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Grace Church Spires, NYC – Watercolor on Arches 300# cold press.  Approximately 18″ x 22″

A number have people have asked where I have been and expressed that they have missed my posts.  And when I say a “number” of people I mean two people.

Hey, two is a number.  🙂

I’m posting today and that is miracle #1.  Miracle #2 is what happened last week…

…when my dog bolted after a bear in our backyard.  She got swatted across the face and sheepishly came back to us.  We were screaming her name, but she was in full protect mode.  The bear whacked her and then turned away.  Luckily poochie came back with only a small cut under one eye, another over the other eye and a cut on her shoulder.  We checked her carefully and cleaned the cuts.  Other than being a bit dazed, she was ok. It could have been so much worse.  She is one lucky dog!   After we took care of her we went on the deck in the backyard to see not only mama bear, but 3 small cubs up our tree.  Turns out, Mama bear was in full protect mode too.  Normally when dogs chase bears out of yards, the bears just run away.  No matter what, I’m happy my dog wasn’t hurt badly and I hope she has learned not to chase bears.

 

Here are two of the three cubs.  Aren’t they cute!  And here’s mama after she and the cubs moved down the mountain from our house to a neighbors house:

I’ve been working on the above Grace Church painting for the past few weeks.  Again, I started with a grisaille in Paynes Gray to get the values and then added local color, ending with some splashing of paint.

I’m still taking the botanical drawing class.  Here’s a peony drawing from last week.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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central-park-benchCentral 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.

http://khadi.com/about-khadi-papers/about-the-paper/

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

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.

 

 

red-bud-leavesRed bud leaves in autumn – watercolor in sketchbook

Where have I been? asked no one.  I haven’t posted since July.

Why?  Two words.

                                     SWING STATE.

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!

ppw-and-carroll-street-park-slopeNYC urban sketching  – PPW and Carroll Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

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.

river-oil-sticksRiver landscape – oil sticks

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.

nyc water towersNYC rooftops, WIP – oil painting value study.  Approx 8″ x 11″

Green tulipsGreen tulips – watercolor practice on Strathmore paper

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.

 

chardinOil painting after Chardin – WIP – approx 8 x 10″ on canvas paper

begonia leaf

Begonia leaf – graphite and colored pencil in sketchbook

rhododendron leafRhododendron leaf –  graphite and colored pencil in sketchbook

hydrangeaHydrangea –  graphite and colored pencil in sketchbook

Miss LucyMiss Lucy from the St. Croix markets  – Watercolor for #worldwatercolormonth

The Husband and I recently went to see the band Kansas at the Thomas Wolfe arena in Asheville.  As we were driving to the venue we ran into some friends.

US:  We are going to see Kansas.

Them:  Asheville gets the best bands…40 years later.

I wasn’t expecting much, but Kansas was actually pretty good.  As we left the Husband said “They sounded as good as they did on my 8 track cassettes!”

I’m still taking the “nature’s notebook” botanical drawing class.  I just started an oil painting class. I haven’t touched oil paint since the mid seventies which is interesting because I was only a toddler in the mid-seventies.  🙂

We did our first painting, above, as an exercise in looking at values.  We used one color and white. I used burnt umber and copied a still life from Chardin, suggested by the teacher who is big into the old masters and which auto-correct wants to change to chardonnay.  Perhaps if I had some chardonnay while painting, it would have been easier, but I am not entirely displeased with the result.

I have not been neglecting my watercolors.  Above is a picture of Miss Lucy from St. Croix with a reference kindly supplied by Bonnie Luria, formerly of St. Croix and now comfortably settled into Asheveille, NC.

Happy 4th of July everyone.  (And even if you don’t celebrate it as a holiday, it’s still the 4th of July and I hope it’s happy for you.) Thanks for looking.


two slices to goTwo slices to go –  watercolor on Arches 140# coldpress

Did you ever say anything and as the words exited  your mouth you thought “never in a million years would I ever think I would say that”?

It happened to me two days ago.  As The Husband and I were preparing to leave the house to go pick up friends we saw a mama bear and cub in a neighbor’s yard and continued to watch them as they proceeded across our road, down our driveway and around our car.  It was then that I realized we would be late.

ME texting friend:  We will be late because there are bears in our driveway.

FRIEND who lives around the corner and knows about bears:   HA!

I guess this is our new normal.  They are cuter than NYC rats and about the same size.  🙂

Bear in drvieway 1

Bear in drvieway

bear - these weeds taste good

The Brother, sister-in-law and two nephews were in town last week.  We had a great time but despite all of our talk about bears they didn’t see a one.  What they did do is sing a song that I now can’t get out of my head.  It’s called: It’s raining tacos and it’s very catchy.  Have a listen. You’ll be singing along with me.

The above painting is based on the two slices I got on a recent trip to NYC. Nestled between the 8th Ave. subway entrance at 40th street and a homeless shelter was a hole-in-the-wall pizza place and the pizza was yummy. And just as much fun to paint.

 

 

 

waiting“Waiting” 22 1/4″ x 15″ watercolor on Arches 300# cold press

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:

asheville fire hydrantAsheville fire hydrant – 9″ x 12″ watercolor on Arches 140# coldpress

It looks a little drunk but it was fun to paint.

Thank U for visiting.

 

 

View from I 240
View from I 240-Watercolor on 300 # Arches cold press approx 15″ x 22″

Why are emojis so damn small? People text me with emojis all the time and I have no idea what they are sending.  I need to know if someone is sending me a picture of a dog, a monkey, or a martini?

TEXTER:  Want to come over?  I’m doing the laundry *martini emoji*

ME:  Nah, I’ll pass (thinking “that sounds really boring.”)

However, If there were martinis involved with said laundry, I might rush right over to help!

I was pondering this emoji issue last week when comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert discussed this same problem.  He couldn’t distinguish between the “crying” emoji and the “laughing so hard you are crying” emoji.  He accidentally sent the latter when a friend’s pet died which caused some problems. I’m just gonna stick to the old fashioned colon dash parenthesis  : -) face so as not to screw things up.

I’m also working on a new Mac computer after years of working on PCs.  Insert very frustrated emoji face here.

And I’m still getting used to this new place.   Sometimes I feel like this:

Green Acres  But I never lived on Park Avenue with a penthouse view.

Insert sad emoji here.

The above painting is a view of one of the buildings in Asheville glimpsed while driving by on Interstate 240.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?”