two slices to goTwo slices to go –  watercolor on Arches 140# coldpress

Did you ever say anything and as the words exited  your mouth you thought “never in a million years would I ever think I would say that”?

It happened to me two days ago.  As The Husband and I were preparing to leave the house to go pick up friends we saw a mama bear and cub in a neighbor’s yard and continued to watch them as they proceeded across our road, down our driveway and around our car.  It was then that I realized we would be late.

ME texting friend:  We will be late because there are bears in our driveway.

FRIEND who lives around the corner and knows about bears:   HA!

I guess this is our new normal.  They are cuter than NYC rats and about the same size.  :)

Bear in drvieway 1

Bear in drvieway

bear - these weeds taste good

The Brother, sister-in-law and two nephews were in town last week.  We had a great time but despite all of our talk about bears they didn’t see a one.  What they did do is sing a song that I now can’t get out of my head.  It’s called: It’s raining tacos and it’s very catchy.  Have a listen. You’ll be singing along with me.

The above painting is based on the two slices I got on a recent trip to NYC. Nestled between the 8th Ave. subway entrance at 40th street and a homeless shelter was a hole-in-the-wall pizza place and the pizza was yummy. And just as much fun to paint.

 

 

 

waiting“Waiting” 22 1/4″ x 15″ watercolor on Arches 300# cold press

I’ve always wondered this?  I guess I am too old to write “U” for “you” and “Ur” for “your”.  Unless you’re on Twitter, why would you write this way?  WHY?  Or should I ask “Y”???

On a completely unrelated note, Mexican food in Western North Carolina (“WNC”) is a sad state.  (And don’t even get me started about pizza, which, for the most part, is just vile here.)  There’s a restaurant not far from our house where we go to sometimes.  It makes me crazy that they offer rice OR beans with their meals.   RICE OR BEANS ? EVERYONE knows that it’s Rice AND Beans. They go together.   Like cookies and milk,  peanut butter & jelly, wine & cheese.

Ugh! Rice OR Beans!  Makes me crazy.  I give them a lecture whenever I’m there.  Like they care.

Waiter thought bubble: “Shut up crazy gringo lady.  You want rice AND beans, order the rice and get beans on the side and get over it.”

OK,  I’m over it.  In Maine where my old dog walking buddy Charlie and his wife Liz now live they have a Mexican restaurant called El El Frijole (LL Bean).  I laughed and laughed when I heard this. Maybe they can’t cook Mexican food well in Maine, but at least they have a sense of humor about it.

Finally, the bears have returned.   We saw a mama and cub crossing the road on the late dog walk about 2 weeks ago. Seeing them announced the arrival of spring and also had us quietly but quickly backtracking back to the house. As soon as we saw them, we noticed the trees started blooming and the daffodils and crocus have come up.  Groundhog Schmoundhog. We got bears!

The above painting was one I posted sometime last year but it wasn’t quite finished, but now it is. And for no reason here’s a painting of an Asheville fire hydrant:

asheville fire hydrantAsheville fire hydrant – 9″ x 12″ watercolor on Arches 140# coldpress

It looks a little drunk but it was fun to paint.

Thank U for visiting.

 

 

View from I 240
View from I 240-Watercolor on 300 # Arches cold press approx 15″ x 22″

Why are emojis so damn small? People text me with emojis all the time and I have no idea what they are sending.  I need to know if someone is sending me a picture of a dog, a monkey, or a martini?

TEXTER:  Want to come over?  I’m doing the laundry *martini emoji*

ME:  Nah, I’ll pass (thinking “that sounds really boring.”)

However, If there were martinis involved with said laundry, I might rush right over to help!

I was pondering this emoji issue last week when comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert discussed this same problem.  He couldn’t distinguish between the “crying” emoji and the “laughing so hard you are crying” emoji.  He accidentally sent the latter when a friend’s pet died which caused some problems. I’m just gonna stick to the old fashioned colon dash parenthesis  : -) face so as not to screw things up.

I’m also working on a new Mac computer after years of working on PCs.  Insert very frustrated emoji face here.

And I’m still getting used to this new place.   Sometimes I feel like this:

Green Acres  But I never lived on Park Avenue with a penthouse view.

Insert sad emoji here.

The above painting is a view of one of the buildings in Asheville glimpsed while driving by on Interstate 240.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pastel landscape - rightonChalk pastel on Canson watercolor paper approximately 8×10″

Not long ago a neighbor talking to The Husband and me uttered the phrase “right on”.

What? I had not heard that phrase used in regular conversation since the 70’s. And then I heard it again. And again. And again. From different people. Is “right on” a thing now?  Has it returned?

I immediately thought of that classic anti-war song by Arlo Guthrie where he sings “you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant” at the draft board:

“You know, if one person, just one person, (says) it, they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him.

And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both f*****s and they won’t take either of them.

And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin’ in, singin’ a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’ out? They may think it’s an Organization!”…

Now I’m not saying that “right on” is an anti-war phrase like “you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant”.  I’m asking, if you hear a phrase you haven’t heard since the 70’s more than 3 times is it now a thing?

Or do I have too much time on my hands?  Ok don’t answer that.

Cathyann Burgess, a former virtual blog friend and now a real friend invited me to her home for a pastel lesson with 3 others. Not having any pastel supplies Cathyann generously let me use hers. The above painting was the result of the day using a reference supplied by Cathyann. As I was leaving her house I was asked by the other students, “did you like using pastels?”  I replied that I thought Cathyann was like a drug dealer.  The first one was “free” and now I’ll be off at Cheap Joes buying whatever pastels I can get my hands on.  I loved it.  Messy, but I loved it. Right On baby.  RIGHT ON!

 

 

 

clothed model 1-12-16

Last week was the largest lottery drawing EVER in the history of lottery drawings.  A $1.5 Billion dollar jackpot had everyone fantasizing about what they would do with that kind of insane money. Myself included.

ME:  One day I will win the lottery…..

The Husband:  You already won it 27 years ago.

We laughed and laughed.   Yes I did, my dear.  Yes I did.

Still. Stoopid money like that would allow one to do so much stuff.  Help charities.  Travel the world.  Afford tickets to the hit Broadway show Hamilton which I am currently fixated on.

I waited on the Hamilton lottery line twice to try to win $10 tix to see the show. With only about 11 pairs of tickets available and a bazillion people waiting to get them, I probably had a better chance of winning the actual powerball lottery.  At which point I could have afforded to pay for real tickets to Hamilton and get to see it sometime in this lifetime. Sadly I won neither. So it’s back to whatever it is I do all day.

I’m still getting used to this new place and my re-wirement.  I found a drawing/painting meetup group here and went to, so far, one meet-up.  Since it’s been cold they met indoors and had a model,  A clothed model.  And boy was she clothed.  A turtleneck sweater, a shawl over the sweater and a long skirt to her ankles.  My two-minute gestural drawings looked like a potato sack with a head.

I was finally able to get the drawing above even with the handicap of having a fractured bone at the base of my right pinkie of my dominant hand.  The fracture was a result of a fall while walking on an unpaved road.  4-6 weeks from now I should be splint and bandage free and able to draw with more than the first two fingers and thumb.

Once I have all 10 fingers working properly again, I’m sure it will feel like I’ve won the lottery.  Woo Hoo.

 

 

 

 

3 ravens not pumped3 crows – watercolor on Arches 300 lb coldpress

Western North Carolina welcomed me. With over 300% more rain than they normally get.  Gee, thanks.  I’m aware that there was a drought, and I’m happy that it’s over, but seriously WNC.  You didn’t have to go out of your way and overdo it.

Settling in has been interesting.  The Husband and I were behind two women at Ingles, the local grocery store. They had 20 bottles of wine and a few small cans of cat food.  The Husband  looks at me and says “I hope they have a cat.”  Then my niece sent me this article: Never Drink Alone Again Because Now There’s Wine for Cats.  So there’s that. In NYC you can’t buy wine in the grocery stores, so if you were getting 20 bottles of wine AND cat food you had to make two stops.  Not here.

I did the above painting using the grisaille method, shown below.  Then I added color resulting in the painting above.grisaille crows

The grisaille has a Asian feel to me which I really liked.  But I liked adding the color as well.   Maybe I’ll do a 2nd one in gray only.

And here’s something to cheer you up for those who may feel like you’re getting a cold this holiday season:xmas tree cold products Carlene

My friend Carlene, one of the most creative people I know, got a bad cold and ran out to the drugstore for supplies.  She created this holiday tree out of her cold medicine and tissues.  I love it!

This Thursday is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  I’m happy and thankful to have you in my life.

Inktober shells

Sea shells for Inktober in a 5.5″ x 8.5″ Strathmore mixed media sketchbook.

Lest you think I was swallowed up by a Western North Carolina black bear, I assure you I’m still here and finding my way in a new place. I miss NYC.  The Husband, not one bit.  However, We already have lots of friends and great neighbors and I’m amazed by the beauty here. We just had a spectacular showing of fall foliage.  Interesting fact: I read that in Europe the trees only turn yellow. When Europeans saw an 18th century American landscape showing fall foliage in glorious reds, oranges and golds, they thought it was “artistic license”. (Europeans? What say you?)

This is the last day of October/Inktober.  Now it’s on to Napvember.

WNC landscape in oil pastel

WNC (Western North Carolina) fall foliage – oil pastel in Strathmore mixed media 5.5″ x 8.5″ sketchbook

Today is also Halloween.  We got some bags of candy in case any kids come by. But if they don’t the bags have to go away tomorrow.  The candy is “fun size” but if I eat it all I won’t be. Any candy left tomorrow will go with my neighbor to his office.full size snickers

On a ride north of Asheville we came upon these guys.  Wonder what they are?   Anyone know?  I don’t think they are native to NC.

my what long horns you have

“you lookin’ at me?”

my what big horns you have

“What are you lookin’ at?”

Inktober leaves 10-4-15Inktober leaves – Pilot ball point pen in a Strathmore mixed media 5 1/2 x 8 12 sketchbookInktober leaves with oil pastel color 10-4-15

Same Inktober leaves – Pilot ball point pen with oil pastel color on top of the ink

I just found out it was Inktober.  Who knew?  Teresa, for one.  She, along with others, have been featuring Inktober on their blogs.  One does an ink drawing each day in October.  Well, that’s not gonna happen here. I got boxes to unpack. Lots and lots of boxes. But a break in unpacking is always nice so I figured I would join in the Inktober fun. I can procrastinate with the best of them!

During a dog walk I found these beautiful autumn leaves which was my Inktober inspiration. Not being able to find any real art implements I used a pilot ball point pen for the drawing.  Then added some color using some kid’s oil pastel crayons I found.  Each day holds new surprises in box opening.

When I was packing up the apartment, everyone was talking about the book “the life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.  I thought I did quite a bit of life changing tidying up. But not enough.  My sister sent me this cartoon today which made me laugh.

Live changing magic

While laughing I went on Amazon and bought the book.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  I hope I actually read it and not put it on a shelf with all the other self help or informational books that I buy and don’t read thinking that if I own it, the information will magically transfer to me.  I realize now that’s not how it works.

But there’s always a first time!

 

 

 

 

FullSizeRender (12)Handmade watercolor dragonfly card – elegant writer & watercolor on Arches 140# coldpress

It’s been one week and two days living in a our new house.  We got all of our worldly possessions a few days ago.   Much sooner than we expected and now it looks like a tractor trailer from goodwill exploded in our living room.  I’m sure we have some “vintage” items but mostly it’s “crap”.  Every time I open a box I think “we moved this?”  And for some reason I have a lot of cleaning products.  A lot. You would think we lived in an operating theater.  We don’t.

Rhonda had an excellent idea.  Put all the boxes in a closet and if they are still there in a year, just get rid of them. Good advice Rhonda.

I was reading an article about living a “curated” life.  What does that even mean? One collects special crap?  I don’t know.  Maybe the people that live a curated life, also buy artisanal, premium, handcrafted firewood.

I missed the super blood moon.   It was raining and cloudy here so there was nothing to see. Instead I watched this “literal” video of “total eclipse of the heart. It is hilarious.

The above card was done using the elegant writer pen.  I sketched the dragonfly out in pencil.  Then I outlined most of it using the elegant writer calligraphy pen. I used a lighter touch when I went back with clean water per Leslie White’s instructions.   Leslie is one of the queens of using the elegant writer with watercolors.  I’m not sure if this painting counts for inktober.  If not, I’ll have to do something just in ink.   Maybe a drawing of boxes and boxes stacked on top of one another.

 

ASHEVILLE, NC!
NYC to NC 9-2015NY to NC – hand made watercolor card on arches 140# cold press


I took my own advice from my previous blog post and got out of NYC. I moved. From NYC to Asheville, NC.  First time in my life I will live anywhere else but NY. Talk about a lifestyle change!

The past few months have been crazy.  Buying a house in N.C.   Selling our apt. in NY.  Packing up a place we’ve lived in for 27 years.

The moving truck came on Tuesday.  After it left we realized we severely underestimated the amount of stuff left that we were going to take/throw out.  It took us much longer than we thought to get out of the apt.  Then The Husband took our bedroom TV off the wall which also took off a bunch of paint and left some holes.  Ugh! We then had to quickly try to spackle the holes and arrange for someone to repair the wall.  We finally left our apt. around 6:30 pm. HOURS after when we thought we would leave.   Then drive upstate to my sister’s house to get the dog and the nephew who said he would help with the drive down with us.  Thank you Jack, you were a godsend!

The next morning about 5:00 am Matt, Jack, Kaiya and I got into the “clown car” and off we went. 13 hours later we arrived at our new home, unloaded the clown car and finally fed Kaiya who hadn’t eaten all day. She then proceeded to barf it all up in the living room.  Twice. Jack said it will get rid of the new house smell.

Some quick observations about living in Asheville:

  • I have to drive everywhere.  Yikes!
  • I’m leaving a city of 8 1/2 million to a city (and I used that term lightly) of 87,000.
  • My new perfume is now Deep Woods Off. I am a mosquito magnet.
  • And I live in a place with bears.  Lots of bears.  Black bears.  Everywhere.

Wish me luck!

The above card was made for my dear friend/watercolor teacher.   It depicts a city skyline and the blue ridge mountains.  No goodbye’s NY.  Just “see ya later”.  I’ll be back.

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