February 9, 2016

Winter Battery Park City Program

Battery Park City sponsors outdoor Figure Drawing and Nature Art Programs from May through October.  They are now offering 9 sessions indoors during February and March for the first time, and last week one of our favorite models, Regina, was there.  I usually sketch in soluble graphite at these sessions and then add water for shading.  This time I decided to add watercolor paint because of Regina's very colorful wardrobe. 

Three 5 minute poses

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15 minute pose on the left and 10 minute pose on the right:

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15 minute pose without watercolor:  with a little more attention to drawing her hands and feet.

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February 5, 2016

"Our Blood" Infographic for Sketchbook Skool Homework

The 3rd teacher for Sketchbook Skool - Expressing - is Sabine Wiseman, a Dutch Illustrator.  She described infographic illustration and demonstrated the basic ideas.  Our first homework was to make an infographic on a topic of our choice.  I chose to write mine about Human Blood  with very basic information and illustrations. 

 

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The basic information is as follows, since I'm never sure if text on drawings is readable.

1.  When you centrifuge a tube of human blood it is separated into plasma and blood cells.  

2.  There are 3 types of blood cells. 

3.  Red Blood Cells (RBC) are full of hemoglobin which give blood its red color.  Hemoglobin carries oxygen to all the tissues of our body.  They are shaped like biconcave discs so they can squeeze through our capillaries which are smaller than the RBC diameter (7 microns).

4.  White Blood Cells (WBC):  There are 3 major types of WBC - Granulocytes, Lymphocytes, and Monocytes.  They are important in inflammation and infection.  Granulocytes are further subdivided,  based on their granules,  into neutrophils (most numerous), eosinophils (few), and basophils (rare).

5.  Platelets:  Very small "cells" that are pieces of the cytoplasm of their precursor cell (megakaryocyte).  They stick to the insides of damaged blood vessels and to each other to form plugs which stop bleeding.

6.  In one drop of blood there are 5 million RBCs, 5,000 WBCs, and 250,000 platelets (approximately).    

 

 

 

 

February 3, 2016

Fraunces Tavern and Museum

The Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group visited Fraunces Tavern and Museum last weekend and it was a perfect place to sketch.  The current building was built in 1719, and throughout the years played a major role in Colonial American History.  It is now a restaurant with a 2 floor Museum detailing the life of the building and Colonial History in New York City.  It was both George Washington's headquarters and the place where he said goodby to his troop commanders following the Revolutionary War.

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Side View:

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The Main Room in the Restaurant where my husband met me for a late lunch.

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We sketched for about 45 minutes, then shared our work, and did that two more times.  There were only a few other visitors to the Museum so it was perfect for our group.  These are the 3 sketchbook pages that I did.

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February 1, 2016

Master Drawing Week in New York City 2016

Last Week was the annual Master Drawings Week in New York City.  I've gone with my Art Pals for the last several years, partly because I love drawings, and secondly because it is a wonderful opportunity to see elevators for 1.5 people and grand staircases in some of the most elegant townhouses between 5th  and Madison on the Upper Eastside.  Some European gallery owners rent space in NYC galleries for the week, making the selection even broader in scope.  There is a published book of galleries that can be requested from the website, and copies that can be picked up in the first gallery you visit.

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And there is even a map of gallery locations on the back of the booklet.  We began on 66th St and ended on 86th St - only missing a few along the way.

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I love pen and ink drawings - and these are two photos I took of favorites.  The first is from the 18th C. Italian artist Giuseppe Bernardino Bison and the second by Gustav Klimt. 

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Last week I watched a very short Matisse video of The Piano Lesson and then was delighted to see one of several preliminary drawings exploring different positions of the 3 individuals in a Master Drawing gallery.

http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/impressions/2016/01/matisse-la-lecon-de-piano.html?cmp=email_selects_selects_matisse_hero2_12916-12916 

 

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But the highlight of the day for me was my 3rd Joaquin Torres-Garcia exhibit this month.  He is described as the first South American Modernist and I now know many of his paintings for the first time.  I saw the big Torres-Garcia exhibit at MoMA at the beginning of the month, a lovely exhibit at Gary Nader Gallery at 24 W57th St last week, and then a collection of privately owned Torres-Garcia works of art on this tour.   There were drawings and paintings in the Gallery, and a watercolor sketchbook that was spread out in a glass case.  It was one of the pages in the sketchbook that I was inspired to paint in my sketchbook when I got home that evening. 

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My version - for inspiration! 

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January 30, 2016

Making Pen Pockets for SketchBooks

Pen Pockets for Sketchbooks:  I decided that I wanted a pocket to keep on my Daily Sketchbooks and designed this pattern last summer.  It fits around a book cover that measures 7 1/2-9 inches in height and  has a Velcro closure.  The pocket easily carries 5 drawing tools.  The Velcro tabs can even be wrapped around the whole book if you want to keep it closed when packing it in purses, travel bags etc.  The tabs can be seen on the Back cover of the Blue Purple Sketchbook.

 

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Pen Pocket for Travel Sketchbook:  I took this recycled book, that I made a watercolor paper page block for, and added the pen, eraser, and 3 pens before we went to Spain last Fall.  The pocket fits around the front cover, so you can easily grab whatever you would like and I frequently sketched standing up as I followed our Walking Tour Guides. 

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I make hand-dyed fabric and selected coordinating pieces for each sketchbook, but my friends each used my PDF tutorial and made one with a single piece of cotton fabric.  It only take 1/2 yd of fabric. 

Tutorial for Making Pen Pocket:  I created a 4 page PDF Tutorial for making this pocket, and would be delighted to share it by email.  Leave a comment on this blog post and I will get your comment, with your request in an email.  I'll then send it to you as soon as I can as an email attachment. 

 

 

  

January 28, 2016

Before and After the Blizzard

My husband and I joined friends on Thursday and Friday for rehearsals of the New York City Ballet (NYCB).  We sit in the first ring for these rehearsals, far enough away from the stage not to distract the dancers.  When we sit down, they are usually milling around the stage for a few minutes - some in costume (principle dancers) and the others in practice clothes.  Once the lights go down, it is so dark that I can't see my sketchbook.  So I watch the dancers for those first few minutes, memorize a few of their practice positions as they warm up, and scribble very quick sketches.  The ink and paint are added at home from memory.

 Thursday:

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Friday

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On Saturday we were taking 4 NYC grandsons to the New York Philhamonic Young People's Concert.  Just as we were ready to leave the apartment to pick them up, Lincoln Center cancelled the Concert.  We took a walk in the snow near our apartment, but hurried back because of the winds.  Before 9AM on Sunday we walked to Central Park and enjoyed the beautiful, still very white snow.  The paths were packed and we walked in crunchy white snow as the dogs were frolicking!

Looking South over the Great Lawn. 

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By 9:30 AM on Cedar Hill:  Parents and children were already crowding the best sledding hill just south of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

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This was the second biggest blizzard measured in Central Park - ever - and it missed the old record by 0.1 inch!   

 

January 26, 2016

Jill Weber Sketchbook School Homework

Yesterday I watched the video of Danny Gregory doing his Jill Weber homework, and was inspired to make my book immediately.  I have many creative passions, and therefore find it hard to focus and work in a series.    When I was considering a theme about myself for the book, I decided that I needed to catalogue my passions as they developed over my life time.  I decided that I only had several hours to devote to this homework project this week, and selected and printed many of my sketchbook pages from the past to tell my story.  An accordion book was perfect to document my 6 current creative pathways.  The cover and quilt square were new drawings, the rest were collages.

Link to Danny's Blogpost which had me giggling as I watched it. 

http://dannygregorysblog.com/2016/01/25/inspiration-monday-handmade-book/ 

 

Accordion Book:

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Cover and Page 1:  Seamstress

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Pages 2 and 3:  Seamstress and Quilter:

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Pages 4 and 5:  Surface Designer and Artist

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Pages 6 and 7:  Bookbinder and Writer

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My friend Benedicte sent me a wonderful article about Polymaths, and a new name for creatives that can't focus on one passion.  The new name is Multipotentialites.  The article and link to the Ted Talk are both interesting reading.

http://goinswriter.com/change-medium/ 

January 22, 2016

Tuesday Was Art Day This Week

And what an amazing day it was with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, and Teri!  We intended to visit 4 Galleries, but it was really cold and we found other really interesting exhibits in two of the buildings, so we didn't have to go outside as often and saw more wonderful art as inspiration. 

I first learned about William Kentridge, a South African artist through his one man show at MoMA.  The Met then had an exhibit of one of his video art pieces within the last two years.  I'm fascinated by him and was completely shocked that Marian Goodman Gallery had two of his new megasize video installations.  What a thrill to be surrounded by his art combined with music, dance, and South African actors.   Here is a link to the Video of "More Sweetly Play the Dance."  But watching on video it isn't as amazing as being in the large space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-n5Kvw9v4A

 

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 Deliberate Practice:

I sketched two of my two favorite paintings and two wood sculptures from our visits. Each copy is an education for me as I try to learn more about lines, ink, and the use of watercolor to approximate the oil paints used.  I also practiced more handlettering on these sketchbook pages for my Sketchbook Skool 5 homework.

 

A Painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker (1875-1907), a German Artist who died at age 31 following childbirth. 

Peasant Woman Carrying a Branch circa 1898. 

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Two sculptures by Chaim Gross (Forum Gallery) and Frank Walter (Hirschl and Adler Gallery).

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A Painting (Untitled) by B. Vithal at DAG Modern Gallery.

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January 19, 2016

Picasso Sculpture and Hand Lettering Homework

I saw the Picasso Sculpture Exhibit many times since the preview on September 11, 2015.  Last week I went with my husband for what may be my last visit, although there are still more favorite sculptures I would like to draw.  While at home painting two pieces I just drew, I went back and painted a drawing from an earlier visit, and I used these 3 Picasso sketchbook pages to practice handlettering.   Koosje Koene, the first teacher in Sketchbook Skool 5 -Expressing. gave several demos on hand lettering, and our first homework for this week was to practice one serif and one sans serif alphabet.

Years ago I printed upper and lower case alphabets and numbers of fonts I liked from Word and Word Perfect (see sample below).  While I've used them on some occasions, I rarely use them for sketchbook drawings.  On these 3 pages, however, I did look at saved samples and started my homework.

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These are my 3 sketchbook pages, now with a variety of hand lettered fonts. 

 

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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 12, 2016

I Love to Make Books!

Each year I make a "Remains of the Day" book - instructions by Mary Ann Moss - to keep photos and ephemera of my "Art Adventures" with friends.  I just finished the pages in my 2015 book and made a new book for 2016.  I love making these from my many dyed fabrics, and I refer to them regularly to remember the many gallery and museum visits we make during the year.  I have 5 completed books which were begun shortly after I retired.

This is my now complete 2015 book: 

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Here is a sample page spread, with a photo of Benedicte, Pat, and Me - along with photos from a day visiting galleries in Chelsea.  Some pages have pockets to hold things, other have lift up flaps - anything goes!

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These are photos of my new Remains of the Day book for 2016:

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Lastly, I made a new watercolor sketchbook with dyed fabric bookcloth and a pocket for the sketchbook to hold my pencils, pens, and eraser as I walk around sketching.   

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

February 2016

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