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November 6, 2015

Art Auction Previews

November and May are the months of the big Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary art auctions in New York City, and the auction houses schedule previews for several days before the auctions so the public can see and assess the art.  In general, you see art that is being sold from one private collection to an individual building another private collection - and the previews rarely disappoint me.  Sotheby's auction this month included many pieces owned by A. Alfred Taubman and it was a thrill to see the art, especially the watercolors (Winslow Homer, Sargent) and many drawings Gustave Klimt, Egon Schiele).

I  took a class at Quilt Festival last week about "working in a series" and one of the exercises was to rapidly list all of the themes you loved.  At the top of my list was Mother and Child, perhaps in part because it is one of the few series I created in fabric.  These are small quilts in which I explored the many ways I could transfer my drawings of a pregnant nude model to fabric.  Here is my favorite.

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At the Sotheby's Auction preview last week, this was one of my favorite sculptures -  Mother, Child, and Apple by Henry Moore.  I would have drawn it except for the constant presence of at least 10-12 people standing around it! 

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Instead I painted one of Louise Bourgeoise' Spiders with Eggs (11 inches high) and Aristide Maillote's Jeune Fille (terracotta, 7 inches high).  I loved the spider shadows!

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Tomorrow we are going to the Previews at Christies - with sketchbook in hand again! 

 

November 3, 2015

International Quilt Festival - 2015

I just returned from my annual trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas.  In high school I became a seamstress, then in 1980, while living in Texas, I learned how to make quilts.  By 1990 I was starting to dye and design fabric and loved mixing dyes and painting them on silk.  Watercolor painting became a natural extension after I retired.  But I only acquire new interests and don't easily give up the old ones.  This was my 30th annual visit to Quilt Festival where I look at 100s of quilts, take classes, and replenish supplies.

The Houston Convention Center is huge - think multiple football fields, and is now undergoing more building and renovation.  All 3 floors are devoted to this event and the last attendance record I heard, which was several years ago, was 55,000 attendees.

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I painted once each full day I was there, and here are my sketchbook pages.  Jane Dunnewold's class was about working in a series, and we had many exercises to do during our 3 hours of discussion.  In one of the final exercises we had to quickly write down lists of words that we associated with colors.  Of greatest interest were the half of the class that hate purple and had lots of bad associations with it. 

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My next class required 3 hours of sewing and I didn't paint during the session.  But I did draw one of my favorite dolls from the Hoffman Challenge Doll Exhibit as I walked through the exhibit areas. 

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My third day and class was with Judy Coates Perez and we dyed and painted fabric using Acrylic Inks.  Wow!  the textures created were gorgeous, and were very different than those achieved with dyes.  But they also are not completely water resistant, making them better for art quilts that will never be washed. 

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October 30, 2015

Figure Al Fresco at Battery Park City

I attended a figure drawing session at Battery Park City when I returned from vacation..  This weekly free program runs from May 1-October 31, weather permitting.  These are drawings from my last session, when it was cool enough that we moved down to the edge of the water to be in the sun. 

This is a photo of part of the group in the Battery Park South Cove,  The second photo shows the view over my shoulder, with the constant sound of water lapping under my bench. 

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I am using one large sheet of watercolor paper for each of these series of drawings.  I sketch with a soluble graphite pencil and then add water with a waterbrush for shading.  Most of these were 10-20 minute poses. 

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October 27, 2015

Vacation in Spain - Part 3

I did occasionally sit down to sketch and paint while in Spain - while listening to music, sipping coffee, watching Flamingo dancers, or drinking a glass of wine.  The sites weren't pre-selected and all but once, my husband was with me as we talked and enjoyed our vacation.

Madrid: 

I walked to Plaza Santa Ana one sunny afternoon while my husband went to the gym.  There was a place to sit in a central area among outdoor cafes, each with their own musicians that alternated playing.  The Teatro Espanol was at one end of the Plaza and I sat there enjoying my surroundings while drawing and painting.

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My husband and I took a long walk our last day in Madrid, and stopped for a mid-morning cup of coffee.  I was facing several apartments around the Plaza San Andreas, and I loved the combination of colors and the sun vs shade. 

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Seville:  We had dinner in our small hotel dining room the day we arrived, and less than a dozen of us watched a pair of Flamenco dancers, a guitarist, and a singer.  The flamenco dancers moved too quickly to sketch, so I drew one of the repeated poses of the guitarist.

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Barcelona:

We spent one entire day looking at Antoni Gaudi buildings: Sagrada Familia, Guadi's home and museum at Parc Guell, and Casa Batllo several blocks from our hotel.  After walking around the exterior and interior of Sagrada Familia, I set up front, in the nave, and sketched the ceiling above the altar while listening to someone, somewhere sing Ave Maria. 

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We stopped for a glass of wine in a gorgeous plaza, after visiting the Picasso Museum.  While there, a well-known elderly Flamenco Dancer stopped right in front of us, so he and the students made it into my painting.

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October 23, 2015

Vacation in Spain - Part 2

Before we left for Spain, I put 2 X 2" squares on several sketchbook pages, so I could add one image that stood out in my mind each day.  Here are the 3 grid pages that are now completed.

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I also prepared pages to record activities for each day, which always is appreciated when I'm trying to remembers restaurants and other places.  

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