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October 27, 2012

Visiting Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary

We just returned from our visit to Berlin, Dresden, Prague and Budapest.  I sketched throughout our trip, but we were almost always on the move and most of my sketchbook pages were done while walking.  Each day I also selected one image to paint in the 2 X 2" grid I made before we left.  Here is the completed grid.



It was very important for me to visit these cities and to learn more of their history during WWII and the Soviet occupation that followed.  We spent one full day in Prague visiting Lidice and Terezin, and this was one of the most memorable days of our trip.  The Nazis totally destroyed the town of Lidice (shooting the men, gassing the children, and transporting the women to the camps) to revenge the assasination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich.  Here is a photo I took of the current site of the non-Jewish farming and mining Czech town.


We toured the museum, and saw the memorials in Lidice.  The statue, created by Maria Uchytilova (1969-89) memorialized the 82 children that were murdered.  It is extraordinary!


I sketched several children and then added candles that were painted on the wall in a hidden Terezin synagogue room (created by imprisoned Danish Jewish craftsmen) and one of the very large Terazin memorials (that is in a cemetary field where prisoners who died of typhus etc were buried).  Terazin was the "model" Nazi camp - the one that the Red Cross visited to "falsely" assess the conditions in Nazi camps.  However, it was a transfer station on the way to Auschwitz - and the majority of prisoners from Terazin were transported and murdered there.



There were many artists held prisoner in Terezin (also called Theresienstadt) and the art museum contains secret drawings and paintings that were done, before they were murdered in Auschwitz.  There is a large book containing all of these,that was published in 2002, entitled Art Against Death.  It was too big and heavy to carry home, but I loved it so much that I will search for it in the US.

October 23, 2012

Practicing Hands By Drawing the Masters

More hand drawing practice from my recently purchased used book that has glorious hand drawings by the Masters.  I really hope that someday I will internalize these shapes and forms.  The first hand was drawn with a watercolor pencil, but then I decided not to wet it.  The second page was drawn with a 2B graphite pencil.



October 15, 2012

End of Summer and Beginning of Fall

I used liquid Frisket to mask the spots on the strawberries and the leaves.




October 12, 2012

Mixing Many Greens with Watercolor Paints

I got interested in mixing paints again after my last gouache experiments.  When I bought my first Winsor-Newton artist grade watercolors in 2003, I bought a warm and a cool triad and then followed those purchases with 3 more "primary color" paints for a total of 3 triads.  I switched out the cadmium red and cadmium yellow after several years because they were too opaque, but haven't changed anything else.  With these colors, plus one brown and one gray, I can mix many, many colors very easily.

Mixing 3 yellows and 3 blues in varying proportions (9 combinations total), sounded like fun and I decided to put these tests on a card so I can remember the resultant colors and select which shade of green I want.  I mix paints very loosely, but this exercise demonstrated that several mixtures produce traditional greens and several others produce shades of olive green.

There are 3 sets on the next two cards:  The yellow is identified at the top and the blue is painted next to each set.  In each row, I kept mixing in more yellow until it was clear that I overwhemed the blue.  The order is obviously a little random.  However, with yellow ochre, I never really got a good green with my original mix - but the aqua and grays are lovely.



I also have a tube of quinacridone gold and decided to test it with the same 3 blues.  It also makes some nice greens.


All of the above experimentation is quite funny, because I don't paint landscapes.  But I do paint individual flowers and can never remember which combination of my primaries I want for specific leaf colors.  Now my Green card is in the back of my sketchbook so I can make better and easier choices.

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.


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.




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. 



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.


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


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

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