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.


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.

The Hoover Mason Trestle

Bethlehem Steel Stacks 9-13-2015Hoover Mason Trestle – watercolor on 1/2 sheet of Arches cold press

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is well known for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.  It manufactured steel and was a major shipbuilder during the industrial revolution. Like most manufacturing, steel making went overseas and the company declared bankruptcy in 2001.

The blast furnaces and a narrow gauge railroad remained and in July of this year the Hoover Mason Trestle opened.  Like the High Line in NYC which is now a park created out of a disused elevated railway, the Hoover Mason Trestle revitalized the old railroad and it’s now a public walkway/museum.

I love when the old is kept along with something new.  (Add something borrowed and something blue and we’ll all be celebrating a wedding.)

Now, as a community service, I’m giving you fair warning.  Next week will be a Trifecta of Traffic Nightmares.  Pope Francis is coming to NYC.  on September 24th.  President  Obama will be here.  And the UN General Assembly will be in session.  The Pope and the President will be addressing said Assembly.

My advice?  If you’re already in NYC run, don’t walk, out of town.  If you’re not here, don’t come to the City.  It will be a logistical nightmare.  Hey, I’m here to help.


trees 8-18-2015Trees –  a la Richard Taylor 9″ x 12″ on 140lb Arches cold press

I recently heard a phrase I had never heard before:  Pizza bones.

Pizza Bones??????  A friend down south said that his dog was waiting for the “pizza bones”, by which of course, he meant the crust.  And then I heard another person down south refer to pizza crust as the bones. It must be a southern thing.

I was amused by the phrase, but I must admit, in NY we would never refer to the crust as bones. The crust is an integral part of the pizza. There are some people who would say that the crust is the best part of the pizza. But now I have the phrase “pizza bones” stuck in my head and I try to imagine which part of the crust is the femur or the tibia.

And speaking of femurs, I have a neighbor who lives in a first floor apartment so she is lucky enough to have access to the backyard.  One day she was digging to plant something and dug up what looked like a human bone, or more specifically a part of a femur!   What does one do when one finds a piece of a human bone? You call NY’s Finest.  Two cops show up, look at it, scratch their heads and say “if you find a skull or hip bone give us a call back.”

OK then.

While looking through a book called Watercolor Landscapes by Richard Taylor I came across a landscape that I admired.  There was a “field of bluebells” under the trees.  I have no idea what a bluebell looks like. (I later googled it.)  Not wanting to slavishly follow Mr. Taylor’s painting I did my own version.  Look really closely and you may see some bones underneath the purple shadows.  What kind of bones you say?  I’ll let you decide.



Sunny Summer day at the BBG 2015Summer day at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden – 10 1/2″ x 15″ on 140# Arches coldpress

NO, The Husband and I are not expecting a baby.  “We’re pregnant” is a phrase that just irks me to no end.  WE cannot be pregnant. I can be pregnant.  (Well, not me, personally, I can’t be pregnant, that ship has sailed.) But I, as a female, could be pregnant.  We, as a couple, cannot be pregnant.  Last time I checked only a female can carry a baby.  (Or a petri dish, but that’s a different blog.)   I just heard a person on a talk show say she and her husband were pregnant.  After I finished yelling at the TV (something I have started to do frequently since I stopped working) I looked up the word “pregnant”.

The Oxford dictionary defines pregnant as:

(Of a woman or female animal) having a child or young developing in the uterus.

Whew,  Glad I got that off my chest.

My work here is done.

The painting above is from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  A beautiful sunny summer day in the garden. The paths were bright and dappled with sunlight and the flowers were in full bloom.

Kevin's card 8-2015

And the above hand-made watercolor card was done for my nephew who is off to college to study automotive repair.  Good luck Kevin!

Subway ridersAnd it was just another day on the NYC subway when I spotted these two.  I was more fixated on the fact that it was SO HOT in NY and even hotter down in the subway station and here are these two in what seemed like really hot latex body suits.  Whatever.  Luckily the came train shortly after I took this picture of them and we all went to where ever it is we go.

Bonus Fun Fact:   This symbol: # is also known as an “octothorpe”.

still life from Shirley Trevina.Card for a friend on 140# Arches coldpress watercolor paper

Last week a friend from high school dropped by for a visit.  We hadn’t seen each other in eons and had lots to catch up on. One thing led to another and we began to talk about her wedding in 1979.  I asked if I had gone to her wedding. Without missing a beat she told me I was IN her wedding.

pattis wedding 1979

We laughed and laughed.

The memory banks must be full.  Afterwards she sent me pictures of her in her beautiful wedding dress and me in my Qiana (Qiana nylon, a DuPont invention from the ’60’s.) bridesmaid dress. I’m guessing my dress was flammable.

The above card was done for some friends who have wonderful lunch gatherings. Lots of food, friends and mostly laughs.  I used a reference from a Shirley Trevina book.  I used some Caran d’Ache water soluble pencils with a razor blade to add the speckles in the leaves.

Mountain view 1


Mountain View 2Elegant writer calligraphy pen and watercolor on 5 1/2″ x 7″ watercolor paper

Chinese broccoli or Kai-lan has the uncanny ability to stick in my teeth.  It seems to have some sort of super-glue to tooth enamel ratio that isn’t the same with other vegetables. I’m enjoying a nice vegetable Thai dish and suddenly I have some stringy green stuff hanging out of my teeth either gagging me or scaring my dining companions. Makes me not want to eat it, but I know it’s good for me.

Even scarier is kale.  Kale, the hipster green super food that’s put into everything. Kale smoothies, kale pancakes, kale burgers, kale chips and kale ice-cream.  You name it, kale is in it.  I never even heard of kale a few years ago. Recently, Mother Jones ran this article about kale being a silent killer. It can purify soil from a heavy metal toxin which goes from the soil into the kale.  Good for the soil, bad for us. Uh Oh! What will the artisinal, farm to table, organic, sustainable,  free range hipsters do without kale.

Potato chips and chocolate are looking healthier and healthier.

And then there’s this Vox article debunking the Mother Jones article.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t eat kale anymore.  It still has tons of nutrients. And my friends Pat and Elaine make a kale salad that’s to die for. Just stay out of my teeth!  I’m talking to you Kale and Kai-lan.

The above paintings were drawn with the elegant writer calligraphy pen. I then splashed water on the paper to make some of the images randomly bleed.  After that I went back with a wet brush and a paper towel, painting with the wet brush making the elegant writer lines bleed. I would blot areas with the paper towel. When you blot with the paper towel the elegant writer line color sometimes changes from a paynes gray color to pinkish/purplish.

I let that dry and the went back with watercolor and added color to the landscapes.   I like the abstract qualities of these small paintings.





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