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September 15, 2017

NYC Urban Sketchers and the Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel House:  This was another wonderful USK adventure.  The Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765 and is the oldest house in Manhattan.  In the Fall of 1776 it served as a temporary headquarters for George Washington, and now it is a historical site and museum in Washington Heights.  It is very easy to reach from midtown Manhattan, and you are really transported to the country. 

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Sylvan Terrace:  You approach Roger Morris Park through Sylvan Terrace, up a flight of stone steps on St. Nicholas Avenue between 161st and 162nd Street.  At the top of the stairs there is a cobblestone "street" and two parallel rows of houses. 

http://www.scoutingny.com/a-hidden-treasure-in-washington-heights/ 

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The entrance to the Park is at the far-end of Sylvan Terrace.   Many of us sat on the front lawn of the house, with the Harlem River to the East, and Sylvan Terrace to the left, and it was wonderfully quiet.  This is my painting of the house.  Others sketched the garden house on the back of the Park.

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September 12, 2017

Simple Figure Sketches - Overcoming Resistance

I love to draw figures and to draw and paint buildings.  But my figures are drawn without context/backgrounds, and my buildings don't have any people in or around them.  It is time for me to address these issues, so I took Suhita Shirodkar's online Craftsy class (Figure Sketching Made Simple) because I love her loose sketches. 

The class was great, but I couldn't get myself to draw any people in the days following the class - a common form of resistance that I can blame on my "inner critic."  I needed a low stakes intervention, and while browsing last Sunday's NY Times T magazine on Mens'Style, I saw the photo included below.  I grabbed a ball point pen, tore some used copy paper into quarters, and worked my way through the ads in the magazine in less than 30 minutes - drawing 16 figures! 

 

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I threw away two that were really awful, and saved these 14.  It was a start!   

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I decided to continue this as a low stakes project this month - drawing simple figures from photos - so I made a small folder to keep scrap paper drawings in as I practice. 

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Later, I was throwing away a New York City Ballet 2017-18 schedule and couldn't resist a quick sketch of one of the photos. 

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I still have to overcome resistance and shut up my inner critic MILDRED so I can practice drawing live moving people!  Onward!

 

 

September 5, 2017

WWI: Beyond the Trenches

Last week I visited the another WWI Art exhibit (through Sept 3, 2017)   It is 100 years since the beginning of WWI, and the first art exhibit I saw was at the National Air and Space Museum in DC.  That exhibit focused on artists who were selected and embedded with the troops, and the sculptors who made bas relief sculptures in the stone chambers they lived in underground.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2017/04/_while_in_dc_my.php

In the exhibit at the NY Historical Society, many artists' paintings and sculptures were exhibited, including a very large mural by John Singer Sargent and two sculptures by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. I knew that she was the patron who started the Whitney Museum with her art collection, but I didn't know that she was a sculptor and when traveling the battlefields of WWI set up field hospitals for the soldiers.

I copied a detail from a painting by Claggett Wilson (Front Line Stuff 1919).  He was in the Marine Corps and fought at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood where he suffered the effects of poison gas.  At a hospital in Dijon and later in the Army of German Occupation, he recorded his experiences in watercolor and then went on to become an art teacher at Columbia University in NYC.  This is from one of his many paintings in the exhibit.

 

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The Met currently has an exhibit entitled WWI and the Visual Arts (through Jan 7, 2018) and the Museum of the City of New York has an ongoing exhibit entitles Posters and Patriotism: Selling WWI in New York. They are on my "to see" list.

September 1, 2017

My Newest Watercolor Sketchbook

Just a quick photo today of my newest handbound watercolor sketchbook.  I dyed the fabric and made it into bookcloth, fusing it to mulberry paper for strength.  There are 48 pages of Fabriano Artistico made from 2 sheets of 140 lb Soft Press paper, which is my favorite watercolor  paper.  I made the pen/pencil holder from another piece of dyed fabric, and love having it attached so I can easily carry it with me and have a pencil, eraser, and 3 pens.  I now have 5 of these pen/pencil holders and so far I can find one that blends with each of my newest sketchbooks.

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August 29, 2017

More Flowers of Wagner Park in Battery Park City

Each year I wait for the "dinner plate" hibiscus to bloom in Wagner Park.  They are beautiful and completely fill some of the flower beds.  These three color variants were drawn on Wednesday August 16th as I passed through the Park on my way to Figure Al Fresco.

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When I walked through the Park on August 23rd, many of the usual flowers were blooming.  But there was one white iris, and I surrounded it with other flowers I've already painted. 

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Summer will soon be over in NYC and I will need to think about practicing tree drawings and paintings as the scenery shifts.  I recently watched Shari Blaukopf's Craftsy Landscape Class to try to build up some enthusiasm for these types of drawings/paintings.  We'll see what happens.... 

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