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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/
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Matilda – Ugh, I still have a headache from those kids
screamingsinging. 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.
- 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.
- 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:
David’s Sunflower – Watercolor and gouache on Arches 140# coldpress – SOLD
I showed the final painting to a few people before this post and not one, not two, but THREE people told me it reminded them of the Flintstones’ house. Fred and Wilma, I’ve renovated your place. You’re welcome.
A while back I got a box of Quinacridone colors from Daniel Smith. I’ve used them on occasion, but decided to do a test of all of them on watercolor paper to see all the colors together since many of them are similar. Here they are in all their Quin Glory. I had started the painting at the top using some regular watercolors, but decided to add some of these colors to the mix. I like the splash of Quin Pink in the bottom left corner of the painting.
And again, for no reason, here’s another picture of my dog. Hey, get off the bed!
Carroll Street water tower – 101/2 ” by 14″ – watercolor on Masa Paper
June was one of the wettest on record here in NYC. I think it rained every day. July was one of the hottest with temps in the 90′s and with the humidity making it feel like it’s in the 100′s. And don’t even get me started on what it feels like down on the subway platforms. I feel like I’ve been damp (a nicer word than sweaty) for two months. Apparently you can’t use the word moist since a study showed that people HATE that word. I never had a problem with moist especially when it’s paired with the word “cake”.
Well, I guess I’m mad for masa now. I so enjoyed the first one I did here that I immediately started a second one.
Here’s what it looked like after I toned the masa paper, drew the image and laid down the first washes.
I’ve already got another piece toned and ready to go. Using the masa paper and toning it first is allowing me to be freer with colors. Once the paper is toned you now must work with the toned paper and sometimes colors aren’t where you’d expect them to be since you are toning the back of the paper.
a strong red that is deeper than geranium, yellower and deeper than geranium red, and bluer and deeper than average cherry red
How did I know that? I was looking something up on the merriam-webster on-line dictionary and came across 10 definitions of colors. http://www.merriam-webster.com/top-ten-lists/top-10-words-for-unusual-colors/vermilion.html Now really, would you describe vermillion that way? It almost sucks the life out of the color!
And for no reason, here’s a picture of my dog.
Well, I finally did it. A painting on Masa paper. And here it is. Ever since I saw Leslie’s paintings on Masa paper I’ve wanted to try it. So what did I do when I wanted to start this project? Go directly to Leslie’s blog, search for masa paper and viola! Step by Step instructions. She’s the best. I also visited Beth’s blog because she has paintings on Masa paper too. Here’s my quick tutorial.
Get some Masa paper. Cut it to about a 1/2 inch all around shorter than your watercolor paper. Take a sharpie and put a small dot on the shiny side of the masa paper. The masa paper has a shiny side and a fuzzy side. The shiny side is considered the “right” side, but I’ve read blogs where people have painted on both sides. For now we will go with the shiny side as the correct side.
Ball it up and wet it until it’s soaked through. Squeeze the water out of the ball and then CAREFULLY un-ball the masa paper. Check out where your sharpie dot is. I put mine on the bottom right corner. It might bleed through when the masa paper gets wet, but if you lay down the paper with the sharpie dot in the same place, i.e. the bottom right corner, you’ll know that’s the shiny side. Now, flip it over to the un-shiny side with some paper towels underneath. Spread it out and “tone” it. Toning it means you take some of your watercolor paper and paint the back. Keep in mind what it is you want to paint. I think I toned mine to dark, but hey, that’s the way it goes.
Let dry and then, using matte medium mixed with a little water (3:1) spread it on the back of the toned paper, flip it over and adhere it to your watercolor paper. Spread out carefully on the watercolor paper, let dry and then paint!
Now, some people draw on their paper before balling it up and wetting it. My drawing disappeared in the water. So I just waited and drew on it once it was all dry.
Lately I’ve noticed so many young men with big, full beards. I am not a fan of big, full beards. They look itchy. And I always think food gets caught in them. When I see someone in the neighborhood with a big beard my mind goes through the following list:
- Hasidic? – Probable considering where I live. There’s even a site called hasid or hipster.
- Muslim? – Ditto.
- Amish? – Possible but not probable.
- A member of ZZ Top? Doubtful.
- Hipster? YES!!!
What is up with beards lately? And why are so many of them red? Even when the guy’s hair is not. Why do hipsters embrace beards? And why are they all so skinny. (The hipsters, not the beards?) And why do they often complement that look with a fedora? I have so many questions.
Now of course there’s another definition for a beard. That’s the lady friend of a gay man who does not want to be seen as a gay man. But there were no beards out today during the always fun and amusing Gay Pride parade today in Manhattan.
I’ve completed these two paintings and now need to start something else. I find it interesting that the palette in both paintings are similar. The Husband, who has been making noises about moving out west even noticed it. I told him we can frame them together as a country/city duo.
Happy 4th of July to all of you in the USA.
Last night I took a special basic beginner yoga workshop at a local yoga studio. I was the oldest person in the class. I cannot move today. I’m already on my second dose of ibuprofen. They have yoga classes for kids and pregnant women, why not for people who have AARP cards? You know, older, stiffer, heavier people, not those 20 year olds with no body fat. Really, what do they need yoga for?
Not long ago I also took another basic yoga class at my gym. That one was a little easier, but so far I’m not feeling the so called benefits. However, I am stubborn and will continue until I can walk down a flight of stairs on my hands with my feet behind my head. Or die trying. (If anyone wants to offer odds, I’d suggest go with the “die trying” as the safer bet.)
I told my friend about the class and she said she liked the yoga part but didn’t like all the woo-woo stuff that goes with it. Bring your chi up through your center and breathe.” My friend says “leave my chi alone. Nothing to chi here!”
I laughed. But I like the woo-woo stuff. I don’t necessarily believe it, but I want to (just like I want to like yoga). For the woo-woo stuff I watch the TV show LonG Island Medium (The “G” is hard if you live on LonGIsland!) Besides the over-styled, over hair sprayed hair and those fake nails, what fascinates me here is a woman who says she’s a medium (a person who can communicate with the “other side” or dead people.) She does a reading and when she tells someone something like “Spirit is telling me you just ironed your dead husband’s shirt” and the person says yes, Theresa, the Long Island Medium will SCREAM “SHUT UP!” and be more surprised than her client. Why is she surprised? She does this for a living. I’m confused.
Have you ever been to a medium? I’ve only been to larges. (That was a super-bad joke, sorry.)
The Husband is still talking about moving out west. In preparation, I’m still doing paintings of mountains and trees. Although the top row looks a little like a skyline to me. You can take the girl out of the city….
This is a work in progress. I did some washes and will go back and define some of the trees and see if I can get some mist going in the trees as well. Stay tuned.
I finished the sea lion on the rocks painting from the previous post which you can see here.