fruit seller wip 3-30-2014Fruit Seller WIP 

Jim's purple flowers 3-30-2014Jim’s Purple Flowers

Nothing to see here is how I feel about the above works in progress.  They either need more work or I should just start again.  Nothing to see here is also what the cops will always tell a crowd as it gathers to see what’s going on at a crime scene.  The Husband used to tell me when he was on patrol that when he told people there was “nothing to see here” they wouldn’t believe him.  So he would tell them “triple homicide” and they walked away happy.  People are strange.

In the people are strange category I wanted to share the two photos below.  One is of stuffed animals imprisoned in a window.  These stuffed animals have been in this building’s window for as long as I can remember and I’m ready to start a “free the stuffed animals of Carroll Street” fund to see if we can get them out.  I find them a bit creepy. I can hear them screaming “help us” and “get us outta here”, can’t you?

Stuffed animals in jail 3-2014

 

The photo below was taken during one of my dog walks.  I wondered if there had been a lovers’ quarrel and someone would come home later to find their clothes on the sidewalk.

clothes on the street 3-2014

I guess I’m wrong. There’s always something to see.  At least in the streets of  NYC!

 

 

 

Life imitates artRoberta checks out the painting of herself watching it snow

I finally got around to meeting my friend Judy for lunch (she had a chicken salad sandwich on rye toast and I had scrambled eggs) and had the opportunity to give her the painting I did of one of her kittens (Roberta) looking out Judy’s window at the snow.

Later, when Judy got home with the painting, Roberta went right up to the painting to check herself out. (see the picture above)  The other kitten, Audrey, must have been miffed because she couldn’t care less about the painting.  And since the kittens have their own FACEBOOK page they know what it’s like to be adored by their fans.

I laughed and laughed at this picture of Roberta checking herself out.   Maybe I’ll have to paint this next and then Roberta can look at that painting and it can go on and on and on.

 

Gowanus Boat 3-23-2014NYC boat, maybe in the Gowanus.  Watercolor on 140 1/2 sheet Arches coldpress
NYC claims to have some of the best drinking water in all the land, which might be true—until it reaches the city. Then it’s stored in tanks that haven’t been inspected or cleaned in years. Here are some of the yucky bits that appeared in the NYTimes article:
    • There are thick layers of muddy sediment in the tanks
    • Even some that are routinely maintained contain E. coli (a microbe carried in the feces of mammals and birds)
    • Dr. Stephen C. Edberg, a public-health microbiologist at Yale University who invented the now-standard test for bacterial contamination in drinking water, was so alarmed by the results that he immediately alerted the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
    • Building owners are not required to submit proof to the city that cleanings and inspections have been conducted, as they do for elevator and boiler inspections. Until recently, they did not have to provide evidence of the inspections to their tenants.
    • Another potential concern is the use of an epoxy called Sea Goin’ Poxy Putty, which is not approved for use in drinking water, a violation of the city’s health code.
    • One day he found a pigeon bone in the strainer of a resident’s kitchen faucet.
    • Tank cleaning companies have an inventory of stories about finding dead birds, mice and animal droppings. One cleaner discovered a homeless person living in the attic space between a tank cover and the roof.

I still drink the tap water.

And apropos of nothing, the water itself is not Kosher because of copepods found in the water!  I’m not kosher or even Jewish, but now I always check my water to see if I can see those little critters floating around.  (So far I haven’t seen a thing.)  Still, with all of this info, you can’t beat our bagels.  And why?  Because they are boiled in NYC water.  Maybe the copepods give them some extra flavor?

Speaking of water, the Gowanus is still a filthy, polluted superfund site.  I remember when I first moved into my current apartment I would hear fog horns late at night.  Those were from the boats passing through the canal.  I have no idea what this boat would be used for on the canal, but I thought it looked cool and colorful.  I used artistic license and made the water look cleaner than it actually is.  I was going to put a little water tower far in the background in the upper left corner.  I still may.  But for now it’s done.

Watercolor Iris from the painted prism Feb.2014Iris – watercolor on 140# Arches Coldpress – approx. 9″x12″

 

There were two days this past weekend when the sky was blue and the sun was shining and it was a balmy 50 degrees.  I felt my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)  a/k/a winter blues slowly melt away with the warmer weather.  And my BAD returned (Bad Attitude Disorder).  While BAD is not recognized by the AMA or the Mayo clinic or even WebMD, I can assure you that most people in big cities have it at one time or another.   Suddenly the warm weather and the sunshine dissipated, the Polar Vortex returned as did the snow and so did my SAD combined with my usual BAD which can be a dangerous combination.

My remedy was to paint some flowers.  I found this blog called The Painted Prism which had a workshop so I went to town.   I didn’t have the exact colors she called for, nor did I use the salt for texture, but I am very happy with the result.   Can tulips and daffodils be far behind?

Roberta watching the snow fall on Madison Park 2-23-2014Roberta watching the snow fall on Madison Square Park, NYC – watercolor on 10″ x 12″1/2″ 140# Arches coldpress

I am petrified that I am starting to have short-term memory loss.  Or the beginnings of dementia.  I can’t remember anything anymore.  Ask me what I did yesterday.  Who knows.   What’s that person’s name?  Not a clue.  It’s frustrating. Words are on the tip of my tongue and then I forget them or what I was going to say.

I just read in AARP magazine about a test for dementia. (Why do they continue to send me this magazine?  I’ve already told them I am too young for it.) AARP magazine could NOT be more depressing. It’s dedicated to stories on how to watch out for scams on older people.  How to make sure that you have enough money after retirement so you’re not eating cat food.  Tests to see how long you’ll live.  And, of course, tests for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Which brings me to my point. (Yes, not only did I have one but I remembered what it was since the first paragraph of this post!) Two friends and I went to see a Broadway musical (which we all hated). Since it was Valentine’s day week, I got them small little heart-shaped boxes of Russell Stover chocolates.  As we were seated I reached down and handed them the boxes saying “Happy Thanksgiving!”  They stared at me.  Then we all laughed.  But still.

In this month’s AARP magazine there was a test for Alzheimer’s involving peanut butter. If you could smell peanut butter with your right nostril but not your left (or vice versa I don’t remember), you may have early stages of the disease.  I can tell you for sure my dog does not have it.  You can open a jar of peanut butter 3 blocks away and she’ll smell it.

On another note, which has nothing to do with peanut butter or tests for dementia, I will give you the best review of the musical we all hated by my friend Josh who saw it a week after we did.  He said, and I quote:

“The first act was awful.

The second act was better because I was at Starbucks.”

The above painting was done using a reference photo from my friend Judy who recently rescued and adopted two kittens, Audrey and Roberta.  They have their own Facebook page. They are adorable. And, they are now part of a big happy family which also includes Madison the cat and Benny the dog.   Hope you like the painting  Judalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Straw.  (What did you think I was going to say?)

Friends Patricia, Joan and I got together for some food, painting and, of course, laughing.   Patricia had seen someone on YouTube paint a tree with watercolor and a straw. So we gave it a try.   It was hilarious and fun.  Here are the results.

Cherry Blossom straw trees

Straw Trees 1

Straw Trees 2

It will never stop snowing here.  Ever.  Gothamist just posted this:  More Snow Expected To Hit City Today, Possibly Every Day For Eternity!  Since it’s so cold and snowy out, there are any number of Buzzfeed tests on the internet to pass the time until Spring.  And since I can kill time like nobody’s business, I’ve been enjoying (although not agreeing) with a number of them:

What state do you actually belong in?  (I got NH, then PA then TN)

What career should you have?  (Humanitarian – stop laughing, then Professor)

Which Star Trek character are you? (Chekov)

What font are you?  I got Courier.  My friend Judy got Futura. She said “I was sure I had a serif in me but apparently I was sans serif.”

And in case you didn’t know, here are the 5 stages of Winter:

Here’s to April!

Lest you think I’ve been hiding in my apartment wishing this winter would end without doing any painting, you’d be partially right.  I have a very bad case of S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder).  Although like most things, I’m doing nothing about it but complaining.  And painting.

I finished a number of paintings:

Frankee 2-9-2014My cousin’s puppy Frankee the coonhound – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress  

Then I completed this painting:

Greenpoint cityscape 2-9-2014Greenpoint, Brooklyn on a cloudy day – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

And finally I finished this painting:

Prospect Park Lake WIP 2-9-2014 completedProspect Park Lake on New Year’s Day 2014 – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

The Olympics are on TV seemingly everywhere, all the time, non-stop.  Instead I’m watching a TV show about how the Beatles changed America.  Their  first American televised live performance was on the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night, February 9, 1964.  Fifty years ago today.  Remember?

In case you don’t remember, they sang:

  • “All My Loving”
  • “Till There Was You”
  • “She Loves You”
  • “I Saw Her Standing There”
  • “I Want to Hold Your Hand”

Beach sketch from PMP Karina Robin

Beach scene from Paint My Photo – photo courtesy of Karina Robin

Winter.  I’m tired of it.  And what is the polar vortex?   I thought it was just called winter?  Since I was too tired and too cold to join the NYC Urban Sketchers today I decided to stay home, watch watercolor videos on you tube and play with my watercolors. Using a watercolor sketchbook given to me by my nephews, I did this beach scene using a limited palette, no more than 2 washes and no drawing first. I’d like to be there right now.

Dog  from pmp ESP

I moved on to this dog, again courtesy of Paint My Photo using ESP’s photo. No drawing first, only using a few colors and a few washes.  He looks a little sad. Why do all my painted dogs look sad?

Pears 1-25-2014

And finally I did every watercolorists’ favorite subject.  Pears.  I did sketch the shape of the pears, but again used a limited palette and not many washes.

I’m off to do some weight lifting. My friend Christine and I were talking about how we can’t remember things anymore and she told me about how weightlifting helps to stave off Alzheimer’s.   And I hear curls keep you warm.

Greenpoint cityscape 1-19-2013Greenpoint Cityscape Work In Progress – watercolor on 1/2 sheet of 140# Arches coldpress.

I started another cityscape, pictured here and already I don’t like it.  I think it’s because I’m cranky.  I tend to get crankier than normal in the winter months. You may insert The Husband’s eyeroll here.  He will say I am cranky year round. I will work on the painting some more and hopefully I will like it better. At least I still get to put graffiti on the buildings. That’s the best way to be a vandal.  Virtually.

Carol by Carlene 1-19-2014

This is a portrait my friend Carlene did of me.  I think it’s great.  My eyes are a little too big, but at least they don’t have bags under them like my real eyes do.  I think that’s also why I’m cranky.  I’m getting old.  Today in my spam folder I got an email about cellulite.   Talk about timing.  And here I was just thinking about going to the gym.

Frankee

Finally, here is my cousin’s new puppy, Frankee.  He’s a 5 month old coon hound mix.  He was rescued from North Shore Animal League and he is an absolute delight.  He doesn’t care about the bags under my eyes.  He kisses me anyway.  Yay for dogs. They are the best.

P.Park Lake WIP 1-12-2014Prospect Park Lake Work in Progress – on 1/4 sheet 140# Arches coldpress

Today was the 13th annual no pants subway ride.  Why would anyone want to ride the subway without wearing pants?  I have absolutely no idea.   I have seen unspeakably disgusting things happen on the subway and quite frankly I really wonder why we all aren’t riding the subways in HazMat suits.   My dog walking buddy who moved to Maine, Charlie, wouldn’t even sit on the subway even if he had an opportunity to sit, nor would he hold on to the poles. Obviously he was very good at balancing and would stand the whole way back and forth to work.  I will always grab a seat if I get one, but I make sure that any body part that is touching any part of the subway is fully covered.   I am not a germophobe by any means and fully believe that kids need to get a little dirty when playing outside and don’t need to be purelled every five minutes.  Based on my vast medical experience I believe this is why most people of my generation have few allergies and the young kids today are allergic to everything.  On second thought, maybe all the young’uns should go for a no pants subway ride to increase their ability to fight off  allergies and build up immunities.

You’re welcome.

The polar vortex arrived in NYC last week.  It was in the 50′s in the morning and the next morning it was 6 degrees.  Now I’m not complaining because I know it was brutally cold and snowing in other parts of the country.  The Husband wonders if nine months from now there will be kids being named “Vortex”.

The painting above is the start of a lake-side scene in Prospect Park.  I’m trying some new colors that I don’t normally use.   I’ll keep you posted.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 256 other followers