September 22, 2017

Fashion Applications Class 2

Two drawings among many from my second class about Fashion Applications at FIT:

The goal of this class was to reemphasize line drawings, and to both draw models in an environment,  and draw two models together.  The professor still stressed starting the drawing at the very top - even if it a plant above the model's head - and then drawing from top to bottom, moving from side to side until reaching the bottom.  Lines should be confident and bold.

We had 7 minutes to draw the first model with the poppies, and 10 minutes for the two models together.  In each class she also shows us the work of famous fashion illustrators.  And gave us a link for a website to search and review specific fashion illustrators.

http://www.illustrationdivision.com/ 

 

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These are large drawings that needed to be photographed and not scanned. 

September 18, 2017

Fashion Applications at FIT

I'm taking another Illustration course this semester at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  Last week was my first class and our professor demonstrated how she draws the models several times during the class.  She instructed us to start at the head and then slowly draw down the body carving out space - moving back and forth from one side to the other.  She stressed the body directions, and specifically the shoulder and hip directions and asked us to make them dramatic.  This was a 3 minute warm up drawing of mine early in the class, and when she came by me she sketched in those direction lines, and suggested that I bend her hips all the way over to the outside line she made for drama.

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2.  We had 3 models, each changing clothes multiple times.  This is a later 7 minute pose - as I tried to achieve more drama.

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3.  And this was my final pose at the very end of the 3 hour class.  This is definitely going to be fun!

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September 15, 2017

NYC Urban Sketchers and the Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel House:  This was another wonderful USK adventure.  The Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765 and is the oldest house in Manhattan.  In the Fall of 1776 it served as a temporary headquarters for George Washington, and now it is a historical site and museum in Washington Heights.  It is very easy to reach from midtown Manhattan, and you are really transported to the country. 

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Sylvan Terrace:  You approach Roger Morris Park through Sylvan Terrace, up a flight of stone steps on St. Nicholas Avenue between 161st and 162nd Street.  At the top of the stairs there is a cobblestone "street" and two parallel rows of houses. 

http://www.scoutingny.com/a-hidden-treasure-in-washington-heights/ 

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The entrance to the Park is at the far-end of Sylvan Terrace.   Many of us sat on the front lawn of the house, with the Harlem River to the East, and Sylvan Terrace to the left, and it was wonderfully quiet.  This is my painting of the house.  Others sketched the garden house on the back of the Park.

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September 12, 2017

Simple Figure Sketches - Overcoming Resistance

I love to draw figures and to draw and paint buildings.  But my figures are drawn without context/backgrounds, and my buildings don't have any people in or around them.  It is time for me to address these issues, so I took Suhita Shirodkar's online Craftsy class (Figure Sketching Made Simple) because I love her loose sketches. 

The class was great, but I couldn't get myself to draw any people in the days following the class - a common form of resistance that I can blame on my "inner critic."  I needed a low stakes intervention, and while browsing last Sunday's NY Times T magazine on Mens'Style, I saw the photo included below.  I grabbed a ball point pen, tore some used copy paper into quarters, and worked my way through the ads in the magazine in less than 30 minutes - drawing 16 figures! 

 

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I threw away two that were really awful, and saved these 14.  It was a start!   

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I decided to continue this as a low stakes project this month - drawing simple figures from photos - so I made a small folder to keep scrap paper drawings in as I practice. 

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Later, I was throwing away a New York City Ballet 2017-18 schedule and couldn't resist a quick sketch of one of the photos. 

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I still have to overcome resistance and shut up my inner critic MILDRED so I can practice drawing live moving people!  Onward!

 

 

September 8, 2017

NYC Urban Sketchers Visit to the General Pencil Factory

Yesterday a limited number of NYC Urban Sketchers were able to tour a 6th generation family pencil company that was founded in 1889.  It took our "leader" Raylie 2 years to make this arrangement because they don't normally give group tours.  It is located in Jersey City - and I took a Path Train over the river to meet the group.  This is the front side of the factory. 

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Raylie from Urban Sketchers, and Kirsten, a 6th generation family employee and our tour guide.

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This morning I got out my supply of General Pencils.  I love and use the Sketch and Wash soluble graphite and have the most of them on hand at all times.  They are the ones with the silver tips.

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I loved the area on the back of the building around the loading dock.  I sketched this while there and didn't have time yet to paint it.  The conical machine and all of the pipes on the upper left, transport excess saw dust from the pencils which is then  recycled to make fireplace logs.  The color squares on the upper right are the colors of the watercolor pencils that they gave to us, and the "bag" on the bottom right is a carrier for sawdust.

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I loved the tour and the short glimpse into the method for making pencils.  I spoke to a woman who is still working there after 50 years!  I will always remember the place and time that I saw this as I use my General pencils!  Thanks Raylie!

September 5, 2017

WWI: Beyond the Trenches

Last week I visited the another WWI Art exhibit (through Sept 3, 2017)   It is 100 years since the beginning of WWI, and the first art exhibit I saw was at the National Air and Space Museum in DC.  That exhibit focused on artists who were selected and embedded with the troops, and the sculptors who made bas relief sculptures in the stone chambers they lived in underground.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2017/04/_while_in_dc_my.php

In the exhibit at the NY Historical Society, many artists' paintings and sculptures were exhibited, including a very large mural by John Singer Sargent and two sculptures by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. I knew that she was the patron who started the Whitney Museum with her art collection, but I didn't know that she was a sculptor and when traveling the battlefields of WWI set up field hospitals for the soldiers.

I copied a detail from a painting by Claggett Wilson (Front Line Stuff 1919).  He was in the Marine Corps and fought at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood where he suffered the effects of poison gas.  At a hospital in Dijon and later in the Army of German Occupation, he recorded his experiences in watercolor and then went on to become an art teacher at Columbia University in NYC.  This is from one of his many paintings in the exhibit.

 

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The Met currently has an exhibit entitled WWI and the Visual Arts (through Jan 7, 2018) and the Museum of the City of New York has an ongoing exhibit entitles Posters and Patriotism: Selling WWI in New York. They are on my "to see" list.

September 1, 2017

My Newest Watercolor Sketchbook

Just a quick photo today of my newest handbound watercolor sketchbook.  I dyed the fabric and made it into bookcloth, fusing it to mulberry paper for strength.  There are 48 pages of Fabriano Artistico made from 2 sheets of 140 lb Soft Press paper, which is my favorite watercolor  paper.  I made the pen/pencil holder from another piece of dyed fabric, and love having it attached so I can easily carry it with me and have a pencil, eraser, and 3 pens.  I now have 5 of these pen/pencil holders and so far I can find one that blends with each of my newest sketchbooks.

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August 29, 2017

More Flowers of Wagner Park in Battery Park City

Each year I wait for the "dinner plate" hibiscus to bloom in Wagner Park.  They are beautiful and completely fill some of the flower beds.  These three color variants were drawn on Wednesday August 16th as I passed through the Park on my way to Figure Al Fresco.

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When I walked through the Park on August 23rd, many of the usual flowers were blooming.  But there was one white iris, and I surrounded it with other flowers I've already painted. 

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Summer will soon be over in NYC and I will need to think about practicing tree drawings and paintings as the scenery shifts.  I recently watched Shari Blaukopf's Craftsy Landscape Class to try to build up some enthusiasm for these types of drawings/paintings.  We'll see what happens.... 

August 25, 2017

More Two Minute Poses

We have 2, 5, 10, and 20 minute poses in the Battery Park City Figure Drawing sessions on Wednesdays.  I love the challenge of drawing quickly, and the 2 minute pose drawings are almost the most lively of the afternoon.  Here are 4 of them from this week.  I used a Sketch and Wash soluble graphite pencil, and then slopped water on parts of the drawings.

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August 23, 2017

City versus Country Mouse

I always describe myself as a City Mouse.  My childhood home was in NJ, 20 miles outside of NYC.  My college was in a City in mid-Jersey. and then I lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Diego and San Antonio prior to moving to New York City 25 years ago.  I love drawing in cities, and almost never want to draw a landscape.  We were at a wedding in NY State, approximately 80 miles north of the City, this past weekend, and I forced myself to paint the view from the back deck of the home we stayed in.  Today I'm posting an ink drawing from the NW corner of Bryant Park, and the landscape that I painted in Callicoon NY. 

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

September 2017

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