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January 22, 2016

Tuesday Was Art Day This Week

And what an amazing day it was with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, and Teri!  We intended to visit 4 Galleries, but it was really cold and we found other really interesting exhibits in two of the buildings, so we didn't have to go outside as often and saw more wonderful art as inspiration. 

I first learned about William Kentridge, a South African artist through his one man show at MoMA.  The Met then had an exhibit of one of his video art pieces within the last two years.  I'm fascinated by him and was completely shocked that Marian Goodman Gallery had two of his new megasize video installations.  What a thrill to be surrounded by his art combined with music, dance, and South African actors.   Here is a link to the Video of "More Sweetly Play the Dance."  But watching on video it isn't as amazing as being in the large space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-n5Kvw9v4A

 

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 Deliberate Practice:

I sketched two of my two favorite paintings and two wood sculptures from our visits. Each copy is an education for me as I try to learn more about lines, ink, and the use of watercolor to approximate the oil paints used.  I also practiced more handlettering on these sketchbook pages for my Sketchbook Skool 5 homework.

 

A Painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker (1875-1907), a German Artist who died at age 31 following childbirth. 

Peasant Woman Carrying a Branch circa 1898. 

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Two sculptures by Chaim Gross (Forum Gallery) and Frank Walter (Hirschl and Adler Gallery).

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A Painting (Untitled) by B. Vithal at DAG Modern Gallery.

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January 19, 2016

Picasso Sculpture and Hand Lettering Homework

I saw the Picasso Sculpture Exhibit many times since the preview on September 11, 2015.  Last week I went with my husband for what may be my last visit, although there are still more favorite sculptures I would like to draw.  While at home painting two pieces I just drew, I went back and painted a drawing from an earlier visit, and I used these 3 Picasso sketchbook pages to practice handlettering.   Koosje Koene, the first teacher in Sketchbook Skool 5 -Expressing. gave several demos on hand lettering, and our first homework for this week was to practice one serif and one sans serif alphabet.

Years ago I printed upper and lower case alphabets and numbers of fonts I liked from Word and Word Perfect (see sample below).  While I've used them on some occasions, I rarely use them for sketchbook drawings.  On these 3 pages, however, I did look at saved samples and started my homework.

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These are my 3 sketchbook pages, now with a variety of hand lettered fonts. 

 

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January 8, 2016

Art Goals for 2016

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My main goal is to develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.  At the beginning of each year, I like to define new projects which will help me progress and then remain open to new opportunities.

 

1.  Take Classes:

Studying Under the Masters 3:  I really enjoy this online class and registered for it during 2015, even though I was saving the content for Winter 2016.   In the weekly videos I learn more about specific artists I know and meet artists I don't know.  And then I stretch my painting skills by copying a painting of the Master and subsequently using those techniques in an original painting!  Since I convert my copies of masterworks from oil to watercolor for each artist studied, I also experiment and learn an enormous amount in the process.  This is the last time this class series will be offered by Jeanne Oliver and the artists for this series include Horace Pippin, Joan Miro, Marie Laurencin, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Klimt, and Alisa Burke.

Sketchbook Skool Semester 5:  I think Danny and Koosje have created a wonderful model for art education and a committed community of artists, new and old.  I'm already registered for Semester 5 which is called "Expressing."  And here's hoping there is a 6th Semester in 2016!

Craftsy:  I just signed up for "Sketching the City in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor" by Shari Blaukopf.    

Battery Park City Conservancy "Still Lifes and Figure Drawing" with Marla Lipkin a new 9 session class being offered this year locally in NYC from Feb. through March (9 sessions).  

Fashion Institute of Technology  (FIT):  Registration for Spring isn't until the end of January, but I intend to continue taking classes there as long as their Senior Learner program is in existence. 

 

2.  Maintain a Community of Artist Friends: 

It is impossible to attend all of the art activities scheduled in New York City, so my goal is to attend a minimum of one activity/week - Meetup, Urban Sketchers, Battery Park City (May-Oct), Society of Illustrators, and to add other museum and gallery visits with my friends into those days.  I will also continue to post new entries to my blog twice each week to continue my interaction with and inspiration from artists online.   

 

3.  Bookbinding:

Continue to make my own sketchbooks - for daily drawings and for travel.

Create a tutorial for my pencil-pen pocket for sketchbooks.

Create another batch of paste paper for my stash.

 

4.  Special Project: I also like to have one separate project each year.  Several winters ago I sketched/elephants for a whole month using every medium I had.  Another year I studied different methods for making books and made a different type of book each month for 8 months.   This year I am trying to figure out how I can use some of the figure drawings I've accumulated during the last 5 years and transform them into an artist book.  I already transferred images to fabric using a different method for each Quilt Journal Page (8.5 X 11") I created.  Last year I made a small book of the Figures I drew in the Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society sessions at MoMA. 

Here are the first 6 of the Quilt Journal Pages I made in 2012 using hand-dyed fabrics.  I transferred drawings I made of a pregnant model at figure drawing in order to create this Mother and Child series in fabric. 

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December 28, 2015

Reflections on Art in 2015

A Review of Art Experiences and Learning During 2015: A Progress Report

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January 4th is the 10th anniversary of my blog and it is always a good time for reflection and planning.   

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.

1.  Goal: To sketch and paint everyday, and to blog twice each week. These activities give my retirement life some structure and provide enormous inspiration within an artist community. 

Progress:  I no longer do quick sketches every day, but no week passes without me having several good drawing sessions.  It was really important to me to sketch daily when I was beginning this journey as I prepared for retirement from medicine, but the habits were formed and now I can rarely pass a few days without some scribbles, if not a full sketchbook drawing/painting.  My blog posts are important to me, and continue to give structure and meaning to my art adventure and posting twice each week is a great schedule.

 

2.  Goal: Take more classes online and in person to remain inspired:

Progress:  I participated in several online classes this year, just enough to be inspired on an almost weekly basis during some months:  Studying Under the Masters 2, Sketchbook Skool Semester 4,  and an assortment of Craftsy Classes.  These included:  Close-up Flowers in Watercolor (Nan Carey), Travel Sketching in Mixed Media and Sketching People in Motion (both Marc Taro Holmes),    I also took a surface design class through Craftsy:  Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist with Malka Dubrawsky.

Each semester, for 14 weeks, I took a class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and was lucky enough to register for Drawing and Watercolor classes in 2015.  As with the other classes I've taken there on subjects about which I already have some knowledge and experience, I always learn something new.  Our few drawing classes on perspective were excellent and our watercolor classes on different palettes and the use of Chinese White (with watercolor) and Black gesso (with gouache) as grounds were completely new to me.

 

3. Goal:  Continue to draw and paint locally:

Progress:  I belong to two Meetup groups and attend semi-regularly, schedule permitting: "Central Park Drawing and Art" and "Drawing New York."  We have an NYC-Urban Sketchers Weekday Group, and that provides other opportunities for group inspiration and contact.  Battery Park City Conservancy has weekly Nature Painting and Figure Drawing from May through October and I regularly participate in both the morning and afternoon sessions, weather permitting.  This year I attended figure drawing at Society of Illustrators with two visitors, my dear friends Sara from Alabama and Casey from France, and a series of Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society Figure Drawing sessions at MoMA.  And last, but not least, my very special days, spent with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, and sometime Teri, means that we rarely miss the best museum and gallery shows in the City.  I would feel very isolated without these special 3 friends and would have many fewer good laughs!

One of my favorite projects this year was participation in the 100 Day Challenge by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent.  My goal, especially after taking Sketchbook Skool Semester 4, was to draw more from my imagination.  I didn't upload my daily drawings to Instagram, or follow along with other people's projects, but once I committed to it, I was faithful to the project for all 100 days, and even created my little imaginary character Axel. 

  

4. Goal:  Make watercolor sketchbooks, for daily drawing and painting and travel:

Progress:  I made cased-in watercolor books for my daily sketchbooks, accordion journals for our outdoor Urban Sketchers sessions, a travel sketchbook for our vacation in Spain from an old book of Spanish Drawings, and a summer travel sketchbook from a recycled book called Colors of the Sea.  All of these are discussed and photographed in daily blog posts in my bookbinding category on the blog. 

July was my big surface design month, during which I spent part of almost every day dying fabric, exploring new techniques, and creating dyed fabric for bookcloth.  In the process I also made dye samples and created a unique sewing pattern for a pencil-pen pocket which goes around my sketchbook cover with Velcro.  It is a wonderful convenience when I am sketching as I walk around museums and galleries.

Even Axel and his friend Alice made an appearance on fabric - using thick dye for the drawing and color.  

This year I also planned to make another batch of paste paper to use for covering bookboards and/or as endpapers, but I didn't deplete as much of my stash as I thought I might.

 

I'd love to read what others are planning.... 

 

 

 

December 1, 2015

A Pathway From One Creative Idea to Another

Fabio Consoli, one of the faculty from the Sketchbook Skoolhouse Stretching online class, wanted us to explore "child's play," combining a child's drawing with ours.  My grandson Zach made the figure on the right and I completed the picture with figures from my own imagination.  Here is the original blog post about this homework assignment.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2015/05/sketchbook_skool_homework_for.php 

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I was doing a 100 day challenge at the same time - drawing from my imagination - and eventually Axel (the figure on the left) was featured in many of my drawings, and he even acquired a girl friend.  I asked Zach to help me create a back story and he said that Axel and Alice were from the moon and their head shapes were determined by the phase of the moon at their birth.  They were playing in Axel's Mother's space ship and accidently started it.  They are very confused by Earth.

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I sketched Axel and Alice many times over the next months, eventually leading me to "draw" Axel on Fabric. 

During July I spent part of every day dying fabric and one of my projects was to create Axel and Alice on fabric by drawing and painting the fabric with Procion MX dyes. 

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I make many Christmas ornaments for family and friends, an annual project since my own 3 children were born more than 40 years ago.  Now I'm making Axel ornaments for our 8 grandchildren + one for our tree.

I scanned the dye painting of Axel and resized him (6 inches long) in Photoshop.  The JPEG was transferred to a piece of fabric on a plastic support (EQ Printed Treasure Premium Cotton Satin) and 9 copies were made using an Epson Artisan 50 Photo Ink Jet Printer.

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Each Axel was then sewn to a backing and lightly stuffed to hang on our family Christmas trees.  Here is a finished ornament. 

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And here are all 9 that I made - for 8 grandchildren + our tree. 

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