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The Hoover Mason Trestle

Bethlehem Steel Stacks 9-13-2015Hoover Mason Trestle – watercolor on 1/2 sheet of Arches cold press

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is well known for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.  It manufactured steel and was a major shipbuilder during the industrial revolution. Like most manufacturing, steel making went overseas and the company declared bankruptcy in 2001.

The blast furnaces and a narrow gauge railroad remained and in July of this year the Hoover Mason Trestle opened.  Like the High Line in NYC which is now a park created out of a disused elevated railway, the Hoover Mason Trestle revitalized the old railroad and it’s now a public walkway/museum.

I love when the old is kept along with something new.  (Add something borrowed and something blue and we’ll all be celebrating a wedding.)

Now, as a community service, I’m giving you fair warning.  Next week will be a Trifecta of Traffic Nightmares.  Pope Francis is coming to NYC.  on September 24th.  President  Obama will be here.  And the UN General Assembly will be in session.  The Pope and the President will be addressing said Assembly.

My advice?  If you’re already in NYC run, don’t walk, out of town.  If you’re not here, don’t come to the City.  It will be a logistical nightmare.  Hey, I’m here to help.


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.

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.

Art Glass plate

I was able to leave work early today, ran down the subway and amazingly got a seat.  We had gone one stop when the conductor announced that there were extreme delays due to “police action” at Atlantic Ave. Oy. I get a bit claustrophobic sitting in a subway that’s not going anywhere so I left the subway and had a LOVELY walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

As usual, the City is filled with tourists.   And after I noticed that, I further noticed that tourists are tourists no matter where they are.  They stop, they stare, they speak in funny languages and you know what,  they got me to appreciate the City that I live in.  Perhaps I would never have stopped to look at skyline of lower Manhattan or the sun glistening on the East River. But I did.  And it was good.  Perhaps somewhere there is a Croatian stopping to look at Diocletian’s Palace in Split with a new eye.

The “new age” portion of the blog has now ended.

Here’s 3 Broadway musicals I have seen recently.  I reviewed three here.  Now here’s 3 more.  Take note if you’re coming to NY and want to catch a show.

1.  Sister Act – a fun feel-good musical that will have you singing along and tapping your toes.  The story is essentially the same as the movie, but the music is different.  Wimples, stained glass, a giant statue of Mary and lots and lots of sparkle and glitter make this show fun for the whole family.   I probably would NOT pay full price for this, but if you can get 1/2 price or discount tickets, I would recommend it.

2.  Spiderman –  This show, to put it bluntly, SUCKED.   Do not waste your time or your money.  That’s 3 hours I will never get back.  My show-going pal Kung (who sees everything on Broadway and off-Broadway) and I actually discussed whether or not we should leave at intermission.  We decided to stay in case “something happened” and indeed it did. Spidey missed a connection whilst flying over the audience and was left hanging there.  A disembodied voice told us there were technical difficulties, the  actors singing on stage just walked off and the stagehands had to come, unclip Spidey and reset the whole gizmo flying thing.  I’m sorry, but when people are paying over $100 per ticket (not me, but that’s what they go for) I expect a professional performance.  The whole rest of it sucked too.  SKIP SPIDERMAN!

3.  The Book of Mormon –  The hottest ticket on Broadway.  I laughed, I cried and I ran out and bought secret underwear.  It was completely rude, crude, vulgar and absolutely fabulous.  Ben Brantley said it way better than I:    DO NOT BRING THE KIDS!   And if you are sensitive to foul language & obscene gestures this may not be the show for you.  But it most certainly was the show for me.  LOVED IT!

This concludes the public service portion of this post.

The piece above was another plate in a series I did.   I am currently working on more coasters like the ones I did here.  I really do enjoy making these although they are extremely time-consuming.

I’ll end with a few pictures from Croatia.  (The Husband took close to 900 photos and I took over 1,000.  We are still sorting through them!)

Garlic and Peppers in the Market

The walled “Old Town” of Dubrovnik

Plitvice Lakes

The crystal clear blue water of the Adriatic!

Chelsea Water Towers – SOLD!

Sing with me: It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

Why?  Because the summer tourists have gone and the holiday tourists haven’t arrived and New Yorkers can get their choice of Broadway shows at half-price.  I treated myself to not one, not two, but THREE musicals!

Caution, for all you Broadway musical hating folks, skip this section & continue to the penultimate paragraph.

1. In the Heights.  Fun, NYC & Latino themed with great dancing.  Yet another American Idol starring in a Broadway show. Sigh.   This one had Jordan Sparks. If you remember I saw HAIR with two American Idol contestants.

2. Memphis.  FANTASTIC!  It has everything you want to see in a musical. Singing, dancing, great sets, story, music and costumes. You walk out of the theatre humming and  feeling fabulous.  Even the Husband liked it.  And I have to be very careful when I take him to a show… I’m still paying the price for dragging him to La Boheme a few years ago.   He hasn’t forgotten.  He has a looooooooooong memory.  Unlike me, who no longer has any memory at all.

3.  American Idiot.  I loved the show, I loved the music.  I loved the length. 90 minutes with no intermission.  Now THAT’s right up my (Shubert) alley.  (Sorry.)

As I’ve gotten older my attention span has shortened.  And so has my patience.

If you are going to come to NYC and want to see a Broadway show, I’d like to offer you some friendly suggestions:

1.   Turn your cell phone OFF.  That doesn’t mean just the ringer.  That means turn it OFF and leave it off.  There is no texting either.

2.  Do not talk.   I can hear you whispering too.  Do not stage whisper to your friend.  “WHAT DID SHE SAY?”  If you can’t hear, get one of those headset thingys.

3.  Do not unwrap cellophaned candy, potato chips or eat anything that smells.  You are not at the midnight 3D showing of SAW IV.

4.  Do not talk back at the stage.  See # 3.

5.  Do not bring your very young children to shows with adult themes.  I went to see Billy Elliot a number of years ago which is a long show with adult themes.  I was surprised at how many young children were there.  Besides the fact that the show was not appropriate for youngsters, they got bored after for first hour and start twitching.  To be fair I started twitching after the first hour, but I blamed my restless leg syndrome.

6.  If you fall asleep, please try not to snore.

I think I maybe a little cranky because I’m going to see GATZ next week. This is what is said on the website:   “GATZ is presented as a marathon theatrical event, with two intermissions and a dinner break.”

WHAT?   The word Marathon should not be coupled with anything but New York City. (Which reminds me, congratulations to all the folks that ran the NYC marathon today!)

Speaking of New York City…here’s another watercolor of water towers in Chelsea.   Hope you like it.  Even though you probably can’t tell, I learned quite a bit from painting this.  For example:  Sienna and Indigo make an amazing black.

Uh Oh,  I’m over my self-imposed  500 word count.  I will be more succinct next time.

I admit it.  I am a profiler.  A subway seat profiler.  When I saw this article in the NY Times, I thought, ha!  I’ve been doing that since the subway cost a buck!  (Ok, maybe even since it cost 50 cents, but I’m not admitting it.)

Here’s how it works.  You wait and wait and wait and wait for the subway and when it gets to your station there are no seats.  But you are tired and really want to sit.  SO…you look around the car and see who looks like they might be getting off at certain stops.  At this point for me, I think it’s almost instinctual.   Hmmm, that person looks like they are going to change at Atlantic Ave.  I will position myself in front of her.   Sometimes it works.  sometimes you’re screwed and you think, I really shouldn’t have worn these shoes today.

That’s the way it goes.  I just hope the person who had 12 bulbs of garlic with his dinner last night isn’t the one breathing heavily down my neck while I’m trying to hold on and read my book.

I did not get a seat on the subway this day.

The above drawings are a few I’ve done so far for the SKETCHBOOK PROJECT. I was working diligently on my sketchbook until I put it “someplace safe” when I left for Peru.  And then couldn’t it find it for weeks after I returned. Luckily it was found.  Apparently “someplace safe” means shove it into a bag in your closet.   My theme is “A day in the life.”  And now I better get crackin’!  I still have tons of pages to fill.

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!

Last weekend while the kids colored Easter eggs my sister and I decided we would decoupage a few of them.  She had read about the technique that the amazingly annoying Martha Stewart had in her magazine.   Buy cocktail (or I guess any kind of paper) napkins with a design you like.   Best to use napkins that have the design on a white background so when you cut out the image you don’t have to worry about cutting very close, since the white of the background will blend with the color of the egg.  The napkins are usually two-ply so you will need to separate the layers. Once you’ve cut out the image, put some thinned white glue on the egg and then paste the design down and gently smooth out the bumps.  Voila! Fancy schmancy decoupaged eggs that will have the crowd oohing and aahing.

Speaking of oohing and aahing, I saw this interesting fellow one day while waiting by the fountain in City Hall Park while waiting to meet Carrington for lunch.   He was a vision in pink.   Pink hat, pink shades, pink shirt, pink pants, pink shoes and that oh so fabulous fuzzy pink coat.  I have to admit, I liked his outfit.  And his chutzpah.  He wore it with style!

For those of you who know her, my sister’s show at the Mahopac Library was a huge success.  You can see some of her stuff here:

Where is my painting this week?  It’s torn up into a million little pieces and got thrown in the garbage.  Some are just too crappy to show.

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