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October 6, 2012

Berlin, Prague, and Budapest

We are going to Berlin, Prague, and Budapest this month and I recycled an old $2.00 book to use as my watercolor sketchbook.  I searched for an old book that had some theme that would relate to our trip, but wasn't sure how to connect these places.  At the first used book store, on the first cart, I found a book called Lili Marlene.  It is a wonderful historical book about the song that became the most famous song of World World II.

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The words were written by a young German soldier, while on sentry duty during WWI.  The famous score was written many years later, and the song as we know it was played nightly by the Nazi Radio Belgrade.  The radio station could be heard by both the axis and allied soldiers, and all of them turned on their radios nightly before bed to hear Lale Anderson and then Marlene Dietrich sing Lili Marlene.

I loved reading the book before replacing the page block with watercolor paper.  I used some of the photos and drawings to collage a spread to document my inspiration for selecting this book for my trip.  My method for making recycled books can be seen in this 4 part tutorial.

 

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Several pages were already painted for our trip.  It helps me get into the sketchbook more easily as soon as we arrive at the airport.

A sample of the art supplies and palette that I will bring.  I actually have gold, silver and white Signo pens and 4 Niji waterbrushes in my pencil case. 

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One page that I prepared for a small 2 x 2" highlight drawing for each day.  It is so much fun to see these pages at the end of each of my trips.

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One page from calendar grid that I will complete each day:

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The completed  2x2 drawings and calendar from our trip to Venice can be seen here in my completed Venice Sketchbook blog entries.

October 2, 2012

Klimt and Da Vinci

I bought 2 old, used books for $2 each - one book of Klimt figure drawings and another one a set of B and W Artists' drawings and paintings of hands (Heidi Lenssen: Hangs in Nature and Art).

These are both excellent books for me to use to make copies of drawings by Master Artists.  Here is a Klimt portrait and hands drawn by Leonardo DaVinci.  Both were drawn with graphite.

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September 28, 2012

Fun Day in Art Supply and Second Hand Book Stores

Last week my visitor Kathy and I spent the day searching for books to recycle as watercolor sketchbooks and browsing for art supplies.  It was great fun and very successful.  I taught Kathy how to make a watercolor sketchbook during her visit last year using the tutorial that I prepared for this blog. 

One of the used books she bought has wonderful ink drawings of houseplants, one of which I used to do this painting of the pot and plant. I don't have any green paints on my Winsor-Newton watercolor palette, but have 3 yellows and 3 blues, meaning I can mix 9 different greens.  I plan to systematically mix all 9 and make a card for my sketchbook since I can never remember which I like best.

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We went to Utrecht and Dick Blick and both of us found supplies we couldn't live without.  This is a quick drawing of most of my purchases.  Dick Blick was having a "Madness Sale" and I was delighted to find a Gelliart plate to make monoprints and a set of Lumiere paints for fabric.  I love painting and dying cloth to make book cloth for my watercolor sketchbooks.

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September 24, 2012

NYC Harbor Cruise and Figure Drawing

Last week Pat and I took my friend Kathy for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  It is one of the best activities in New York City .  It is free and ferries depart every 30 minutes.  You need to get off the ferry in Staten Island, but there are little restaurants in the ferry terminal and a huge tropical fish tank to keep you from getting bored before you board a ferry for the return trip.

These are the New York City Ferry Terminals as we were departing.

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The view of Battery Park and the Financial District is spectacular.  The tall building on the left is the new Freedom Tower - built on the North edge of Ground Zero.  They are still working on the very top.

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The ferry sails close to the Statue of Liberty.  This photo was taken with the zoom on my point and shoot camera.

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We only had a few minutes to draw the fish - they were painted back in NYC during lunch.

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We sat along the seawall for our figure drawing session to stay warm in the sun.  This is a photo of part of our sketching group.

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I'm only posting my two 10 minute sketches.  Joseph was a terrific model, and in the majority of poses he was sitting in challenging positions on the rocks.

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September 21, 2012

Playtime #2 with Gouache

My first artist grade watercolors were 3 warm primaries and 3 cool primaries - because I wanted to mix my own colors, like I do with procion MX dyes for fabric.  Laura, of Laurelines.... was posting some color studies that she did and I decided to spend 6 months, one for each primary and secondary color, mixing my 6 Winsor Newton primary triads to explore a full range of colors. 

Each month I collected items of the "color of the month" and tried to mix colors as closely as possible to paint them.  Those sketchbook pages can be seen by scrolling down in the color project category on the right side of my blog - under Archives. 

Now I'm experimenting with my first artist grade gouache and I spent another wonderful playtime mixing complementary colors from my 3 tubes.  The primaries, secondaries created, and some glazing from playtime #1 can be seen here.

This time I wanted to mix complementary colors using red + green, blue + orange, and yellow + purple.  I didn't spend much time mixing the secondary colors, i.e. I didn't try to match them to colors created in my last playtime.  I stayed very loose!  My three primaries are all identified in the 3 spectrums.

 

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I wanted to try to mix all of the colors in a small sketchbook painting and found a perfect reference photo - a scene near Place des Voges taken by our cousin when the 4 of us were in Paris in 2005.  I tried to match the colors in the photo as much as possible, although I still need to work harder to get the darkest gray possible.  One turned out too purple and the other too brown.

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