" table this fall - this one is square.  Instead of filling it with many different types of watercolor paper, I will try to settle on one brand and type of paper to fill it. 

7. Attitude Adjustment:  I love books and therefore imagine that most of my art work will be small - and in sketchbooks.  But my daily sketchbook has become more of a visual journal and I find that I'm not willing to take big risks - and be really playful on those pages.  Yet I do want to keep a more traditional artist's sketchbook.  There are 4 of Seurat's sketchbooks in a glass case at MoMA as part of the current Seurat Drawing exhibit and every page has been digitized for review.  I love them and want to develop that same sense of experimentation in sketches.  My solution for next year is to carry my large Moleskine watercolor journal for my daily journal pages and to carry loose sheets of sketchbook size paper for PLAY!  I can then date them and just throw them into a folder - maybe never to be looked at again.  I have 4 Conte pencils that I want to sketch with and this may be the way to get myself to really play with them. 

I look forward to continued inspiration and learning from the art community at Everyday Matters and extend wishes for a Happy, Healthy, and artistically productive New Year to each EDM member. 

December 29, 2007

More Christmas Ornaments and EDM Challenge # 150 - Draw a Candle


I am enjoying documenting my annual handmade ornaments - and still have lots more to sketch.  My plan is to continue sketching the collection in the week before Christmas again next year when I sit down after busy and joyful days to do a daily sketchpage.  Over the years each has been photographed individually and on the Christmas tree, but never painted.   

EDM Challenge #150: Draw a Candle



I love candles of all shapes and sizes.  But we only burn candles that are in globes of some type in the apartment to prevent fires.  I have two of the above Simon Pearce handblown glass candle globes that are always on my dining room table and they are used constantly.  It was very difficult for me to capture the sparkle of the flickering flame against the beautiful clear glass - but I just knew that I wanted to try.

December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays to All

All of my sewing is done, the apartment and tree were decorated with help from my 3 little elves (Callum is still too young), the gift bags are packed, and dinner preparation for tonight is underway.  In addition to Christmas preparations this week, two of my grandchildren had birthdays - with more preparation and birthday parties.  I managed to continue to sketch daily and followed the lead of Sandy and others and stayed with a Christmas theme - one ornament that I made in the past was sketched per day.  My handmade Santa collection is already on my blog and a photo of this year's pigs also appeared.  Here are more from my animal menagerie!





December 15, 2007

EDM Challenge # 149: Draw a Broom

We have a short broom to sweep the fireplace hearth - and I'm not sure that we use it as much as our grandchildren.  Normally it is kept in a copper pot with kindling, but I like to sketch at night in our library, so here it is resting on my leather ottoman.  I found that drawing bristles is hard!


I just remembered that I sketched the fireplace almost two years ago when this blog was less than one month old.  Here is a copy of that drawing with the copper pot - but no broom.



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