July 20, 2016

Wonderful Week in Martha's Vineyard

We just returned from a vacation in Martha's Vineyard, extending our time walking beaches while visiting wonderful friends.  We stay on the western end of the island and the beaches are very rocky.

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There are many, many rocks that wash up on the beach and I love to watch the ever-changing rock sculptures. 

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There are high cliffs near the Gayhead lighthouse, and visitors to the beach walk to this section. 

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It was foggy when we arrived for our last beach walk, and I love this photo.

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It was a very relaxing week, but that didn't translate into many sketchbook pages.  I do have photos that I may use to continue my painting over the next few days.

We took a 50 person plane from NYC and I sketched the person sitting in the single seat near the window on a random piece of notebook paper. 

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I collected some shells that are slightly different from those I collect in the Hamptons. 

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We sat along the beach in really comfortable chairs after one of our walks, in a wonderful breeze, and I painted the ocean.

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I also collected rocks shaped like hearts that I give to my grand daughters. 

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We were constantly following the horrible terrorist events in Nice, and then because Turkey is my daughter-in-law's area of expertise, we watched the events unfolding in Turkey during the attempted coup.  This painting was inspired by an AP photo in the New York Times.

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July 15, 2016

Summer Camp Mail Art

Three of my Grandchildren are in Summer Camp for 7 weeks, and even if they never manage to send notes to us, I still write to them weekly.  Last summer, as part of a Sketchbook Skool homework assignment, I sketched an imaginary character that I named Axel.  Several of my grandchildren played a role filling in the back story and deciding on a name.  Last summer I added a drawing of Axel to my letters.  This summer I'm adding drawings on the envelopes.  This was the first drawing added to the envelope.

 

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This is the drawing I made for the second set of letters, and a photo of one of the envelopes.

 

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Envelope

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July 11, 2016

Manhattan Park Flowers

 Although I don't enjoy painting landscapes, I love drawing and painting individual flowers.  The lilies were painted at Wagner Park, in Battery Park City last week.  I loved the colors!

 

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This is a selection of flowers growing in Central Park, near the Toy Boat Pond Café (Officially called the Conservatory Water).  My husband and I have coffee at the café early on weekend mornings, and I take a few minutes to draw and paint the flowers when we're there.  I recognize variants of cone flowers, but don't know the names of others.

 

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July 8, 2016

Urban Sketchers on Roosevelt Island

Yesterday our NYC Urban Sketchers Weekday Group took the Tram over to Roosevelt Island.  We met at the Tram station on 59th Street, and for me it was my first time on the tram.   It is a short ride, but I never get tired of seeing the density of buildings and the Manhattan skyline from all positions and angles.  Here are a few photos taken.  The FDR Memorial Park is the triangular area at the bottom of the Rossevelt Island photo.

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Entering the Tram: 

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On the tram approaching the East River and Island. 

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Our goal was to walk to the south end of the island to visit the FDR Four Freedoms Park, but I was immediately mesmerized by the skyline and chose a point of view from the UN to the Chrysler Building for my sketch. 

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Two years ago I sketched the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Promenade using an art technique I love.  I randomly collect tourist maps of NYC - great tourist/map booths are in Grand Central Station and near Pier A in Battery Park. I collaged a portion of the map to watercolor paper, brushed Golden Absorbent Ground (white) over the map and allowed the map to lightly peek through.  When it was dry, I packed it up for our trip to Brooklyn painting the skyline from the Ferry Terminal to the WTC1 Freedom Tower.

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http://www.paperandthreads.com/2014/06/lower_manhattan_from_the_brook.php

 

And here is my painting from Roosevelt Island - from left to Right - The UN, the Empire State Spire, and the Chrysler Building. 

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July 5, 2016

Figure Al Fresco - Drawing John

Figure Al Fresco - The Battery Park City Summer Adult Art Program:  The model was well known to us, and we politely asked him if he could take off his baseball cap and socks!  It was a great improvement.  These are several of my 2 minute sketches, done with an 8B pencil on newsprint.  Everything in this blog post was photographed because of the paper size.

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Five Minute Poses:  These longer poses were drawn with a soluble graphite pencil and then "shaded" with a waterbrush with clear water.

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Ten-Twenty Minute Poses:  I rarely can sustain my interest for more than 10 minutes, so I filled in the time by drawing another artist behind John in these two poses.  The artist drawn behind John, on the left, has a  hat on with a huge brim keeping the sun out of her eyes.

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July 1, 2016

Battery Park City and Riverside Drive NYC

Wednesday and Thursday were terrific art days this week.  I went to Battery Park City Wagner Park for part of the morning session on Wednesday, and painted yet another view of Pier A.  I love the building and really enjoy the challenge because of the multiple perspectives.

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In the afternoon I joined friends for figure drawing in South Cove - another one of the Park's art activities.  I haven't photographed the sketches yet. 

Yesterday I joined a small group from the Weekday Urban Sketchers group - first at Riverside Drive and 93rd Street, and then further south at Riverside Drive and 89th Street.  There was shade and a wall or benches at both locations, and a breeze off the Hudson River.  We had a delightful time drawing and talking at both locations.

 

Joan of Arc:  Riverside Drive at 93rd.  This is one of only 5 statues commemorating women in all of NYC. 

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Soldier and Sailors Memorial:  Riverside and 89th St.  My daughter owned an apartment overlooking the Memorial, and now my son owns it.  I've had experience drawing the top of the Memorial from their window while my grandchildren were taking naps.  My first drawing was in January 2006, almost when I started drawing and painting regularly.  And it was the same month I started my blog.  

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In 2010, when my son's boy Zach was taking his nap, I sketched the top again.  I remember being disappointed that 4 years of daily drawings hadn't changed my style very much. 

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Yesterday I sketched and painted the full Memorial from a bench on the plaza.  It was much harder than just painting the top layer!  Many times I've been with one or more of my 6 NYC grandchildren while they rode their bikes and scooters around the large plaza, so this was a real memory drawing for me! 

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June 28, 2016

Drawings From My Imagination

I struggle when drawing from my imagination and usually need a few random lines on a page or one small concept to expand.  Frequently I decide that my imaginary friend Axel is my focus for the page, and expand on one situation with my little moon creature.  This blog post has Axel admiring baseball caps, requesting more coffee and swimming laps.

I was very frustrated by our baseball cap wearing figure drawing model and decided to do some "deliberate practice" by drawing two guys in baseball caps.  I usually have trouble getting the head the right size and shape after drawing the hat.  And then Axel asked for one!  I need to design one to fit his head!

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 While watching my friend swim laps in the pool I wondered whether I could figure out how to draw Axel swimming.  These are my attempts.

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 While craving coffee, I decided to create a coffee-loving Axel. 

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June 23, 2016

Recent Figure Drawings

I love figure drawing, and always hope that regular practice is making my drawings better.  From May through October I go to Battery Park City weekly for Figure Al Fresco, which is held outdoors and the models clothed.  Several weeks ago we began our session with 10 one minute poses, and here my first four.  Although it is always hard for me to be certain, I really think that I'm getting better at catching these poses in a very short period of time.  This and the next drawing were photographed instead of scanned.

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I went to the Society of Illustrators last week with one of my out-of-town guests, and was very happy to be back.  These are some of my 5 minute, 10 minute, and 20 minute poses.

Five Minute Poses:

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Ten Minute Poses:

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Two Twenty Minute Poses:

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When I'm back at the Society of Illustrators I remember how much I enjoy this venue and two nude models posing simultaneously.  This time I sketched one of the models most of the time - because I liked her poses, and because of where I was sitting.  The SOI sketched were done with soluble graphite pencils.

 

Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

July 2016

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