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May 22, 2015

Urban Sketchers and Figure Al Fresco This Week

An Urban Sketcher from Sydney Australia connected me with a Sydney watercolor artist who was coming to visit New York City and we spent two days together this week.  I'm constantly amazed at the international world of sketchbook art and the friends I meet through Everyday Matters, Urban Sketchers, and my blog.  On Monday Eunice and I met for coffee, and were in the café so long that we ordered and ate lunch!  This is a picture of us following lunch and before we went downtown to buy art supplies.  It was wonderful to meet her and I'm delighted that she will be visiting regularly.

 

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On Wednesday we met for a combined Weekday Urban Sketchers and Battery Park Conservancy Art Day.  Eunice and I sketched Pier A, at the tip of Manhattan overlooking New York Harbor, and while we sketched we watched Navy and Coast Guard vessels arrive for the annual Navy Fleet Week.  Notice the Statue of Liberty, which is on the other side of the harbor, right above the back of this destroyer.

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We were freezing while we sketched and had to go into Pier A for hot coffee.  Here is my "as yet" unpainted drawing over New York Harbor.   Pier A is on the left and way in the distance is Governor's Island and the Verrazano Bridge

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In the afternoon we moved to the Battery Park South Cove for Figure Al Fresco, the weekly figure drawing session sponsored by the Battery Park Conservancy.  The wind and cold made it unpleasant, so I did only the 1, 5, and 10 minutes sketches.   From left to right - 10 minute, and two five minute sketches done of our model who was sitting or standing on rocks in the South Cove. 

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Next Wednesday it is supposed to be in the 80s, so we will meet again under better weather conditions for outdoor sketching. 

May 20, 2015

Bookbinding - Making a Watercolor Sketchbook

I started to make my own watercolor sketchbooks by first learning how to repurpose $1-2 "soon to be discarded" books.  The original page block can be removed and a new watercolor page block inserted into books that are the size, and even perhaps a theme that you like. 

In 2008 I posted a tutorial of one of my first repurposed books.  In 2012 I posted a 4 part tutorial which is more detailed, and photographed each step as I repurposed a book called Italian Dreams for a 2012 vacation in Venice.  I recommend using the 2nd tutorial if you want to learn how to make these watercolor sketchbooks.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/02/watercolor_sketchbook_tutorial.php

 

Each year I repurpose a themed book for our summer beach visits and for our vacation.  I found an 8 X 8" book for $2 on the carts outside The Strand bookstore in Manhattan.  It has a 1/2" spine and I can fit 3 signatures, each with two watercolor paper folios and one folio from the original book.  I can paint on both sides of each page, so I will have 24 watercolor pages to use and several text pages from the original folios to collage over. 

 

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I cut out the original page block  and carefully cut the binding threads so I could remove some of the original pages to use as endpapers and to mix with my 140 lb watercolor folios.   

These are the front and back endpapers, which hold the new watercolor page block in the cover. 

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This is an original folio that I nested inside one of the signatures. 

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I also found a similar size book called Spanish Paintings for $2, and will make it into watercolor sketchbook for a Fall vacation in Spain. 

Please leave a comment if you have any questions. 

 

May 18, 2015

Sketchbook Skool Homework for Fabio Consoli

Fabio Consoli, our 3rd teacher for Sketchbook Skool Semester 4, wanted us to enjoy "Child's Play" by sharing a page in our sketchbook with a child, allowing them to make a drawing which we would then use as inspiration to extend and complete the composition.  My 5 year old Grandson Zach did two drawings with markers in my sketchbook, but filled up the complete page, and I wasn't sure how I was going to extend the images and story.

The next day he only had time to do a pen drawing on an index card while we were at lunch, and I chose to use that image as a collage and to allow it to inspire my painting on a page in my sketchbook.  I'm currently trying to improve my drawings from my imagination, so this was a double challenge for me.  Zach's drawing is the blue man on the right. 

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I decided that I liked my drawing of the green man and wanted to introduce his girlfriend.  So I sketched them both in pen for my 100day Drawing From Imagination project. 

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Here are Zach's first two drawings - done with Tombow markers on a full sketchbook page - The Monster Man and Secret Grouch:

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May 14, 2015

Fashion at the Met and Warhol at MoMA

Every May, the fashion world of NYC comes together for the Costume Institute Met gala.  This year the exhibit is China:  Through the Looking Glass.  It is the most extravagant fashion exhibit I've seen there, in part because the exhibit is both in the Costume Institute galleries, and throughout the Asian Galleries.  It took us 2 hours to go through the galleries (even without reading many labels!).  And I did just a few sketches to remember the event.

This is a wonderful Met video of the exhibit. 

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/china-through-the-looking-glass/video 

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Pat, Benedicte, and I also went to MoMA to see the new Warhol exhibit, and to attend the first of many sessions about Warhol's Materials and Methods -something they are calling Warhol's Pop-Up events.  A museum art educator discussed Warhol's career and led us through 2 exercises.  In the first, we used one of his iconic shapes and created a new product/brand/logo.  I created a shopping bag, with an extravagant hat on it, for my store called "To the Races."  I imagined a shop for hats to be worn to the Kentucky Derby and Ascot. 

For  the 2nd exercise, we were given stacks of ads from the 1950s-1960s (I think) and a light box, and asked to trace images from these ads to create a new ad.  I just collected women's faces and made it an ad for Lifesavers - a hint at the rise of feminism during that time. 

Warhol is not an artist I admire.  I keep looking for evidence that he did more than transform work by others.  But it is always fun to work with the MoMA educators and I probably will sample one session from each of the 4 who will be leading these sessions in the next few months to see how they differ.  

 

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May 12, 2015

More Drawings From My Imagination

I am still doing daily drawings from my imagination as part of a 100 day Drawing Project.  Some days I have to just draw a squiggle and go from there, and they are mostly dreadful drawings.  Other days ideas flow as I'm drawing and these silly little people appear. 

 

I drew a table and added the "patient."  Then I decided it must be a physical therapy session and added the therapist and the room details. 

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I started out drawing a car, and then wondered where it was, and a gas station materialized.

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Are these cartoon faces able to express emotions?

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Last Friday I went to a "Working Rehearsal" of the New York City Ballet and did a few quick sketches from the Mezzanine before the lights went down too low to see my sketchbook.  I just redrew what I remembered and the 3 dancers morphed into my imaginary people!     

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I'm having fun drawing from my brain to my tiny notebook and will periodically show a few drawings here on my blog.   But it is hard work!  And I really need an encyclopedic store of images in my brain from what I drew previously.

 

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