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October 22, 2016

Barcelona Travel Sketchbook - 1

We returned from Barcelona this week, and I wanted to start posting some of my travel sketchbook pages.  Today I will post recurring features that I make part of each of my travel sketchbooks.  Then as I finally paint the rest of my drawings, I will add them to my blog.  I have photos taken of the site for each ink drawing, so I can remember the colors.  My husband is very patient, so I always have 15-20 minutes to do a drawing on site, but I don't want him to wait while I paint.  Sometimes I paint during lunch, or a late afternoon glass of wine.  But this time I returned with more unfinished pages than usual.  This plan will help me finish a travel sketchbook that I really enjoyed making, otherwise I may get busy and forget about my overall plan. 

I always draw Mickey in his bread dough plane (from Maurice Sendak) on the title page for overseas trips, and I add every piece of information I can think of to make sure a lost sketchbook will be returned to me.

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Before we leave I create a calendar on several pages, so I can fill in our activities at the end of each day.  This is an example from 3 days. 

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I also make a series of 2 X 2 squares that I can fill in daily, adding some image that will allow me to remember a highlight of the day.  Here are the squares I painted during the entire trip.

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A View from our hotel window.  I am far behind in Liz Steel's Buildings online class, but wanted a quick sketch of the top of the back of this beautiful apartment building in Eixample, Barcelona. 

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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.... 

 

 

 

November 20, 2015

Vacation in Spain - 4

This is the last of my sketchbook pages from our vacation in Spain - this time drawings done while we were visiting the fantastic art museums.

The collection at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid is extraordinary, and even more amazing because it is a single collection.  I've been drawing more sculpture lately and this was a beautiful Rodin sculpture from 1906-7 entitled "The Birth of Venus."

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The Reina Sofia Museum is the home of Picasso's painting Guernica.  I remember seeing this visual record of the horror of war at MoMA as a young girl before it was returned to Spain.  I didn't draw any of it, but after our Museum visit, my husband and I sat in the quiet courtyard and watched the Calder mobile slowly twist and turn in the wind. 

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Our visit to the Prado was enriched with a running commentary by our traveling companion - a professor of art history.  After our husbands left the museum, I went back to sketch 2 pieces of art to remember this wonderful visit.  I love Goya and in spite of the horror, will never forget seeing, in person, his famous painting The Third of May.  I chose to just draw the soldier the soldier in the front and then sketched a piece of ancient sculpture before our hour was over. 

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It was a special treat to visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.  I've always loved the very early drawings and paintings which were done in Barcelona when he was a young man.  There were many inspiring drawings, and my husband managed to take this one photo with his phone so I could remember our visit.  He sketched with a very loose style, in pen widths of varying size.  I used a Pigma Micro Brush pen to try to capture the feeling - but who can really duplicate lines by Picasso?

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October 27, 2015

Vacation in Spain - Part 3

I did occasionally sit down to sketch and paint while in Spain - while listening to music, sipping coffee, watching Flamingo dancers, or drinking a glass of wine.  The sites weren't pre-selected and all but once, my husband was with me as we talked and enjoyed our vacation.

Madrid: 

I walked to Plaza Santa Ana one sunny afternoon while my husband went to the gym.  There was a place to sit in a central area among outdoor cafes, each with their own musicians that alternated playing.  The Teatro Espanol was at one end of the Plaza and I sat there enjoying my surroundings while drawing and painting.

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My husband and I took a long walk our last day in Madrid, and stopped for a mid-morning cup of coffee.  I was facing several apartments around the Plaza San Andreas, and I loved the combination of colors and the sun vs shade. 

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Seville:  We had dinner in our small hotel dining room the day we arrived, and less than a dozen of us watched a pair of Flamenco dancers, a guitarist, and a singer.  The flamenco dancers moved too quickly to sketch, so I drew one of the repeated poses of the guitarist.

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Barcelona:

We spent one entire day looking at Antoni Gaudi buildings: Sagrada Familia, Guadi's home and museum at Parc Guell, and Casa Batllo several blocks from our hotel.  After walking around the exterior and interior of Sagrada Familia, I set up front, in the nave, and sketched the ceiling above the altar while listening to someone, somewhere sing Ave Maria. 

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We stopped for a glass of wine in a gorgeous plaza, after visiting the Picasso Museum.  While there, a well-known elderly Flamenco Dancer stopped right in front of us, so he and the students made it into my painting.

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October 23, 2015

Vacation in Spain - Part 2

Before we left for Spain, I put 2 X 2" squares on several sketchbook pages, so I could add one image that stood out in my mind each day.  Here are the 3 grid pages that are now completed.

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I also prepared pages to record activities for each day, which always is appreciated when I'm trying to remembers restaurants and other places.  

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