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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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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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