March 4, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann was the 3rd Artist in this series, and his apprentice was a UK painter named Gillian Lee Smith.  I knew very little about Beckmann, a German Expressionist Painter, but quickly learned that he was second only to Rembrandt in the number of self-portraits he painted.  He was born in Leipzig Germany in 1884, and decided very early that he wanted to be an artist.  He served in WWI as a medic but had an emotional breakdown and was medically discharged.  By 1930 he was a very successful German artist, but he was featured in the Degenerate Art exhibit in 1937 and his career destroyed.  He and his wife fled to Amsterdam for 10 years and then to the United States after WWII.  He had an art school teaching position in St. Louis and then New York, and died in Central Park in 1950 on a walk between his apartment and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see one of his paintings.  I chose Self-Portrait in Olive and Brown to copy.

My copy is on the left, the original on the right.  I used watercolor, white, and black gouache, for my painting on 9X12 Arches 140 lb cold press paper.  It doesn't have the same range of values as Beckmann's and  I don't feel as if I captured his stern, almost angry, expression, 

   

MaxBeckmann.Composite.size.jpg 

 

After doing a copy, each apprentice reflects on what they learned by copying the Master and then paints an original using some of those techniques.  I selected a New Year's Eve photo I took this year to paint.  Like Beckmann, it captures an individual and a face at one moment in time.  And I hope that it conveys the emotion of a young girl, celebrating the New Year, but in her own world.  I tried to use black to define the face and clothing like Beckmann did, but my lines, using a rigger brush are definitely not as bold. 

Syd.size.jpg 

March 1, 2015

Playdate with Zach

Zach is in Pre-K and had his Winter Break several weeks ago.  We scheduled a playdate and when I asked him where he wanted to go, he said the Museum so we could sketch.  As soon as we got off the phone he packed up his sketchbook and pencils so he wouldn't forget anything. 

Here is my picture of him sketching in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  There is a Bear Sculpture of 3 Bears, but he was ready to move on after sketching the bear in the middle.

IMG_20150219_110521328.size.jpg 

 

And here is his sketch of the Bear!   He was very pleased with it.

Zach%27s%20Bear.size.jpg 

 

We eventually did two more sketches, learned lots about mummies in the Egyptian Galleries and went to visit William the Blue Hippopotamus, the Met's several thousand year old mascot that is also in the Egyptian Gallery.   

Several of my other grandchildren like to draw and paint and I'm hoping that we can keep this interest alive.   

February 27, 2015

Two-Point Perspective Lesson

We learned a few simple rules about 2-point perspective in our Drawing I class last week.  As I've said before, I never had drawing lessons so I used to wing it!  Now at least I can intellectually know the rules and maybe even follow them when I choose.  You use 2-point perspective when you can see two sides, two planes of an object.

Drawing Boxes:   

1.  Establish your eyeline directly in front of your eyes and put the line on your paper. 

2.  Draw your vertical line for the corner of the box facing you. 

3.  Examine the two sides of the box to establish where your vanishing point (VP) will be for each side and mark them on your eyeline.  I find it difficult to figure out how far away the VP should be from my vertical and finally just played with this to see the kinds of boxes I could draw.  

4.  Draw a line from  the top and bottom of your first vertical line to your vanishing point - and then add another vertical between these lines to establish the size of each side of the box.

5.  Finally, add lines from the VP to the tops of the two new verticals. 

Here are examples of many boxes I drew in class.

Boxes.size.jpg 

We then learned how to draw a corner inside a box - for example the corner of a room. 

1. Draw a horizontal line for your eyeline. 

2. Draw the vertical line from ceiling to floor. 

3.  Then put two vanishing points on your eyeline.

4.  But this time connect a line from the top and bottom of your vertical to the VP on the opposite side of the vertical.   This was hard for me to "see" at first, but here is my drawing for the corner of a room.  The green color is on the walls on both sides of the corner.

 

InsideBox.size.jpg 

 

Putting it all together:  In order to try to cement these concepts in my brain I drew a box on a rectangular table, looking toward the corner of our classroom.   I had to concentrate a great deal to make sure I just wasn't winging it!

RoomCorner.size.jpg 

I look forward to warm days on the streets of Manhattan, playing with these new ideas.  Looking down a street of skyscrapers in Manhattan should be great fun to draw.  But not when it is 26 degrees at 3PM like today.  

February 24, 2015

February Figure Drawing

Two Meet-up Groups are co-sponsoring Figure Drawing weekly during these cold weeks of Winter.  You must be a member of Meetup Draw New York or the Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup groups to attend, but it is really easy to join and both groups have drawing sessions in other indoor venues as well this month.  These are just 4 of the drawings I did on February 14th.

 

The drawings were done with a soluble graphite pencil and then shaded with clear water and a Niji waterbrush.  They were scanned, adjusted, and resized in Photoshop.

 

Five Minute Sketch: 

Feb14.5min.1.size.jpg 

 

Five Minute Sketch of Each Pose Separately:

Feb14.5min.2.size.jpg 

 

Ten Minute Pose:

Feb14.10min.size.jpg 

 

Fifteen Minute Pose:

Feb14.15min.size.jpg 

February 18, 2015

Second Exercise in One Point Perspective

We spent one more week practicing one point perspective and I think I'm finally gaining practical experience and some understanding of how to use these techniques.  Last week we sketched long halls, but the same technique would work for roads and train tracks disappearing in the distance.  The eyeline or horizon is a line at your eye level, and the vanishing point is directly in front of you on the eyeline.  Then your drawing lines all originate from the vanishing point and become your hallway etc.

This week I stayed in the classroom and sketched a table that was directly in front of me.  One point perspective is used with objects that have flat planes and are directly in front of you.  If you can see two sides of a box or table, then you need to use drawing techniques for two-point perspective. As before, the eyeline is at your eye level and the vanishing point is again right in front of you.  Same rules, but a new venue.

Here is my drawing done in class.  My vanishing point is the white dot on the arm of the black sweater.  You can start at the vanishing point and extend a line to both sides of the table, each side of the shelves, and the front of the desks on the right.

FITTablePerspective.size.jpg 

After drawing the table, I struggled while drawing the student desks along the side of the brown table.  But again, the lines in the front of these tables are also just lines from my vanishing point. Then I got bored and added the lamp in the room and the student who came in and sat across from me. 

I also sketched another table and one of our classroom chairs in my daily sketchbook to have a record of this class.  VP marks my vanishing point and I left my pencil lines from it to the table as a reminder.  Our professor confiscates all rulers - he says that if you don't practice drawing straight lines, you will never be able to draw them.  Fortunately, I've never relied on a ruler for any drawings.

Classroom.size.jpg 

February 17, 2015

Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibit Figure Drawing at MoMA

 I did more figure drawing at the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit education session.  We had a new Art Educator and two models who were employees in the MoMA Education Department.  They received more instruction about poses than usual, but were really great at holding the pose.  The drawings were done with a soluble graphite pencil and then shaded with clear water from a Niji waterbrush.  The images were scanned, adjusted and resized in Photoshop.  There are 3 more sessions before the exhibit closes at the end of March.  I just selected 3 of my drawings from the 90 minute session.

While I was waiting for the Figure Drawing session to begin I copied this drawing of my favorite Toulouse-Lautrec model from one of his prints. 

TLprintFeb10.size.jpg 

 

These two models posed together and were drawn together in 5 minutes. 

MoMA5min.size.jpg 

 

Another 5 minute pose:

MoMA5min2.size.jpg 

 

I was getting tired after many poses, and decided to concentrate on a portrait during the last 10 minutes of the session.

MoMA10min.size.jpg 

 

February 13, 2015

Learning One-Point Perspective

This semester I am taking a Drawing I class at FIT.  It is my very first ever drawing class (except for Figure Drawing at FIT in the Fall of 2013) and I've always just "winged it" when perspective was needed in a drawing.  I usually start learning all new things on my own, from books, and then eventually find that a class provides me with some formal structure for my knowledge.  But by then I've experimented and broken many rules so I'm more comfortable playing. I knew that we were learning one-point perspective in our class, and by chance saw a good free ebook online by artist Paul Heaston about Drawing with Perspective

https://www.facebook.com/CraftsyDrawingClub

This is the link, but you need to scroll down to find Paul Heaston. The ebook can be downloaded as a 24 page PDF from Facebook Drawing Club.  You have to join Craftsy to download it, but there is no charge for joining and Craftsy is having a sale on their art classes right now so you may see something else you like too.  

I read pages 1-3 before class and last night sketched the hallway outside our classroom, sitting on the floor and standing, and from the right side, left side, and middle - 6 sketches in all.  Here is my sketch sitting on the left side of the hall.   I had trouble figuring out exactly where my "eyeline" was and it took all 6 sketches before I could figure out the errors I was making.  The black dot is my "vanishing point" on my eyeline (horizon).

 

Hallway.Pencil.size.jpg 

At home I decided to reproduce one of my drawings in my sketchbook and paint it - and found it very easy once I established my eyeline and vanishing point.  Both were copied from my drawing last night while I was standing in the middle of the hall.  I made the box shape for the end of the hall, then added my "eyeline" and vanishing point, and just redrew the objects along both sides of the hall, using lines from my vanishing point. 

Hallway.WC.size.jpg 

We have one more week on one point perspective and then move on to "two point perspective." 

 

 

 

   

 

 

February 10, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Art Adventures at the Met were wonderful this past month. 

Pat, Benedicte and I went to the opening of Reimagining Modernism, a special look at the holdings of the Met, as rearranged by themes by the curatorial staff.  There were paintings that I don't remember from before in the 9 galleries and one newly exhibited, gallery-sized sculpture of the Last Supper by Marisol which was amazing.  Benedicte took this picture of me taking a photo of the painted faces and exquisite sculptured  and painted wood hands.

 

LastSupper.size.jpg 

I sketched a few of the simpler drawings from the galleries and added paint at home. 

Modernism.size.jpg 

Last Friday evening the Met had a program called Jazz and Colors, during which 15 jazz groups played the same two sets in 15 different galleries.  I sketched in the Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas while we listened.

 

Oceana.Met.size.jpg 

 Then we sat in the Petrie European Sculpture Hall and listened to "Jennie Scheinman's in the Museum".

Jazz1.size.jpg

Followed by The Marvin Sewell Group in the Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court. 

Jazz2.size.jpg 

 I think they are repeating this program from 6-8:30 on April 24th.  It was a wonderful event - I remarked to my husband that there were so many young people that it looked like date night. 

February 6, 2015

January Figure Drawing

The Central Part Sketching and Art Meetup Group is now meeting each Saturday during the winter for figure drawing, and yesterday was the first session.  The model looked like a runway model, probably 6 feet tall and all angles and boney prominences.  I really enjoyed drawing her and here are 5, 10, and 20 minute poses, all drawn with a soluble graphite pencil, on 12 X 15" watercolor paper, with added shading done with clear water and my flat Niji waterbrush.   The drawings were photographed, not scanned.

Two 5 Mintue Poses:

P1050886.size.jpg 

Two 10 minute Poses: 

P1050885.size.jpg 

P1050887.size.jpg 

 

Two 20 Minute Poses:

P1050884.size.jpg  

February 3, 2015

Studying Under the Masters - Pablo Picasso

It is Week 2 for me in the online course Studying Under the Masters.  The Master for this week is Pablo Picasso, and over the years I have copied many of his drawings, because I love the images he can capture drawing only a few lines or one continuous line.  So it was time to copy a painting!  The painting "Reading at a Table" is at the Met, and as soon as I saw it in the new Reinventing Modernism Galleries, I knew that I wanted to try to paint her!  As before, the Master is on the left, and my painting is on the right.  I used watercolor and black and white gouache instead of oil, and loved trying to achieve some of the spirit of Picasso. 

GirlReading.size.jpg 

I debated a variety of portraits for my "painting inspired by Picasso" and finally realized that I could use one of my figure drawings from MoMA for the subject.  I made this sketch of the actress model in the Toulouse-Lautrec Drawing Session in 3 minutes, using only straight lines to draw her image.  I took a scan of that drawing as the basis for my painting and then experimented with backgrounds.  I loved the candle in Picasso's painting, so I added it to mine, and then needed to work out the rest of the setting and color palette. 

PrepDrawing.size.jpg

And here is my finished painting.  I usually draw and paint in watercolor sketchbooks and for this series of paintings I'm using Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper in a 9 X 12 block.

CoreyTazmania.size.jpg 

Next Week:  Max Beckmann, the German Expressionist Painting. 

Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

March 2015

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
Powered by
Movable Type 3.38