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May 10, 2016

National Museum of the American Indian May 4th

After a morning gallery-hopping at exhibits of Dubuffet, Hannalore Baron, and Will Barnett, Benedicte, Pat, and I arrived at Battery Park City for Figure Drawing just as the rain started.  Instead we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, New York branch, to see their newest exhibit.  The exhibit, which will not close until December, is called Unbound: Narrative Art of the Plains. The Museum is in the historical Custom House near Wall Street.

Several years ago I learned about Indian narrative art at an exhibit at the Met and I was fascinated by the drawings they did of their life and culture in Ledger Books.  This exhibit also shows narrative art on vintage ledger pages, but most of these Indian artists are contemporaries.  Where noted, color was added with colored pencils.

This is my copy of a drawing done by Comanche Artist Ronald L. Burgess in 2012. 

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This is the postcard for May family events at the Museum and it shows the gorgeous ledger paper used for the drawing.  The artist is not named on the card.

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Some of my favorite drawings were done by a woman artist, and they were scenes of domesticity, instead of hunting and battles.   Lauren Good Day Giago (b. 1987) descended from the 19th C. ledger artist Bloody Knife and was taught beading and sewing as a child.  I loved the bright colors and subjects she chose.

Independence Day Celebration

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Blessed by the Mother and Father  2012 

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May 9, 2016

Print Collage On Wood

One of my high school girlfriends sent me a latter with a photograph and a 5 X 5" X 1 5/8"DaVinci Wood Panel.  She photographed the wall in her local library and wanted to have her family and friends each create one of the panels for her entry in a new home. 

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We could decorate them in any way and had 6 months before we needed to send them back. That gave me too many choices and too much time! My creative ideas are always better when I have limitations. I had never painted on wood, and prior to this semester had minimal experience painting with acrylic paints. And I couldn't even settle on one image for weeks.

One day I noticed my one acrylic painting on a shelf in my apartment, and realized that the image was perfect - a friend bringing a friend a bouquet of flowers.  In that instant I decided to scan, resize, and collage the image to the box.  Jane Davies recently posted a tutorial on collaging art to wood, and I followed her instructions.   Then I painted the sides with acrylic paint I mixed to blend with image.  Here is the original painting and the finished box. 

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It is being delivered today - per USPS tracking information. 

May 7, 2016

Making Monotypes at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

There are 120 monotypes in the MoMA exhibit Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty.    

On April 26th MoMA offered a drop-in session for museum visitors to make monotypes.   Education staff from MoMA and staff from EFA Blackburn Studio set up a mini-printing shop on the second floor of the Museum, and we were able to sign in and then spend 75 minutes making up to 3 prints.

Here is a 4 minute video about Monotypes, as an introduction. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfYVzk0sNiGEYF87Bj0us98NVd-h6aOvK&v=DC8L2O7I0wk

 

We each had a palatte for the ink, a brayer to coat a plexiglass plate, and a variety of simples tools to remove or add ink to the plate.  This was my first experience making an ink monotype, although I've made some with thick dye on fabric.  The methods are not very similar. 

We made our drawings in the ink, or with the ink, on the plate and then took our plate to the Staff who soaked the paper in water and put our plate and paper through the press. 

I took my sketchbook with me because I had sketches of some dancers from two New York City Ballet rehearsals I watched (drawn before it was too dark in the theater).  These were my inspiration for prints 1 and 2.  With the remaining few minutes I sketched my imaginary friend Axel for print #3.  The paper is 11 X 15" and the prints are 8 X 10".

 

 Print 1

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Print 2

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Print 3

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May 2, 2016

Portraits in Public Places

Several years ago I worked my way through Carla Sonheim's book  Drawing Lab.  For Exercise 16 we were asked to draw 100 Faces, and I sketched most of the Faces on public transportation, and painted them with watercolor later.  Since then I always have blank 3X5" index cards and a ball point pen with me - even when I'm carrying the smallest purse. 

Week 3 of the online class Sketchbook Skool - Polishing is Brooklyn Artist Vin Ganapathy, and he showed us his sketchbook portrait illustrations and did a wonderful demo.  He had willing subjects sitting next to each other, and he did a fast live sketch of them on the couch to keep the drawing fresh (15 minutes).   He ended the session by taking some photos, and then later added some finishing details - darkening lines, adding shadows, and adding color with markers.  He stressed the importance of the fast sketch done live for freshness and details added later to improve the drawings.

My drawings are live, but I try to draw my subjects surreptitiously on buses and subways, so I don't have photos.  And because my subjects may leave at the next stop, all are very fast sketches.  My most recent ones are below.

 

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I will keep drawing my subway/bus people until I can beg my friends, maybe on vacation in June, to let me draw them and take photos so I can practice Vin's technique. 

"Continuous Line Contour" and "Negative Space" Drawings

Continuous Line Contour Drawings and the Sketchbook Skool Seeing Online Class (2014)- Brenda Swensen's Class Demo was a Continuous Line Contour Drawing with a Tombow pen and a watercolor wash.  Even though I did these exercises, I spent much more time trying to keep my pen on the paper and felt as if this was a more laborious process than my usual drawing technique.  These are my homework drawings, and after doing a comparison, I rejected the technique for me.

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These are comparison drawings - the continuous line contour drawing in black and white and my usual method with a watercolor wash.  I got lost in the drawing and my usual method was also faster.

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Fast Forward 2 years to the Sketchbook Skool Polishing online class and Koosje Koene's demo of negative space drawing.  This is another technique that didn't work well for me in the past, but of course I wanted to try it again.  I put a complex kitchen stool in the middle of my kitchen and looked at all of the negative spaces.  I began the drawing with expectations that I could draw the stool more easily by drawing the open, i.e. negative spaces.  But I got lost in the process and had another failure.  So I'm again returning to my own drawing methods and that is OK with me.

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