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January 29, 2013

Figure Drawing Practice

I missed live figure drawing this month, but did a little practice anyway during quiet evenings.  I set the timer on posemaniacs.com for 90 sec and then sketched quickly to get a basic shape drawn with a watercolor pencil during that time.  These are a few that I did.

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Portraits are still difficult for me - so I practice quick sketches on the bus or subway and when desperate for a model I sketch half a face from a photo.  I cut a face photo in half and then draw exacty what I see in the photo to complete the face.  I don't remember where I read about this xercise, but it's fun. 

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January 26, 2013

Bookbinding: A New Project for 2013

I LOVE books - all books - and always have.  It is probably the reason that I gravitated to sketchbook/visual journal art when I was getting close to retirement. 

I decided to recycle orphan books when I couldn't find watercolor sketchbooks that I loved.  After several years I broke down and took a weekend class to learn how to make a traditional cased-in book - cover and all.  In the last 5 years I expanded my bookbinding adventures, sometimes from information online, other times from projects with my friends Pat and Gwen.  But I still hadn't explored some of the oldest and most common bookbinding methods.

This year I plan to do a little research on specific bookbinding methods and to practice making books exploring some of the variations.  I have reference books here in my personal library and there are many websites and videos available - making this a good DIY project.  

The book project for January was coptic stitch bookbinding and so far I made two books using two different variations of the method. 

Book 1:  I made the cover using bookcloth I made from fabric I painted, and filled it with my favorite watercolor paper.  The bug was painted in a class by Judy Coates Perez using Tsukineko ink thickened with aloe vera.  The back cover was made with fabric I made testing a new batch of procion MX stock solutions.

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Book 2: I also made a smaller book, using decorative paper for the book covers, and card stock for the pages.  I am using this book to collect all of the information about coptic stitching that I want to remember and to document the methods that I used. 

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Plan for February:  Long Stitch with leather wrap covers. 

A tutorial for recycling orphan books, and all of my prior projects can be seen in the Bookbinding Category in the right column on my blog.

January 22, 2013

A Collection of Elephants

This time of year, when I'm recovering from lots of Holiday preparations and celebrations, and I'm indoors trying to  "catch up," I need something to shake me up.  Night after night I struggled with decisions re: what to draw and finally decided to play with my many tools (pencils, pens, inks etc) while drawing lots of elephants. 

Here are my first 5 - each drawn/"painted" with a different tool.

Elephant 1:  Drawn with a Dark Wash Soluble Graphite Pencil by Derwent and painted with clear water.

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Elephant 2:  Drawn with a Tombow marker, which is water soluble, and painted with clear water

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Elephant #3:  Cretacolor 9B graphite and Cretacolor white pastel pencils on gray paper

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Elephants #4:  Pigma micron ink pen and WN watercolors

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Elephant #5:  Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

I bind Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press paper in my handbound watercolor journals.  No one believes me, but the Pentel Pocket Brush Ink is completely water soluble on this paper and even drying the ink overnight makes no difference.  Here is an elephant drawn with the pen and then painted with clear water!

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January 19, 2013

Chelsea, El Anatsui, and the Highline

My friend Pat and I spent a day visiting art galleries in Chelsea and walking the High Line.  El Anatsui, born in Ghana and now living in Nigeria, creates enormous sculptures using copper wire and bottle caps/pieces of aluminum from cans and bottles. 

Here is an example of one of the massive sculptures in the exhibit Pot of Wisdom which ended on January 19th.  It is next moving to the Bass Center in Miami and the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa.  A second exhibit is opening in February at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

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A detail:

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But he also has an outdoor installation, made of rusted metal and gorgeous reflective tiles, over the entire side of a building along the Highline,  This will hang for a year.  Here are my photos, taken from the Highline - between 21st and 22nd St.  Also look at the water towers which appear everywhere along the NYC skyline.

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I love the way the clouds are reflected on the sculpture making it hard to see the dividing line with the real sky.

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The Highline is an abandoned elevated railroad track in lower Manhattan.  It is slowly being converted into a wonderful, popular public park. 

We walked North along the newest section (extending the walkway to 30th St.) and found wonderful sights:  the top of the Empire State building, great graffiti art, and an apartment occupant, whose window is feet away from the edge of the High Line. 

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This image appears to be part of the window surface - humorously put there to keep Highline pedestrians from becoming voyeurs.

There was a great pair of water towers right next to the sculpture and I painted them in my sketchbook, from my photo, to remember the day. 

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January 16, 2013

Picasso: Black and White

Last week our art friends spent a wonderful day at the Picasso: Black and White exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.  Readers of this blog know how much I like sketching Picasso and I expected to see many of his ink drawings on paper.  The exhibit however was a wonderful mixture of sculpture and paintings, many of which were drawings in oil.  

As we moved up the circular ramp, I tried to sketch sculptures and then paintings that spoke to me.  Here is a drawing of a large painted metal sculpture, entitled "Woman with Outstretched Arms" and a wall sculpture of Marie-Therese in profile

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The Acrobat - painted in 1930.

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Two Figures that were drawn from a Large Study for the painting Guernica, May 1, 1937

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Draped Nude Seated in Armchair 1923:  This painting reminds me very much of the Seated Woman by Matisse (1919) that I sketched at the Frick, uploaded recently to my blog, and posted it again here for comparison.   

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I love my Art Buddies and thoroughly enjoy both our museum visits and regular projects.  On Jan 6th a group comment was posted by Gloria,a classmate in the Mary Ann Moss class A Ticket to Venice, telling me that she found a photo of her friend Benedicte on my blog.  We made the connection and Gloria joined us 3 days later at the Guggenheim. 

From Left to Right:  Teri, Gloria, Me, Pat, and Benedicte

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