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April 15, 2016

Abstract Painting and Surface Design

When I restarted drawing, and learning about watercolors, I was most interested in documenting my life by drawing and painting in sketchbooks.  I've now filled over 100 since 2005 and I love how much I remember about events when I browse through them.  This semester I'm taking an abstract painting class using acrylics, at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and was attracted to the course just to shake up my painting - not to switch my focus or medium.

Our first painting was "non-objective" meaning that it was not based on anything in reality. 

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2016/03/my_fiirst_abstract_and_acrylic.php 

The second painting was "objective" meaning that the artist begins with some images from his/her environment and then proceeds to abstract the image.   I like grids and quickly sketched a media wall in front of me as I sat reading. 

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My first painting in the course was in cool colors and I wanted to make this one in hot colors - and I added layers to the 16 x 20" canvas panel over 3 weeks.  This is my finished painting.

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After I completed this painting I quickly painted some of the things in our class studio - a stool, a high chair, an easel, a ceiling exhaust fan, and a wood stand that holds our paints, palettes etc.  Many of my classmates used the studio as their inspiration and I decided to try it as well.  I painted multiple layers on a 9 X 12" piece of watercolor paper, and this is the result. 

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I dye fabric for a variety of projects, including bookcloth for my handmade watercolor sketchbooks.  Most of the fabric designs are abstract, and it took me weeks to realize this similarity to my painting class.  This is my newest watercolor sketchbook - made with a piece of fabric that was tightly rolled and tied in a knot before soaking it in an equal mixture of red and black dye stocks.  The design and colors were a complete, and wonderful surprise. 

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I designed pen pockets for my sketchbooks this year and distribute Sewing Instructions if requested on my blog.  I have enough dyed fabric that I can make pen pockets to blend with the covers, and I'm able to use a similar color pocket with the new sketchbook. 

This is the new sketchbook and pocket - and below this photo are others that I made for prior books. 

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Please leave a request for the pattern PDF on my blog. 

April 12, 2016

Art Friday: Center for Italian Modern Art

Pat and I met at MoMA for an informative lecture on Degas' current exhibit in the morning and then went downtown for our first visit to the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA).  The current exhibit is on Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (born Bologna1890-1964), which opened last Fall and will end on June 25th.  In my college modern art course textbook (John Canady Mainstreams of Modern Art) he is described as "painting a few ordinary bottles and bowls, combined and recombined in picture after picture, yet without monotony...."

Morandi Self-Portrait:  1930 

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I first saw Morandi's paintings at the Met in 2008.  I knew nothing about him as an artist, and wasn't really sure how I felt about his obsession with painting rows of bottles and other similar vessels.  Last Fall, we visited David Zwirner's Gallery in Chelsea and I had a new appreciation of his paintings.  Following that visit, our friend Judy told us about the Center for Italian Modern Art, and it took Pat and I until now to visit there. 

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CIMA is located on the 4th floor at 421 Broome Street and you need to make reservations for guided tours on Friday and Saturday afternoons.  Our tour guide was an Italian research fellow at CIMA and she was amazing!  Behind her are photos taken by Joel Meyerowitz in Morandi's Studio in Italy.

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We were shown into the kitchen and served espresso or coffee - in Pantone color cups which I loved. 

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As we walked around the lovely galleries, I sketched one bottle each  from some of the paintings and painted them when I got home. 

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This view of his Studio/Bedroom raises many questions in my mind about him as a person.  We know that he lived with his 3 sisters in Bologna until his death.

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One last photo - taken from the window in the CIMA Library - of a neighboring rooftop.  I'd love to draw and paint this for a glimpse into our big city life.

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April 8, 2016

Deliberate Practice: Drawing Hands

I love figure drawing and I'd love to be able to capture the hand positions of the models.  If I succeed at all, it is only in the 20 minute poses.  These hands were all drawn from photos I collect from fashion catalogues or the New York Times Magazine sections.  My drawing was done with a watercolor pencil, without adding water.  I love how easily it erases and can convert it to paint at any time with a watercolor brush. 

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I found a great watch advertisement with 4 hand photos and was inspired to keep drawing this week.  Here are the two that I finished.  

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April 5, 2016

Edvard Munch and Expressionism

Neue Galerie currently has an exhibit of Edvard Munch and his influence on German and Austrian Expressionists, including Beckmann, Heckel, Kirchner, Nolde, Kokoschka, and Shiele, among others.  It is a wonderful exhibit and we followed it with a visit to Galerie St. Etienne which is exhibiting Ernst Ludwig Kirchner drawings and watercolors.  Pat, Eunice, and I were enthralled with the art seen and each selected a few things we wanted to remember.

http://www.neuegalerie.org/content/munch-and-expressionism-0 

This painting by Munch is entitled Two Human Beings: The Lonely Ones.  I was struck with the simple separation of figures which demonstrated the emotion of loneliness.  I was inspired to draw a simple version of this painting, and long thin figures from a woodcut by Otto Mueller.   

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I spend lots of time doing figure drawings, and I'm very interested in how the Expressionists distort figures.  I've drawn Schiele and at this exhibit I wanted to remember Mueller's figures from a complicated woodcut - so I only sketched the figures, not the complicated black ink background in The Boy with Two Standing and One Seated Figure.

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At Galerie St. Etienne, Kirchner's drawings were VERY loose, so I decided to sketch two of his more defined images - one a litho and the other almost a single line drawing.   

http://www.gseart.com/gse-pages/Current_Exhibition.php

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I recommend both of these exhibits for anyone interested in Expressionism.  Norwegian Artist Edvard Munch is definitely more than just the painting and woodcuts of The Scream. 

April 1, 2016

Last Figure Drawing at Battery Park City

This was the last of our 9 Art Sessions at Battery Park City until the drop-in program begins in the South Cove from May - Oct.  Our model was Claudia, and there were many challenging poses this week.  

Two Minute Poses:  Three chosen from 10 drawn.  I'm beginning to feel as if these are easier for me.  I draw with a 4B graphite pencil on Newsprint.

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Five Minute Poses: Three of four that I sketched with General Sketch and Wash pencil and shaded with a NiJi waterbrush.

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Ten (Left) and Twenty (Right) Minute Poses:  The watercolor was added during the 10 minutes pose time, and the soluble graphite was spread with a waterbrush during the 20 minute pose. 

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Twenty Minute Pose:  I shuddered as our Art Instructor kept rotating the head of the table away from me and my view had increasing foreshortening.  It is hard to remember to draw only what you see in this instance, but I did it and now feel more confident about these challenging poses.

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Today I went to Neue Gallerie with friends and saw so many inspiring figure drawings/paintings by Munch and the other Expressionists.  After lunch we went to Galerie St. Etienne and saw "quick" Ludwig Kirchner figure sketches.  I recommend both exhibits, but especially Neue.   

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