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Central Park Bench – watercolor 16″ x 11 3/4″ on Khadi paper. Based on a reference photo by Randi Klein. (Thanks Randi!)
My sister’s golden retriever, Gus, gets to run freely around outside because of an invisible fence which keeps him safely inside the property. Recently, however, the invisible fence broke and now Gus keeps running off the property and into the road. My brother-in-law said that he was going to build a wall and make Gus pay for it. We laughed and laughed.
The above painting was done on Khadi paper. This is an interesting watercolor paper to use. It’s made in India, is 100% cotton rag made from old tee shirts.
I found it a little harder to use than Arches because I was unfamiliar with the way the paper reacted to the water and pigment. One interesting thing about this paper is that you can abuse it and it doesn’t fall apart. However it can ball up if you try to scrub the image. It worked well on this snowy scene.
Sunflower past its prime – colored pencils in notebook
Another drawing above from my Nature’s Notebook class. I’m still enjoying the class and this City girl is learning more than she could have imagined about the flora in local gardens.
I try to keep my blog apolitical. All I’ll say is so far we are three weeks in and I’m ready to build a wall around myself. I will happily pay for it.
Thanks for visiting.
Where have I been? asked no one. I haven’t posted since July.
Why? Two words.
Since I’ve previously only lived in NYC, which is decidedly democratic, the experience of living in a swing state with the non-stop barrage of political ads left me in a fetal position and under the covers. And now that the campaign is over I can share an experience or two with you.
As a result of a car accident, The Husband has symptoms of something called meniere’s disease which can cause temporary deafness in one ear. As I sat on the sofa watching TV one night and he at the dining room table listening to the TV, I noticed him shaking his head and rubbing his ear. He kept losing his hearing and couldn’t figue out why the meniere’s was so bad that night. Finally he realized that I was was muting the TV every time a political ad came on. He thought his meniere’s was really bad that night and he couldn’t figure out why his hearing kept coming and going!
My friend’s husband, John, has lived here for over 20 years but never became a citizen. He finally became one this year and was so exited to cast his vote for president for the first time. In an ironic turn of events, he got home that night to discover he got his first Jury Duty notice.
The top watercolor was done in a sketchbook for a class I’m taking called Nature’s Notebook. We hear lectures on plants and then draw and paint everything flora.
The building was done in a sketchbook with the NYC Urban Sketchers in Brooklyn, NY. They are a wonderful group and if you’re in NYC check them out. Anyone can meet up with them and all levels are welcome.
Finally I recently tried oil sticks. A little different than oil pastels. They are fun to work with and dry within a few days. They are made by an artist named Paul DeMarrais.\, http://www.pauldemarrais.com/westminster/index.html
Back to my fetal position for the next 4 years. Thanks for reading.
The Husband and I are taking beginner Spanish classes. Again. We’ve tried this once or twice but don’t keep up with it and forget everything. This time we say we will stick with it. We’ll see.
Last week a student in class asked the teacher what the difference was between “usted” which is formal, singular “you”, and “ustedes” which is formal, plural “you”.
The teacher explained it this way: “Usted” is “you”. “Ustedes” is “Y’all”.
Only in the South…. 🙂
I’m still struggling with oil painting so I’m staying with using only one color and white and doing value studies. One of these days I’ll graduate to color. The above oil is of some of the rooftops and water towers in NYC. The next is a fun little watercolor of some tulips for #worldwatercolormonth.
Hasta luego, Y’all. Thanks for visiting.
Caladium leafChristmas Fern
Venus Sweet Shrub in pencil
Venus Sweet Shrub in pen & Ink
I decided to take a drawing class at the local community college. That class was full, but they offered a class called “Nature’s Notebook” and since I’m now surrounded by a whole lot of nature I thought I’d give it a whirl. The instructor, an avid gardener and artist named Peter Loewer, a/k/a “the wild gardener” brings in items from his garden for us to draw. He will lecture a bit at the beginning of class about styles of drawing and particular drawings of plants and then we begin drawing.
I was in the art studio one day when some women from NY came in looking at the art. One woman who had a thick NY accent told us about the NY Accent test.
Wanna take it? OK, here goes:
If you pronounced dog just like log, hog and fog, congratulations, you have failed the NY accent test. However, if you pronounced dog unlike the first 3 and more like dawg, congratulations you passed the NY accent test!
If you’re wondering, I passed the test with flying colors. 🙂
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:
It looks a little drunk but it was fun to paint.
Thank U for visiting.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
And the above hand-made watercolor card was done for my nephew who is off to college to study automotive repair. Good luck Kevin!
And 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”.