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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.

 

 

Waiting for the F trainSmith 9th Street “Waiting for the F Train” – 22″ x 15″ watercolor on 300# Arches cold press

remote

My sister recently sent me this picture of our old Hitachi TV remote.  She wrote:

“Remember this remote? 

I think we had the same TV in the 80s.  I took mine to Alaska and back.  It’s gone now but I just found the remote.   Power. Mute. Channel. Volume.   That’s it.

I want that TV back.  Our remote now looks like it could launch the space shuttle and I can never figure out how to do anything with it.”

Yes, Alice.  I remember that remote.  And I too long for the old days.  I have a Smart TV.  I am an idiot and don’t know how to use it.  I was at a friend’s house with the same smart TV.  He showed The Husband and me how you take one cable, connect it to the back of the TV and the other end to your computer and voila!  You can get your computer pictures, play video games, watch Netflix, order from amazon, control the Mir space station and the Hubble telescope and who knows what else.

I can turn my TV on and off.  And sometimes change the channels.

The above painting was done over a number of months.  Now that it’s complete (maybe) I want to think about whether or not to deconstruct it like I did here and here.

Normally I would do the whole painting in a grisaille first and then add some local color. This time I thought I would switch it up a bit.  I started it as a grisaille and I then added color with the grisaille.

It’s finished.

For now.

It’s Superbowl Sunday and unlike most people I couldn’t care less. I just asked the Husband how many points did one team get when they scored a touchdown. (I knew, really, I was just checking.) He stared at me and asked me what country I was born in. I’d rather be watching the puppy bowl. I have been switching back and forth.  The Husband doesn’t mind.  A puppy just got a penalty of five yards for tail biting.  How cute is that?Birch trees 1-31-15

It’s cold and they are predicting more snow tonight just in time to make tomorrow’s commute a joy. At least they are not talking about another snowpocalypse.

I did some tree practice.  Above are some birch trees.   Below a really fun spatter tree.

Splatter Tree 1-31-15

Trees 1-31-15

Another tree style using a flat brush, working wet in wet on damp paper.  And some pears below because everyone loves painting pears.

Pears 2-1-15

Kaiya snow

And here’s a picture of my doggie in the snow.  For those of you who’ve asked, she’s wearing what’s called “a gentle leader” or a “haltie” and not a muzzle. The gentle leader allows someone like me to walk a 90+ lb dog and control her.  I’m giving her a five yard penalty for laying in the snow and not wanting to walk!

 

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!

 

 

Girders Smith 9th St - 11-5-2014Subway Girders – view through the F train window coming into the Smith 9th Street Station – watercolor on 300# Arches 

Once again I started this painting with a grisaille (a gray value study). Which you can see below:

Girders Smith 9th St - 11-5-2014 Grisaille

I then dragged a large soft brush with clean water down the paper from the top to the bottom to spread some of the paint around.  This is slightly different than what I did in previous paintings seen here and here where I waited for the grisaille to dry and then splashed it with clean water followed by very diluted paynes gray and very diluted raw sienna.  The dragging of the water gives the painting a look of grittiness since this view is through a subway window.  To me it also adds a feeling of movement.

Girders Smith 9th St - 11-5-2014 with dragged down clean water

I then went back in and added local color.  Some green and rust to the girders and some more paynes gray to re-establish some darks and details.

Girders Smith 9th St - 11-5-2014  back in with local color

Finally I finished it with a little more detail to the paynes gray girders, local color and I added a raw sienna sky.   Cause really, wouldn’t a regular old blue sky just be boring in this painting?

Girders Smith 9th St - 11-5-2014

On another note the NYC Canstruction exhibit is going on right now in the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center.

Canstruction Annual Competition 

Exhibit Dates:
Begins: November 6, 2014
Ends: November 20, 2014

Exhibit Location:The Winter Garden and Lobby of 250 Vesey Street at Brookfield Place (formerly known as World Financial Center), New York, NY 10281

These are cool and fun with all the canned food going to the needy after the exhibit is over.   You can also donate canned food when you visit the exhibit.   How clever and creative are the people who put these together?

seal

City Harvest Station

astronaut
Owl - Give a hoot about hunber

P.Park Lake WIP 1-12-2014Prospect Park Lake Work in Progress – on 1/4 sheet 140# Arches coldpress

Today was the 13th annual no pants subway ride.  Why would anyone want to ride the subway without wearing pants?  I have absolutely no idea.   I have seen unspeakably disgusting things happen on the subway and quite frankly I really wonder why we all aren’t riding the subways in HazMat suits.   My dog walking buddy who moved to Maine, Charlie, wouldn’t even sit on the subway even if he had an opportunity to sit, nor would he hold on to the poles. Obviously he was very good at balancing and would stand the whole way back and forth to work.  I will always grab a seat if I get one, but I make sure that any body part that is touching any part of the subway is fully covered.   I am not a germophobe by any means and fully believe that kids need to get a little dirty when playing outside and don’t need to be purelled every five minutes.  Based on my vast medical experience I believe this is why most people of my generation have few allergies and the young kids today are allergic to everything.  On second thought, maybe all the young’uns should go for a no pants subway ride to increase their ability to fight off  allergies and build up immunities.

You’re welcome.

The polar vortex arrived in NYC last week.  It was in the 50’s in the morning and the next morning it was 6 degrees.  Now I’m not complaining because I know it was brutally cold and snowing in other parts of the country.  The Husband wonders if nine months from now there will be kids being named “Vortex”.

The painting above is the start of a lake-side scene in Prospect Park.  I’m trying some new colors that I don’t normally use.   I’ll keep you posted.

christmas 2013Christmas in the ‘hood – Brooklyn, NY 2013

Seriously, another year has passed?  Geez.  I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday no matter which one(s) they celebrate.  Thanksgivingka, the solstice, Festivus for the rest of us, Christmas, Kwanza, whatever holiday does it for you may it be happy. May we all be healthy and creative in 2014.   And once again I’ll wish for world peace.  You never know, it just may happen.

Cheers.

The Husband’s quest for the west continues with a week-long trip to New Mexico.  Land of Enchantment.  At least that’s what their license plates say. Now why would he want to take me away from this?

cityscape - Brooklyn 11-2013Street scene, Bushwick, Brooklyn – watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

 To this?

Cotton wood trees New Mexico 11-2013

ABQ Balloon - Nov. 2013

Rio Grande New Mexico 11-2013

Yes, I’ll admit, we had a great time and while we were there all the cottonwood trees had turned a gorgeous bright yellow.  We had perfect weather except for the trip to Santa Fe and Taos.   Luckily the weather didn’t get bad in either city until the afternoon so we did get to see some sights. The Santa Fe Museum of Art had an interesting collection including some works from famed collectors Herb & Dorothy Vogel.

We took a hot air balloon ride, which came complete with a crash landing. We rode horses down to the Rio Grande. And when I say “rode” I mean we slowly walked with a guide except for once in a while when my horse decided to trot because he thought we were going too slowly all the while I was shaking and looking for rattlesnakes.  Yeehaw!  My horse was “Chief”  and The Husband’s horse was a GIGANTIC Belgian staff horse named Bob.  Bob was the size of a 50’s Cadillac!

Before the trip to New Mexico I was lucky to take a workshop with Jean Haines.  I took the workshop because I wanted to paint more loosely.   Of course I hadn’t read any of Jean’s books and only saw a few pictures of her work so I was totally unprepared.   Luckily Jean is a wonderfully warm teacher with a great sense of humor although she did look at every photo reference I brought and hated all of them.  She does not draw at all except with her water and paint and really discouraged everyone in the workshop NOT to draw before painting.   Here are a two things I painted.  Flowers and half a dog.  half a doggie a la jean haines

Jean Haines flowers 10-2013

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.

Carroll Street Bridge 9-8-2013Carroll Street Bridge – Work in Progress

EXIT STRATEGY: A PLAY IN ONE ACT

This is dedicated to my brother who does not read my blog.

The players:
Rob, my brother.
Steve, my very successful cousin who started a business then, planning his exit strategy early, sold it for a bazillion dollars.
Ryan, my nephew who started a business a few years ago and has been very successful to date.
The Scene:  
In a living room at a party.  The three characters are standing around talking.
Rob just reached his 20th anniversary with GE.
Steve to Ryan:
How’s the business going?
Ryan:
I’m doing very well.  My business is growing
Steve:
Good for you. What’s your exit strategy?
Ryan:
I’m not sure yet.
Steve:
You have to start thinking about that now.
Steve:
Hey Rob,  what have you been doing?
Rob:
I’ve worked for the same company for 20 years.
Steve:
Oh????
Rob:
Yeah…. My exit strategy is death

The End

I started this watercolor to celebrate the reopening of the Carroll Street Bridge, one of only two retractable bridges in NYC.  The other being the Borden Avenue Bridge in Queens.  It was built in 1889 and from the NYTimes:  ‘This relic of the late 19th century, which today connects Carroll Gardens with Park Slope, is not just one of the oldest of New York City’s 25 movable bridges, but also one of its quirkiest. As in a quaint New England covered bridge, its deck is made of thick boards, making it the city’s only wooden bridge that carries cars. The approaches are lined with cobblestones, many of them laid in 1889 when the bridge opened. It even features an old sign that warns: “Any Person Driving over this Bridge Faster than a Walk will be Subject to a Penalty of Five Dollars For Each Offence.” ‘  If you’re interested in bridges, you can read about it here.