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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.

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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.

Carroll Street Bridge 9-15-2013Late afternoon on the Carroll Street Bridge – watercolor on 140# Arches

Guggenheim start 9-15-2013The Guggenheim – first wash

Flossie and her portraitFlossie and her portrait

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.

Arches National Park Utah on Masa PaperArches National Park, Utah – watercolor on  21″x 14 ” Masa Paper

Toned MasaToned Masa Paper

First WashFirst Wash

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.

Quin colors

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!

Woof

Sally lightfood crab 3-19-2013Sally lightfoot crab – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

Sally lightfoot crabs (scientific name:  grapsus grapsus) were all over the Galapágos.  They really stood out against the rocks unlike the sea lions, iguanas and various birds who all blended in with the local landscape.   These crabs screamed, “LOOK AT ME.  I’m bright red.  How cool am I?”

OK, they didn’t really scream.  Crabs can’t scream.  But the voices in my head can and that’s what I heard every time I saw them.  Do you see why I need meditation/medication?  (See previous post.)

These sally’s are all over the rocks. One time I saw a sally lightfoot sitting on an iguana which is how I started singing Ride Sally Ride which was really a misrepresentation of the song Ride Captain Ride by Blood Sweat and Tears.  I sang it anyway.

Young Sally Lightfoot Crabs are black or dark brown in color and camouflage well on the black lava coasts of the Galapágos volcanic islands. Adults vary in color, but all are bright red/orange with some yellow and blue.  And they were all really cool to look at as they scurried across the rocks.

I miss the Galapágos.

Sandy Sea Lion 3-17-2013Sandy sea lion – Galapagos on 140# Arches coldpress  SOLD

My niece called me last week and asked me if I wanted to go to a meditation class.  Of course I said yes.  I need me some meditation to get over my anxiety.  So we went to Tibet House on W. 15th Street in Manhattan.  The woman leading the class had studied meditation in India since the mid-70’s.   As she talked I was relaxed and started to nod off a little since this was a weeknight.  Finally she said we would start the meditation and to close our eyes and focus on our breath.   THE SECOND the meditation started, I couldn’t sit still.  My ankle hurt.  My shoulder hurt, my arms wanted to flail about.  I was as wiggly in my seat as a little kid in church.   I opened my eyes and looked around.  Everyone seemed so serene.  I wanted to stand up and run around. After it was over I asked my niece how she did.  She was ok, but instead of focusing on her breath she was focused on her heart pounding from the 4 pm medium coffee she had. We did a second meditation and I was a little better.   My favorite part of the leader’s talk was when she spoke about the benefits of meditation.  And how Americans always want to know what is the shortest amount of time one needs to meditate to get the maximum benefit. It’s approximately 20 minutes a day.

Now as you all know, I have had the title of THE TIREDEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED for many years.  My husband marvels at my 4 hour-long power-naps.   I remember John who was on our Galapagos trip.  That man had more energy in his little finger than I have ever had in my whole life.  I wonder why?   Maybe I’ll go meditate on it.  Right after my nap.

The sea-lion is coming along but I want to do a little more to him.  He needs his whiskers.  I masked out the sea-lion and rocks and flicked white gouache with a tooth-brush to make the sand.  I went back with some Payne’s gray and other blues  and a bit of raw sienna and flicked that on top of the white.  I was going to try salt for the texture, but forgot to buy it.  Maybe next time.

Galapagos Sea Lion  WIP  3-10-2013Galapagos Sea Lion – Work in progress on 1/4 sheet of Arches 140# coldpress

The husband and I finally got rid of our 20 year old, 200 pound Sony Trinitron. We got a Samsung LED, LCD, HD, IRT something-or-other flat screen.  When Time Warner Rat Bastard Cable (TWRBC) came to hook everything up they told us the best way to use the new remote was to press the “system” button which would easily turn on the cable and TV at the same time.

PANTS ON FIRE!!!!! 

Remember when you would press the button on your the TV and it would just come on? I press the system button and nothing happens.  Samsung’s TV has a red light that goes ON when the TV is OFF!   This is completely counter-intuitive.   (Note to self, write a scathing letter to Samsung telling them about their epic failure.)  I press the system button again. The TV goes on and the cable box goes off.  I press system button again and the TV goes off and the cable box goes on.  Finally I turn them on individually and think about how much I hate TWRBC.

Now to my cell phone.  I recently got an iPhone 5 with 4G.   Unfortunately, I discovered that my apartment does not have 4G.  It has NO G.   Zero G. Nothing, nada, zip G.

The reason I’m telling you this is because in the Galapagos there was no TV, no phones, no cell service, no internet, no wifi, no nothing!   Just sea lions and sting rays and orcas and blue-footed boobies dive bombing the water.   Penguins and frigate birds and sharks and brightly colored fish and fur seals and lots and lots and lots of iguanas.  Land iguanas.  Marine iguanas.  And more sea-lions.   Ahhhhhhh.

On my first day back to work I get to the subway to discover the trains are delayed because of signal problems.  When a train finally arrives I get on and we are going jauntily along until we stop and sit at a station.  We sit and sit and sit.  Finally the conductor announces we are delayed due to police action at the next stop.  I think to myself  “there was no police action in the Galapagos”.

Which now brings me to my painting.  Here’s a sea lion on the beach.  He was sleepy and sandy and beautiful.  There is a young girl who has been coming to our studio.  She is 11.  Her name is Isabella and is another Matisse!  She is an inspiration and her work is wonderful and beautiful. Loose and free. I started this painting keeping young Isabella in mind.

I hope to post more paintings from my trip soon.  Thanks for your visit.

Croatian market 3-10-13

Croatian Market –  Arches 140# coldpress

I’ve been away for a little while.  The Husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to the Galapagos.  (I was a child bride…LOL) Our anniversary isn’t until October, but we decided February would be a better time to be in South America.   The water was calmer and the critters were moving and mating.  We spent approximately 7 days on a 90 foot yacht.  (Yate in Spanish)  I kept telling everyone I was on a 20 foot yacht until the Husband finally corrected me.  He told me a 20 foot yacht is called a rowboat. Ok, I was never good at math.

We had a wonderful, magical time.  The Galapagos is one of those “trip of a lifetime” places!  We hiked each day, most times twice a day, and also snorkeled each day.  We saw giant tortoises and green sea turtles, land iguanas, marine iguanas, fur seals, sea lions, all sorts of fish, sharks and even a few Orcas.  I don’t know much about birds but we did hear about the 14 different species of finches in the Galapagos.  (I drifted when the naturalist was talking about them so I can’t tell you much.)  I prefer my birds to have blue feet like the blue footed boobies or big red balloons under their beaks like the male mating frigate birds.

The painting above is a work in progress from a Croatian Market from a trip two years ago. (It seems like yesterday.)  The woman reminds me of some of the older women in my family and the fruits and vegetables were gorgeous, yummy and plentiful.  I will go back and put in some darks in the spaces between the fruit and maybe delineate her face a little more.

More to come about the Galapagos, but in the meantime here are some photos and a link to my friend’s website who was with us on the trip.

Blue Footed Boobies doing a mating danceBlue footed booby doing a mating dance

????????Sleepy fur seal pup

Male frigate bird - in mating modeMale Frigate bird with the red mating balloon inflated to attract females

Sandy Sea Lion 2-22-2013Sandy Sea Lion

Sally hitchin a ride on a marine iguanaSally lightfoot crab hitches a ride on a marine iguana

And here’s the link to my friend Mary’s super duper website:  http://www.theotherdaytoday.com/?p=862

Thank goodness we survived the Mayan Apocalypse.   I, for one, was not that worried.  I’m more worried about global warming.  One time in Mexico The Husband and I visited the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza.  It was so hot I told my husband no wonder they performed  human sacrifices. It was probably just to get out of the heat.

Madonna and child.  With Dog (mine)

This of course has nothing to do with Christmas 2012.  I’m just rambling.  So back to the matter at hand.  If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!  If you don’t, happy winter solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Festivus and a very happy New Year to all.

Thank you for visiting this blog, commenting and/or “liking”.

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy 2013 to you all.


Central Park Duck 12-16-12
Central Park Duck (work in progress) on 1/4 sheet of 140 # Arches cold press

Another animal painting?  What’s up with that?  I’m getting soft!  Next thing you know it will be kittens and puppies!

I was looking down on this duck in a pond in Central Park watching the water swirl around it with the autumn leaves that had dropped down from the trees. This was the duck I was watching right before those raccoons popped out of the drainage pipe (see previous post).   Many of the leaves were under water and the water was much darker.  I decided to brighten it up a bit.   We all need some brightness right now.

We in NY and NJ are still getting over the impact from Superstorm Sandy and now this horrific event in Newtown CT.   I can’t even talk about it.  Hug your children, hug your nieces and nephews and hug your loved ones.  I’m sending a virtual hug to all of you.

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