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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.

View from the 11th floor WIP 1-29-12View from the 11th floor probably still a WIP  1-29-13

I did a little more work on this painting.  The question is now, is it over worked.  I don’t know.  What I do know is it’s time to move on to something else and maybe revisit this at a later time.

View from the 11th floor WIP 1-22-12

View from the 11th Floor -WIP 1-22-13  Watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress.

This is not the view from my apartment.  I wish.   It’s from my friend’s apartment and is very special to me.   After 9/11 I made my way uptown and stayed with Judy.  Still reeling and in shock I slept at her place that night knowing that the Husband would be working for many, many days to come. The next morning when I woke up, I checked the window and yes, the Empire State Building was still there.  I knew the twin towers were gone, so I was happy to see this part of the skyline remained.   I still always check when I visit Judy.  Just in case.

Judy has some beautiful plants on her windowsill and they grow tall with all the sun she gets.  (I, on the other hand, live in a cave by comparison.) I thought the juxtaposition of the foliage against a backdrop of the city buildings made for an interesting picture.   I plan on making the leaves and stems brighter and stronger in comparison to the skyline.  I’m pretty much finished with the skyline with the exception of adding some suggestions of windows in the buildings. We’ll see.  Below this window is Madison Square Park and then across the park are the buildings looking north.

It’s frosty cold in NYC today.  More like freezing cold.  I’m pretty sure if you’re in the US you’re cold too.  Are you sick?  Everyone here is.  So is the husband.  I woke up this morning with a tickle in my throat and a song in my heart.  OK, the song part isn’t true.  More like a runny nose.  Stay warm friends.

Nassau Street – Under Construction

The reference for this painting is from street construction that was being done on Nassau Street in Lower Manhattan.

As I was walking to the subway after work one evening, I looked down to see the innards of the street, but what struck me was the colors. Pipes, tubes, cable, water mains,  gas lines, bottle caps and other trash all of which were different colors along with the broken cement and dirt made, to me, an interesting picture.    This is a work in progress. I’m almost done, unlike construction in NYC which never seems to end.

In case you’re wondering what IS under the streets of NY, you can go here and take a look.

After 9/11 it seems like a day doesn’t go by where I don’t have to walk around construction, hear construction, look at construction.   Trying to work in your office which is vibrating because of the constant pile driver at the construction site across the street can really get to you.    And as any NYer knows, our Mayor Bloomberg never met a construction project he didn’t like.

I know that stress is not only in NY.  During a nuclear stress test, my brother Robert (who doesn’t read my blog) blurted out:

“This is a bullsh!t test!”

When asked why by the technician and the doctor, Robert said “They should make a test where your wife is yelling at you, your kids are crying and you have to carry a laundry basket up a flight of stairs!   That’ll get your heart rate up!!!!”

My heart rate is always up.  I’m off to practice some deep breathing.

What?  I need a vacation?   Indeed I do!

Theft of innocence

A fun class with artist Christopher Staples taught me how to transform pages from National Geographic magazine to the most wonderful marbled and manipulated papers using a natural cleaner and degreaser called CitraSolv. This product not only dissolves chewing gum, lipstick, and adhesives, it also breaks down the ink on the pages of National Geographic without damaging the paper.  The packaging says it’s made from clear liquid from the peel of an orange, essential oils and biodegradable cleaning agents derived from coconut.  It’s also vegan. I guess that’s  in case you want to drink it.

No, I thought not.

After we created some of the most fabulous papers I’ve ever seen we went to the 2nd step which was to then take the pages we created and use them to make a collage.

The images that came out of the manipulation using the CitraSolv were absolutely incredible.  You take the product and either spray it on the pages using a spray bottle, or paint the pages using a brush.  You can then add some Saran wrap to get some really amazing effects.  Close the magazine,  let the pages dry and voila!  You’re in business with some of the prettiest papers ever.

This collage just emerged by itself.     I have never blogged nor have I made any art having to do with 9/11, but this one just happened.

My sister took the class with me.  Here is her collage:

If you want to try this here are my suggestions:

Use CitraSolv in a ventilated area or outside if possible.   Use rubber gloves if you don’t want to get ink on your hands, but if you do get in on your hands, you can use the CitraSolv to get it right off!

As a side note:  Do not get a manicure the day before you decide to try these techniques.  (Like I did.)

It’s September 11, 2008, seven years after the terrorist attacks on the world trade center.   I was there on that sad day 7 years ago as was my husband who was (and is) an NYPD first responder.   I still work right near the pit and see it every day.   And every day I think about all we’ve lost since then.  

My friend Judy wrote a very moving blog today.   Please visit it and read about her thoughts and other’s comments (including my husband’s) on what today means to us.

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