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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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Passionate About Watercolors

I'm a big fan of working with watercolors. I disliked them once because they can be difficult to control and unpredictable. Now I love them for the same reasons! It's very rewarding gaining control and mastering different techniques and yet because they can be unpredictable, the unexpected effects can be very appealing and exciting! I like working on fast sketches from live models with watercolors. There is no time to get bogged down with too much detail yet enough time to capture a gesture or mood. These are two 20 minute sketches that I did recently at the Society of Illustrators. The beautiful model in the top sketch is Tangerine Jones who describes herself as a 'performance artist and illuminatrix supreme served up with a side of burlesque'. I just love the personalities I meet in NYC! Take a peak at Tangerine's blog Fresh Made Fierce.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don't Tell Mama....

Last night I went to see my friend sing at 'Don't Tell Mama', a cabaret and comedy club in midtown Manhattan. I grabbed my sketch book at the last minute and was really glad I brought it with me. What a talented and glamorous group of singers including my friend Linda Mancini, Sian Berman, Jane Deeken, Leorah Haberfield, Magee Hickey, Roberta Klein and Karen Steinberg who are all part of Manhattan Cabaret Arts. I'm now hooked on sketching performers! It's a good excuse for me to go to more gigs around town but I'll have to source venues where there is a bit of light to sketch. In some instances last night the lights went so low I could hardly see my paper. I know my mother would be frowning if she could see me trying to draw in the dark so 'Don't Tell Mama'......

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Valerie Green Dance Entropy

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be invited to sketch a company of dancers during rehearsals at Valerie Green Dance Entropy. The not-for-profit modern dance company will be appearing at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival on August 9th, 2012. They will be performing 'Thread', in which three women tangle, unravel, and knot together in fluid motions; 'Kin', a joyful, action packet duet; and 'Rip Tide', a work for six dancers that evokes the violence and beauty of the ocean. I felt very lucky as I sat in a corner watching and sketching these incredibly talented and fit dancers. Drawing one minute poses at life drawing sessions now seems like a very long time. The dancers were not in a pose for more than a few seconds! I eventually got the hang of creating very fast gestures based on the dancers and what I know of balance and proportion of the human figure. A few of the sketches are of the dancers during their break. A big thank you to Valerie Green who visited me during Open Studios in May and was kind enough to invite me to her dance studios. For more information on the incredibly talented and accomplished Valerie and her company please visit: www.danceentropy.org

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monoprints with Aluminum

On Saturday I trotted over to New Jersey to attend a workshop run by Roy Kinzer. I've been to one of his excellent workshops before so I knew I'd pick up lots of information on the subject of the workshop 'The World of Aluminum and Golden Artist Colors' as well as other technical aspects of using acrylic paints and mediums. I learnt how to prepare an aluminum panel for paint application and adhesion and adhering a wooden support so the panel can hang. We also did a few monoprints using aluminum as printing plates.  I think Roy may have got me hooked onto something! These were one or two minute sketches from imagination but I rather like the spontaneity and energy of them.

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Spring Studio

It can be easy to get out of the habit of going to life drawing sessions, especially once summer has arrived bringing with it those gloriously hot evenings. Don't forget I'm from London and therefore passionately love the hot weather, humidity and all, in NYC! However, I made a special effort in July to keep up life drawing. Created by Minerva Durham, Spring Studio is one of my favorite venues with it's excellent models available seven days a week. I particularly like these two sketches. The model was a dancer and was very tall and lean. He could create and hold a most extraordinary pose. I like how he curled himself up into a ball for this 5 minute pose. The time went too fast but I'm happy with what I captured with in this simple watercolor.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Oh Rats!

I laughed out loud when I passed Lever House on Park Avenue earlier this week. Lurking in the courtyard of the iconic building stands a 12 ft tall cast bronze rat which is a replica of the inflatable 'scab rats' often seen in NYC outside businesses accused of bad labor practices. Mmn, interesting that it should find it's way to Park Avenue where many bank headquarters are located. Bravo to Bruce High Quality Foundation for the exhibit.

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Chelsea Block Party

I love NYC in summer. There is nothing quite like those hot summer nights where people stroll, dine and share drinks after work. Add to that an evening of art gallery openings on 20th Street in Chelsea, a block party complete with a trendy girl DJ and and fancy food trucks, a large mix of colorful Manhattanites and you have the perfect after work recipe for fun!  This photo was taken from the High Line.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blue Figure Series at Boston Art

My Blue Figure series is now on display at art consultants Boston Art as a result of being seen at Open Studios. That's the wonderful thing about Open Studios, you never quite know who is going to walk through the door! Amongst other services, Boston Art collaborates with clients, architects and interior designers to discuss goals for a space. It also drives to support artists, advocating their work to clients through use of their gallery space.


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Art at The Cedars Inn, NC

Located in the heart of Beaufort's Historic District, North Carolina, The Cedars Inn has reopened under new management. Built circa 1768, the Inn watches over the harbor of this beautiful, historical port town. Owners Margaret Wilmerding and Alex Sarratt selected a number of paintings to compliment their Cedars Inn Restaurant. Please contact the Inn directly for art sales information and bookings: cedarsinnkeeper@gmail.com or call 252 838 1463. 


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Friday, May 25, 2012

A Grand Day Out!

Thank you to all those who ventured across the East River to the art studios in Queens. It was a lovely, sunny weekend and more people than I expected made a day out of it. I want to shout out a big thank you to some of my friends who came along to support me. I hope you all had a great day. It was also wonderful to meet lots of art enthusiasts and make new connections.

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Experimental Work at Open Studios

Having spent a great deal of time life drawing at various venues around NYC for the last two years, the time came to experiment in the studio with figure work in watercolors, inks, mixed media and finding the right material brands and paper that work for me. It was so much fun letting go of some of the rules I learnt in my classes and painting the figure really fast in an abstract way. I think so long as the proportions are convincing you can establish the figure as an abstract shape and express movement and gesture to create dynamic drawings and paintings. To see more of my figures and paintings visit http://www.facebook.com/EleanorRahimFineArt

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Open Studios

The weather forecast is good for our Open Studios weekend in Long Island City! As part of the LIC Arts Open festival, over 200 artists will throw open their studio doors for the public to visit and maybe purchase some art. The event also includes a block party, music, dance, theater, comedy, performance art and more. See www.licartsopen.org for a full schedule of events.

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Drawing Marathon

I recently took part in a drawing marathon which meant sixteen hours of life drawing over two days. Six models worked together in imaginative poses. No sketch lasted more than about 12 minutes and we only had a lunch break and one twenty minute break each day. My eyes were very red and puffy by the end of the weekend! No time to relax between poses so it really was intensive, fast paced with quick decisions to be made about whether to use ink, watercolor, charcoal, pastel etc. This is one of my favorite sketches from the weekend. 

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Exhibition at Sarreid Ltd, High Point Market Week, April 21-26

Established for more than 40 years, Sarreid Ltd is a source for exceptional home accessories and occasional furniture. Sarreid sells exclusively to fine furniture stores and interior design galleries throughout the United States and Canada. At High Point Market Week in North Carolina, Sarreid is exhibiting 30 of my paintings in their vast new showroom in the Commerce and Design (C&D) building. Many thanks to owner Alex Sarratt for the opportunity to have an exhibition at this incredible venue during Highpoint Market Week and also for suggesting the idea in the first place! Special thanks also to Tim Good for all his hard work and the wonderful staff at Sarreid.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Fast Work at the School of Visual Arts

It's been a while since I did some fast figurative sketches as I've had a busy start to the year. In January I went back to Jon DeMartin's class at the Grand Central Academy and concentrated on longer poses. I always learn so much from Jon and he's a very patient teacher! However, I find that working on faster poses at other venues around the city, helps me with proportions and capturing the all important gesture of the pose and i like to try different mediums and techniques. These are five minute watercolor and water soluble crayon sketches. Not enough time for detail but perfect for capturing expressive gestures.

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