December 6, 2019

Getting Ready for Christmas

This morning I put all of the ornaments I made since 1976 on our Christmas Tree.  I have so many memories as I add each one.  Each year I made approximately 24 - one for each of our children, one for our tree, and 20 to give away as small gifts.  I race against the clock to make them now, and I make the same one for each of our 8 grandchildren, one for us, and a few spares.


Our grandson Callum likes to look at their tree and ours, and pick out one that the children don't have yet.  This year he wanted an ornament with a pair of embroidered cats.  But we settled on one cat per ornament.  Here is my work in progress.  The pair of cats is the original - made in 1983 and yellowed with age - like us! 


I sketched the pattern from a 1981 issue of Holiday Crafts, and saved the patterns. 


Years ago I made a Teesha Moore 16 page watercolor pamphlet book from a single 22 X 30" sheet of 140lb paper and started to draw and paint all of my handmade ornaments.  I now have 45 painted in the book and need to make another book.



December 3, 2019

Paris Musee Picasso

I really like Picasso, especially his non-cubist drawings, paintings, ceramics etc.   We missed the reopening of the Picasso Museum 5 years ago, and I was very interested in seeing the renovated space and collection.  The building is gorgeous, and they maintained the entry and grand staircase.  The galleries seem bigger.  But I quickly realized that I see so much of Picasso's art in NYC, especially at the twice yearly Impressionist and Modern Auctions, that the museum was a little disappointing.   Half of the 4 floors were devoted to a large series of "magical portraits," which was more cubist than representational.  I read that there are 5000 pieces in the museum collection and only 10-15% are on view at any one time. 

But on one of the upper floors they have a movie with Picasso doing line sketches with paint from behind a sheet of glass - and I've always loved seeing his movie.

These are a few of the drawings I did as we went through the exhibits.  The Owl was a large ceramic sculpture - probably close to owl size.  The sleeping girl was one of a series of small, fast drawings in pencil. on a single sheet  And the other sketchbook page of scribbles were culled from a small series of his artworks.  

Picasso Owl and Girl Sleeping



More Little Scribbles


November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019 - Our Biggest!

Thanksgiving 2019:  This was the 30th anniversary of our family Thanksgiving - 4 years rotating houses with my husband's sibling and a first cousin's family and one of his sons.  In 1993 we moved to Manhattan and my husband and I have done 95% of the cooking since then.  This was the biggest dinner yet - 33 people, including 3 children 4 and under. 

Earlier this week Facebook sent me an entry from 10 years ago  - our 6 grandchildren on Thanksgiving.  I shared it on my Facebook page, lamenting that it was so difficult to get a photo of all of our grandchildren together.  We have 8 grandchildren (ages 7-16), and I put the photographer of the family in charge of getting one photo - after I did a little bribery (extortion, quid pro quo) of the children and then stayed out of the action. 

The other family lives in Philadelphia and Chicago.  Our family lives in Manhattan and DC.  Barry's Brother lives in NJ.  In order to give us all lots of time together we had 7 hors d'oeuvres and champagne from 3-6, then dinner.  In 1989, the youngest children were 6 and 4.  They are now the parents of the 4 and under children!

Here is the long awaited photo.  One of our friends said she could tell who I had to bribe.  The group will be reassembled, almost in its entirety, for the Bar Mitzvah of one of these children next week!  My husband and I feel like amazingly lucky parents and grandparents.


November 25, 2019

Sketchbook Pages from Sothebys Auction Preview

I love the Christies and Sothebys Spring and Fall Impressionist and Modern Auction Previews. These are more of my drawings of sculptures, my current favorite things to draw.  I love Degas' dancers and remember the first time I saw them lined up in a case at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was in college.   

Degas Dancer:  Great position. 



Camille Claudel's sculpture with a horse by Marino Marini drawn behind her.



When I see a Chagall painting that is almost unrecognizeable, I draw it.  Nearby was art by Picasso which had these cute doodles at an edge.



Happy Thanksgiving to everyone - enjoy your families and be thankful for the good things in life. 

November 23, 2019

Rice Mice are Nice Mice - and 3 New Ones

I just made 3 Rice Mice for the 3 very young children who will be part of our Thanksgiving celebration.  I wanted these 3 young ones to have something special and I decided to make more of my rice mice (plural; rouse mouse singular)).  They each have 8 ounces of plain white rice inside and are actually cuddly.



There are two books about Rice Mice.  The one on the left was written by my medical mentor's wife.  He gave me a copy and I've made them for many children, starting with my own 3 children and our 8 grandchildren.  When I put them on my blog, now several years ago, several people looked for the book  unsuccessfully.  It was republished with some new poems and illustrations about individual mice drawn by Ann Hayes and Heather Refetoff.  Copies could be purchased then directly from Ann Hayes. 



Knowing how many people who follow my blog bought the new copies, I'll add a link to the blog post from that time.  I haven't been in touch with Ann in several years, but I would be happy to find the Rice Mice book again if anyone wants one. 


November 19, 2019

Several More Dinners in Paris

We ate at small bistros during our visit and enjoyed a few we've been to in earlier visits.

First Dinner at Le Petit Chatelet:  It is a lovely bistro near where we stayed on the Left Bank.  It had good food and a lovely ambience.  Both drawings were done during dinners there and painted at home.



Second Dinner in Le Petit Chatelet which was opened in 1951 by the grandfather of the current owner.  We enjoyed it so much the first time, we went back the night before we came home.  These drawing were done in the upstairs dining room which was the garret bedroom of the original owner.



November 15, 2019

Christies Impressionist and Modern Auction Preview

I have an unexplained need to draw sculptures recently.  Are they more of a challenge, or am I hoping I can take a sculpture class next semester?   Hard to know.  I saw this small Matisse sculpture at the Christies Auction Preview in NYC and sketched a frontal and 3/4 view.  As I was leaving that gallery I saw it from the side and stopped to draw it again. 


Here is the side view and 2 small Henry Moore sculptures.  I sketched them as they looked and then made up the colors!


The art that is on view for the upcoming auctions is hard to imagine.  There are multiple galleries full of wonderful paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and most of these works are going from one private collection to another.  Next Blog Post:  drawings from the Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Auction Preview.      


November 12, 2019

Paris 2: Art and View from the Musee Pompidou

Visiting the Pompidou:  There is a major renovation ongoing at the Pompidou and we were so lucky that we bought our tickets online!  Once inside, the collection was as wonderful as always, and the views from the 6th floor restaurant were spectacular.  The Eiffel Tower thrilled my Grandson this summer, so this photo was for him.

I loved this painting by Marc Chagall, and quickly sketched as much as I could while my husband and friends were moving on.  Some of the heads had to be left out and the painting is an approximation done later.  It is an unusual painting by Marc Chagall which was what interested me. 



Juan Gris:  This was a multipart painted sculpture assembled from flat pieces of metal - not quite life size.  I loved it!



Lunch at the 6th floor restaurant does not disappoint - the views over the City are gorgeous, even on a cloudy day.  I enlarged the image on my phone to take the photo.



November 8, 2019

Fun Saturday in New York City

Guess Who Planned a Meetup for Sketchbook Skool Students last Saturday, in Washington Square Park, New York City? 

When I partially retired from Medicine in 2005, I discovered Sketchbook Art and Danny Gregory's Everyday Matters Yahoo Group.  Several months later, I started this blog to interact with other group members, and I now am a student of Sketchbook Skool (SBS), a very professional, online art education program.  Danny and Koosje Koene are the co-developers of SBS and it was fun to finally meet Koosje who was visiting from Amsterdam.



Double Page Sketchbook Painting: It was a cold, but sunny afternoon, and I sketched the Washington Square Arch and then some of the musicians who are always playing in the Park.



Wonderful Concert at Juilliard: That evening my husband and I went to a concert at Alice Tully Hall.  The Historical Presentation Juilliard Students played two Telemann pieces and the Chorale was sung by Yale Sacred Music members.  I started by sketching the first Violin, and then wanted to add the Conductor.  Obviously I left out many musicians and singers.  But there is enough on the page for me to remember the evening and the Baroque horn (of which there were 3) which we had never seen before.


Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

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