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nyc water towersNYC rooftops, WIP – oil painting value study.  Approx 8″ x 11″

Green tulipsGreen tulips – watercolor practice on Strathmore paper

The Husband and I are taking beginner Spanish classes.  Again.  We’ve tried this once or twice but don’t keep up with it and forget everything.  This time we say we will stick with it.  We’ll see.

Last week a student in class asked the teacher what the difference was between “usted” which is formal, singular “you”, and “ustedes” which is formal, plural “you”.

The teacher explained it this way:  “Usted” is “you”.  “Ustedes” is “Y’all”.

Only in the South….  🙂

I’m still struggling with oil painting so I’m staying with using only one color and white and doing value studies.  One of these days I’ll graduate to color.  The above oil is of some of the rooftops and water towers in NYC.  The next is a fun little watercolor of some tulips for #worldwatercolormonth.

Hasta luego, Y’all.  Thanks for visiting.


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.

Chelsea water towers 8-18-13Chelsea water towers 13 1/2 ” x 10 1/4 inches on Arches 140# coldpress

If you think you’re experiencing deja vu, you’re not.  I’ve done this painting before here. I think I like some of the first painting better, but for sure I like the sky in this one much better.  The buildings are a bit more wonky (a highly technical artist word) but so is everything in NYC.

In the post where I had originally showed the first time I did this painting I noticed that I had done a short review of some recent plays that I had seen. So, to continue the tradition, here you go:

  1. Kinky Boots – it won the Tony this year so I was expecting more.  It’s a cute musical with lots of drag queens.  It was fun and enjoyable although my theatre going buddies did not agree with me.
  2. Matilda – Ugh, I still have a headache from those kids screaming singing.  My theatre going buddies once again disagreed with me on this one.  They liked it more than Kinky Boots.  I was not blown away by either one, but would take Boots over Matilda.
  3. Pippin – I had seen it the first time it was on Broadway, but really only remember Bob Fosse’s dancing.  I went not expecting to like it but I really did like it a lot.   The circus setting was lots of fun and Andrea Martin stole the show.  The night I was there Paul Shaffer, Martin Short and Eugene Levy were all there.  Martin Short and Eugene Levy performed with Ms. Martin in the Second City (SCTV) troupe.  And my friends brought a huge bag peanut M&Ms which of course we opened before the show started.  We know the rules.
  4. Here Lies Love – The Filipino Evita.  It was the story of Imelda Marcos and not once did they mention shoes.  I really enjoyed this show.  My theatre going buddies were mixed, but mostly they liked it.   This is not a Broadway show, but was at Joe Papp’s “The Public Theatre”.  Since it was a much smaller venue, the audience was on the floor and the performers on a few stages on either side of the audience and also in the middle. Some of the stages moved and at the end we could all go on the stage and dance.  Needless to say my sister and I were the first ones up there to shake our booties.

The MTV VMA awards are taking place at the Barclays Center which is a few blocks from where I live.  Earlier today I saw a few of the streets closed off but didn’t really pay attention.  Later this afternoon, I saw many more streets shut off, and tons of people gathering.  What does a native New Yorker do when she sees a crowd gathering?  Walk, nay RUN in the other direction.

My dog was camera shy this week so here’s a sunflower for the almost end of summer:

Sunflower 8-25-2013

David’s Sunflower – Watercolor and gouache on Arches 140# coldpress – SOLD

watertower on masa 7-27-13Carroll Street water tower – 101/2 ” by 14″ – watercolor on Masa Paper

June was one of the wettest on record here in NYC.  I think it rained every day.  July was one of the hottest with temps in the 90’s and with the humidity making it feel like it’s in the 100’s.  And don’t even get me started on what it feels like down on the subway platforms.   I feel like I’ve been damp (a nicer word than sweaty) for two months.  Apparently you can’t use the word moist since a study showed that people HATE that word.  I never had a problem with moist especially when it’s paired with the word “cake”.

Well, I guess I’m mad for masa now.   I so enjoyed the first one I did here that I immediately started a second one.

Watertower on masa first wash 7-27-13

Here’s what it looked like after I toned the masa paper, drew the image and laid down the first washes.

I’ve already got another piece toned and ready to go.   Using the masa paper and toning it first is allowing me to be freer with colors.  Once the paper is toned you now must work with the toned paper and sometimes colors aren’t where you’d expect them to be since you are toning the back of the paper.

Speaking of colors, did you know that the definition of vermillion is?

a strong red that is deeper than geranium, yellower and deeper than geranium red, and bluer and deeper than average cherry red

How did I know that?  I was looking something up on the merriam-webster on-line dictionary and came across 10 definitions of colors. Now really, would you describe vermillion that way?   It almost sucks the life out of the color!

And for no reason, here’s a picture of my dog.

Kaiya 7-27-13And finally, why is the spacing all screwed up my my posts?   I have paragraph spacing, but when I post it all bunches up.  Ugh!  Anyone have any suggestions on how to fix it?

Parking lot – WIP on 1/2 sheet of 140 # Arches cold press

I started this in the style of Tim Saternow whose workshop I took back in March of this year.   I started with a grisaille  (monochromatic painting in Paynes Gray) which is here:

There is still more work to do. I jumped ahead many steps too fast so this may end up in the “it was a good idea at the time” pile.  But all is not lost as I did learn what not to do.  Which often is as important as what to do.

I saw Rhonda was working on a portrait all in paynes gray which was pretty cool and you can see it here.

The image above is where we park our car.  Which is about 3 blocks from where we live.  And don’t even ask what we pay for that spot in an outdoor lot 3 blocks away, BUT, it is SO worth it when you come home and have to drive around the block for 45 minutes before something opens up.   The Husband says it’s almost time to move.  But WHERE?   Any suggestions?

Is anyone else sick of the Olympics?  Damn overachievers.

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.

Approx. 13 3/4 x 20 3/4 watercolor on 140# Arches cold press paper

A painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905) titled La toilette de Venus caught my eye.  Mr. Bouguereau was a French academic painter who painted modern interpretations of classical subjects. At least that’s what Wikipedia told me.

Not really my style, but I had wanted to try something different. Really different. Out of my comfort zone different. If Mr. Bouguereau could do modern interpretations of classical subjects, why couldn’t I?  So I did.

Here’s his version:

Water tower with graffiti.  Approx. 14″  x 21 ” on Arches 140# cold press paper

I find the criss-cross of NY buildings make interesting shapes, along with the water towers, vents, pipes, graffiti and iron work.  The husband has many opportunities to photograph quite a number of  buildings all over the City, but mostly in Brooklyn.  Many of the old buildings have now been turned into “luxury condos”  That, apparently, is the only adjective that can be used with the noun “condos”.  Luxury.  I long to see a sign that says “adequate condos”.

I believe I may have a theme going here and will continue with these buildings/water towers/cityscapes. (Until I decide to do something else.) Just like Stephen and his “pipe” series.  (The Pipe is a beach in South Africa.  I hope to visit someday as I’ve seen so many versions of it I feel like I’ve already been there.)

On another note,  here’s a picture of something I hadn’t seen before,  A man completely covered with cans.  The husband shot this photo before the “can- man” hopped on his unicycle and rode away.  He was spotted under the “el” in Williamsburgh.  (The “EL” is an elevated subway line.)  Was he making a political statement about recycling?  A fashion statement?  Or was this just the easiest way for him to get his cans to the recycling center for nickels?  I’m guessing he’s wearing about $5.00 worth of cans. Whatta you think?

Moving on…..   The sketchbook project!   Here’s what I’ve done so far.  The paper is super thin, so I’ve been working on other paper and then gluing that paper into the book.  Sometimes it can get a little messy.  You can see what I’ve done so far here:

And if you want to see another sketchbook in progress, here’s Alex’s (Pencil Scribbles)

If you’ve done anything for your sketchbook, please send me your link or become my friend on the website.  If you don’t know how to set up your profile and upload your photos, just ask.  I’m a pro now that Alex told me how to do it.  🙂

Chelsea water towers 20 3/4″  x 13 1/2″ on 140# arches cold press

Water towers are an iconic image of New York City.    They can be seen everywhere.   Just look up and there they are.  But don’t walk and look up at the same time or you may just walk into traffic and we wouldn’t want that.

Sorry I didn’t get to respond to many of you who so kindly commented on my previous post.   A kidney stone, urinary tract infection and then a major reaction to the antibiotics I took for the infection kicked my butt.  I was out of it for almost 3 weeks.    Green, as a skin color, does not become me.  I’m much better now, thank you very much.

The one thing I did learn from the last three weeks is I do not drink enough water.  I am forcing myself to drink more, although sometimes I feel like I’ve had the equivalent of the amount of water in these 3 tanks.  (And that’s a lot of water.)

I’m off now to drink some H20.   I think I’m growing gills.


So far only three people routinely look at my blog. I’ve sent it to family and friends and this is what they’ve said:


Carol to a friend: “I have a blog”

Friend: I’m sorry, I hope you feel better soon.

Carol to sister: “I have a blog.”

Sister: LOLOLOL!

So perhaps this blogging stuff is not for me, but my blog mistresses say I must continue. So I will. At least for this week. Here’s a painting I did from a picture of water towers taken by a friend out his window in Chelsea. I like water towers. They are very New York. Did you know there are only two companies in NY that make water towers???? One is Rosenwach. And the other is Isseks.

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