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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





peony 2

peony 1

Peony cards on 140# Arches coldpress

I never had allergies to anything.  Ever.  One time I had a rash on my arm which I attributed to stress but my sister dragged me to her allergy doctor anyway.

Dr. V:  What are you allergic to?

Me:  Nothing.

Dr. V:  We will test you by pricking you with all these needles in a grid pattern on your arm and see which ones you react to.

Me:  I’m not allergic to anything.

Dr. V:  Prick, prick, prick.

Me:  Ow, Ow, OW!

After the required amount of waiting time:

Dr. V:  Oh, you’re not allergic to anything.

Me:  Response cannot be printed here.

So imagine my surprise when our winter polar vortex turned the spring into a pollen vortex and I started sniffling.  Which then went right into my chest for a very acute case of asthmatic bronchitis. I’m still not all the way better and I’m still not convinced that I have allergies, but I do know this case of bronchitis knocked me for a loop.   Ugh!

New Mexico

New Mexico landscape on the Rio Grande – 15″ x 21″ watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

The peonies are in bloom and they are one of my favorite flowers.  I needed some cards for friends so I figured I would paint a peony or two.  I also finished my New Mexico landscape which I’m happy with.

WordPress told me that this is my 300th post!  Wow!  Who knew I had that many paintings or that much to say.   Thanks for visiting, looking at my art and reading my posts.  Cheers!

And finally, here’s a picture of my dog.


Turned out the snowpocalypse was a NOpocalypse for NYC. Good for us.  Bad for areas further East and North. They did get the expected bazillion inches of snow.  I believe they are still digging out their cars.

Snow Day 1-27-15

Doggie Snow Day 1-27-15

I took a snow day because they shut down the subways.  Never before in the past 110 years have they shut down the subways!!!!  Since I couldn’t actually get to work,  The Husband, The Doggie and I decided to make the best of it and went for a lovely 2 hour walk in Prospect Park.  Someone (not me) LOVES the snow and will take any opportunity to roll around in it and stick her snout in the snowdrifts.

We also got to see a bunch of cardinals, beautifully bright red against the bare trees and glistening new white snow.  And finally, we saw a hawk, so well camouflaged in the trees I couldn’t see it until he moved his head.

Hawk in the park 1-27-15

Of course The Husband was the one who saw all the wildlife and pointed it out to me.  A lion could have crossed my path, I wouldn’t have noticed!



red tulips wip 11-30-2014Red Tulips WIP watercolor on 1/2 sheet of 140# coldpress Arches

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And if you read the name of this post you might be thinking “that smell” is turkey, gravy, stuffing or sweet potatoes. It’s not. I am referring to the smell of my dog’s paws.  They smell like corn chips. I had always noticed it but I recently read this article in the “Dog-ington Post” which says that smell is bacteria and yeast. Oh great.

The Husband and I were thrilled that we were able to bring along our pooch to the Thanksgiving festivities this year.   Luckily no one complained about her smell since she went to the doggie spa the day before and smelled like a nice, clean dog.   I am very thankful to have such a wonderful rescue dog. (I am the person on Thanksgiving who wants to watch the dog show instead of football.   I was out-voted.)

I’m also very thankful for all of you who read my blog.  Thank you so much for your comments.  They always make my day.   :)

Kaiya and a ballMy dog


My dog’s Frito smelling paw

The painting above is a work in progress of red tulips I had purchased & photographed in the spring. I’m working on painting more loosely and saving more of the whites of the paper.   A little more to go and then I’m done.

Finally, in keeping with the dog theme, here’s the thought for the day:



birch trees

 Birch Trees – approx 9×12″ on 140# Arches cold press (SOLD)

figures 11-18-2014

figures A 11-18-2014

Many years ago I saw my then teacher and now friend Joan demo birch trees.  I was fixated on them and while I never got a chance to paint them in a class, I never forgot them.  On a recent get together I asked her to show me the demo again.  Finally, I got a chance to paint birch trees.  I have no idea where this fascination with birch trees comes from.   It’s not like there are stands of birch trees in the middle of Manhattan.   I painted this with a subtle background of blue and quin gold.   The trees themselves are painted with a flat brush held flat against the paper and then dragged up the page.   It was so much fun, I’m already planning another one.

More figure drawing with K this week brought us back to the Spring Street Studio. The model was a zaftig woman and was fun to draw.   I got there about 5:20 for a 6:00 pm start and apologized to the owner of the studio for being so early.  She looked at me quizzically and asked if I was the model.  hahahahahaha.   I told that to K when he showed up.  He looked at me and in a droll voice said “those gym sessions are really working out for you.”  Oh that K!  The studio is down a flight of stairs right next to a subway.  You get to hear the rumbling of the #6 train as you draw.  Helps with the creativity.  :)


Lest you think I’ve been hiding in my apartment wishing this winter would end without doing any painting, you’d be partially right.  I have a very bad case of S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder).  Although like most things, I’m doing nothing about it but complaining.  And painting.

I finished a number of paintings:

Frankee 2-9-2014My cousin’s puppy Frankee the coonhound – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress  

Then I completed this painting:

Greenpoint cityscape 2-9-2014Greenpoint, Brooklyn on a cloudy day – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

And finally I finished this painting:

Prospect Park Lake WIP 2-9-2014 completedProspect Park Lake on New Year’s Day 2014 – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

The Olympics are on TV seemingly everywhere, all the time, non-stop.  Instead I’m watching a TV show about how the Beatles changed America.  Their  first American televised live performance was on the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night, February 9, 1964.  Fifty years ago today.  Remember?

In case you don’t remember, they sang:

  • “All My Loving”
  • “Till There Was You”
  • “She Loves You”
  • “I Saw Her Standing There”
  • “I Want to Hold Your Hand”

Beach sketch from PMP Karina Robin

Beach scene from Paint My Photo – photo courtesy of Karina Robin

Winter.  I’m tired of it.  And what is the polar vortex?   I thought it was just called winter?  Since I was too tired and too cold to join the NYC Urban Sketchers today I decided to stay home, watch watercolor videos on you tube and play with my watercolors. Using a watercolor sketchbook given to me by my nephews, I did this beach scene using a limited palette, no more than 2 washes and no drawing first. I’d like to be there right now.

Dog  from pmp ESP

I moved on to this dog, again courtesy of Paint My Photo using ESP’s photo. No drawing first, only using a few colors and a few washes.  He looks a little sad. Why do all my painted dogs look sad?

Pears 1-25-2014

And finally I did every watercolorists’ favorite subject.  Pears.  I did sketch the shape of the pears, but again used a limited palette and not many washes.

I’m off to do some weight lifting. My friend Christine and I were talking about how we can’t remember things anymore and she told me about how weightlifting helps to stave off Alzheimer’s.   And I hear curls keep you warm.

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.


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.

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.


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