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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.

Another year has passed.  To welcome 2011 I made my resolutions.  Lose weight.  Exercise more.  Watch TV less. Stop procrastinating.

So, as I write this, I’m eating left over lasagna & cheesecake and watching TV. Way to go, Carol!

As many of you may know, 2010 ended with a bang for us New Yorkers.  The Boxing Day Blizzard. (Which is odd, because we don’t have boxing day in the U.S.)  Snowmageddon.  The Blizzacolypse.  Whatever you called it, it was bad…and made worse by our mayor severely dropping the ball on salting and plowing.  Except of course for Times Square.  Times Square was pristine. Looked like the Sahara it was so dry.  Can’t let a little snow get in the way of tourist and entertainment dollars.

Why do people go to Times Square for New Year’s Eve?  You have to arrive 8-10 hours early to get anywhere near where the ball drops.  You’re penned in and can’t leave.  If you leave you are not allowed back in.  And the thing I’m most fixated on…how does one go to the bathroom? Are they all wearing those astronaut diapers?

Here’s a picture of a New Yorker waiting for a train.  (Some train lines stopped running for more than 2 days! Buses were stranded in the snow for a day or more. Unheard of!)

A snow covered car.  

And an inventive New Yorker on the 3 train who clearly did not own snowboots.

I have taken the opportunity of having today off to work on my sketchbook.  Of course, the due date is January 15th and I’m nowhere near done.  Perhaps I will sketch the word PROCRASTINATION and then leave the rest of the pages blank.

Here are two pages I worked on recently, a sketch of a scarf I made and a drawing of Machu Picchu:

I better stop procrastinating and get to work.  I have lots more pages to fill and very little time left.   Lucky for me there’s still lasagna and cheesecake still in the fridge!

Happy New Year to you all!

7th Avenue Steam Pipes – Watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

Any visitor to NYC will notice a few things. The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down. The people ride in a hole in the ground.

AND,  there is always steam coming up from the streets.  What is up with all that steam?   It’s a common site and one that doesn’t get noticed too much by us.

But when these two ConEd (our electric utility company) steam pipes went up on the corner of 7th Ave. and 14th Street, they were blowing out so much thick white steam I decided to stop and take notice.

For about a minute.

And then I went into the Duane Reade which is on the corner.

These pipes have been here now for a few weeks.   I do not know why they are there or why all that steam is coming from the street.  I envision someone really pissed off on the subway platform below waiting for the #2 train which is, of course, delayed for “track work”.

I have not seen one ConEd worker at that location in weeks.  Perhaps they are all on their break?  Or in their office making sure my electric bill rivals the national dept.  It always amazes me that ConEd pats themselves on the back every summer if we don’t have a blackout.  It’s not like it’s a surprise every year when NYC gets HOT in the SUMMER.  Duh!

I’m just cranky cause my blackberry died on me tonight.  Bah!  I need that phone.  That is my lifeline.  Grrrr.  Can you see the steam coming out of my ears?

I have had that title for many, many years now.  I am well known in my family and among my friends as being tired all the time (diabetes and anemia are probably the main culprits but I DO enjoy a nap no matter what.)   I have fallen asleep almost immediately in some embarrassing situations.  Talking to someone on the phone and suddenly hearing “CAROL?  CAROL?  DID YOU FALL ASLEEP?”.   I even started to drift off on the treadmill at the gym one day causing my body to go flying off said machine in a not very graceful way. 

Suffice to say, there are any number of stories I could tell, but I think you get the picture.

Over the years there have been many times where someone in my family has tried to usurp my self-proclaimed title.  But no go.  I’m not sharing.  You have three kids all under the age of 5?  Too bad.  I’m still tireder than you.   You just had major surgery and your auto-immune issues are on the fritz?  No way Jose.  I still reign as the tiredest person who ever lived.

Until I saw this:

And now, FOR ONE DAY ONLY,  I will relinquish my title to this woman cause really….  If you are THAT TIRED that you fall asleep on the hood of a police car I say you win.  (But for today only.)    I WAS going to say that was me, but anyone who knows me knows I would never wear a blouse like that. 

(and no, the husband DID NOT take this photo, though I bet he wishes he did.)

It’s been so hot here (and everywhere in the northern hemisphere I hear) that I have no energy to do anything.  So, there is no painting this week.  Just some comments on death and dying.

Yep,  I figured it’s so hot you would need something really fun to perk you up.

A recent story of a woman who was a hoarder (think Collyer Brothers) fell in her home and died under an avalanche of her own “stuff”.  She was found four months later.   Don’t ask.

I told this story to a friend who said to me: “I always pray ‘God, don’t let me die stupid’.”  What she meant, of course, was don’t let me die on the toilet, tripping over the dog or setting my self aflame because my sweater caught on the toaster as I was making myself some cinnamon raisin toast.

So while I feel for this poor woman, I only hope that when it’s my time to go, it’s not by getting my hair caught in my shredder.

The pictured chair was done for a woman who had a paint your own pottery studio.  I no longer remember why, but she had a contest to paint the white chairs in her studio.  I came in 2nd or 3rd and won something.   So much for my memory.

A random thought:  Law and Order Los Angeles?  Really?

Stay cool dear blog readers.  Stay cool.

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!

Two Steeples.  Looking east on Carroll Street.  12″ x 9″ on Arches paper – SOLD

Evening dog walks with Charlie usually end up with one of us having to look something up. It could be as varied as why the moon looks so much larger when it’s low in the sky to the lyrics to Petticoat Junction (don’t ask).

Last night was no different.  I told him that The Husband had sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day.   This time, instead of the usual red roses, I got a beautiful bouquet of lilies.  The Husband was concerned that I wouldn’t like them (I loved them) but I told Charlie I was going to look up the meaning of lilies.  What?  Charlie did not know anything about the language of flowers.  This surprised me because Charlie (also secretly known as “mensa boy”) knows a lot about a lot of things.  I explained that those pesky Victorians who covered piano legs with fabric to keep the menfolk from getting too excited (morons) also had meanings for all kinds of flowers.  I said “imagine if you sent someone a bouquet of pretty flowers hoping to impress only later to find out the flowers you sent said, in today’s lingo, ‘you’re a jerk’.”  Uh oh!   There’d be trouble!

Brooklyn is known, among other things, as the Borough of Churches.   But when I Google this, all I get is the page on Brooklyn.  (Brooklyn, I was once told, is also known as the Borough of Bars.  I will save that for another post.)

This painting is the view from the roof of my building, looking east.  The sun was setting in the west and was shining on some of the buildings in the distance creating a beautiful light over the steeples, buildings and trees.  It’s on arches 130 lb 9″ x 12″ cold press paper.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all and Happy Year of the Tiger too!

The Road – W.I.P.

Liz and Charlie gave me Roman Numeral Birthday Cake Candles for my birthday.  (There was no cake attached…clearly an oversight on their part. )

The tag line on the box was “party like it’s MCMXCIX”!

What is it about Roman Numerals that makes everything look a little classier?  You’ve built a building and want to put in a corner-stone?  Sure, you can put 1988 carved right there in the stone.  Or you can have it say MCMLXXXVIII.  Really, which looks better?

Liz and Charlie used to live on the other side of our brick wall.  Then they bought a house and moved around the corner.  Their new address is 92.   One night, as I walked around the corner to meet Charlie for the nightly dog walk, I noticed his new garbage cans were on the sidewalk for the next morning’s pickup.   He had labeled them with XCII.  Did Charlie think that on his new block he won’t get the noisy white NYC Dept. of Sanitation trucks to pick up his trash, but instead men on Roman chariots wearing helmets with a big red mohawk would be picking up his trash?  His new block was way fancier than the old one!

I have already woken up on the wrong side of 2010.   It started with my computer going berserk on New Year’s Day and went down from there.

The above painting is a work in progress watercolor of a road in a field.   We’ll see where this road takes me.

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!

For those of you who don’t, Happy Festivus (for the rest of us).  If that doesn’t work for you then Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice (at least the days are starting to get longer).

I mailed out the above image on a Christmas card to family and friends.  Only to discover that I had sent the card TWICE to some friends (Kung) and not at all to others (Mary and Elise).  It’s probably because I did not make a list & check it twice.

I am not a list maker.  My husband makes lists all the time.  Then leaves them all over the house and forgets about them.  I try to keep all the information I need in my head, only to discover that, with all the other junk rolling around in there, oft times I forget what I’m supposed to remember.  (Or worse, I remember what I’m trying to forget.)

My sister used to be a very organized list maker.  To the point that one time she wrote a very long  list and then went shopping with it.  She got stuck at a store because she accomplished something on her list but didn’t want to cross it off said list because she DID NOT HAVE THE SAME PEN SHE WROTE THE LIST WITH.   Thank God she got over that stage of anal retentiveness.

I suppose lists are good.  Especially when sending out Christmas Cards.  I hope Santa has me on his list!  (Even if I have only been moderately good this year.)

So, to all my friends, family and blog readers.  If you got a card from me, yay.  If you didn’t, I meant to send you one.  If you got two, make sure you save it since I probably won’t send cards again for another 5 years.

Thank you for reading my blog and for all your comments on my paintings and my rants.  A special thank you to Leslie for photo-shopping this image of Madonna and Child…with dog.

Happy Holidays to all and Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2010 2011.

I woke up to this today:

I would have rather woken up to this:

This was the view from my room in St. Croix looking out onto the beach.   I love how there are always bent trees in the Caribbean.  I miss the warm weather and the beach.    Especially when today’s wardrobe included a fleece pullover, coat, scarf, gloves and hat.  Brrrrr!

Jim recently changed my tag on his blogroll.  It used to just say Carol King.  Now it says Carol King- artist, humorist, complainer.

Complainer indeed.  I prefer to think of it as social commentary.

But “complainer” works.

This is what I am going to comment (complain) about today.  The price of kids T-shirts in these small stores in Park Slope.  I wanted a size 4T shirt for a friend’s kid.  I thought I might get a nice little “Brooklyn” t-shirt.    I found one.  It was $24.00.  SERIOUSLY.  For a t-shirt that the kid will grow out of in a few months????  And end up in a stoop sale selling for 50 cents or a dollar.  A size 4T shirt is about 6″ across.  I’ve seen men’s handkerchiefs bigger than that.

I indignantly marched myself a few more blocks down the avenue to the next kid’s store only to discover that in this store the price of a kid’s t-shirt was $32.00 AND the collar was frayed.   On purpose.  WHAT?  I’m now ready to buy a white t-shirt and write on it with a Sharpie.  Are these people insane?  Who are their customers?  The stars that NAME their kids Brooklyn and Bronx?   Cause it can’t be the people LIVING in Brooklyn and The Bronx.

Only in NYC can people making $180,000 a year be considered middle income.

Charlie’s wife Liz told me she wanted to have a nice old fashioned Christmas and have everyone give a home-made gift.  Liz channels Martha Stewart and can make any dinner party elegant and wonderful.   Her friend to whom she made this suggestion countered with “how about an ‘As Seen On TV’ Christmas?”  Liz was outraged.  Charlie and I didn’t think it was a bad idea.   This did not go over well with Liz.

Ah, the holiday season is upon us and everyone is in a good mood.

Ho Ho Ho

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