July 20, 2018

Deliberate Practice: Drawing Figures in Action

Line of Action or Gesture Drawing:  I love figure drawing and although I go to sessions with live models, I wanted more experience drawing bodies in action.  I watched Suita Shirodkar's Craftsy class and liked her line of action concept, and now I have my way of establishing the lines of action quickly.  I'm still learning by using photos, because these types of actions in real time are so brief that I can't remember them well enough to study them.  I save ads, or magazine photos and take less than 5 minutes, after breakfast in the morning, for the quick drawings. 

These are the most recent ones, cut from 1/4th piece of used copy paper.  I collaged them on one page of my sketchbook.  You can see my very quick pencil lines of actions, if you look closely.  The next three illustrations show my steps.


Art After Breakfast: Reference Photo from New York City Ballet Season Program



Quick Pencil Line Drawing 


Pen lines added: Almost as Fast




July 17, 2018

More Flower Paintings

My granddaughter potted a plant for her Mom, and I painted it during our art session the morning after we returned her to DC.  



I love looking for the newly blooming flowers in Wagner Park when I go to figure drawing on Wednesdays.  It was good to be back home, returning to the Battery Park City Adult Art Programs.  I like examining the plants and drawing the flower shapes, colors, leaves, and any buds that are visible. 


July 13, 2018

Back to Figure Drawing in Battery Park City

After weeks away from Figure Drawing, I returned to Figure Al Fresco at Battery Park City, and we had a wonderful, new young model.  These are my 4 five minute drawings - drawn with a General Sketch and Wash pencil which I spread with a waterbrush to obtain the gray color.


During a break after this 10 minute pose, our model told us that she teaches figure drawing, and likes to throw in a few poses requiring us to draw with foreshortening.


These drawings were bigger than my scanner and were photographed. 


July 10, 2018

Urban Sketchers 30 X 30 Direct Painting Challenge

Day 30:  This is the final direct painting (i.e. no lines) that I did for the challenge.  My observations from the 30 days are listed below.



I love drawing, and really love lines, so I was skeptical about this challenge.  But I'm very glad that I did it.

1.  Each sketchbook painting took me longer than when I use pen-ink-and watercolor wash.

2.  It was fun, but challenging, to paint white objects by first painting the negative space around them.

3.  I could paint by direct observation if I was painting a non-moveable object/subject in my environment, but took photos to paint from for many of the challenge days, especially the above painting of my husband and friend walking along the beach.

4.  I really had to concentrate on shapes as I applied the watercolor with a brush.  I tried not to draw with a brush, and then fill in a shape.

5. I actually learned more about handling watercolors, even though I've been using them since 2003 - including use of wet-in-wet, allowing drying time, and glazing.

6.  I liked having a dedicated sketchbook for the project - which took one sheet of 22 X 30 of 140 pound watercolor paper, and a simple pamphlet stitch (Teesha Moore's 16 page journal).

7.  I can't use this technique when traveling unless I work completely from photos.  My usual travel sketchbook pages are created by doing a quick drawing from observation, taking a photo to remember colors, and then adding watercolor later.  My drawings are quick, and the only time I finish the painting at the same time is when my husband and I sit for a short while for coffee or a meal (45-60 minutes).  He is good waiting the length of time it takes him to do a New York Times Crossword puzzle and I remind him to bring a page each time we leave the hotel or apartment.

8. I hope this becomes a yearly Urban Sketcher challenge for June.  Knowing that other people were doing it at the same time gave me inspiration.  I just hope there is a dedicated website set up so more people can share their daily paintings.



July 5, 2018

Natural History Museum and My Young Artists

My Young Artists:  My granddaughter is visiting from DC this week and her NYC cousin is spending time with her at our apartment.  Both of them like "Art" of all kinds, and chose the Natural History Museum Tuesday for sketching because it was too hot in NYC to be outside.  All 3 of us sketched animals, and Annabelle's favorite sketch of 4 was her polar bear.  Zach's favorite of 5 was his walrus.  They are " just 10" and "almost 9" and I love sketching with them.



Annabelle's Favorite Drawing



Zach's Favorite Drawing 


My drawings were made in the Museum, but painted at home from photos I took.

The Polar Bear


My Walrus


My Giraffes


July 3, 2018

Urban Sketchers 30 x 30 Challenge: June 26.29

Direct Painting for 30 X 30 Urban Sketchers June Challenge:  Last summer I took a 3 hour workshop from Urban Sketcher Anne Watkins.  I love her style of painting random people, especially those that she does onsite at Weddings.  https://annewatkins.com/about.html

This image seemed perfect for the day after we left Martha's Vineyard.  It was painted from an image that I previously sketched from a photo, and the only pen work was the tie on the sun hat.  I'm not sure that I will ever acquire the skills to do paintings like this live.



Sketchbook Page:  In order to do every day of the challenge I had to sometimes do 2,3, or 4 direct paintings on one page of my Teesha Moore 16 page watercolor sketchbook.  I marked off the areas with 1/4" artists tape before I painted.  The flower and razor clam were painted from direct observation.  The blue jay was painted from a photo I took of a wooden sculpture.


I still need to do a painting for June 30th to finish my book and the challenge, but we arrived home from vacation to a full schedule of grandchildren and it takes me longer to do a direct painting, than with pen, ink, and watercolor washes.  

June 29, 2018

Urban Sketchers 30 X 30 Challenge: June 20-25

It is hard keeping up with my art goals while being on vacation with my husband at the home of very good friends.  I find that I am only able to do it by taking photos and painting during quiet times in the house.  Only the bird feeder and the squirrel were painted "in the moment."  I am also trying to paint in my summer vacation sketchbook each day.  It takes me much longer to do direct painting because I need to carefully plan the layers.   

The stuffed bunny was sitting among rocks at the Acquinnah Wampanoag cemetery on Martha's Vineyard.  The Beach roses were photographed on the path we walked to the beach for our morning beach walks.


The wampum flower was painted from shell pieces I brought home from the beach.  The yacht was photographed in the harbor in Vineyard Haven on a day we saw two movies and attended a Town Hall meeting by Senator Ed Markey.  The bird feeder needs an air traffic control system - for constant bird visitors, and this squirrel who jumped from the tree to the top of the feeder, and then snuck down the pole to the yellow feeder to eat. 



June 26, 2018

More Sketchbook Pages from the Beach Vacation

We are enjoying our visit to Martha's Vineyard with some of our oldest friends.  I have to fit in sketchbook pages whenever I can, and I'm now taking photos and painting from them later in the day.  This is a beautiful stained glass window hanging that I look at each time I sit down in their home.  Painted from observation as I sat and  talked.


We are staying "up island," near the Wampanoag Indian Reservation.  I saw this image on a tribe seal on the reservation truck, and learned the legend of the giant Moshup who caught whales in the ocean with his bare hands.  He swung the whale into the cliffs to kill it to eat, which made the Gayhead Cliffs red.



Boats waiting on the shore at Red Beach, Menemsha Pond.



Two children in the surf, from an illustration.  The waters are still cold, and we never see anyone in the ocean on our morning walks.  This was done as a direct painting, but in my summer vacation sketchbook.  It gets confusing!


I am doing "direct paintings" for the 30 X 30 challenge in a different sketchbook, and will post them when we return home. 

June 21, 2018

From Beach to Beach

After our beach vacation on Long Island, we are returning to Martha's Vineyard to vacation on another beach. Retirement is wonderful and the settings couldn't be more different.  To record the move from the Hamptons to the Vineyard, two of my 30 X 30 paintings (direct painting/no lines) done while in NYC from my photos were of the lighthouses in both places.  The Montauk lighthouse was painted, after I painted the sky as a negative space. Fun, and the type of challenge I needed. 



The house we will be in for a week, a direct painting from one of my photographs. Blog image  photographed, not scanned.


The beach at Acquinnah in Martha's Vineyard is rocky, with big rocks in the surf, and smaller ones on the beach.  Near the cliffs at Gayhead there are several huge rocks in the ocean that are always covered with cormorants.  This is a sketchbook page of mine from a previous visit, but many were on the rock again yesterday on our beach walk.


Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

July 2018

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