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April 26, 2016

NYC Urban Sketchers May 23rd

I went to the morning session of the weekend NYC Urban Sketchers for the second time, and in spite of early drizzle and rain, I really enjoyed sketching Cooper Union.  It is a major historical building in the City and I hope that I can draw their other building which is very modern sometime this summer. 

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"The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, established in 1859, is among the nation's oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher education. The college, founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist, Peter Cooper, offers a world-class education in art, architecture and engineering as well as an outstanding faculty of humanities and social sciences. 

Peter Cooper wanted his school to play a role in the political and cultural life of his city and country. The means he chose was the establishment of the Great Hall in the basement of the Foundation Building. It seated 900, the largest secular meeting room in New York and soon after it was opened, and it made history when Abraham Lincoln, an unannounced candidate for president of the United States, and a virtual unknown in New York, was invited to speak there by the Young Men's Republican Union."

https://www.cooper.edu/about/history 

 

I sketched this across two sections in my most recent handmade accordion watercolor journal, and I love that the previous two are filled with outdoor paintings done with the weekday Urban Sketchers over the last two years.   

This is the current watercolor book.  I used Fabriano Artistico 140 lb watercolor paper for the 8 panel strip and paste paper from my last production for covering the binders board.  I can draw and paint on both sides of every panel.

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This is an example of the first and second accordion sketchbooks I filled at Urban Sketchers Weekday sessions. 

 

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March 18, 2016

Visit to the Oculus With NYC Urban Sketchers

New York City Urban Sketchers met at the new Santiago Calatrava Oculus on Wednesday, and viewed the inside and sketched the outside.  As I walked from the Fulton Center subway stop I took photos of the exterior from the East, the interior, and exterior from the West.  While the group was sketching at the foot of the Freedom Tower, I went across West St. to Brookfield Place and sketched from there.  The Oculus is still a construction site inside and out, but it is fun to see this very interesting new center to the Lower Manhattan Transportation Hub.

Oculus from the East (Dey and Church St.):  That is the World Trade Center Freedom Tower behind it.

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The Entrance I went in is at the NW corner of Liberty and Church St, just inside the door to WTC4.  Follow the signs to the Path Station down 2 escalators, and two long white marble corridors to the Oculus. 

 

Interior:  The wall covered in posters hides the continuing construction, but it is really the side walls and ceiling that are the main attraction.   

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Oculus From the West:  I sketched this view (see below), from the front of Brookfield Place and across West Avenue from the Oculus.

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It will still be a few months before all of the entries are open and the construction tools are gone.  This is a map of the area, including all of the World Trade Center Buildings that will eventually be accessible from the whole Plaza.  This is the Map I photographed from within the Concourse linking many of the buildings.  

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My Oculus Painting From the West:  I was lucky that the trees were still mostly bare. 

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February 1, 2016

Master Drawing Week in New York City 2016

Last Week was the annual Master Drawings Week in New York City.  I've gone with my Art Pals for the last several years, partly because I love drawings, and secondly because it is a wonderful opportunity to see elevators for 1.5 people and grand staircases in some of the most elegant townhouses between 5th  and Madison on the Upper Eastside.  Some European gallery owners rent space in NYC galleries for the week, making the selection even broader in scope.  There is a published book of galleries that can be requested from the website, and copies that can be picked up in the first gallery you visit.

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And there is even a map of gallery locations on the back of the booklet.  We began on 66th St and ended on 86th St - only missing a few along the way.

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I love pen and ink drawings - and these are two photos I took of favorites.  The first is from the 18th C. Italian artist Giuseppe Bernardino Bison and the second by Gustav Klimt. 

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Last week I watched a very short Matisse video of The Piano Lesson and then was delighted to see one of several preliminary drawings exploring different positions of the 3 individuals in a Master Drawing gallery.

http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/impressions/2016/01/matisse-la-lecon-de-piano.html?cmp=email_selects_selects_matisse_hero2_12916-12916 

 

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But the highlight of the day for me was my 3rd Joaquin Torres-Garcia exhibit this month.  He is described as the first South American Modernist and I now know many of his paintings for the first time.  I saw the big Torres-Garcia exhibit at MoMA at the beginning of the month, a lovely exhibit at Gary Nader Gallery at 24 W57th St last week, and then a collection of privately owned Torres-Garcia works of art on this tour.   There were drawings and paintings in the Gallery, and a watercolor sketchbook that was spread out in a glass case.  It was one of the pages in the sketchbook that I was inspired to paint in my sketchbook when I got home that evening. 

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My version - for inspiration! 

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January 15, 2016

NYC Urban Sketchers and Art Wednesday

Twenty-five NYC Urban Sketchers met at Kremer Pigments (247 W. 29th St, NY, NY) on Wednesday morning for a lecture-demo by Roger Carmona, the Store Manager.  Roger is an artist and an expert on Materials - specifically paints.  During the first hour he told us about many pigments and how they are created: mineral, earth, plants, animals, and synthetic.  They have samples of the many rocks that are ground to make pigments, including the very expensive lapis lazuli and the unbelievably expensive purple pigment made from mollusk shells.  Kremer, a German company, makes pigments and mixes them with various binders to make many types of paint.  During the second hour we watched Roger mix 2 blue pigments with watercolor medium (gum Arabic/glycerin/honey) all the while continuing the lecture and answering MANY questions.  The store sells the pigments, binder mixtures, and ready made paints in tubes and pans and I am dangerously oversimplifying what I learned. 

http://www.kremerpigments.com/ 

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KremersSIZE.jpgThe blue paint on my sketchbook page is the mixture he made of French Ultramarine and Phthalo Blue. 

 

After lunch with my artist friend Benedicte, the two of us walked to The Rubin Museum of Art because Pat told us we had to see two exhibits there.  The first was Becoming Another: The Power of Masks.    The masks, which come from parts of the world represented at the Rubin, were beautiful and each mask came with a story.  Benedicte and I separated to sketch our favorites. 

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The Monkey mask was my favorite.  His job in the annual monastic festival dance of the dead is to put black and white stones, for bad deeds and good deeds, on a scale to determine which weighs more when the God of Death is judging a sinner versus a pious man.  Strips of colored fabric are put on the pin on the top of the mask - and hang down covering the back of the head.

 

The second "must see" art was a photography exhibit by photojournalist Steven McCurry - part of his extensive India series.  This was one of my favorite photos - I really want to sketch these men in their unusual positions.  The website has more photos and terrific short videos by Steven McCurry.

http://rubinmuseum.org/events/exhibitions/steve-mccurry-india 

 

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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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