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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.

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.

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.)

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