topiary cats

topiary cats

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Some of my ESO guildies are also artists, and one of them posted a weekly challenge...a wave.
Since I finished painting 6 of 7 in my new Topiary Cats series, and I'm in planning stages for the last one, and also because I needed a little break, I painted a wave this morning.

It's 9x12 on Mi Tientes...I figured I'd continue my adventures in smooth paper and learning to like it...and I'm happy to say when I remember to check and use the SMOOTH side of Mi Tientes I like it just fine.  The textured side is a definite NO.

All Unisons.  Maybe an hour and a half.

The ref is from when Rob and I went to Jones beach over the summer.

Monday, February 12, 2018


Daya got a label maker. Apparently she has wanted one for a while.  She bought it with her own money.

FORESIGHT:  I told her she cannot label anything in my room. Everything else is ok.

We can see the importance of having a label maker here in this picture of the First Label:


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Daya Can Dance, I Cannot Paint

Daya had a dance performance yesterday.  Her studio does an annual Autism fundraiser.  It was a beautiful show.

It was raining quite a lot and I didn't take my camera, which does a much better job than my phone.

Today was such a strange blah kind of day.
Carey and I both felt brain-dead but we also wanted to paint.  So when I got home from the show, we had a paint date.

I even wrote a poem for it:

Dishes are clean
Laundry is not
It's time to paint
So I don't care.

We both thought it was a very good poem.

So Carey and I both showed up and the easel and we tried very hard for quite a while and neither of us could paint.  We both forgot how.

Two hours in I gave up, apologized to the paper, and wiped it clean.
Carey was smarter and gave up on her lost cause a bit sooner.

We both agreed that at least we tried, and if we have to forget how to paint and fail, it's better to have company.

We are both hoping we remember how to paint again very soon.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Maya Papaya

When you have a deadline you knew about for many months it is inadvisable to leave it for the last 2 days..... 

This is a wedding gift for a friend/coworker.

8x10 pastel on Uart 600

Monday, February 05, 2018

Jet Pack Cat

Daya decided Isis is a jet pack.
She even let Daya hold her and run around in circles.
Although extremely tolerant, Isis has a terrible tendency to smack other creatures in the face, so as long as you don't let her do that, you can do pretty much anything and she'll let you.

I have pulled a true Superstar Artist Boss Move.
My coworkler is getting married and I have been planning on doing a painting.

I have known about the deadline for six months.
So of course I waited to start in the final three days and it is a LOT of work.

I did get about 2 1/2 hours in before literally almost falling asleep at the easel...why I was so wiped out by 10pm is a mystery- it's a good start but needs a lot of work and I'm stressing.

Why did I wait so long?
Well, partially it's another painting's fault.

I am working on another series of Topiary Cats...started the end of December and I'm 5 paintings in.  This latest one took way longer than anticipated, I d\on't even know why.  Maybe because I have been really stressed about some pretty serious  Daya-things lately which finally have some resolution....or rather a start to resolution.......

Anyhow the 5th painting gave me a hell of a hard time for no particular reason and I couldn't start another until it was finished.  (Mental thing.  I needed to clear it out of my mind.)  So I was stuck and hung up but I plowed through it on Sunday night and got it done FINALLY.

So why I waited for the last three days.... yeah, I'm blaming another painting.
Hopefully I'll get the series done this month or early next month.  Still a few more to do.

Thursday, February 01, 2018


I have been feeling a little burned out on my blog, but I also know I'll regret taking a bunch of time off from it.  I always regret when I do that.

There is some change coming, my company was sold yesterday...well, 55% of it was.
So no matter what, I have some job transition coming up, but nothing immediately.

It's been a really long time since I had any kind of Major Life Change and that's just fine with me.  I went through too much at the same time back when Daya was born, so I like to think I did it all at once and got it over with.  And while I'm carrying so much weight with Daya I really need the stability.

I would like for the stability to continue. It likely will for this year. But after that we will see. Hopefully there will be a place for me when everything settles down. That would be ideal.

This is the time to really practice positive mind, and it isn't easy.  It's a constant thing. Sometimes it is forced.

As my yoga teacher says, "This, or something better."

There isn't anything I can do right now, there isn't anything more I can know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My Shirt, Macy's & Monsters in the Subway

Yesterday Daya had to come into Manhattan after school for an appointment in the evening.  She was to come to my office. As soon as school was out I got a notification of a power outage in the subway and all the trains were down. 3 lines down and one line rerouted.

Which would make it hard to get to Manhattan by train.
I told Daya about it but she went to the station anyhow and got on the train, which she said was moving.  Not only was it moving but it was also going to Manhattan.

It was not until later I discovered the actual reason for the train moving:

So Daya arrived to the office with no difficulty.  We were talking about homework I think and I suddenly realized she was wearing MY SHIRT.  I thought something wasn't right in the morning but I couldn't place it.....I said "Didn't you know it's not yours?" 

She replied "Yes I knew it wasn't mine but I didn't know whose it was."

There are only two of that shouldn't be too hard...........


We had time to kill after work and before the appointment so we went to ride the wooden escalators at Macy's.  They are old and loud and wonderful.


We found a set of cool utensils (we did not get them):


I made Daya pose for a picture by the holiday train.  The last time she was up there was the year we went to see Santa at Macy's...I have to look up how old she was... 7 maybe? experience I'm glad she had as it is classic but it also took about 5 hours.


On the way home Daya told me she figured something out about three weeks ago.

There is an emergency call button on some of the trains, depending on the model.
The label looks like this:

When she was three years old she thought it was a monster.
Look at the black negative space.  It kind of does look like a monster.

THREE WEEKS AGO she said she finally saw the person pressing the button for the first time and realized it isn't supposed to be a picture of a monster.

For the past NINE YEARS she has been avoiding sitting next to this sticker!
(straight A honors student and all that...)

I think she might still be a little bit scared of it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dark Dust

I got a new set of pastels.
Rembrandt makes a set of darks!  I didn't know this until recently.....
So I waited and thought about them a lot, waited some more, and found them for an AMAZING price on eBAY.

I did have to get one open stock- due to a manufacturing error the violet was missing and I had 2 red violets.  Easily fixed.

Darks are very important with pastels because dark values are so important and you don't want to use black for everything.  You can optically mix pastels but having a good range of darks is important.

I have the set of Sennelier darks but they are much softer then Rembrandts, which are a medium-soft workhorse pastel- good for under and middle layers.  This is an extremely useful set and I love it.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Here's Daya's First Arabesque photo she needs for a few auditions. :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Daya had the first of her auditions for summer dance programs.
I do have a backup in place in case she doesn't get in anywhere, but honestly I think that is unlikely.

Last night we went over to Lincoln Center for her School of American Ballet audition.
It was nice being over there, and Daya got to say hello to LaGuardia, where she wants to go to high school (along with the rest of the city..)

Daya needs more audition experience; she doesn't really have any.

The audition was 45 minutes and Daya said it went well.  Megan Fairchild ran the audition, which Daya was excited about because she loves her.  I didn't know the NYCB principals ran auditions.

Here are some cool warm-up pictures:

We'll know in a week if she gets in.

She has another audition this Sunday and two more next month.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Years

Rob came over for New Years and we had New Years Nachos and potato pancakes with applesauce.

We were baffled at why people would go stand in Times Square in subzero temps..... we watched the ball drop and went to sleep.

It was a lovely evening.....maybe boring my most standards but that's fine with me.

My intentions are of course to drink a lot of tea and paint some pictures. And finish the workbook in A Course in Miracles.

It is so cold outside and will stay supercold all week.
I like the cold but this is extreme, even for me.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Rest of Vacation

I have determined being on vacation is extremely good for my painting...I got FOUR paintings complete...and three of them were started and completed.

Two I haven't posted yet because they are part of a new series and I need to get copyright clearance for the name.

Daya had her last physical therapy session..  Her elbow should be back to normal Jan 15th.

Here is a cool picture from the West old mural which was an ad a long time ago before modern phone numbers.


We went to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.  It was COLD and DREARY and snowing.








One-armed Daya.
It has slowed her down a little bit but not much. 


Friday, December 29, 2017

The Veggie Burger

There is a chef named Bruno Albouze and he makes amazing things.  Rob found him.

Bruno is awesome.

Bruno has a veggie burger recipe and Rob made it for me.

It was amazing.  Seriously amazing, a perfect balance of flavor.  Genius combinations.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Night Before Christmas

Rob came over to spend Christmas with us and stay overnight.

I made my white zinfandel poached salmon and king crab.  Everyone was happy except for the cats because they didn't get any.

We also finally decorated the trees. Daya liked that I hung her old pointe shoes on there.

I made her do all the hard tree stuff like put the star up, but to make up for that I put lights on her bed.

Daya only had three things on her list but one was MASSIVE and I didn't even bother wrapping it.
I did, however, have a secret surprise which I wrapped early and made sure she noticed.  So she could wonder and wonder and not know.


We made cookies and left them out for Santa.



Friday, December 22, 2017

Dusk in Auridon

9x12 pastel on Uart 600.  All Unisons.  This entire painting was FAST- about 2 hours!

I usually use the Uart 400 but I have a pack of 600 that I haven't tried yet.  It is nice and I'll use it, but not re-purchase as I prefer the 400 grit.  Unless I decide I love it madly after I use the whole pack, which could happen.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Here is a sunset for the Solstice.
It is based on a sky photo I took a couple of weeks ago. :)

9x12 pastel on black Mi Tientes... still trying to make friends with non-sanded paper.


I went and lit my Solstice candles at St Patrick's Cathedral this year as I always do.
Good intentions for the birth of light and the new year to come.

I am on vacation until Jan 2 and I LOVE being on vacation!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Show Choir

Daya had a Shoe Choir performance.  It was a great show, better than I expected.
The kids are so good it's a shame Daya decided to quit show choir... so this was herfirst and last performance.  She had a special dance part too, which was cool.

Dead High School

My high school is dead.

I'm ok with that; I don't feel sentimental about it.  High school was not a great time, although I did have a great art teacher and I am still in touch with my Spanish teacher.

I went to high school in Georgia.  The school had a reputation of being very hick-Southern and that was kind of true.  It's roots were very small-town Southern. The kind of place a lot of people lived for generations.

Culturally I did not fit in there at all and I hated living in Georgia. Everyone cared very passionately about high school football and I did not.

The school was very old- from the 1920s I think.  It evolved as the area grew and changed.
We had an historic log cabin in the front which people generally liked, other schools made fun of, but I didn't care about. (I think the cabin got saved by the historical society, or people are trying to save it.)

The building changed through the decades as well with new additions and reorganization.
But a few years ago they closed it and moved to a completely new building.
The old building is scheduled for demolition in January.

A lot of people are extremely sentimental about that high school and a final walk through happened last weekend. Or maybe two weeks ago, I can't remember. I looked at the pictures and some places I recognize while others I don't remember at all even though I know I was there.  The place looked dead, like the building had literally died.

On the Facebook group people were asking about the rolls and chocolate chip cookies that were made from scratch at the school.  I have to admit they were pretty fantastic, except when a friend of mine found a fly on the bottom of the roll.  Someone asked for the recipe and it was posted.

The cookie recipe makes 600.....
The roll recipe makes 40-50........

Monday, December 11, 2017


A draft I forgot to post....
We saw this guy with a PIANO on the subway platform.
I see a lot of instruments down there... keyboards, drums, strings, buckets, things that no one knows what they are... but never a piano!