September 18, 2018

Thiebaud and Prabha

Pat, Benedicte, and I met our friend Gwen at the Morgan Library and Museum to see the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit.  It was my second visit, and it was equally enjoyable both times.  I wanted to paint his watercolor Candy Apples, and used his watercolor painting as a guide.   

Candy Apples - my version of Wayne Thiebaud's watercolor candy apples.

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Thiebaud is an excellent draftsman and this graphite self-portrait was lovely.

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Last week was Asia Week for Galleries in NYC, and Christies featured an auction of Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art.  Over the last several years my friends and I found artists in these exhibits whose work we really like.  My favorite is B. Prahba  (1933-2001).  She paints many elongated, rural Indian women, and I like everyone of them, the same way I like almost all of Modigilani's women. 

Here is a brief biography of her: https://www.saffronart.com/artists/b-prabha

This is my painting from the exhibit, in the style of B.Prabha, but painted in watercolor instead of oil.   I also posted the other original painting of hers in the auction.  

B Prahba:  Vorsova Girls 1960

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B. Prabha Untitled (Fisherwomen) 1969 

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September 14, 2018

Flowers and Figures August 29, 2018

Our Wednesday weather was unpredictable this month, and I'm now in a Life Drawing Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Fall semester class.  Therefore my last "Flowers and Figures" pages from Wagner Park and South Cove in Battery Park City were in August. 

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Figure Al Fresco - Brianna was a fantastic model - beautiful and imaginative.  These are my 5 and 10 minute poses.  Next I'll be drawing and posting drawings of nude models again.  It is months since I sketched nudes - and then I did it with my right hand holding ice on my left wrist which was drawing the model - all before I learned my dominant hand wrist was fractured!

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The sketches  were done with a soluble graphite pencil (General's Sketch and Wash) and the gray tones obtained by brushing water over the figures with a "waterbrush" and clear water. 

September 11, 2018

Grandchildren Mail Art on Camp Letters - 2018

My NYC Grandchildren go to summer camp each summer, and I try to write them one letter each week.  For the last few years I sketched my imaginary character Axel on the envelopes.  These are drawings that I did this year.  

We see several hundred camp photos each day on the camp website, and I draw Axel participating in the same activities as our grandchildren.

July 2.

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July 6

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July14

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A postcard for each of them as they were preparing for "color war." 

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Final Letters:  Axel is just waiting for them to come home.

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September 7, 2018

Recycling a Used Book as a London Watercolor Sketchbook

We are going to London this Fall and I just recycled a London 1960s Photography book to use as my watercolor travel sketchbook.  My daughter and her family lived there for 14 months a decade ago, and I'm finally ready to go back.  But we will miss living in their house with our very young grandchildren on multiple visits. 

I bought a half-price photography book at the Strand Book Store in NYC, removed the original page block, and made a new page block with 140 lb Fabriano Artistico Soft Press paper.  Interspersed with watercolor pages, are photo folios from the original book.  

Front Cover

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I posted a 4 part Tutorial about recycling a book to use as a watercolor travel sketchbook in 2012.  This is the link to the process and the book I recycled for a 2012 Venice vacation. 

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/02/watercolor_sketchbook_tutorial.php 

 

Front End Paper: I was able to use two of the original folios as end papers, and just glued a decorative strip over the original fold to strength it.

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Title Page:  This will be my title page, with a Big Ben collage I made previously using a photo of Henry the VIII.  I will add a title for the sketchbook and my contact information.  I once received a phone call from a museum hours after I left my sketchbook by mistake.

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There are 4 signatures each with two folios of watercolor paper and one folio of the original photographs.  Two of the signatures had one folio that is narrower than full size and I will use these for 2X2 square daily drawings, and grid of my daily notes.  

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This is the example of the short sheets, I didn't want to use only a portion of another full sheet of watercolor paper and actually like having these random narrower pages.   You are seeing the narrower page on the right with part of a London bus photo behind it.

There are 24 full pages and 8 narrower ones for a 10 day vacation. 

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I made similar books for trips to Paris, Berlin/Prague/Budapest, Madrid/Seville/Barcelona, Barcelona, and a second one for Venice 2017.   

September 4, 2018

Sketchbook Skool WHIMSICAL Weeks 4 and 5

Miriam Bos is an illustrator and her paintings are used for books, magazines, fabric, ceramics, and greeting cards, etc.  It was fun learning about her creative process, and for our homework we were asked to create a book character and draw at least 3 emotions. 

I have fun watching squirrels trying to sneak the seeds from the bird feeders at our friends' home in Martha's Vineyard.  There were two who climbed the nearby tree, took flying leaps to the conical top of the iron pole holding multiple bird feeders, and almost never were successful.  I called a squirrel with an orange tail "Spas" because he would try to climb down the pole, lose his footing, scramble trying to hold on, and then fall to the ground. 

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What I Learned About Character Development in WHIMSICAL:  In Miriam's demo video she showed us her method for creating characters.  She obtains photo images of real animals from the internet, and then traces them to start the process.  After she learns about their structure and characteristics from tracing, she sets them aside and begins to draw many versions of the animals in different poses, and with different emotions.  She, like several of the other illustrators, said that they draw many before they find the character they like.  Mike Lowery said he drew almost a hundred before he found the "Carl the Duck" character he wanted. 

I started with tracings, and then drew at least 20 before I found these characters.  I had to paint one with an orange tail to remind me of the spastic squirrel I loved at the bird feeder. 

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is an illustrator of Children's Books, and her homework for us was to create a collage inspired by one of 3 words: Joyous, Dangerous, and Ridiculous. 

For my collage I decided to go back to the first moment that my characters Axel and Alice saw the characters in the hooded long coat.   The title of this collage is DANGEROUS?

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Axel was created during a Sketchbook Skool homework assignment by Fabio Consoli.  We had to intereract and draw with a child, and I created Axel, and then later Alice.  The top painting is the original homework painting. The character on the right was created by my Grandson Zach, and then I reacted to the robot creating the rest of the painting.  The bottom watercolor was done as a final project for a watercolor illustration class at FIT. 

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If I hadn't fractured my wrist on my dominant hand in March, I would have finished the comic book project about Axel and Alice for my FIT Spring semester class on Comic Book Illustration.  Someday....

 

 

August 31, 2018

Visit to the Jewish Museum

There is a Chaim Soutine exhibit at the Jewish Museum until September 16th.  My husband and I really like him and look forward to seeing his paintings in museums and auctions.  But this exhibit, entitled Flesh, is of his paintings of dead animals.  These are my least favorite paintings, with animals usually hanging in his studio, during the painting. 

My first painting of the Museum in years:

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Here is a photo of Soutine from the exhibit. 

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And here are 3 paintings that I sort of liked, but not well enough to draw/paint them as I frequently do at local exhibits.

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August 28, 2018

Flowers and Figures al Fresco - August 15th

My favorite flowers of the season are the Dinner Plate Hibiscus at Battery Park City Wagner Gardens.  I hadn't been to the Art Programs for several weeks because of the weather, and was thrilled that they were still blooming everywhere at my next visit. 

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After drawing the flowers, I walked to South Cove for Figure al Fresco - our outdoor figure drawing session is close to NY Harbor and the Hudson River as it reaches the Harbor.  Our model was Regina, an old favorite of mine because I've been drawing her, at several different venues, since 2012.

2 Minute Poses:  I'm still playing with the line of action method - drawing quick lines to establish the pose, and then "fleshing out the body."  I think this helps me with the short poses, and the complicated positions.  Drawings were done with a General Sketch and Wash pencil and then spread with clear water and a waterbrush.

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5 Minute Poses:

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10 Minute Pose:   

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August 24, 2018

Delacroix and Thiebaud Art Exhibits in NYC

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a Delacroix Drawing Exhibit this summer.  He is one of my favorite draftsmen and this exhibit was wonderful.  These are two patrons at the exhibit.

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I took many photos so I could do a few ink drawings at home.  Here is one head, from a big sheet of head drawings.  I used a dip pen and walnut ink.

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This was one of my favorite drawings because I love his drawings with a loose style.  It isn't one that I would attempt to copy as drawing practice.

 

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The Morgan Library and Museum has a Wayne Thiebaud exhibit this summer.  I regularly see his oil paintings at auction previews, but never previously saw his drawings.  I did several sketches from his graphite drawings and then painted them at home.  I'm also including photos of several of his works on paper that were a surprise to me.

 

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Thiebaud's watercolor of his famous candy apples theme.

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Thiebauds beautiful graphite drawing of an Ice Cream Cone

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August 22, 2018

Art After Breakfast: Week of August 13th

Figure Drawings from "After Breakfast:"  These are my 10 minute line of action figure drawings that are done on scraps of used copy paper while sitting at the kitchen counter as soon as I finish breakfast.  I began to do these when my dominant hand wrist was broken, and still enjoy the challenge.  These were drawn from photos from a second hand book entitled:  The Human Form is Action and Repose by Phil Brodatz amd Dori Watson (1966).  

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After I cut out the figures from my 4.25 X 5.5" pieces of scrap copy paper, and lined them up on a sketchbook page, they reminded me of a photo from our family archives. This photo was taken from my college newspaper of the modern dance group, as we practiced for a performance.  I'm the dancer kneeling in front.

 

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Dance is a big part of my life:  Tap from age 4-14, Modern in high school and college, and Classic Ballet classes beginning at age 32!  I still go to a weekly ballet barre class here in NYC (at Steps) to maintain discipline and flexibility. 

I'm not sure if the used book listed above is still available, but these are nude photos of a man, and a woman, in MANY separate photos.   

 

 

August 20, 2018

Flowers and Figures al Fresco - August 8th

We are having almost daily rain and threats of thunderstorms this summer, and I didn't go to the Wednesday Adult Art Programs in Battery Park City for several weeks.  These were the newest blooming flowers in Wagner Park.

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Figure al Fresco is also held in Battery Park City on Wednesday - in South Cove.  Our model was Sophie and I enjoy drawing her.  I do rapid sketches with a General Sketch and Wash pencil, and then use water in a waterbrush to add the gray tones.

5 min poses

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10 min

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Almost 15 min

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Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

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