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May 30, 2014

First Beach Visit - 2014

We arrived on a cold, windy, drizzly day - and since then had two glorious morning walks on the beach.  This is our 6th annual visit with 4 of our friends that we've known since 1967!  We take 2+ mile walks on the beach each morning, do a little shopping for dinner, relax reading, drawing, painting, swimming - and then spend quiet evenings in the house most days doing a variety of different activities.  TOTAL RELAXATION!

Here is my husband arriving on the sand for our first beach walk of the season, followed by two photos of the beautiful beach.  It was 47 degrees at 6AM each day and barely over 50 when we arrived at the beach!





I made a new sketchbook for our summer beach visits and this is part of the title page - which also has all of my contact information in case it gets lost.  This is my current palette and one of several sea gulls I painted on the title page. 


After our walk, we have coffee and breakfast at the snack shop on the beach and relax in the warm sun.  These are the two sketchbook pages I did there- one per morning. 



All pages are photographed, not scanned, while here at the beach.   Just picture them with nice white backgrounds!

May 27, 2014

Faces and Hands

Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group:  We met yesterday at Stuyvesant Square for a Portrait Party.  Four of us sat together and simultaneously sketched each other. It was somewhat difficult to sketch a face when our subjects were also sketching - but it made for some good laughs. 

After the first hour, three more members joined us, increasing our number of subjects.  I used a plain 2B mechanical pencil and just added one portrait after another to a large sheet of watercolor paper.  In the end, I decided not to add paint....


My husband and I are watching "A Touch of Frost" - a British police procedural - and last week Netflix posted a May 28 end date.  I took a screen shot and sketched Jack Frost and his superior Norman Mullet to remember how much we enjoyed this sensitive,  curmudgeonly, unorthodox, brilliant detective.      



I periodically do a quick sketch of my 95 year old mother.  Most don't look like her, but the sketch ladies resemble each other.  This profile is a little better than my full face sketches.




I constantly practice drawing hands.   The Met had a wonderful exhibit by the 19th C sculptor Carpeaux and I loved seeing his practice drawings.  Here are 3 pages - one drawn from a Carpeaux sketchbook drawing, and the other two from magazine drawings. 








May 20, 2014

Studying One Watercolor A Day

I'm slowly working my way through Veronica Lawlor's book One Watercolor A Day - taking weeks instead of days to do the exercises.  I am a self-taught watercolor painter and thought these exercises might be fun - quicker, looser, and more wet-in-wet.

Day/Exercise 11:  Children's Toys

This was the very first toy I bought - when my daughter was pregnant with our first grandchild.  Trudi the duck still lives among the toys at Grandma's house.   



Day/Exercise 12:  Flowers 

The flowers were painted from photos I took.  The top one is from above, looking down into a dense flower garden.  I used pencil to mark off the area of the flowers, then painted them.  The background was added wet-in-wet.  The second is a cone flower picture that I painted without using a preliminary drawing.  When it was dry I added a few pencil marks for definition.


May 16, 2014

Making Watercolor Sketchbooks

I started making my own watercolor sketchbooks when I couldn't find commercial sketchbooks that I liked.  First I taught myself how to recycle old orphan books ($1-2), and then learned how to make case-bound books with black commercial book cloth. 

But soon I developed a way to make my own bookcloth, fusing dyed fabrics to mulberry paper. 

It gives me enormous pleasure to use these 48 page sketchbooks that are made with Fabriano Artistica 140 lb soft press watercolor paper. 

I just took a picture of this group of sketchbooks - all now full of watercolor paintings and/or graphite drawings. 


Last week I made two New Watercolor Sketchbooks:  The first book cover was made by overdying a monoprint.



And this one was made using Tsukineko inks mixed with aloe vera gel as a thickener.  I transferred a drawing to dyed fabric and painted it using small paintbrushes.  I learned this technique from Judy Coates Perez and made a Coptic stitched watercolor sketchbook using the image I painted in her Quilt Festival workshop.




Book made from bug painting I did on cloth at Quilt Festival Workshop.



Recycling Books:  I also still recycle books to use as travel sketchbooks and summer beach sketchbooks.  I just finished recycling a square book that I bought for $2 at the Strand Book Store in New York City and will use it on vacations this summer. 

It was a book of photographs entitled Seeing:Details. 



I was able to use two of the folios as endpapers in my new book. 


I tore my folios from 2 pieces of Fabriano Artistico soft press 140 lb paper (grain short) and some of the folios are folded asymmetrically and others are shorter - making the pages an interesting mixture and minimizing waste. 



In 2012 I recycled a book called Italian Dreams before we went to Venice.  I made a multipart tutorial as I was making the sketchbook and here is the link to those blog posts if you would like to make one. 

I'm interested in learning how many readers would like to continue to see blog entries or more tutorials about making watercolor sketchbooks - please leave a comment.  I would be happy to share what I've learned. 

May 10, 2014

Inspiration - 2 Jasper Johns

Last week we took a Road Trip to the Katonah Museum of Art in Westchester to see their current exhibit of Jasper Johns prints.  For much of his career, Johns worked exclusively with a Master Printmaker named John Lund and even moved John and his family into the gatehouse near his studio in Connecticut.  Here is the museum brochure for the exhibit with photos of both Johns and Lund.




One series of prints featured in the first gallery was "Seasons" - one that is my personal favorite.  Johns typically starts with a painting, then makes prints, and then reuses and manipulates those plates with John Lund to make different iterations. 

Seasons: From left to right - Sring, Summer, Fall, and Winter


When we arrived a docent was discussing the 4 prints and we were able to sit, listen, and sketch.  Johns reused many symbols in his work and while I listened, I sketched many of them in my sketchbook.

The big shadow is Johns, which was outlined for him by a fellow artist.  The smaller one is the shadow of a 3 year old child.  Johns loved the Rubin Vase (which is either a vase or two faces) and the duck/rabbit image and used them frequently in his work.   The docent said that this was actually the time that Jasper Johns began to put a little bit of himself in his work and almost everything in these 4 prints is a special symbol for him.


After we toured the exhibit, we spent a few minutes in the small educational center and I made my own Rubin Vase, inspired by this Rubin Vase - American Flag print.   Interestingly, we were told that while we were there Jasper Johns made a short unannounced visit to the museum and none of us recognized him. 


Johns Flag.Rubin Vase:  Can you see the 3 faces when you allow your eyes to switch from the vases?



My Rubin Vase:  A small collage using materials that they have in the Center for programs with children.RubinVase.size.jpg