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December 7, 2013

Museum Visit to See Vermeer and Chagall

I am having trouble coordinating my schedule due to a big Thanksgiving celebration and my Santa Workshop activities as I prepare for Christmas.  I looked back in my sketchbook and discovered I missed these when I visited the two exhibits with my friends in late October.

Readers of this blog know that I like to copy paintings by the Masters - always hopeful that I will learn something from their styles and compositions. 

The Frick Collection exhibit has 15 paintings from the Mauritshuis Museum in the Netherlands, including those by Vermeer and Rembrandt.  The highlight is Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring and it is hung alone in a lovely gallery.  The Frick displayed their 3 Vermeers and 3 Rembrandts in an adjoining gallery, so it was a real treat. 



There is an amazing Chagall exhibit at the Jewish Museum.  It is titled "Love, War, and Exile" and includes paintings from late in his life. 

I loved the shape of this figure and the composition from the moment I saw it and needed to circle back to draw it at the end.



Monday is my last Figure Drawing class at FIT - and hopefully I will then have more motivation to find non-figure subjects for drawing and painting.   

December 3, 2013

Week 14 - Figure Drawing Class

Last night we had a choice of medium to use for our final graded drawing.  I'm so thrilled that my professor recommended a General's Charcoal Pencil - #557-6B ex. soft - that I decided to use it for my 4 five minute warmup drawings and the long pose.  I finally have a form of charcoal that I enjoy using.  It doesn't scratch on the paper - and is buttery soft.

 I put all of my 5 minute drawings on the same 18 x 24" paper.



The long pose was probably an hour.  I draw quickly, shade, and then want to be finished!  Otherwise I start making tiny, unimportant changes and get even more bored.  This photo was taken with my cell phone before I handed it in.


One more class this semester - and we were told that we can "do anything we want."  I now love the brush and India ink, the Conte Sanguine crayon, and the charcoal pencil.  I think I'll take all of them and decide when I arrive.

November 23, 2013

The Toad Collector - a Drawing

I am posting a Halloween journal page that I did at Quilt Festival in Houston earlier this month, while I'm making lots of Santa body parts for Christmas ornaments, and planning the cooking for a huge Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends.  The Toad Collector is a doll by Deborah Quinn Hensel and I didn't paint her until this week.

Yesterday and today I volunteered at a Book Fair to raise funds for Goddard Riverside, a settlement house in New York City.  So in the midst of my Halloween-Christmas-Thanksgiving scrambled holidays, I'm only uploading one sketchbook page today. 

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!


November 19, 2013

Classes 11 and 12 - FIT Figure Drawing I

In Class 11 we used Nupastels and I hated them!  This isn't a surprise, I didn't like using pastels in several prior experiments here at home.  So there is no photo of that drawing because I didn't even want to spray it with fixative and bring it home.

Last night, in Class 12, we were given a choice of more pastels or a medium of our choice.  I did the 4 five minute poses in charcoal (General extra soft pencil) and then switched to Sanguine Conte.  I'm actually enjoying drawing with these, and feel as if progresss is being made.

This was my long pose for the evening.  I loved the mirror that our Professor placed behind the model.  Only 3 more classes in this Fall semester course, which makes me sad.


November 8, 2013

The Richest Man in American History

We just returned from a two day visit to Tarrytown NY.  Yesterday we took the Grand Tour of Kykuit, the country home of John D. Rockefeller, his son John D. Rockefeller Jr., and "Junior's" son Nelson Rockefeller (4 time Governor of New York State/VP under President Ford).  It is a 40 room, 6 floor house set high on the Eastern shore of the Hudson River.  It is now a United States Historic Trust Site and it is really worth a visit.  The house is beautiful and comfortable and the surrounding gardens are amazing - especially the modern sculpture collection everywhere that you look.

In 2008 Forbes calculated that John D. Rockefeller was worth 663 billion in 2007 dollars!

Here is the main facade:


And here is the view from the porch on the other side.  Those are the Palisades on the other side of the Hudson River: 


This is the Southern facade facing one of the formal gardens.  You can see 4 floors - the other two are below ground.


Just an example of the modern sculpture which was EVERYWHERE - a figure by Aristide Maillol:


No photos were permitted in the house, but I did two VERY Quick sketches as our guide was talking.


Today we went to the Union Church of Pocantico Hills - of which Rockefeller family members were founders.  They commisioned Matisse to design a Rose Window in honor of Abby Rockefeller - and he finished the paper cut designs 2 days before he died.  The family then commisioned a very large stained window by Chagall at the back of the santuary in memory of John D. Rockerfeller Jr.  Chagall visited the church several times and after completion of another stained glass window for the side of the santuary, he proposed replacing the plain glass windows for the entire santuary - 8 more total.  These are the only cycle of Chagall church windows in America. 

There is a modest entry fee, but it is amazing and well worth a visit.  No photos were allowed, but here are photos for the modest entrance and the largest Chagall window from the outside.



We went to Tarrytown primarily to have dinner at Blue Hill Restaurant - which is set in the Stone Farms Center for Food and Agriculture - a non-profit experimental station.  The resturant serves food grown or raised on the farm and it is unique and DELICIOUS!

This is the entrance to the Stone Farms inner courtyard - all constructed from the old barns - and my photos of sheep in the barn and toulouse geese out in the grass.