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.

 

 

 

Waiting for the F trainSmith 9th Street “Waiting for the F Train” – 22″ x 15″ watercolor on 300# Arches cold press

remote

My sister recently sent me this picture of our old Hitachi TV remote.  She wrote:

“Remember this remote? 

I think we had the same TV in the 80s.  I took mine to Alaska and back.  It’s gone now but I just found the remote.   Power. Mute. Channel. Volume.   That’s it.

I want that TV back.  Our remote now looks like it could launch the space shuttle and I can never figure out how to do anything with it.”

Yes, Alice.  I remember that remote.  And I too long for the old days.  I have a Smart TV.  I am an idiot and don’t know how to use it.  I was at a friend’s house with the same smart TV.  He showed The Husband and me how you take one cable, connect it to the back of the TV and the other end to your computer and voila!  You can get your computer pictures, play video games, watch Netflix, order from amazon, control the Mir space station and the Hubble telescope and who knows what else.

I can turn my TV on and off.  And sometimes change the channels.

The above painting was done over a number of months.  Now that it’s complete (maybe) I want to think about whether or not to deconstruct it like I did here and here.

Normally I would do the whole painting in a grisaille first and then add some local color. This time I thought I would switch it up a bit.  I started it as a grisaille and I then added color with the grisaille.

It’s finished.

For now.

City Hall Park 2015City Hall Park – Watercolor on a 1/2 sheet of Arches 140# coldpress

City Hall Park is an oasis among the tall buildings in lower Manhattan.  I used to go there frequently to eat lunch, chill, sometimes listen to concerts or look at art and, of course, people watch.  Mostly you see other office workers, occasionally a celebrity and once in a while this guy:

Living in NYC has its perks with celebrity sightings.  But I have to say I was a bit jealous when my sister traveled to the Washington, D.C. area (Virginia, actually) to an event and got to meet Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg a/k/a Notorious RBG.

When my sister got back she texted my brother who does not read my blog and me to tell us about the weekend.

The Sister:  I won’t lie…it was a thrill to meet Justice Ginsberg.

My brother who does not read my blog:   I met Darth Vader.  The Sith lord, Leader of the galactic empire, Supreme commander of the Imperial fleet, Suppressor of the rebel alliance, Basically an evil bad ass.

The Sister:  You win.
I guess the term “celebrity” is relative.
The above painting was started and stopped over a period of months and many times almost got turned into scrap paper. I think I managed to save it enough to say that I like it.  It was a learning experience, that’s for sure.

Monica's bulldogHand made card – painting of a bulldog puppy

The asthmatic bronchitis is gone and I can breathe easily again.  What a relief. Breathing is important.

In addition to not being able to breathe I have not been sleeping.  Anyone who knows me will not believe this.  I can always sleep.  I can sleep early, I can sleep often.  I can sleep long and hard.  I can sleep in the daytime and the nighttime. There has never been a time when I could not sleep.

Until now.

Not only can I not fall asleep and am up all night,  but if I am lucky enough to fall asleep I wake up at 3:oo am and walk around the apartment or watch horrible 3:00 am TV infomercials.

As I post this I am drinking Chamomile tea. I was told it was calming and could help one sleep.  We’ll see.

I did have some time to paint a birthday card for my niece.  She’s a big fan of bulldogs.  Since I can’t get her the real thing I found some cute bulldog puppies on-line and painted one of them.  Happy Birthday Monica!

decoupage peony

decoupage kittys

Decoupage under 7″ round glass plates

I’ve been working on some more decoupage under glass pieces.  I’ve posted about it before and even had some step by step instructions posted on this blog here Part One and here Part two.

Nicola was interested until she read all the steps and then told me she found it too fussy.  Which it is. But it’s also relaxing.  At least for me.  Part of the process anyway.  The cutting of the paper is very relaxing, particularly if it’s “lacy”.   It can put me in an altered state.  Like Candy Crush.   Then comes the gluing, and cleaning the glue which requires a few things I don’t have.  Patience and a delicate touch.

All the work is done from the back of the glass.  Gluing, cleaning off the glue, metallic and bronzing, (that’s the shiny stuff on the glass pieces above), painting the background, bronzing the back and finally applying polyurethane.  The pieces are actually food safe because the front is just plain glass.  You just can’t soak the pieces or put them in a dishwasher.

On a different topic, Sunday is not only Father’s Day in the U.S. (happy father’s day to all you dads!), it’s also the first day of summer and most importantly the 10th anniversary of my dog coming home.  We picked her up from the shelter on June 21st when she was 12 weeks.  Now The Husband and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary with her.  I’m sure there will be a special treat for her that day.

Maybe I can serve it to her on a lovely decoupaged glass plate!

Kaiya June 2015

 

 

 

 

Pansies 1

Pansies 2

The Husband and I were both at or near the World Trade Center on 9/11.  He was there as an NYPD officer and a first responder.  I was there because I worked two blocks away.  I am convinced that many of my bronchial issues are from breathing in the burning air for the 100 days the fire burned.  But this post is not about 9/11 per se, but more about remembrances.

Yesterday The Husband and I were talking about my bronchitis/asthma/whateverthehellthisis. He was nagging asking me to see a pulmonologist.   (I finally made an appt.)  As we were talking we remembered the time shortly after 9/11 when he came to visit me in uniform in the building I had been relocated to.  There was a new receptionist.  The Husband came to the 36th floor and asked for me.  The receptionist called me and when there was no answer she left her desk and started to look for me.  With panic in her eyes, she told everyone she saw “THE POLICE ARE HERE FOR CAROL!”.  I think she thought I was about to get locked up.

The pansy got its name from the French word pensée “thought”.  I’ve always liked pansies and their beautiful faces.  In the language of flowers pansy is a symbol for “loving thoughts”, remembrance” and “free thought”.

One day while perusing the internet, I found a video of an artist Karlyn Holman using an “Elegant Writer” Calligraphy Marker for watercolors.  I thought it was interesting and wanted to give it a try.  I did the above two small paintings using the Elegant Writer marker and then watercolors.  I think I need to practice, but the technique was fun.

6 lb weights6 lb weights (unused) 9″ x 12″ watercolor on 140 Arches coldpress

It seems like I think you do.  But I don’t.

I was extremely perturbed to discover that someone had hacked an old email address and started sending out those annoying emails and links to a “lose weight” website to everyone in my address book.

At about the same time as this unfortunate discovery, I had dusted off my box of 6 lb. hand weights to give to The Husband to pack.  As I lifted the box, which was clearly an effort, Hubby laughed and laughed and said that was the most exercise I had gotten with these weights since I bought them.  And could he throw them out.  The answer is “NO!”.  When we finally move I plan to use these to have very buff arms.

I also plan to grow to 5′ 10″, weigh 100 lbs and learn to speak Spanish.   Oh, and lose my belly fat. Hey, you never know.

 

 

 

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