August 26, 2016

Another Trip Downtown to the Battery

The Museum of Jewish Heritage, in Wagner Park, is great to draw.  This is actually part of the back of the Museum that I walk by when going to South Cove for figure drawing.  

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We try to spend time with one just one grandchild when we can schedule a full day.  Yesterday was our long awaited day with Cal, who asked about a visit to the Seaglass Carousel and the Oculus for at least the last 3-4 months.  We caught him between summer sleepaway camp and the rest of his vacation!  Yesterday morning I divided a sketchbook page with 1/4" artist tape and prepainted the background.  Then I added quick drawings as we progressed through our day. 

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We began with rides on the Carousel, then walked around Battery Park for lunch at Pier A.  The view of the Freedom Tower (WTC1) is great when looking north up West St. and we stopped to draw it as we left the restaurant.  

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Cal likes to draw and we stopped several times during the day to draw in our sketchbooks while Grandpa worked on the NY Times crossword puzzle.  This was his quick sketch of the Freedom Tower.

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The rest of our adventure included Brookfield Place and a Virtual Reality Movie about bringing water to Ethiopia, the 9/11 Memorial pools, the Freedom Tower up close, and the exterior and interior of the Santiago Calatrava Oculus.   

 

August 23, 2016

Hand Drawing Practice - August

I find drawing hands and feet to be very difficult, and years ago began a self-imposed practice of drawing both from photos found in magazines and catalogues.  My most recent drawings are of two hands together.  At figure drawing sessions, there is rarely enough time to devote to either in any detail, but occasionally I am able to focus on a hand or foot, and slowly I'm improving.  Both of these pages were drawn with a colored pencil on cold press paper.

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August 19, 2016

Figure Al Fresco in Battery Park City Aug 17th

On an incredibly hot day in NYC, there was wind in BPC - wonderful outdoor sketching weather. 

These are three 5 mniute poses, each drawn with A General Sketch and Wash pencil and then shaded with a water brush.

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I rarely can keep sketching through a 20 minute pose, so in both of these I sketched one or more artists in the background.   

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August 17, 2016

A Summer Week

During our walk through Battery Park City, Annabelle, Zach, and I each sketched one of the dinner-plate hibiscus blooms.  It took me a few days to finally paint it.

 

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We took Annabelle back home on Sunday, after her week with us in NYC, and her brother was very happy to see her.  I sketched this from a photo taken by our son.     

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Last week I took Annabelle to see the revival of CATS, and the morning after she arrived home she made herself CAT's ears on a headband, and then dressed all in black to be a cat.  I was able to get her to pose for me in her costume while she was watching Cats videos and listening to the original CATS cast album.  I think she really liked it! 

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Before we came home my husband and I went to see the 75th Anniversary Exhibit at the National Gallery -" A Lasting Legacy - Paintings and Sculptures from the Paul Mellon Collection."  These are works of art on paper that are exhibited infrequently and I loved seeing them.   I chose one drawing to copy in the Museum and photographed a few others for practice.  This is a self-portrait done by Henri Matisse. 

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August 13, 2016

NYC Urban Sketchers at Columbia

New York City is in the middle of a heat wave!  The NYC Urban Sketchers Weekday group met on the campus of Columbia University on Thursday and it was unbelievably hot.  I went into St. Paul's Chapel with my grand daughter and another 8 year old who was also joining our group with her grandmother.  This is the front of the chapel.

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St Pauls Chapel Interior:   There were 4 large fans set up in the sanctuary and we found a place to sit while I  sketched what I could see from my cool seat.  It was a side alcove with a beautiful stained glass window, a loft, and a decorative chandelier.  The perspective was a challenge for me.  The girls sketched and painted the chandelier.

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In an adjacent campus square, in front of the Philosophy building, there is a Rodin Thinker sculpture.  It was hard to find a spot of shade close to the statue, and I didn't finish my sketch.

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Many members of our group sat on the steps of a facing building - and this was our view of the Rotunda of Low Library.  There were a few members of our group that sat in front of Low in the sun and did wonderful sketches.  Not me! 

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As we sat and talked while eating our lunch, my grand daughter Annabelle and her new friend Quinn had a wonderful time mixing colors from a set of watercolor pencils.  They were incredibly enthusiastic and energetic, in spite of the heat. 

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It was a wonderful place to sketch, but brutally hot.  We decided we would return in the Fall! 

August 10, 2016

Annabelle's "Camp" Week in NYC

Our Grand daughter is visiting us for a week from DC, and she has time alone with us and liberal doses of her cousins who live in the City. 

We took a trip to Roosevelt Island (which is in the middle of the East River) on Monday to show my husband and grand daughter the Tram to the island and the FDR Memorial.  We stopped for what seemed like only 5 minutes to sketch a building on the Manhattan skyline while walking on the Memorial grounds, then had lunch, and took the tram back.  Annabelle loved the tram as much as I do.  I chose to sketch this portion of the skyline to capture the new mega skyscraper which is near the Citicorps building (slanted roof).

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On Tuesday Annabelle's cousin, one of our grandsons, joined us for the day in Battery Park and Battery Park City.  Zach requested a ride on the SeaGlass Carousel and while they each had two rides, I finally sketched a few of the iridescent fish that you sit in.   This is the Carousel, inside a nautilus shell. 

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Here is Annabelle sitting inside a fish. 

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Here are two sketchbook pages. 

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Today Annabelle and I will go to Broadway to see the musical Cats which just reopened after a 15 year hiatus.  We saw it in the Summer of 1983 with our children and when Annabelle's Father was 10 years old.   

August 5, 2016

Drawing and Painting on Wednesday and Thursday

I had two wonderful days with NYC art groups this week - summer is definitely special as we meet and draw outside.  Fortunately our big heat wave ended and it is comfortable if you can stay out of the direct sun.  On Wednesday morning I went down to the tip of Manhattan and as I was walking along Battery Place, couldn't resist this view of the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) as I looked north on Greenwich St.  It is a beautiful tower that dwarfs the surrounding buildings. 

 

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In the afternoon, John was again our model.  This is my final drawing of him - done in 10 minutes during a 20 minute pose.  I got bored and then sketched a visiting Peruvian artist/architect, Joel Guevara, as he was drawing John too.

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The NYC Weekday Urban Sketchers met in Bryant Park on Thursday.  The Park is behind the New York Public Library between 40th and 42nd Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues.  On Thursdays the Park sponsors "Broadway in Bryant Park" and as we were sketching we listened to Broadway actors from "American in Paris" and "Beautiful" sing songs from their shows.  This is a very popular program and here are a few photos I took of the crowd on the lawn.

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I like sketching buildings and pieces of buildings while trying to better understand perspective.  I sketched the very top of the building on W.40th St that you can see in the above photo. 

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Next week my 8 year old grand daughter from DC will be here with us, and I can't even imagine how many places we will be in the City. 

August 3, 2016

Last Camp Letters Mail Art

Last week I used the daily camp photos to determine the subject of my Axel drawings on the envelopes of my letters.  My two grandsons seemed to be photographed most frequently with a football, and my grand daughter, a passionate soccer player throughout the year, was photographed playing a soccer game.  These are the drawings I created.  I'm enjoying figuring out how to draw Axel in many different poses - which is something good for my practice of drawing from my imagination. 

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I'm writing my last letter to the 3 of them before they return to NYC.  This week, the drawing is the same on each envelope - Axel asking them how many days until they come home.   

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This is the left half of each envelope - and 3 original drawings.  I hope they enjoyed their summer sleep-away camp enormously!  I for one can't wait until they return.

July 30, 2016

Portraits, a Hybrid Flower, and Cafe Customers

I have a variety of sketchbook pages from recent days.  This month I quickly sketched my husband's portrait when we were out for coffee.  I do this periodically and he doesn't think any of them look like him.  Here he is in his Mets baseball cap.

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This week I met a virtual friend from Sketchbook Skool in person when Andrea Rubenstein joined our Weekday NYC Urban Sketchers Group at an air conditioned atrium in Midtown Manhattan.  Several members sketched Winston Churchill from an exhibit at Chartwell Book Store.  I tried to sketch Andrea as we talked. 

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Earlier in July I sketched a beautiful pink hibiscus flower, and then painted it while our group was talking to Andrea.   Without thinking, I mistakenly added the stamen from day lilies - and unintentionally made it a rare hybrid! 

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This morning the Central Park Drawing and Art Meet Up group met at the Conservatory Water and I sketched several people sitting at the Café. 

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

August 2016

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