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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.... 

 

 

 

August 20, 2015

Urban Sketchers and the Seaglass Carousel

Today is the Grand Opening of the new Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park.  It took 10 years to reach completion and is a labor of love for the Battery Conservancy, a group founded by Warrie Price in 1994.  The WXY architectural firm's Mark Yoes and his team members conceived of the nautilus shape to honor the original New York Aquarium that once was located in Castle Clinton in Battery Park. 

Yesterday our weekday NYC-Urban Sketchers' group met there to sketch the exterior one day before the official opening.  Upon arrival we learned that it was Press Day and the "keeper of the press list" wouldn't let us any closer.  You can see  the table set up at the entrance.  I sat on a bench and started sketching, soon joined by 2 others from our group.  Several others were disappointed and decided to go sketch along the water where it was cooler.

 

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Much later, after my sketchbook page was painted, one of our members approached the Battery Conservancy Chief of Operations, and was granted permission for the 3 of us to enter based on our almost completed sketches.  The official program for the Press was over and press attendees were just riding the carousel, so I was even able to see the Nautilus spiral ceiling from the inside.    

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Warrie Price and NYC-USK: Much later, the Chief of Operations, Steve Lagerstrom, introduced us to Warrie Price.  From Left to Right - Raylie, Me, Maureen from Urban Sketchers, and Warrie Price the President and Founder of the Battery Conservancy.  The man behind Raylie is Mark Yoes, architect.

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Here is my sketchbook page.  I wasn't sure how long I could sit on the bench in the sun, so the sketch was done quickly and the measurements aren't completely accurate.  Just before we were given permission to enter, the carousel was started and I saw that great big pink fish pass inside the windows.

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When I went inside, I actually met Mark Yoes, completely by chance, as we discussed my open wet paint palette and painting.  I told him I would send him a link to my blog post and hope that he enjoys it!  Here are 4 of the many photos I took as the fish were whirling past me,

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There are many articles already printed, and even a short 1 minute video showing the 30 fish as they spin around and move up and down.  I'm including 2 links, one to the NY Times video and the other to the NY Times article plus video.  Seaglass will now become a favorite NYC destination for NYC families and tourists alike. 

 

Video:  NY Times   http://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/design/100000003846021/take-a-ride-on-a-seaglass-carousel.html

Video Plus Recent Article Describing the Project:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/arts/design/new-yorks-new-carousel-puts-you-in-a-whirling-school-of-mechanized-fish.html?_r=0 

July 17, 2015

NYC Urban Sketchers and the End of 100 Day Project

The New York City Urban Sketchers met this week on the plaza in front of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue.  The overall plan was to sketch the Truth and Beauty sculptures and/or the Lions Patience and Fortitude.  It was a gorgeous day and I sat on one of the park chairs and sketched Truth, followed by a drawing of the man sitting all afternoon at a small table in front of me.  He said he is Garrett Buhl Robinson, an author who is selling his published books and passing out information about a musical that he wrote that will open in the Fall. 

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Our weekday NYC Urban Sketchers Group.  Raylie (on the left) and 3 others from the NYC Group are headed off this week to Singapore for the annual Worldwide Urban Sketchers Symposium. 

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100 Day Project:  Drawings From My Imagination 

July 14th was the last day of the 100 Day Project Challenge, and I celebrated with a final drawing of Alex and Alice.  The caption says "Can I take Alice and go home for a visit?"  I asked my 5 year old Grandson Zach for a backstory when he was here this past weekend.  Axel and Alice are from the Moon, and their heads are shaped like that because they were both born during a crescent Moon.  He says they were playing in Axel's Mother's spaceship and accidentally started it! 

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January 23, 2015

Urban Sketching in Criminal Court

The Weekday Urban Sketchers of New York City met in Arraignments Court a week ago to sketch the proceedings.  The action was fast, with the accused appearing before the judge, with the prosecuting and defending attorneys making brief statements, mainly about setting bail and court dates for their court appearances.  Occasionally a guilty plea was entered and the judge informed the felon about the process and confirmed the decision.  Our small group sat at the back of the courtroom and watched and sketched for almost two hours, without anyone paying attention to us. 

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Judge, Lawyers, and the accused:  I grouped several of the felons, most in hoodies, the lawyers, and the judge in one composite drawing.

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Near the end of the morning a Mother and Child came in for a few minutes and sat opposite me.  Several minutes after I began my sketch, she departed, and was probably a Wife or  Girlfriend who just was there to hear the Judge and the bail decision.  Many of the accused had family members who were there to confirm that they weren't a flight risk, and had ties to the community.

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October 3, 2014

Urban Sketchers - NYC and Swann Galleries

The last time I went to Urban Sketchers NYC Weekday Group we met at Washington Square in Greenwich Village.  I sat across from the north side of the park and made a preparatory sketch of the Arch with a watercolor pencil.  It is my new trick for approaching the drawing of famous landmarks that I find intimidating.  Thank you Liz Steel!

After I finished my second bigger sketch I went back and added water to my prep sketch and kind of liked the less defined lines.

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Sketch #2 - done with a Tombow marker and watercolor:

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A musical duet played under the arch and I make a quick pencil sketch of the male musician/singer of Coyote and Crow.  I intended to paint him later that day, but never got around to it. 

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Pat, Benedicte, and I left early to go to Swann Galleries for the auction preview of 19th/20th C. and Modern Drawings and Prints.  They had several hundred prints and drawings and it was hard to choose one to draw.  This is an aquatint print.  I sketched this quickly with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

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