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April 18, 2013

Spring Daffodils, Gelli Arts Printing, and a Breakthrough

Spring finally reached New York City and there are daffodils everywhere along the streets and avenues.  The tulips are just getting ready to bloom - they will be next week's paintings.

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Yesterday Teri, Pat, and Benedicte joined me at my dining room table for another play day making prints with Gelli Arts plates.  Here is a photo taken at the height of our printing - 4 plates, lots of paints, and numerous stamps, stencils, and other texturing tools.

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I don't especially like acrylic paints and need to experiment with different pens so I can draw over acrylics without immediately ruining each pen.  But I love making the prints, so I'm open to any and all suggestions for pens that you use successfully.  I can use a dip pen and India ink, but then I can't transport my tools easily because of fear of ink stains.Teri suggests Souffle and Glaze pens and gave me a Sharpie to try (Poster Paint).  This is one of the acrylic prints I made - using color copy paper. 

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But then I decided that I really needed to try to make a print with watercolor paint.  I have an inexpensive set of Reeves tube paints that Sydney uses with me and I used them in the same way that I used the craft acrylic paints.   I deliberately used a stencil, a stamp, sequin waste, and corrugated cardboard to texture the paint on the Gelli plate for my test and here is what printed!!

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I was so excited that I made several more - printing one of them in my current watercolor sketchbook.

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Last night I painted several more daffodils over the watercolor Gelli print using Winsor-Newton Gouache paints!  I am super-execited!  Now I can play with media and tools that I like better.  What other cheap, tube watercolors should I try??

April 15, 2013

New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert

My husband and I take some of our grandchildren to the NY Philharmonic Young People's Concert each year.  It is geared to 6-12 year olds and as soon as our grandsons turn 6, they join us for the series of 4 concerts.  This is 9 year old Henry's 4th year, 7 year old Robbie's 2nd year and 6 year old Callum's 1st year.  Note:  By their choice, I take our two grand daughters to the Nutcracker Ballet - where tickets for one performance are much more expensive than 4 Philharmonic Concerts!  

Before the one hour concert, there is a one hour educational session called Kidzone.  Members of the orchestra introduce 3 instruments to children and they get to try making sound with them.  And there are at least 4-5 other activities which the boys LOVE!  Robbie was at his first soccer game of the season on Saturday, but here are Henry and Callum learning about the trombone.  That is Henry in front and his little brother Callum behind him.

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The boys love learning about the instruments and try to guess what they will be for each concert.

Henry decided that he wanted to play the violin and drums, about the same time that he started attending the concerts, and is extremely musical and talented.  I sketched him while he was practicing the violin last month.  And then sketched him yesterday playing the trombone (from a photo that I took on Saturday).

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April 10, 2013

Quickie Bus/Subway Portraits

I continue to carry my small leather notebook so I can sketch fellow passengers on the Manhattan buses and subways.  Most of these are done in 2 minutes or less.  The stops are close together and passengers arrive and leave quickly.

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April 7, 2013

Finding My Own Visual Language

I'm still working on Exercise 2 from the Visual Language book pictured below.  It is an out of print book that I bought on Amazon.  In this exercise I need to take the square I "fractured" in exercise 1 and create one square stamp each day for 30 days.

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I think that these exercises are fun and important for abstract art - including collage and surface design on fabric.  I still worry that I won't be able to create another 1" square stamp, but as I work I find all new variations.  I rarely work in a series, but marvel at the creative benefits.  This is an open-ended project for me, and I will periodically post the exercises I'm doing.  Posting the exercises is as much for me as readers, to keep me inspired and on track.

 Here are stamps #7- 18

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I definitely feel more comfortable carving the stamps with Speedball Cutting Tools and Speedy Carve.  You can see the first Exercise and the initial 6 stamps from Exercise 2 in this blog category http://www.paperandthreads.com/2013/03/another_project_begins_1.php

April 5, 2013

Potpourri

I am posting a variety of pages from my daily sketchbook. 

There was a wonderful exhibit of Late Paul Klee paintings and drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I went early one morning, right before the exhibit closed, and immersed myself in these wonderful works.  I wanted to draw one in my sketchbook and chose one that allowed me to test my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  This ink is watersoluble on my handmade sketchbook with  Fabriano Artistico Soft Press paper.  So I decided to color the background with watercolor pencils, allow it to dry completely, and then draw the Girl in Mourning with my pen.  It was the only tool that I had to copy the wide black lines on the Klee painting.  And it worked. 

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http://metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/late-klee

There are no images on the exhibit website, but these were all works owned by the Met and can probably be seen by searching on the Met website.

On my walk home from the Met, I stopped at the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (15 E. 84th St).  They have an exhibit on a "Temple and Tomb" from Prehistoric Malta (3600-2500 BCE).  I loved one of the stone figures and especially the armature they used to display the head with the body.  No pictures were allowed so it was the perfect sculpture for me to draw.

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http://isaw.nyu.edu/exhibitions/malta

Carla Sonheim, the author of Drawing Lab, has a fun exercise for drawing silly animals.  She uses a photo of sidewalk cracks to create these drawings and even has a crack of the month club so others don't need to search for great sidewalk cracks.

I used the one for April to draw an animal and then did a freehand drawing below - just for fun.  I did all of the exercises in Carla's book, and really liked this exercise.  I have photos saved to use in the future, but her cracks are much better than mine. 

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 http://www.carlasonheim.com/sidewalk-cracks/

I like drawing portraits and find that stopping a TV show in order to draw a face is a great way to get faces to draw.  Of course it is better to draw faces live, but models are not always available.  I sketched this face with a Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil and then used a small waterbrush by Niji to "paint it."

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