Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Learning to Like Charcoal

Charcoal is not my favorite medium. I prefer graphite for drawing or charcoal pencils that you can sharpen to a fine point. However, my tutor Jon DeMartin mentioned that charcoal is more 'painterly' than graphite so I persevered with this drawing and started thinking in terms of editing detail and concentrating on gesture and expression. Overhearing Jon talk to a student he said he'd rather have an expressive drawing than a totally accurate one. I agree....striving for complete accuracy at the expense of the overall expression and gesture can kill a drawing or painting.

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Meditation Therapy in Cast Drawing Class

I've never been one for meditation and have always led a busy life. When I moved to New York I didn't realize at first but I automatically moved into a higher gear. The pace of the city propels you to want to do more, see more, learn more, achieve more. So it was with some delight that I learnt to slow the pace at a Saturday cast class at Grand Central Academy. Cast drawing develops hand-eye coordination and trains the eye to really 'see' values using controlled lighting. Artists are trained to think in a sculptural way so we are not fooled by visual illusions and can therefore model the form correctly. I have only completed one cast which took six Saturdays but I know this discipline will help me tremendously when I draw and paint from life. I think the quiet meditative process will also be good therapy in this busy city now and again!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012


My friend of many years, Barry Wishnow, visited my studio on his recent trip to NYC. It was wonderful to catch up with him over coffee and breakfast while I painted a fast watercolor portrait. Barry is a New York character, full of life and passion about his family, his business, music, fashion and his new life in Nashville. Having had a successful career in the fashion industry as President of Calvin Klein, CEO of Hugo Boss America and working with such talents as Yves Saint Laurent and Halston, Barry has now launched his own company called BASH creating classic bespoke fashion using the finest fabrics and tailoring. This color combination is my flavor of the moment but it also suits flamboyant and dapper BASH!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

For every sketch I post here or on my design blog, there are more shut away in my sketch books that do not see the light of day, except to show to my friends and family over a glass of wine or two. I do like them but I can't post everything! So here are a couple more that I recently did. I'm gaining some ground with my watercolor technique and am beginning to feel like I am developing my own style while learning at the same time. The male model was sketched at Spring Street Studios and the female (one of my favorite models, Tangerine Jones) graced us with her wonderful personality and expressive techniques at the Society of Illustrators. It's turning cold in New York and there is nothing I like more than to be in a warm atmosphere with a bunch of artists and/or illustrators sketching the evenings away!

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Grand Central Academy of Art

Once again I am trotting along to Grand Central Academy every week to continue with my traditional art education. There is so much to learn. I could study every day for the rest of my life and still not know everything! However, I am being selective with my studies so that I can focus on what I really want to achieve in the short and long term. I have returned to Jon DeMartin's evening class in life drawing. He is such an excellent teacher. So knowledgeable and patient! I have also started a cast drawing class. "Historically, art students were expected to study works that contain ideal compositional elements before attempting their own study of nature. Classical sculptures provide the perfect vehicle for this study.....Nearly every artist who lived from the time of the Renaissance to the turn of the twentieth century studied the work of these master sculptors at some point during training." Juliette Aristides from her book, Classical Drawing Atelier. OK, so I got it the wrong way around.....I started drawing from life BEFORE attempting a cast class but I'm really enjoying it and learning from it nonetheless. (Yes that is me with Jon in the pic below)!

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