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February 6, 2015

January Figure Drawing

The Central Part Sketching and Art Meetup Group is now meeting each Saturday during the winter for figure drawing, and yesterday was the first session.  The model looked like a runway model, probably 6 feet tall and all angles and boney prominences.  I really enjoyed drawing her and here are 5, 10, and 20 minute poses, all drawn with a soluble graphite pencil, on 12 X 15" watercolor paper, with added shading done with clear water and my flat Niji waterbrush.   The drawings were photographed, not scanned.

Two 5 Mintue Poses:

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Two 10 minute Poses: 

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Two 20 Minute Poses:

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February 3, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Pablo Picasso

It is Week 2 for me in the online course Studying Under the Masters.  The Master for this week is Pablo Picasso, and over the years I have copied many of his drawings, because I love the images he can capture drawing only a few lines or one continuous line.  So it was time to copy a painting!  The painting "Reading at a Table" is at the Met, and as soon as I saw it in the new Reinventing Modernism Galleries, I knew that I wanted to try to paint her!  As before, the Master is on the left, and my painting is on the right.  I used watercolor and black and white gouache instead of oil, and loved trying to achieve some of the spirit of Picasso. 

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I debated a variety of portraits for my "painting inspired by Picasso" and finally realized that I could use one of my figure drawings from MoMA for the subject.  I made this sketch of the actress model in the Toulouse-Lautrec Drawing Session in 3 minutes, using only straight lines to draw her image.  I took a scan of that drawing as the basis for my painting and then experimented with backgrounds.  I loved the candle in Picasso's painting, so I added it to mine, and then needed to work out the rest of the setting and color palette. 

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And here is my finished painting.  I usually draw and paint in watercolor sketchbooks and for this series of paintings I'm using Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper in a 9 X 12 block.

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Next Week:  Max Beckmann, the German Expressionist Painting. 

January 30, 2015

Master Drawings Week in New York City

The annual Masters' Drawing week was held in NYC this week and the snow had little effect on the gallery hours and auctions.  There are 32 galleries on the Upper Eastside of New York that feature drawings from hundreds of years ago to the 20th C.  In addition, auction houses schedule their Master Drawings Auctions during this week, ensuring a truly international gathering. They publish a guide to the participating Galleries and we visit them!

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I love drawings and almost always love preparatory drawings to the famous oil paintings more than the painting, so this is one of my favorite art adventures. 

I went to 12 galleries on Wed and took a few photographs so I could either remember the drawings, or try to emulate them.  This 6 x 6" Study of a Horse's Head was drawn by James Seymour (1702-1752), and it was perfect for me to try out my new Brause pen nib and Herbin brown ink purchased in Paris.

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On Thursday my friend Pat joined me and we went to the remaining participating galleries.  Many of them are in townhouses between 5th and Madison Avenues and the teeny elevators are always a fun part of the whole experience.  This is a drawing of Albert Einstein by Josef Scharl.  The gallery owner told us that Einstein sponsored him for his green card, and they were lifelong friends. 

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January 27, 2015

Studying Under the Masters 2: Van Gogh

I registered again for Jeanne Oliver's class Studying Under the Masters, and this year the focus is on faces/portraits.  I draw from the Masters in museum and gallery exhibits whenever I visit, but I rarely can paint from their works.  So this class gives me an opportunity to study an artist a little more in depth, copy a painting, and then paint one of my own using some of the techniques learned.  Here are my blog posts from last year's class, 8 artists in just over 8 cold, winter weeks.  In most instances I copied oil paintings in watercolor and gouache to expand my knowledge of those mediums.  <http://www.paperandthreads.com/2014/01/studying_under_the_masters_mat.php>

This year Jeanne selected Vincent Van Gogh as her Master Artist and began by copying one of his watercolors.  I LOVE his drawings and watercolors and have copied several of them before.  But this was a new opportunity, so I painted Vielle Paysanne.   

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Van Gogh did two paintings of Dr. Gachet, his doctor during the last months of his life.  I chose one of them to copy, and here is a copy of the original oil painting (left) and my painting in watercolor (right).  He looks somber in the original, but less so in my copy - not my intention.  

 

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I was inspired by the story of Johanna Van Gogh and used her photos as a model for my "original" inspired by Van Gogh painting.  She was the wife of Vincent's younger brother Theo.  When Theo died, six months after Vincent, Johanna was left all of Vincent's art.  At that time his work was not appreciated, and she spent years arranging exhibits and sales in order to bring his work to the attention of the European public.  When reading her story, I was impressed by the tremendous efforts she made to preserve his legacy - a widow of just 28 with a new baby.  

I chose bright colors, split complementaries, like Van Gogh might have used, and short brushstrokes with watercolor paints.

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What I learned about Van Gogh:

His entire art career spanned only 10 years.

During that time he created 864 paintings, 1030 drawings, 147 watercolors, plus a few works in other mediums.

There is now controversy about his cause of death, with some believing that he was accidentally shot in the stomach by someone while walking in the fields because suicides are rarely caused by gun shot wounds to the stomach. 

Next Week:  Pablo Picasso 

January 23, 2015

Urban Sketching in Criminal Court

The Weekday Urban Sketchers of New York City met in Arraignments Court a week ago to sketch the proceedings.  The action was fast, with the accused appearing before the judge, with the prosecuting and defending attorneys making brief statements, mainly about setting bail and court dates for their court appearances.  Occasionally a guilty plea was entered and the judge informed the felon about the process and confirmed the decision.  Our small group sat at the back of the courtroom and watched and sketched for almost two hours, without anyone paying attention to us. 

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Judge, Lawyers, and the accused:  I grouped several of the felons, most in hoodies, the lawyers, and the judge in one composite drawing.

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Near the end of the morning a Mother and Child came in for a few minutes and sat opposite me.  Several minutes after I began my sketch, she departed, and was probably a Wife or  Girlfriend who just was there to hear the Judge and the bail decision.  Many of the accused had family members who were there to confirm that they weren't a flight risk, and had ties to the community.

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