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Greenwich Street Garbage after the blizzard – 1/2 sheet 140 lb Arches cold press

Two weeks ago, The Husband took the car in for an oil change at Honda.   Turns out it was the most expensive oil change we ever got.

A salesman said our car was 10 years old but in good shape with low mileage and we could get a good deal on a trade-in.  The Husband walked out CONVINCED that we needed to trade in the 10 year old Pilot for a CRV!

Last week we went back so they could show me the car.   Like George Bush, I was THE DECIDER!    The guy almost lost the sale when I, while looking at the back seat and mentally sizing it up for my almost 100 lb dog, said to me “See, there’s plenty of room for your grandkids.”

WHAT!!!   My hands FLEW to my hips and I looked him straight in the eye and said, I DO NOT HAVE GRANDCHILDREN.   MONEY IS SO COMING OFF THE CAR.  Later when I found out he was 27 I said to him “I will give you two pieces of advice.  NEVER, EVER ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless you either see the head of the baby emerging from the birth canal or she tells you she’s pregnant.   AND NEVER ASSUME a woman is a grandmother.   You may ask if she has children, but don’t ever ASSUME she had grandkids”.  MORON (I added silently!)

After I got over myself, we went back to his desk and talked about the car and the pricing some more.   I didn’t want to tell him that all cars look alike to me.  A Honda and a Lexus.  A Kia and a Subaru.  The same to me.  Seriously.

I only had one request.   Heated seats for the winter.   My sister has heated seats and one never forgets how wonderful one’s freezing cold butt feels in the winter when all of a sudden it becomes warm and toasty.

After we ran the numbers, I, as bad cop, asked him if he could do better on the price.   He moaned, as they teach them in car salesman school and then said, “let me talk to the manager.”   He walked over and he and three other guys very animatedly looked at a computer screen and down at the salesman’s paperwork and back up at the screen.   I looked at The Husband and said, what do you think they are doing over there.  The Husband, in his usual dry tone said “Playing solitaire.”

We got a little more money off.   It was for the grandchildren comment.

Friday we go pick up our new Honda CRV at Bay Ridge HONDA.   Then we are supposed to meet friends for dinner in Bay Ridge.  The Husband actually said to me that he wanted to drive home, park the car in the lot and then take the subway back to Bay Ridge.   I gave him a frosty glare.   But my butt is toasty warm.

Leaves and berries 1/2 sheet 140# Arches coldpress 

Friends from New Hampshire are coming in next weekend and the Husband and I will be enjoying time with them and also acting as NYC tour guides.  We usually try to offer useful advice for the tourists who are not used to visiting large cities.  Last time my advice was “don’t make eye contact with anyone.” This time I think I will offer advice on how to know when a fight may break out.  Oft times these three questions are asked before fists start a-flyin’.

1.  Whaddya looking at?  or as a variation, Whadda YOU lookin’ at?   Now this question doesn’t necessarily mean a fight will break out, but it’s best to get out of the way when this question arises.

2.  You lookin’ at me?   At this point you should seriously consider going in another direction.

3.  Do you know who I am?  This question is usually asked in a fancier restaurant or an airport.

These are not to be confused with The Three Questions,  a short story by Leo Tolstoy which concerns a King that wants to find the answers to what he considers the three most important questions in life.

  • What is the best time to do each thing?
  • Who are the most important people to work with?
  • What is the most important thing to do at all times?

Turns out the king got his answers from a hermit.

  • The most important time is now. The present is the only time over which we have power.
  • The most important person is whoever you are with.
  • The most important thing is to do good to the person you are with
So there you go. How to avoid a fight.  Philosophical answers to life.  A watercolor of some leaves and berries.  This is a full service blog.

Two Steeples, part deux  approx 19″ x 22″ on 140# Arches cold press

I have been suffering from a touch of ennui  which, as Merriam-Webster defines, is a feeling of weariness or dissatisfaction.  Synonyms include: blahs, doldrums, boredom, listlessness, restlessness, tedium, weariness. When I get ennui I also usual get malaise, which is defined as a generalized feeling of discomfort, illness, or lack of well-being.  And now I also have a cold.

Party girl in the house!

I find that ennui and malaise are excellent words, but I think my favorite is schadenfreude defined as “taking pleasure in the misfortune of others.”   It’s a German word.  Hmmmmm.

I like vocabulary.  I do not like math.  Doesn’t matter much as I can no longer remember what I was just going to say anyway.

Haven’t been painting lately…a quick trip to LA, then I helped my brother who does not read my blog act as a tour guide for some friends visiting NYC (those lovely lasses from Leeds) then I was in a “decoupage under glass” frenzy to get pieces ready for the arts council holiday show (forgot to take pictures of them) and now here we are.  Whew!

The above painting is a watercolor I did using a reference photo taken from the roof of my building.  I painted it here too.  I like sections of both.  In this one, however, I wonder what natural disaster caused the apartment building in the right side background to merge through the building of the 2nd steeple. It looks like the apartment building intersected the church, the church grew wings and now it’s about to take off.  It’s not.  Sigh.

I know it’s a bit early, but just in case I don’t post again until after Thanksgiving, I hope everyone has a good one.  Thanks for visiting.

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.  🙂

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?

Spilling Strawberries – 13″ x 9″ in 140# arches cold press

I don’t have too much to say today.  I am recovering from passing a kidney stone. And if any of you have experienced that, all I can say is ow, ow, ow.  And I wasn’t even owtside when it happened.

I may add that this kidney stone passing is self diagnosed, but having had one before that was diagnosed by an MD with a degree I have to say that I will put my imaginary medical degree up against any real one in this particular diagnostic situation.

The above painting was done from a reference photo from Wet Canvas.  The lovely and talented Beth Parker had a link to it at her blog.  Thank goodness, because for the life of me I cannot navigate that website.

I forced myself to think “simplicity” when doing this painting.  A sketch, a few washes and I was done.   I used a bit of frisket in the colander, but I used wax to keep some of the highlights on the berries and on the colander hole reflections on the tablecloth.

My friend Judy said to me this week:  I’m going to get my hair relaxed.   Do you think they can do anything for my soul?

If only, Judy.  If only.

Thank You Gracias

watercolor on 140 # Arches cold press – approx.  20 3/4″ x 13 1/2″

A lone musician plays the accordion in Old San Juan while people go to the beach.

I was attracted to this image because of the slope of the accordionist’s body as he plays his lonely tune.  I tried out my new technique of putting some people in the background.  Turns out they are fat.  Bummer.

I am envious of people who can speak two languages.  I have been trying to learn Spanish since my teen years.  High School = 3 years of Spanish (and one year of Latin to help me with all the other Romance Languages I can’t learn!)  College = another year of Spanish.  Adult education lessons, books, tapes and CDs and still I can only ask for the bathroom, the check, or tell someone my luggage is aflame.

I can’t really tell someone my luggage is aflame, but that probably would be a good thing to know how to say if my luggage actually did catch fire.

The Husband used to know a few handy phrases in Spanish.   “Please put your hands behind your back” (he’s very polite) and “Up against the wall” usually worked.   Charlie, my dog walking friend, got a first job out of college teaching prison guards conversational Spanish.  I think they needed to learn the same phrases as The Husband.   I need to do one of those immersion programs where you live with a Spanish family and you only speak and hear Spanish.  I swear, one of these days I will learn Spanish.

On another note,  I joined up for a sketchbook project.  I may have shared this information with a few of you, but if not, here’s the link with all the info:  Sounds like fun.

Yo estoy barracha!

I was so enchanted by Leslie’s people that I decided to give it a try too.   They were fun and came out ok, until I added a background. How many people do you know who are as tall as a building?   Clearly I need more practice in the people department.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m really not that interested in doing portraits or paintings of figures.  I have come to the conclusion that it’s because I am surrounded by a crush of people all day long.  I am pushed and pulled and squeezed and pressed on the subway.  (And not in a good way.) I have people calling me and coming to see me at work all day long.  And then when I go outside for lunch the streets are packed with people.

Today I was accosted by no less than 4 people in less than one block.   ASPCA: Do I care about animals? Greenpeace: Would I want to sign a petition. Gulf Oil Spill: Can I help?  I don’t remember what the 4th one was but all I wanted to do was get a sandwich and go back to my office. Give a girl a break!

A number of years ago (before caller ID) a friend and her family moved to a new town.  It seemed like every night the phone rang during dinner.  It was always a telemarketer.  And every night her patient husband answered the phone and politely listened.  Finally one night, the phone rang, as usual her husband answered and politely listened.  She grabbed the phone and yelled “we’re not interested” and slammed the phone down.  Her husband leveled a cool gaze at her and said “that was the pastor of the church we just joined.”   Oops.

I did the figures above which looked ok.   I needed to practice more.

So I did.

I did this one next.  Which I liked much better.  Only thing, you can’t see the person off to the side about to ask this person to sign a petition for Greenpeace.


Driving home late one night on the LIE (Long Island Expressway) I said to the husband:  Why are you taking the GCP instead of the LIE to the BQE?”  I thought…why do I sound like a song from HAIR?

LBJ took the IRT Down to 4th Street USA. When he got there what did he see? The youth of America on LSD. LBJ, IRT, USA, LSD;    LSD, LBJ, FDR, CIA;  FBI, CIA, LSD, LBJ (If you’re singing along, you probably can no longer stay up past 10 pm.)

I recently saw HAIR on Broadway.  I love HAIR.   I can sing all the songs and oft-times do. When I saw HAIR the show was featuring Ace Young and Diana DiGarmo.  Ugh!  I was so not pleased.  If those names sound familiar I’m guessing you CANNOT sing all the songs from HAIR and you CAN stay up past 10 pm. Yes, Ace and Diana of American Idol fame.

I thought I had given up those kinds of shows a long time ago, but I have now been sucked into Bravo’s “Work of Art”. Have you seen it?   Based on Project Runway, 10 artists compete by doing “challenges”.  They are then judged and one person wins and one person gets the boot.  I thought I would HATE it, but it turns out I actually like watching the artists’ thought processes and what they come up with.  Is it really art?  Who knows.  The winner will get a show at the Brooklyn Museum.  And since I’m in walking distance of said museum, will I go see the show?  You betcha!  Have you seen the show?  What do you think?

I did the pears above by first doing a random background of color and then painting the pears while working with the background that was already there. They remind me of tie-dye. (Which reminded me of HAIR.)   I really like the left and center pear.  The white of the center pear is mostly the white of the paper with some dirty water painted in.  The right one can use some work, but I decided I would rather try it again then overwork it, so here it is.

The pots below were done by first spraying the paper with water where I wanted the flowers to be and then dropping in paint and letting it spread on its own.  I then painted in the pots.  I like the looseness of these, but want to do these again too, so I can try to get more white of the paper in the flower bunches.


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!

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