May 1, 2015

Dip Pen and Ink Wash Drawings

We are still drawing with dip pens and ink washes, and I really enjoy it.   Others in the class have gone back to graphite, although he is also recommending that we try Conte crayons.  My experience in figure drawing class convinced me that charcoal and Conte crayons would never be among my favorite media, so I'm thrilled to continue with ink and my Brause steno nib.

I assembled this Shoe still life when I arrived in Drawing class last week, so I could have it on my desk to draw.   Our professor usually puts props on a table in the center of our desks, 8-10 feet away, and although I don't need glasses, I do like to see more details.

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I selected several other props for two more drawings - a plaster sculpture missing a foot (but I added it) and a metal lantern that had a great shape. 

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Two more weeks, and then I can say I've taken one college figure drawing class and one drawing class - and proceed on my own as usual.  Sketchbook Skool Semester 4 is delightful so far - Jonathan Twingley, Lapin, and France Belleville Van Stone. 

April 28, 2015

Studying Under the Masters- Mary Blair

I am slowly making my way through the 2nd Studying Under the Masters online class by Jeanne Oliver, and I'm enjoying it as much as I did the first one.  Master Artist #5 (out of 6) is Mary Blair and I had never heard of her before. 

http://jeanneoliver.ning.com/groups/group/show?id=6550528%3AGroup%3A134645&xg_source=msg_mes_group 

In this class, an apprentice selects a master who they would like to study, presents lots of information from their research and then, in the ancient art tradition, copies the Master.  In Part 2 they do an original painting using techniques learned when copying the Master.  Cori Dantini selected Mary Blair because she was one of the only woman illustrators in the early part of the 20th Century and created the images of Peter Pan, Cinderella, and the Small World exhibit for Walt Disney among many other famous works. 

Mary Blair did her concept paintings in gouache and Cori Dantini was anxious to experiment with gouache, when she normally paints with watercolors.

I selected a different painting to copy - and here is Mary Blair on the left and my copy on the right. It is the first time I have ever used gouache for an entire painting and I'll now experiment more when I decide on the topic for my Mary Blair-inspired original.  I used 2 Winsor-Newton triads of primary colors - one cool and one warm, plus white, black, and brown.

 

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April 25, 2015

Video of Interview Done by MoMA of Our Art Friends Group

Museum of Modern Art New York-  Matisse: Beyond the Cutouts Studio

IMG_20150107_162530514.size.jpgLeft to Right:  Teri, Pat, Benedicte, and Me all busy creating collages. 

Late last year Associate Educators, Sarah Kennedy and Alison Burstein, at the Museum of Modern Art asked several of us if they could interview us about our participation in their programs.  Pat, Benedicte, Teri, Judy, and I are regular participants in their art-related events - Print Studio, Matisse - Beyond the Cutouts Studio, and even the Toulouse-Lautrec twice monthly Café Society Drawing Sessions.  Participation is free with Museum admission.  Work done in those sessions frequently appeared in this blog over the months and years.

The 4 minute video just appeared on their blog and I finally decided that I would share it here.  They would like their programs to be widely advertised and I hope that readers of my blog will share the information for MoMA. 

Here is the link to the MoMA blog for the video:

http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/blog/the-moma-studio-experience 

Pat and Benedicte are two of my friends who were interviewed.  Pat is the first person you see, with her sketchbook.  Benedicte has the lovely French accent.  And I'm the one in the red sweater.  There is also a photo of us with Judy (left) and Teri (right) on a day when all 5 of us were in the Print Studio in 2012.

Having friends with whom I can share my interests, makes this piece of my retirement come alive.    

It is hard to find information on the MoMA website that lists the events that are related to the exhibits - and there is a Warhol event that will be held after the Soup Can exhibit opens this month.  My advice is to go to the exhibit listing, and follow the "events" links that are embedded after the description of the exhibit. 

 

April 24, 2015

Collage from Imaginary Drawiings

For my homework for Jonathan Twingley in Sketchbook Skool 4th semester, I did many pages of imaginary drawings and then selected a few, cut them out, and made a collage.  The background was created with paste paper that was leftover from my bookbinding projects. 

I loved this week, both the ink blots to make into imaginary drawings, and the pages of imaginary drawings that I did each night for the collage.  Thank you Jonathan Twingley for "Stretching" me.

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April 23, 2015

Drawing with Dip Pen and Ink Washes

We are still drawing with dip pens, ink, brush, and ink washes in my drawing class.  I really like this technique, and love my Brause steno nib.  It is the first nib I bought, among many, that is not scratchy, holds a reasonable amount of ink, and is somewhat flexible.  I did two drawings this week, a still life to celebrate Spring, and a plaster bust.

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My Professor said that it is great experience to draw white plaster casts because all of the variation in values is due purely to light. I keep raiding the prop room to pull out what I want to draw, instead of the suggested models/still life.  Three more weeks of this class and the ink drawings are my favorite part of the experience so far.

April 21, 2015

Searching for Imagination

I didn't realize that my 100 day project, in which I would make one sketch from my imagination each day, would suddenly explode. Last Friday Sketchbook Skool Semester 4 began with Artist Illustrator Jonathan Twingley.  And his work, and his homework assignments, are all about challenging your imagination.  Assignment #1 is to make ink blots and use them as the basis of art.  My first ink blot was large and the only thing I saw in the shape was a bear head, hanging on a hunting lodge wall.

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Assignment #2 is to draw from your imagination every day for 6 days, and on day 7, to select some of the images and make a collage page.  I filled 11 pages in the first 4 days and was surprised at the sketches that came only from my imagination.  My only observation, is how dependent these sketches are on my decades of drawing my world from observation. 

This sketch started with a table and then I started to see it as a desk, and eventually a comfy library.  But suddenly I realized that I finally had a setting for a metadrawing, a homework assignment of Mattias Adolfsson's  in Sketchbook Skool Semester 3.  And I sketched a pig, lying comfortably on the floor, making a drawing.  I had to look up the concept of metadrawings, which are drawings about drawing.  Mattias also called this type of drawing "enhanced reality." 

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Another one of these pages captured a sailor, an artist, and a chef.  I have no idea where this character developed, but I hope to use him in other drawings. 

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I'm also still sketching from my imagination daily for 100 days as part of the 100Day Project and just completed 16 days.  Here are two of the more recent sketches.  

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I'm so interested to see where this "drawing from imagination" takes me.  I am still drawing from direct observation which I love, but I'm also having fun stretching my imagination with Sketchbook Skool Semester 4.   

April 17, 2015

Drawing From Imagination - Yikes!

As a child and younger adult, I could draw from 2D images and always told my husband I was just a good copier.  When preparing for my retirement from a 40 year career in medicine, I started drawing more and from 2005 (when I joined Everyday Matters), I started drawing from life - and slowly developed some skills with LOTS of practice. 

But I always knew that I could not draw completely from imagination, and the second homework assignment from Adolfsson and Defline in Sketchbook Skool Storytelling still aren't done!  So I decided to do my own "100 day project" to try to extend my doodling and develop some small ability to use my imagination. 

I dedicated a 100 page 4 X 6" book that I made with copy paper for daily sketches from my imagination.  And to avoid any excuses, I made a pen/pencil holder to wrap around the book so I can take it anywhere and always be ready. 

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I didn't intend to show any of my drawings, but Jonathan Twingley's Week on Sketchbook Skool - Stretching is all about imagination.  So I decided to post a few drawings since I started on April 6th, and to periodically add some observations about my own brain.   

An Early page - my barn:

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I finally read Perfume by Patrick Suskind and decided to draw perfume bottles:

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Working at my Sewing Machine in my Studio:

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Sailors from the Musical Revival of "On The Town":  I specifically looked at the costumes Wed. PM and drew these Thursday. 

Sailors.size.jpg 

 

Thursday Urban Sketchers-NYC met at Lincoln Center and I drew and painted the Metropolitan Opera House for the first time: 

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This morning I decided to see whether I had stored this building in my brain, and now could recall it well enough to draw it in my imagination book.  This is my 5 minute drawing in pen.

OperaHouse2.size.jpg 

I definitely internalized the Opera House and can remember the structure I analyzed. 

I have over 100 sketchbooks since 2005, and all were drawings from direct observation.  How long will it take for me to be able to draw more from my imagination, and what are the exercises that will help me on this pathway?  I'll report back periodically.

 

 

April 13, 2015

Drawing Quick Portraits

My classmates in Drawing I at FIT:  I finally finished my composite drawing from my Drawing class.  Each week, when I finished the assigned drawings, I would add 1-3 classmates to this page.  The drawings were done very quickly with 4B graphite and then photographed because of the paper size.

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The Central Park Drawing and Art Meetup Group at a Portrait Party met at a rented studio here in Manhattan last weekend.  We had no rules, and some participants sat for portraits and alternated the person "in the chair," and others just sketched members as they were sketching.  We had approximately 45 minutes for each session, and then went out in the neighborhood for a final sketch.  I did these with my Sketch and Wash graphite pencils, but then decided not to add water. 

Meetup Portrait Party  First Session

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 Meetup Portrait Party Second Session

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My only goal when I do these composites is to not have everyone looking the same - meaning that I have observed and tried to individualize their features. 

 

April 11, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Brett Whiteley

I am slowly completing Jeanne Oliver's Studying Under the Masters, Part 2.  In this online class, contemporary artists study under a Master by learning as much as possible about them, their work, and their lives.  They choose one artwork to copy and then try to incorporate some of the skills and techniques learned into one art work of their own.  Each apprentice shares all of their research on video and demonstrates, in detail, their painting process.  I took Part 1 (9 Master Artists) in the Winter of 2013. and already enrolled in the final Part 3 class which begins in May.  All of my paintings are done from oils done by the Master and converted by me to watercolor.  I have a blog category with my copy and original for each Master in Part 1 and Part 2.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/studying_under_the_masters/

British Artist Robin Fingher chose Australian Artist Brett Whitely as her Master and I chose one of his ink drawings to copy because we are just beginning to do ink drawings with ink washes in my FIT Drawing Class.  I used my new flexible nib by Brause and struggled with some beginner issues with blobs - one close to one eye!!

These are the Master Drawing on the left (called Vanessa) and my copy on the right.

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For my original drawing, inspired by Whiteley, I chose to recreate one of my figure drawings from the Toulouse-Lautrec sessions at MoMA. 

Kelly.size.jpg 

 

It was great fun combining ink lines with ink washes (as opposed to cross-hatching) and I did two drawings using the same technique at my drawing class this week. 

This was a still life created by our professor with 3 mannequin arms, one foot.

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And this was one I put together for the second half of our class.

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April 8, 2015

Zach Makes a New Mouse

Rice Mice are very important in our family.  I started making them for my children decades ago and now I make them for and with my grandchildren.  There is an important story about their origin, and when I first posted it, I had many requests for the pattern and the book.  You can read the story here  

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2010/10/rice_mice_are_nice_mice.php 

 

My 5 year old Grandson Zach and I had a playdate during Spring Break , and he asked if he could make one with me on my sewing machine.  He chose the fabric and buttons, and sat on my lap at the sewing machine to control the foot pedal.  He added the rice and I stitched up the opening.

Zach and his New Rouse Mouse

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The Rouse Mouse 

 

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Zach and Charlie Compare Rice Mice:  

My oldest son's family has accumulated a whole family of Rice Mouse, and Charlie wanted to join the picture with his mouse. 

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Their Family of Rice Mice

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April 6, 2015

Jacob Lawrence - One Way Ticket at MoMA

One Way Ticket, Jacob Lawrence's Migration series, opened at MoMA this weekend.  At age 23 he painted these 60 panels to tell the story of the migration of blacks from the rural south to the urban north between WWI and WWII.  He did extensive research at the Schomberg Center in Harlem and painted a series that tells an amazing story through paintings and captions.  MoMA owns 30 "even-numbered" panels and the Phillips Collection in DC owns 30 "odd-numbered" ones.  Periodically they reunite them and I first saw them many years ago in DC.  I wasn't drawing or painting at that time, and only now do I realize how masterful he was at composition. 

Lawrence painted in tempera, and after drawing all 60 panels, he painted one color across all 60, and then added the second color, etc. 

Here is a 2 minute video from BBC World News: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32141921 

The MoMA website has all 60 panels and a wonderful description of the exhibit.  

http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1549#related_events 

I had trouble choosing just one panel to copy, but kept returning to panels with 3 images - and finally chose this one.

JacobLawrence22.size.jpg

The exhibit also includes art, music, and photography from his contemporaries, including Marion Anderson's Lincoln Memorial performance.  I loved one of Dorothea Lange's photographs of an ex-slave and sketched her as well.

DorotheaLangePhoto.size.jpg 

 

 

April 3, 2015

Sketchbook Skool Challenge from Brenda Swenson

It is semester break at the Sketchbook Skool and faculty from the first 3 semesters are posting weekly challenges on the Sketchbook Skool Blog http://sketchbookskool.com/blog/.  This week Brenda Swenson challenged students to do watercolor paintings on toned paper, using white gouache to add whites to the painting if needed.  I did two paintings and collaged them into my sketchbook to reduce the paper buckling for scanning.

A stylized bouquet of flowers on brown wrapping paper - watercolor and white gouache.

FlowersSBS.size.jpg 

One of my elephant series drawings that I redrew on Bugra brown paper:

ElephantChallenge.size.jpg 

 Lots of students are waiting impatiently for Sketchbook Skool Semester 4 to begin - and the blog is providing some relief with interesting videos and these challenges.  Happy Holiday weekend to all!

Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

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