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red-bud-leavesRed bud leaves in autumn – watercolor in sketchbook

Where have I been? asked no one.  I haven’t posted since July.

Why?  Two words.

                                     SWING STATE.

Since I’ve previously only lived in NYC, which is decidedly democratic, the experience of living in a swing state with the non-stop barrage of political ads left me in a fetal position and under the covers. And now that the campaign is over I can share an experience or two with you.

As a result of a car accident, The Husband has symptoms of something called meniere’s disease which can cause temporary deafness in one ear.  As I sat on the sofa watching TV one night and he at the dining room table listening to the TV, I noticed him shaking his head and rubbing his ear.  He kept losing his hearing and couldn’t figue out why the meniere’s was so bad that night. Finally he realized that I was was muting the TV every time a political ad came on. He thought his meniere’s was really bad that night and he couldn’t figure out why his hearing kept coming and going!

ppw-and-carroll-street-park-slopeNYC urban sketching  – PPW and Carroll Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

My friend’s husband, John, has lived here for over 20 years but never became a citizen.  He finally became one this year and was so exited to cast his vote for president for the first time.  In an ironic turn of events, he got home that night to discover he got his first Jury Duty notice.

river-oil-sticksRiver landscape – oil sticks

The top watercolor was done in a sketchbook for a class I’m taking called Nature’s Notebook. We hear lectures on plants and then draw and paint everything flora.

The building was done in a sketchbook with the NYC Urban Sketchers in Brooklyn, NY. They are a wonderful group and if you’re in NYC check them out. Anyone can meet up with them and all levels are welcome.

Finally I recently tried oil sticks.  A little different than oil pastels.  They are fun to work with and dry within a few days.  They are made by an artist named Paul DeMarrais.\, http://www.pauldemarrais.com/westminster/index.html

Back to my fetal position for the next 4 years.    Thanks for reading.

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.

Parachute Jump - Coney Island

Let’s face it,  Brooklyn is Manhattan’s younger, hipper sister and everyone knows it.  So what was the best way to spend the first night of summer?   Go to Coney Island with the Husband and your nieces.  Coney Island is back from the devastation of  Hurricane Sandy and did not disappoint.   A Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game, a ride for the nieces on the famous Cyclone roller coaster (The Husband and I stood on the sidewalk and waved) and dinner (hot dogs) at the original Nathan’s.  Add in some fireworks and the lighting of the historic parachute jump with the full perigee super-moon shining over the ocean and you have a perfect evening!

Lucky for me, Joan Tavalott emailed me to see if I was going to the urban sketching meet-up the next day at Green-Wood Cemetery.  Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838.  It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006.  Of course I said YES!

I invited the Husband because he has always said that he would like to try drawing and we both had the beautiful sketchbooks that my sister made for us.  She took a photo of the Husbands and a painting of mine, made the covers and used a Japanese technique to bind drawing paper into these very special sketchbooks.

Matts sketchbook

carols sketchbook

So, armed with our handmade sketchbooks, off we went to Green-wood cemetery.   We started sketching the amazing main gate where a number of green parrots now nest.  Green parrots live in NYC?  Yes,  and this is one of their “spots”.  The story goes that a bunch of them got away when a shipment arrived at JFK airport.  They are beautiful but loud.  Joan T. and her friend Susan came along with some other regulars.  Joan got busy with sketching.  I was busy with talking.  But I did manage to get a few sketches in and so did the Husband.  We left early since he is still recovering from his hip replacement.

Here are our sketches.  Can you guess which ones are which?

Carol - main gate sketch

Matts sketch of the clock on the main gateMatts sketch of headstonesCarol - Mr. Burke's monument

And Here we are in Action!   And as an FYI, some notable residents of Green-wood include Leonard Bernstein and Louis Comfort Tiffany.