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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.

My doggie - 1-5-2014My doggie – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress approx 1/4 sheet

This painting turned out to be a very late Christmas present for The Husband. It’s not quite finished, but finished enough to post.  Just like my hot air balloon painting that I was going to leave alone and then I didn’t which is here.  My pooch looks a little sad because we were up at my sister’s house and that’s where we usually leave her if we go on vacation. She gets to play with her cousin Gus the golden retriever and always has fun, but I think she has a little anxiety when we first arrive thinking we are going to leave her.

My old dog who we would also leave with my sister when we went on vacation would sit and stare at the front door of her house  resulting in my mother once declaring she thought my dog was “a little disturbed.”

We had a wonderful holiday season made extra fun by the kids in our family. One 4 1/2 year-old  niece who is a fan of Doc McStuffins (a  Disney cartoon doctor) got a child’s medical bag as a gift and proceeded to give everyone check ups and diagnoses.  One of my favorite diagnosis was when she told my brother-in-law he had “two inches of allergies.” Achoo!

My biggest faux pas of the season was sending gifts to my family in Alaska with the wrong address.  They took forever to get there only to be “returned to sender.”   Ugh.  I’m still waiting to get them back so I can resend them. Merry President’s Day!

The new year in NYC brings a new mayoral administration and possible changes in my job. I don’t know exactly what they will be, but I hope they won’t be too stressful.  I plan to eat better, following a “real food” diet. I also plan to do more exercise, draw and paint more and I swear, this year I will learn to speak Spanish!

I’m already exhausted.

Necesito una siesta!  Happy New Year everyone.

Clearly I did not move on. I decided to work on the balloon some more.   Here’s the revised version:

Hot air baloon over ABQ  12-2013

Hot air balloon over Albuquerque, New Mexico watercolor on Arches 300 lb, rough paper 12-2013

Hot air baloon over ABQ  11-2013

Hot air balloon over Albuquerque, New Mexico watercolor on Arches 300 lb, rough paper 11-2013

Spurred on by Rick Daddario I decided to give a hot air balloon painting a try. Once again, it was done with mostly painting without drawing except for the balloon which really needed to be drawn first.  I wanted to get some of the beautiful Albuquerque landscape over the Rio Grande with the gorgeous yellow cottonwood trees, but I also didn’t want to over do it.   I think I’ll just leave it alone and move on.

Moving on…it’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. and while I know I am truly blessed because, unlike many people all over the world who don’t have anything to eat, I have enough.  But sadly enough is not enough.  What? Well, we also are one of the most obese countries recently surpassed by Mexico (Viva la Mexico!).  So what exactly should one eat to be healthy.  Any quick log-on to Facebook and I’m hit with websites like the ones below. There’s the Paleo diet –  eat meat all the time to the vegan – only eat plants, to the diet I’ve been on most of my life:  Eat whatever you want especially if it’s salt, fat, carb and sugar laden.  Now I must change my ways.  But oh, which way to go? I’ll figure it out starting with cutting out processed foods and sugar.  And I will be thankful that I have the ability to make that choice.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  I am blessed and thankful for all of you who visit my blog, whose blogs I visit and get inspiration from and of course for the Husband, the dog, all my family and friends and you dear reader.  Thank you.

http://foodbabe.com/2012/07/18/sabotaged-at-starbucks/

http://www.trueactivist.com/top-10-most-unhealthy-cancer-causing-foods-never-eat-these-again/

http://issuccessmakingyoufat.com/

http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/natural-vs-synthetic-vitamins/

The Husband’s quest for the west continues with a week-long trip to New Mexico.  Land of Enchantment.  At least that’s what their license plates say. Now why would he want to take me away from this?

cityscape - Brooklyn 11-2013Street scene, Bushwick, Brooklyn – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

 To this?

Cotton wood trees New Mexico 11-2013

ABQ Balloon - Nov. 2013

Rio Grande New Mexico 11-2013

Yes, I’ll admit, we had a great time and while we were there all the cottonwood trees had turned a gorgeous bright yellow.  We had perfect weather except for the trip to Santa Fe and Taos.   Luckily the weather didn’t get bad in either city until the afternoon so we did get to see some sights. The Santa Fe Museum of Art had an interesting collection including some works from famed collectors Herb & Dorothy Vogel.

We took a hot air balloon ride, which came complete with a crash landing. We rode horses down to the Rio Grande. And when I say “rode” I mean we slowly walked with a guide except for once in a while when my horse decided to trot because he thought we were going too slowly all the while I was shaking and looking for rattlesnakes.  Yeehaw!  My horse was “Chief”  and The Husband’s horse was a GIGANTIC Belgian staff horse named Bob.  Bob was the size of a 50′s Cadillac!

Before the trip to New Mexico I was lucky to take a workshop with Jean Haines.  I took the workshop because I wanted to paint more loosely.   Of course I hadn’t read any of Jean’s books and only saw a few pictures of her work so I was totally unprepared.   Luckily Jean is a wonderfully warm teacher with a great sense of humor although she did look at every photo reference I brought and hated all of them.  She does not draw at all except with her water and paint and really discouraged everyone in the workshop NOT to draw before painting.   Here are a two things I painted.  Flowers and half a dog.  half a doggie a la jean haines

Jean Haines flowers 10-2013

Central Park from Belvedere Castle

I met up with the NYC Urban Sketchers in Central Park at Belvedere Castle. Belvedere, meaning “beautiful view” in Italian was, according to the Central Park website, a “Victorian Folly” built by Calvert Vaux. Belvedere Castle has been equipped with  meteorological equipment since 1919 and records rainfall, wind and other weather information.  But for us it was the first stop of a beautiful day in a beautiful place.

I arrived at Belvedere Castle to discover that a high school art class from Memphis, Tennessee had joined us.   They were adorable and fun and thrilled to be in NYC.  They had seen Kinky Boots and Pippin on Broadway, thought Times Square was “awesome” and after leaving us were going to the Metropolitan Museum.   They also saw that some of us were using water brushes to paint.  Well, you would have thought we had just showed them electricity for the first time.  Water brushes were awesome too.  And they called me and Susan ma’am.  Which is something I think NYC brats kids should start.  I never thought I would like it, but I really didn’t mind being called ma’am.

Belvedere Castle

Urban Sketcher in the park

Tree with sketcher

Some of us stayed at Belvedere Castle while others went to the next stop which was by the Delacorte Theater to sketch the statue of Romeo and Juliet.  Then on the to lawn looking up at Belvedere Castle when a sketcher from Perth, Australia joined us. And then we all realized we were starving.  Off to Carmine’s for lunch where unfortunately I had to take my leave, but the others stayed and ate and sketched.  You can visit the NYC Urban Sketchers’ blog here. and visit some of the other sketchers sites, Joan Tavalott’s blog here.  And Mia’s website here.

Mountains 10-12-2013

Mountain exercise that I did once before here:  http://carolking.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/the-human-family-tree-and-6-degrees-of-kevin-bacon/ .  Wet in wet and lots of fun.

Annie the Beagle mix

Rescued today and brought to her forever home in New Hampshire by my friends Rob and Diane.

Audrey and Roberta – two kittens rescued last weekend by my friend Judy

 

Anyone who knows me knows I’m really not a puppies and kittens and rainbows and unicorns kinda person.  But this weekend I got to meet and love Audrey and Roberta the kittens and Annie the puppy.  What a weekend!

No rainbows, but what country has a unicorn as its national animal?  Nicola?  Can you answer that for us?

This particular buzzfeed article made me laugh.  6 castles that cost less than NYC apartments http://www.buzzfeed.com/benrosen/6-castles-that-cost-less-than-an-apartment-in-nyc

Again, if you see an ad on this post, it’s not cause I agreed to it.  Grrrr.  Wordpress!

The mountains were a wet in wet technique I did with Joan of the famed subway series.  When I need to get back to basics I know where to go.

(The answer is Scotland.)

Pulitzer fountain - urban sketcheing 9-28-2013Pulitzer Statue, NYC

I started Saturday meeting the NYC Urban Sketchers at the Pulitzer Fountain which is in front of the Plaza Hotel and Central Park.  We then moved to the entrance of the Central Park Zoo.  We didn’t go in, but sat on some benches and sketched there.  I left shortly after that to meet Jana Bouc, a fellow blogger who I only know from blogland.  She was visiting NYC with her friend Micaela Marsden another artist and urban sketcher. We met by the Conservatory Water (which I erroneously told her was called Conservatory Pond.)  Jana is as Northern Californian as I am a New Yorker.  Tall, lithe and lovely we had a wonderful time.

After chatting, sketching, and wandering the park, Jana, Micaela and I got on the subway to go downtown.  They wanted to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. We got on the Lexington Ave. express.  It was packed, but Micaela and I were lucky enough to get a seat.  Jana was standing.  As the doors closed we heard the familiar sound of someone asking for money. The man standing next to Jana gave the guy a dollar.

And then the unthinkable happened…Jana talked to the dollar-giving guy.

I was astounded.   Jana asked him if he always gives money to people begging on the subway or does he evaluate the story first and then give. The man told Jana he gives out of love and because he always gives money he gets money back.  Now he has a lot of money.  Jana then asked what he did?  His reply?  He sold da ganja.

Yep,  He sold marijuana.

Weed, Mary Jane, Waccy tobaccy. Chronic.  Grass.   He has a daughter that’s with her mother now, but he may try and get her back.  He also asked Jana what month she was born in.  She told him and he said that she was part of the tribe of Joshua.  What tribe is that?  Where is that in the bible?   Mr. Chronic said it was in the LOST BOOKS of the Bible.  Oh.  We finally got to the Brooklyn Bridge stop where Micaela, Jana and I got off and Jana’s new best friend hoped that God blessed her and continued on.

I CANNOT tell you how amused I was and Jana, I hope you don’t mind me telling that story.  I had a great time with you and Micaela and hope you visit again soon.

Here’s an article about that New York accent:  “In a really good New York conversation more than one person is talking a lot of the time”http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/newyorkcity/

falling leaves 9-23-2013Falling leaves – watercolor on 9″x12″ 140# Arches coldpress

My brother who does not read my blog emailed me the story below.   He spends HOURS in his car commuting to and from his job each day and has seen many bizarre things while driving (sitting) in traffic on the LIE, the Cross Bronx Parking lot Expressway, the George Washington Bridge and many of the other terrible NYC roads.  My brother is one of the funniest people I know and is extremely talented and creative.  He really should be writing books or screenplays or TV shows.   Hey, anyone out there need a writer for a movie?   I got a guy for you.

So I’m sitting in traffic on the Harlem river drive rolling up towards the George Washington bridge.  I look over and the guy next to me is playing a trumpet in his car.

A trumpet?   That’s ODD I think.   Coincidentally I had my slide trombone with me so we engaged in an impromptu jam session.  Until traffic starting moving again, naturally.

The above painting was a fun experiment using leaves my friend Patricia collected in Connecticut and negative painting.   We painted with Joan Iaconnetti who I’ve mentioned before who is a wonderful teacher and painter of an underground/subway series which I love.  http://www.joaniaconetti.blogspot.com/  We chatted, laughed, ate organic apples from the farmers market, followed by yummy chocolate chip cookies.   We laid the leaves out in a pleasing design to get an idea as to how we wanted the image to look.   We then removed all the leaves but the first one and painted around the edges of the leaf.  We continued to do this with leaf after leaf.  We also made sure to go back and soften any hard edges we didn’t want.   Finally we went back while a leaf section was still wet to drop in some additional color around the edges of the leaves.   I had so much fun with this I will do a second one using an autumn color scheme.  Stay tuned.

Carroll Street Bridge 9-15-2013Late afternoon on the Carroll Street Bridge – watercolor on 140# Arches

Guggenheim start 9-15-2013The Guggenheim – first wash

Flossie and her portraitFlossie and her portrait

I completed the Carroll Street Bridge painting and taking the advice of some of my blogger acquaintances I was careful not to overdo it and muddy it up. There are, at most, two to three washes of any color in this painting.  I’m pleased with it and may try it again.  I accidentally bought some Arches hot press paper.  Never having used hot press, I have no idea how it takes watercolor.  I am looking forward to trying something new.

Lest you think I’m just laying about eating bon-bons I also started a new painting of the Guggenheim museum.  Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright it’s interesting both inside and out.

Also, I posted a portrait of my brother-in-law’s kitty, Flossie.  She’s a beauty. She’s not Siamese, but something like that.  I did her portrait when she was a young kitten.  As you can see her face got a little darker.  I guess she’s out in the sun not using 50 SPF sunscreen.  I have no idea who is holding her up next to her picture, but Flossie doesn’t look that happy.

I’m off to the gym.  I don’t want to go, I’d rather nap.  But I just read yet another article on how the best thing for an aging brain is exercise.  I thought the best thing for an aging brain is chocolate.   I’m also reading “Drop Dead Healthy” by A. J. Jacobs. I’m only up to Chapter 5, The immune System.  I can tell you I’m already stressed by reading this book.  I do none of the things that are supposed to make me healthy. And high stress levels can make you sick or cause you to gain more belly fat.  (I already knew about belly fat since that seems to be every other ad on Facebook or Gmail or yahoo, or, you get the idea.)  But Mr. Jacobs does make me laugh and that’s good for you. I particularly liked the section where he talked about getting some raw cacao which was “certified organic, raw, low fermentation, non-fumigated, fair traded, strict farming standards, training and equipment provided, fair wages, profit reinvestment plan, purity tested, cruelty free, free range cacao.  Ok, the last two I made up.  But still.

Mr. Jacobs also has a treadmill desk where he wrote his book while walking. Apparently sitting is bad for us.  Since I sit at a desk all day I’m clearly doomed.  I wonder if the City will pay for a treadmill desk so I can walk and fill out paperwork at the same time.  I’m gonna go with no.

Finally, I would like to say that if you see an ad on my blog, I did not approve it. I guess WordPress needs to make money so they are putting ads on blogs on their own.  I could, of course PAY for the ads not to be there.  Ugh.

Chelsea water towers 8-18-13Chelsea water towers 13 1/2 ” x 10 1/4 inches on Arches 140# coldpress

If you think you’re experiencing deja vu, you’re not.  I’ve done this painting before here. I think I like some of the first painting better, but for sure I like the sky in this one much better.  The buildings are a bit more wonky (a highly technical artist word) but so is everything in NYC.

In the post where I had originally showed the first time I did this painting I noticed that I had done a short review of some recent plays that I had seen. So, to continue the tradition, here you go:

  1. Kinky Boots – it won the Tony this year so I was expecting more.  It’s a cute musical with lots of drag queens.  It was fun and enjoyable although my theatre going buddies did not agree with me.
  2. Matilda – Ugh, I still have a headache from those kids screaming singing.  My theatre going buddies once again disagreed with me on this one.  They liked it more than Kinky Boots.  I was not blown away by either one, but would take Boots over Matilda.
  3. Pippin – I had seen it the first time it was on Broadway, but really only remember Bob Fosse’s dancing.  I went not expecting to like it but I really did like it a lot.   The circus setting was lots of fun and Andrea Martin stole the show.  The night I was there Paul Shaffer, Martin Short and Eugene Levy were all there.  Martin Short and Eugene Levy performed with Ms. Martin in the Second City (SCTV) troupe.  And my friends brought a huge bag peanut M&Ms which of course we opened before the show started.  We know the rules.
  4. Here Lies Love – The Filipino Evita.  It was the story of Imelda Marcos and not once did they mention shoes.  I really enjoyed this show.  My theatre going buddies were mixed, but mostly they liked it.   This is not a Broadway show, but was at Joe Papp’s “The Public Theatre”.  Since it was a much smaller venue, the audience was on the floor and the performers on a few stages on either side of the audience and also in the middle. Some of the stages moved and at the end we could all go on the stage and dance.  Needless to say my sister and I were the first ones up there to shake our booties.

The MTV VMA awards are taking place at the Barclays Center which is a few blocks from where I live.  Earlier today I saw a few of the streets closed off but didn’t really pay attention.  Later this afternoon, I saw many more streets shut off, and tons of people gathering.  What does a native New Yorker do when she sees a crowd gathering?  Walk, nay RUN in the other direction.

My dog was camera shy this week so here’s a sunflower for the almost end of summer:

Sunflower 8-25-2013

David’s Sunflower – Watercolor and gouache on Arches 140# coldpress – SOLD

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