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Begonia leaf – graphite and colored pencil in sketchbook
The Husband and I recently went to see the band Kansas at the Thomas Wolfe arena in Asheville. As we were driving to the venue we ran into some friends.
US: We are going to see Kansas.
Them: Asheville gets the best bands…40 years later.
I wasn’t expecting much, but Kansas was actually pretty good. As we left the Husband said “They sounded as good as they did on my 8 track cassettes!”
I’m still taking the “nature’s notebook” botanical drawing class. I just started an oil painting class. I haven’t touched oil paint since the mid seventies which is interesting because I was only a toddler in the mid-seventies. 🙂
We did our first painting, above, as an exercise in looking at values. We used one color and white. I used burnt umber and copied a still life from Chardin, suggested by the teacher who is big into the old masters and which auto-correct wants to change to chardonnay. Perhaps if I had some chardonnay while painting, it would have been easier, but I am not entirely displeased with the result.
I have not been neglecting my watercolors. Above is a picture of Miss Lucy from St. Croix with a reference kindly supplied by Bonnie Luria, formerly of St. Croix and now comfortably settled into Asheveille, NC.
Happy 4th of July everyone. (And even if you don’t celebrate it as a holiday, it’s still the 4th of July and I hope it’s happy for you.) Thanks for looking.
Another Thanksgiving has arrived and I know that I am very lucky and have a lot to be thankful for. Among those things are you!
OK, enough sappiness. Here’s a quick sketch I did while waiting for breakfast on a cloudy morning in St. Croix. This was not in the Flamboyant Lounge, but the service was just as slow. Matt was off for a dive and my other vacation friends were heading home. After I ate, the sun came out and it was blazing hot. I went to the beach, sat down with my book, iPod, and sketch pad to enjoy some sun, quiet and ocean waves. And then it happened.
Like a wall of locusts.
A Disney cruise had just come to Carambola for a day excursion at the beach. As they ran down the beach towards the west end where I had just settled in, I heard someone screaming GET A CHAIR, GET A CHAIR. I turned, looked and was horrified at the vision in front of me. Hundreds of people with screaming kids. I took one look and I ran. Right back to my air-conditioned room and cable TV. I enjoyed a nice morning watching TV and knitting in cool, quiet and solitude. I was very thankful for that!
I’m posting today even though I really have nothing to say.
Not that that’s ever stopped me before. I remember one time in high school at “Our Lady of the Cigarette Smoking, Plaid Uniform Wearing, Know-it-all Teenagers” we we given a science project to do. I paired up with Mary Ellen. She did the whole project. The day of the Science Fair, lucky me, Sister Mary Don’t Wear Patent Leather Shoes ‘Cause Boys Will Be Able To Look Up Your Skirt In The Reflection came over to review our project just when Mary Ellen had stepped away. I started yapping until FINALLY Mary Ellen came back. She looked at me and said “empty barrels make the most noise.” I never forgot that. Which is surprising since this occurred in the 70’s and I don’t remember much from the 70’s. So that’s today’s post. An empty barrel.
I now TRY to keep my mouth shut and listen. I sometimes think that we are only given a certain amount of words in a lifetime. So I try to use them carefully. Most times I fail.
You know what happened to me, but for those of you who can’t stand the suspense, I’m pleased to report that Mary Ellen got pregnant in junior year by a transvestite, dropped out of high school and had a son she named Cannabis.
I loved the 70’s!
The above painting was another one done on the beach in St. Croix.
And that’s all I’m gonna say.
Today, a little rant.
During the evening dog walk Charlie and I were having our usual stream of consciousness conversation when at one point he said that his wife, Liz was really into the group The Black Eyed Peas.
Charlie: What’s up with The Black Eyed Peas. They all have strange names. apl.de.ap? will.i.am?
Carol: I actually like will.i.am. It spells William AND it’s a backwards declarative sentence.
Charlie: Only in a Dr. Seuss book!
Carol: Remember when you wondered about The Edge of U2? You couldn’t get over the fact that his first name was a definite article.
(DON’T GET US STARTED!!!) And then we got started….
Interlude whilst you think of all the kids you know with crazy names. A sister-in-law and a niece both work in schools and I love when I get the list of kids’ names. Including, but not limited to the siblings Tropicana and Rambo, and a young lady named Princess Precious Gorgeous.
Then of course there was Nosmo King. (No Smoking.) No relation.
And what’s up with celebrities naming their kids Brooklyn and Bronx? Do you think ANY ONE OF THEM has EVER been to the Bronx???
The above painting was done during one of those CRAZY Caribbean storms where the rain comes down so hard you can’t tell where the ocean ends and the sky begins. I enjoyed this storm at the beach bar of the Flamboyant Lounge. Yes, it is most certainly called the Flamboyant Lounge though it wasn’t as flamboyant as it was slow. It really should have been called the “Slow Service Lounge”. Or ” The We’re So Slow Please Order Your Meal On Tuesday If You Want To Eat On Thursday Lounge.”
I mean there’s Island Time and then there’s Island Time. She was our waitress at the Flamboyant Lounge. I’m still waiting for my burger.
I was away.
St. Croix. And it’s amazing how quickly that relaxed feeling goes right back to stress and anxiety. So while I’m enjoying my last day of vacation before I go back to work tomorrow I will tell you a little bit about St. Croix. Pay attention. There could be a test.
St. Croix is one of the US Virgin Islands along with its popular big sister St. Thomas where the cruise ships go and it’s rich baby brother St. John where all the rich people go. St. Croix is the middle child that tries really hard but no one pays attention to. But that was ok. It wasn’t crowded with tourists since the “season” hadn’t quite started yet. We went to visit Bonnie who lives there now. She used to live in Manhattan. Bonnie is the creator of my motto “Owtside begins with Ow!” which I blatantly stole from her and am not giving back. She is also the author of the someday to be bestseller “I used to have a concierge, now I have a machete.” She is very funny. There were other friends there as well and a good time was had by all.
I was able to do a few paintings during the week in a watercolor sketchbook (5″ x 8″) I brought along with me. I would start a painting and then the lure of the waves called and I was back in the ocean. So there’s not as many as I would like. But I do have a few more to post.
When I wasn’t painting, I was determined to finish this Reversible Cable Knit Scarf. Yes, I was mocked. Who brings knitting to the Caribbean?
Oh. That would be me.
Wow, what a week this will be. Today is the winter solstice! And tonight starts the eight nights of Hanukkah. December 23rd is Festivus (for the rest of us). I particularly like the “airing of grievances”. Then of course there’s Christmas, followed by Kwanzaa. I will celebrate them all. Why not!
Since it’s the first day of winter as well, I thought it would be best to finish the St. Croix beach scene. It’s been treacherous out there. My poor sister and her family got stuck in traffic trying to get to the airport to fly to Alaska and missed the flight. The flight was actually ON TIME. Never, in the history of JFK, has a flight been on time during a snowstorm, but this one was!!! Go figure. But they all made to safely to Alaska and I have their dog. I am holding him for ransom. I haven’t decided yet what I will ask for his safe return, but I’m working on it. So with my dog and my sister’s dog, I have about 170 lbs of dog in my 950 square foot apartment. That’s about 5 1/2 lbs per square foot. And the aroma of wet dog fills the air when we all come back in after a walk in the snow and sleet and rain. Are you sure you want to visit Jim?
Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be a joyous one. I have to go dry off wet dogs.
Image size is approx 19″ x 12 1/2 ” on arches watercolor paper 22″ x 15″
I’m still working on the beach. And wishing I was there. Why do they keep changing wordpress? As soon as I get used to it, they change it. I’m stuck on the rocks. I have too much work, too much holiday shopping to do and not enough time.
May I be so bold as to consider that I am working on the third of a series, like my blog-o-sphere friend Bill when he did three paintings of leaves? I am doing a “season series”. I did the snowy trees, then autum leaves and now that it’s cold and dark and rainy in NYC I started working on a beach scene from St. Croix where my friend Bonnie lives.
I like the beach. My sister-in-law lives just a few houses off the beach in Rockaway Park, Queens. I love when we are all invited down for a beach day. Living on the beach, they know how to do it right. There’s chairs and umbrellas and food and drink. We can stay all day into the early evening and as the sun goes down and the day trippers go home we sit and relax and watch the waves break over the sand and the scary seagulls fly a little too close to me. And since she lives so close, when we leave we just walk up to the boardwalk, down a few houses and we can shower and clean up in no time. (And there’s usually a BBQ that follows – YUM!)
I also like the beach in the Caribbean. With the beautiful clear blue water, white sand, and palm trees I can almost relax. Maybe I should go more often. Practice makes perfect.
This painting still has the frisket, or masking fluid on it. The rocks on the side of the the scene need more work and when I finally take the frisket off I hope that it will look like a wave crashing over the rock. If not then I guess I better purchase a ticket to St. Croix and do more research. Maybe even a plein air painting.