Model and Artists at Society of Illustrators, NY, ink and watercolor 5.5x7.5"

Model and Artists at Society of Illustrators, NY, ink and watercolor 5.5×7.5″

My second day in New York started with visiting art museums (more about that in a minute) and ended upstairs at the Society of Illustrators for costumed figure drawing from 6:30 to 9:30.

Society of Illustrators Staircase

Society of Illustrators Staircase

Just walking through the red door, up the stairs and seeing the portraits of all the famous illustrator/members was awe-inspiring.

Models at Society of Illustrators, NY Figure Drawing, 7.5"x5.5"

Models at Society of Illustrators, NY Figure Drawing, 7.5″x5.5″

I didn’t find the models to be very inspiring; they repeated the same few poses and the thin one wore a strange headdress with a little floral jumpsuit; the voluptuous model wore painful looking bondage gear. Or maybe it was just me: I’d started getting a migraine before dinner and had taken migraine meds so was a little off kilter.

Upstairs Bar at the Society of Illustrators

Upstairs Bar at the Society of Illustrators

I would have been intimidated going to the Society of Illustrators by myself but Shirley is a regular, which helped newcomers Pat and I feel comfortable. According to Shirley there was a world-famous fashion illustrator at the bar (above) that evening. We sketched to a soundtrack of loud rock music from the 70s, including favorites from Led Zeppelin, the Eagles and John Lennon.

Model at Society of Illustrators, NY Figure Drawing, 7.5"x5.5"

Model at Society of Illustrators, NY Figure Drawing, 7.5″x5.5″

Please see Pat’s iPad drawings and her amusing story about the day and Shirley’s sketches here.

Hopper, Magritte, Calder

Edward Hopper is one of my favorite artists so I was excited to start NYC day 2  at the Whitney with Pat visiting the show of Hopper paintings and his preliminary drawings for them. What really struck me was how his drawings showed great skill in drawing and perspective and yet many of his paintings have awkward angles, wrong perspective and bodies in unnatural positions.


A avorite Hopper painting on his homemade easel

I thought this note beside a painting might help to explain that dichotomy:

Hopper was a lifelong realist, committed to deriving his pictorial ideas from observed reality. His aim, however, was not to record outward appearances but to use his observations…as vehicles…to portray his inner life. Asked once what he was trying to achieve in a painting, he answered, “I’m after ME.”

Some favorite Hopper sketches in the show (click to enlarge):










While at the Whitney we also visited American Legends: From Calder to O’Keefe (more Hopper…Yay! and some wonderfully whimsical Calder circus sculptures made of wire and miscellaneous detritus), then we went quickly through Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE (meh).

Next we walked to MoMA where we met Shirley and went to the member’s preview day for Magritte: Mystery of the Ordinary.  None of us loved the Magritte. My favorite work in the show referenced painters painting, especially Clairvoyance where the artist’s still life setup is an egg but he’s painting a bird. While Shirley and Pat went off to sketch from paintings in the shows they’d already seen, I enjoyed American Modern: Hopper to O’Keefe show (Yay! even more Hopper!)

Sleeping Guy at MoMa, NY, pencil and watercolor, 7x5.5"

Sleeping Guy at MoMa, NY, pencil and watercolor, 7×5.5″

Finally, exhausted, I found Shirley sketching in a comfy chair beside the man above who was sound asleep. I drew him while she finished her sketch. Then we had dinner at a diner and walked to the Society of Illustrators for figure drawing.

Figure Drawing, Ink and watercolor wash, New York, Painting, People, Sketchbook Pages
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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Jana, I am just blown away by your sketches in NYC. I especially love that sleeping guy at MOMA.
    This trip of yours to NYC just lifts my heart. Thank so much for sharing it.


  2. Busy and fun (and exhausting!) day. It makes our sketching day in San Francisco seem so tame…and, yet, what a great time that was, too. So glad you’re enjoying your NYC visit. Say hello to Shirley for me!


  3. As always, fantastic sketches. I enjoyed your comments on the museum shows particularly your view on the Robert Indiana show! (meh). And I really liked the quote by Hopper. I need to get to these shows.


  4. What wonderful sketches! I am so jealous that you got to go to all these exhibits — especially the Magritte. And how awesome to have a sketching friend!


  5. Jana, another “Wow!” from me. I yearn to see these exhibits. I am part of a new docent program at the IMA. We spend an hour faciltating a “Closer Look” at one work of art. Very challenging since everything is based off what visitors see and understand and contribute. My first session was in July and I used John Sloan’s “Red Kimono”. My next is in February and I am using a Hopper. I love O’Keefe! I love Robert Indiana and we have a Robert Indiana exhibit opening at the IMA in February. I found your post really exciting and inspiring. Thank yu!


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