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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.

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.



Central Park from Belvedere Castle

I met up with the NYC Urban Sketchers in Central Park at Belvedere Castle. Belvedere, meaning “beautiful view” in Italian was, according to the Central Park website, a “Victorian Folly” built by Calvert Vaux. Belvedere Castle has been equipped with  meteorological equipment since 1919 and records rainfall, wind and other weather information.  But for us it was the first stop of a beautiful day in a beautiful place.

I arrived at Belvedere Castle to discover that a high school art class from Memphis, Tennessee had joined us.   They were adorable and fun and thrilled to be in NYC.  They had seen Kinky Boots and Pippin on Broadway, thought Times Square was “awesome” and after leaving us were going to the Metropolitan Museum.   They also saw that some of us were using water brushes to paint.  Well, you would have thought we had just showed them electricity for the first time.  Water brushes were awesome too.  And they called me and Susan ma’am.  Which is something I think NYC brats kids should start.  I never thought I would like it, but I really didn’t mind being called ma’am.

Belvedere Castle

Urban Sketcher in the park

Tree with sketcher

Some of us stayed at Belvedere Castle while others went to the next stop which was by the Delacorte Theater to sketch the statue of Romeo and Juliet.  Then on the to lawn looking up at Belvedere Castle when a sketcher from Perth, Australia joined us. And then we all realized we were starving.  Off to Carmine’s for lunch where unfortunately I had to take my leave, but the others stayed and ate and sketched.  You can visit the NYC Urban Sketchers’ blog here. and visit some of the other sketchers sites, Joan Tavalott’s blog here.  And Mia’s website here.

Pulitzer fountain - urban sketcheing 9-28-2013Pulitzer Statue, NYC

I started Saturday meeting the NYC Urban Sketchers at the Pulitzer Fountain which is in front of the Plaza Hotel and Central Park.  We then moved to the entrance of the Central Park Zoo.  We didn’t go in, but sat on some benches and sketched there.  I left shortly after that to meet Jana Bouc, a fellow blogger who I only know from blogland.  She was visiting NYC with her friend Micaela Marsden another artist and urban sketcher. We met by the Conservatory Water (which I erroneously told her was called Conservatory Pond.)  Jana is as Northern Californian as I am a New Yorker.  Tall, lithe and lovely we had a wonderful time.

After chatting, sketching, and wandering the park, Jana, Micaela and I got on the subway to go downtown.  They wanted to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. We got on the Lexington Ave. express.  It was packed, but Micaela and I were lucky enough to get a seat.  Jana was standing.  As the doors closed we heard the familiar sound of someone asking for money. The man standing next to Jana gave the guy a dollar.

And then the unthinkable happened…Jana talked to the dollar-giving guy.

I was astounded.   Jana asked him if he always gives money to people begging on the subway or does he evaluate the story first and then give. The man told Jana he gives out of love and because he always gives money he gets money back.  Now he has a lot of money.  Jana then asked what he did?  His reply?  He sold da ganja.

Yep,  He sold marijuana.

Weed, Mary Jane, Waccy tobaccy. Chronic.  Grass.   He has a daughter that’s with her mother now, but he may try and get her back.  He also asked Jana what month she was born in.  She told him and he said that she was part of the tribe of Joshua.  What tribe is that?  Where is that in the bible?   Mr. Chronic said it was in the LOST BOOKS of the Bible.  Oh.  We finally got to the Brooklyn Bridge stop where Micaela, Jana and I got off and Jana’s new best friend hoped that God blessed her and continued on.

I CANNOT tell you how amused I was and Jana, I hope you don’t mind me telling that story.  I had a great time with you and Micaela and hope you visit again soon.

Here’s an article about that New York accent:  “In a really good New York conversation more than one person is talking a lot of the time”

Utah red rocks wip 1-13-13Red rocks of Utah – work in progress on 1/4 sheet of Arches 140 lb cold press

As much as I talk about it, retirement is no where in my near future.  But it may be in the Husband’s sooner rather than later.  He’s got 19 years with the NYPD and although not wanting to, he may retire at 20 years as a result of injuries incurred on the job.  We’ll see.  And boy did he like Utah when we visited 4 national parks in that state in September.  I recently told a friend that the Husband keeps telling me he wants to retire to Utah.  This friend looked at me with a straight face and said “you’ll be arrested”.  I’m not sure about that.  But I’m pretty sure they won’t get my jokes.  Or the fact that I prefer black as a color choice in most of my clothes.

Speaking of clothes…I remember the drive we took our last day in Utah from Moab to Salt Lake City so we could catch an evening flight to NYC.   On the way there I was fussing with the radio buttons trying to find something decent to listen to.   As we got closer to SLC, I finally found some music stations, but the commercials were the best.  I remember one commercial in particular.  It was for a clothing store.  Two teen-age girls were discussing the fashions sold at this store and how cool the clothes were.   And then came the hook…

1st girl:    I love the clothes, they are so cute!

2nd girl:  And modest too!

And that’s when I stared.  At the radio.  And then laughed.  I don’t know about you, but I do think teen and tween girls often dress quite inappropriately for their age.  16 year-olds look like they are 30.  (OMG, did I just say that?)  But I’ve never once heard a teen-age girl exclaim “THESE CLOTHES ARE SO MODEST!  I LOVE THEM!”

I’m still thinking about those beautiful hoodoos and rock formations though and sometimes when I come out of the subway I look up at the skyscrapers and imagine that they are the red-rocks of Utah.   Maybe we will go back someday.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to paint them like I did here and here. The above painting is still a work in progress.  I am going to add more detail to the rocks, some cracks, crevices and striations.   There is also an electrical cord in the picture.   I don’t know how that got there.  Clearly it speaks to my superb photographic abilities.

Central Park Duck 1-13-12I also worked on my Central Park Duck a little more to add some depth.   You can see the difference compared to my last post of the duck here.

central park bandits finishedCentral Park Bandits   1/2 sheet Arches 140 # cold press

Here are those little bandits you saw in the last post in the very beginning stages.  I wanted to show the water and the leaves that had fallen into the water with the raccoons peeking out of the drainage pipe they popped out of! And they were a lot cuter than the rats we are used to seeing around town. (Ugh, don’t get me started about rats.)

Now,  what’s up with today’s date of 12/12/12?   People get so strange about dates and their meaning.  This will be the last time in our lifetimes that we will see consecutive numbers!   How many people got married today just so their anniversary would be consecutive 12s.   Crazy!   I remember my anniversary and there are no consecutive numbers involved.  My husband remembers our anniversary because he got the date engraved in his wedding band so he could check if he ever forgot.  And now we have 12/21/12 coming up. If the Mayans were so smart, how come they never saw the Spanish coming?   More date craziness:  March 14 is pi day.  April 20 is, well, if you don’t know what April 20 is, I don’t want to be the one to tell you.  There’s another one but I can’t remember it right now.  Of course, that won’t matter if we don’t survive past 12/21/12.  I hope we do.  I don’t want to miss Christmas, my birthday (12/28/12, feel free to send a gift.  Any gift valued over $50 should be insured :)) and New Year’s.

Speaking of gifts, I’m watching the Robin Hood Foundation Concert for Sandy relief.   As some of you know, members of my family were displaced by the storm, my niece lost everything in her apartment, my sister-in-law lost the whole first floor of her home.  Many other friends and family were affected and there are still people in the NY Metropolitan area including NJ and CT that don’t have power or a place to live.  If you want to you can click on the link below. You don’t have to.  I won’t know.  (You can still send me a birthday gift. )

6th Ave. Bike completed

I finished the bike and started a new painting of two raccoons I saw in Central Park when I went to see the Tatzu Nishi exhibit called Discovering Columbus.  You climb up 6 flights of stairs and end up in a “living room” in which the statue of Columbus overwhelms the space.   Interesting, odd and fun, one can walk around the statue, sit on a sofa and watch TV, read a magazine, look through the bookcase or out the windows at the views of Central Park, down Broadway or up Columbus Ave.  All with this GIANT statue in the middle of the room.  My niece Caroline and I were fixated on the flat screen TV in the room.

Me:  There’s a 13 foot statue of Columbus in the middle of this room

Caroline:   Look at that flat screen TV!  That’s the flattest flat screen TV I’ve ever seen!

Me:  Oh yeah,  wow.

We have priorities.

After we discovered Columbus we took a stroll through Central Park.  Walking over a bridge we stopped to look at the fall foliage and the ducks in the water. Suddenly we saw two raccoons pop out of a drainage pipe.  That’s the painting below.  Yes, I know it doesn’t look like anything now.  But it will.  My favorite part so far?  The orange “frisket”!  LOL!

Central Park Bandits – just started – 140# Arches cold press

I know I’m a little late, but Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  My sister-in-law who is displaced from the storm was supposed to have Thanksgiving this year, but couldn’t, so my sister stepped in and both families had a wonderful day together.

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