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December 22, 2015

Wednesday is Art Day

NYC Urban Sketchers meet once on a weekday and once on the weekend, most weeks.  During December the weekday group met in several "houses of worship" in New York City.  On December 9th I sketched this interior at St. Barts on Park Avenue.  Drawing and painting interiors are something I like to do, but rarely manage.

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In the afternoon Benedicte, Pat, and I went to the Whitney Museum for a Tour of the current Archibald Motley exhibit which was led by a friend of mine.  It was wonderful, and since I knew nothing about him and immediately fell in love, I'm going to include information from the exhibit at the end of this blog post.  These are quick drawings done while on tour and come from several different paintings, including an early self-portrait of Motley.

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This past Wednesday we met at the very small Shrine of St Elizabeth at Bowling Green and I sketched another interior. 

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We had to leave after an hour and we walked to Pier A in Battery Park and had lunch on the outdoor deck.  It was beautiful sitting in the sun at the edge of the water in New York Harbor. 

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A BRIEF PRESENTATION FROM THE ARCHIBALD F. MOTLEY JR. EXHIBIT AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM:

Archibald Motley (1891-1981)  was born in New Orleans and moved with his family to Chicago as a child.  He was one of the first African-Americans to attend the School at the Chicago Art Institute and continued his education with a year in Paris.   http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/ArchibaldMotley

 

I loved his use of color and spatial relationships - and everything he painted reflecting the Jazz-age in Chicago.  "The artist created a far more daring visual language than many of his contemporaries, fusing vivid narrative with dizzying spatial distortion and jarring hues to produce striking settings for characters of diverse racial backgrounds and social classes. And while his portrayals range from serene and august portraits to abrasive or outrageous caricatures, all were his instruments for addressing the poignancy, folly, and complexity of modern life."  

 

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The First Hundred Years:  Painted over 9 years and never signed.  And after this painting, Motley never lifted a brush again during his lifetime.  This overt political painting is said to be a modern allegory on the history of race relations in American.  He began the painting in 1963, and finished it in 1972.  It includes the heads of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln - and a confederate flag, a lynching, and a KKK member, among other atrocities. 

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Today is Wednesday, and we are off to the Frick Collection, followed by lunch and the Folk Art Museum. 

 

December 21, 2015

Picasso Sculpture Class

Before going to my last Watercolor class, I spent the afternoon at a Museum of Modern Art class related to the amazing Picasso Sculpture exhibit.  We spent an hour in the exhibit with a museum educator discussing individual sculptures and techniques.  In the second hour we went to a classroom, did 3 fast preliminary exercises, and then made our own sculpture using paper, cardboard, and tape.

Exercise 1 - make a sheet of copy paper into a 3D object.

Exercise 2 - Turn 2 pieces of 5X5" cardboard into one 3D object using scissors.

Exercise 3 - Attach one 5 X 5" cardboard square, perpendicularly, to another, using tape.  I folded each piece in half, like an "L", and then put the upright parts of the "Ls" together, back to back, with tape.  This was a very stable structure, with a base and a perpendicular strong upright piece.  I extended the idea for my original sculpture.

We were given black paper, brown cardboard, black tape, and a piece of white corrugated paper, and were asked to make the materials into a sculpture related to us personally.  So I had to include my imaginary friend Axel.  The black triangle is the front part of the base like I created in Exercise 3.

It was so interesting that the 3 simple preliminary exercises were like short pose warm-up figure drawings, and opened our minds and warmed up our hands! 

 

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December 17, 2015

Last FIT Watercolor Class

Last night was the final class of my Watercolor Class at Fashion Institute of Technology.  My goal for this class was to finally spend time in a real class, instead of learning on my own, and to work bigger and looser.  I have no interest in changing my main goal, which is to keep a watercolor sketchbook journal, but change and growth through a formal course can result in some changes to my pages.  We learned about so many brushes, grounds, resists, and types of paint.  We used Chinese White on white Illustration board and brown cardboard, and most recently gouache on black gesso, a fun technique which I still need to play with before posting my paintings.  Our model last evening, the young man with the Mohawk, dressed crazy for Christmas!  Here are two of my paintings and a drawing of Professor Martino as he was painting during our party.

 

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From the other side of the room. 

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December 12, 2015

Return to the Society of Illustrators

I love figure drawing sessions at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.  It is a drop in program - 3 hours of drawing/painting two models who pose simultaneously.  There is also live music and a bar to buy a glass of wine.  From May through October I usually go to figure drawing weekly in Battery Park City - an outdoor venue that is hard to resist.  But I used to go to Society of Illustrators faithfully once a month and this year my last visit was in June!  On Tuesday night I went with my friend Casey who was visiting from France.  I met Casey in 2007 through the Everyday Matters Yahoo Group and see her most often during NYC visits.  The last time I saw her was a year ago in Paris. 

One of the models was new to me and I found her short poses to be challenging and fun.  Here are two of her two minute poses.  

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I sketched two 5 minute poses on the same large sheet of watercolor paper and then squeezed in another drawing.  I love the challenge of trying to figure out the spacing and relationship among them. I used a sketch and wash pencil and shaded the figures with my waterbrush and clear water. 

 

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These are two of the 20 minute poses.  I get bored easily, and probably finished these in 15 minutes and then looked over at the sketchpads of those sitting around me.  We had a great evening and 19 sketches by the end!   This page was too large for scanning, thus the gray-blue background from my camera.

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December 8, 2015

Copying the Masters

There are lots of great gallery exhibits in New York City and my artist friends and I usually put together a list and then spend a day in a specific neighborhood.  On November 18th we met at Penn Station and walked to Chelsea.  My personal favorites for the day were the Max Ernst sculptures at Paul Kasmin, the Robert Rauchenberg at Pace, and the Giorgio Morandi at David Zwirner.  The bunny was street graffiti!  I sketched in the Galleries and painted the pages at home.

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There are also many terrific Museum Exhibits which opened this Fall and we've been scheduling at least 2 visits each week.  Last Friday we started at "Berlin Metropolis 1918-1933" at the Neue Gallerie  and then went to the Morgan Library and Museum to see "Graphic Passion:  Matisse and Book Arts."  I walk through the exhibits with my sketchbook open and quickly draw images that I like.  Here is one page of drawings from each museum.

 

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I could copy Matisse ink drawings and prints endlessly.  They captured so much in so few lines. 

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