topiary cats

topiary cats

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bronx Peacock

This guy lives in the Bronx Zoo and acts like he owns the world.

12 x 16
Oil on Canvas

Monday, December 07, 2009

Le Chat Blanc and More Plein Air

Here is a plein air from last Friday in Central Park. Standing in front of a waterfall for three hours is a profoundly enjoyable experience. Plein air painting is difficult- completely different from painting in the studio. I feel like I'm still very much finding my way with it and trying to figure out what the heck I am doing, but the journey sure is fun.

9 x 12 oil on panel

This is Le chat Blanc, a cat painted for the Fort Collins Cat rescue, to be sold at silent auction to raise funds for shelter kitties.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Xanthophyll

Another nice day at the park looking at yellow leaves.
9 x 12
Oil on panel

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Like everything about NYC, the subway is a love-hate relationship. But overall, it is a very easy means of transportation. Navigating the subway system is far easier than navigating the streets with a car, IMHO. Everything is labeled, there are only two directions, and there are maps everywhere. So I generally don't understand why visitors take cabs because they aren't sure of the subway.

Except the other day, I paused to re-think that perspective. I went uptown to go paint in the park. To get there , I had to take the A/C uptown.

The train came and I got on it. Except this was the train that arrived. And it really wasn't an E train rerouted on another track. It was a substitute C train pretending to be an E train.

Except when inside the train, passengers were advised it was a Coney Island bound F train that was currently in Brooklyn.

So, way to go MTA.

I am a local so I didn't get lost. The crazy train took me all the way up to the park where I had a peaceful afternoon painting.

Xanthophyll: An Autumn plein Air
9x12 Oil on Panel

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I went to Pratt today, for the first time in years. The last time I was over there was three years ago, and I didn't go on the campus. A lot has changed. It was surreal and a little disorienting, but also nice to see how they have fixed up the campus since I graduated. Ten years ago. I feel old.

The walkways are actually paved now! The library is air conditioned! But the pratt book/art supply store is all the way across the street from the main campus in a whole new building. I don't see how that is possibly convenient, especially if you have a 9am drawing class and you need more newsprint.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Starting Ballet

Daya started ballet class, so I did a little portrait.

12 x 16
Oil on Canvas

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Lady Maxwell is finished

There are no words to accurately say how sick I am of this painting. Thank goodness it's done. I'm so tired of it I don't even want to hang it up.

Lady Maxwell (after Bouguereau)
16 x 20
Oil on panel

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gnarly Carrots

A quick study, about an hour and a half. Tomorrow the carrots and onion get cooked with lentils.

oil on panel

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lady M Grisaille

This is from the August project over in the oils forum at Wet Canvas. When I started I chose to do a grisaille (tonal underpainting) and glaze the color over.

The underpainting took more than 30 hours and I am sick of looking at it. All that work and she looks strung out on too much absinthe. Hopefully when I start the color layers I'll get my interest back and it won't be the awful greueling work it turned into.

By the way you can blame Lady M for my lack of participation in Cactus Monday.

Lady Maxwell (after William Bouguereau)
Oil on panel

Monday, September 07, 2009

Deux Soeurs

Deux Soeurs (Two sisters)
A little study after Bouguereau...the September MIO over at WetCanvas.
Oil on Panel

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Back Home

I got home late Wednesday night after visiting my father for a week. Had a really nice time. His house is in a very woodsy area, so I packed my pochade box and went out painting. I got 2 paintings done but the second needs some touch up work and I haven't photographed it yet.

I added a cat peeking out from behind a tree to this one, but don't have a photo of the changes.

Woods in North Carolina
Oil on panel

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Plein Air PRT

The other day I went out paiting after work in Central Park. It was wonderful except for some very aggressive mosquitoes. I can get used to this painting outside thing. So much to learn.

I LOVE my pochade box. Even though it takes up half my suitcase I'm bringing it with me to North Carolina this week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pochade Box PRT

It finally arrived! I am so excited. This box is BEAUTIFUL and perfect for pleine aire painting. It holds three 9x12 panels (wet or dry) and can be used as a laptop box or mounted on a tripod.

I've had a big urge to go painting outside and although I do have a French easel, it's way too heavy and cumbersome to walk around with. Then I thought of getting a half-box French easel but although they are smaller it would still be heavy. So I set my sights on a pochade box.

Late one night when I should have been sleeping, I found my pochade box on eBay. This was a real find- it's handmade by a man in CA whose wife is a professional painter. (Her work is amazing!) He stopped making boxes a few years ago. I don't know if this was an extra from a few years ago or not, or if he'll make more, but either way I knew it was mine.

This year I still have quite a few vacation days left...I know how I'll spend a lot of them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Paint Set PRT

Of course she loves it. :)

Does anyone know how to get those stickers off the floor???

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Cactus Monday: Bath Edition (PRT)

Happy Cactus Monday!

I am teaching Daya how to mix colors, and together we made this cactus:

Daya is proud of the cactus:

Here are some of Daya's recent drawings.
This one is very cute:

This one apparently is a picture of me! Daya is very specific on that point. :O

I think Daya is progressing extremely well with her drawings, and I am very proud of her. :)


Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Night Trauma PRT

The exterminator is coming by tomorrow morning, so I thought it would be good to straighten the place up a bit. Because I have been painting every night this week and well...when I do that I don't do much of anything around the house.

Earlier this evening I cleaned the bathroom and the bathtub. So imagine my suprise when I went to empty the trash pail in the bathroom and there was a big hairball in the bathtub. Hmm...odd.

On slightly closer inspection it turned out not to be a hairball. It was a huge BUG. With LEGS. I swear, this thing came directly out of Satan's asshole.

It scared me.

I turned the lights out, closed the door, and called my friend Cathy in Connecticut (who is also scared of bugs but has lots more experience with them because she lives in the country) to tell her I was scared and get advice on what to do. She said kill it. And you know who your friends are when they stay on the phone while you kill a bug. Based on my very vague description it was either a June Bug or a water bug. I don't actually know what a June Bug is but Cathy says they are harmless.

Well, when I went in to make the bug go away I discovered it had left on its own- hopefully through the open window and far away from my apartment because I couldn't find it anywhere. I am very glad I didn't have to kill the bug. But it had better not come back.

Now, this is EXACTLY what I mean about Pigeon Risk being a nice buffer for Bad August Things. If I was in August the bug would not have gone away on its own.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Princess Charlotte

After Franz Winterhalter
14 x 18" (35.6 x 45.7 cm)
Oil on Canvas

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's Scary About the Museum?

Apparently, this guy on the second floor:

Yes, I can see why.

Daya wants to go back this weekend though, and I think that's a good idea. We'll just stay away from the second floor. She likes the animals and the dinosauurs, and of course the Discovery Room where kids can do fun things like dig up dinosaur bones and play with cool stuff. I am hoping Matt and Dru can come with us.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Fork Lift Story

We built a small tv studio at work and all the deliveries get addressed to me. Which is genereally uneventful, except for today. We ordered some large signs for the backdrop, and this morning I got a call from the delivery man saying they arrived. He said he was a few blocks away and would bring the signs by. Oh, and they required a fork lift because they were in a 10 foot long wooden box that weighed 600 lbs.

On his way over he got hit by a taxi. He was ok, just delayed for a bit.

Finally, he arrived with the truck containing a massive wooden crate. As it turns out, our building does not have a fork lift. So today, I got to walk around the street asking people if I might borrow one. Not something one gets to ask every day. The most incredible thing about it, though, was success! The theater next door to us was kind enough to take our crate into the building with their lovely bright pink fork lift.

So, if you ever need to borrow a fork lift for a monstrous box with your name on it at work I suggest you get a theater for your next door neighbor staffed with friendly stage hands.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cactus Monday: Museum Edition

I took Daya to the museum of natural history today. After begging all week to go, she decided halfway through the day that she was terrified- and I do mean terrified- of the entire museum.

We have had better days.

Here is a cactus we found with the zebras. Happy Cactus Monday!

Actually I am glad I encountered the cactus, because I really wanted to post something for today but artwork wasn't happening. Why not? Well, I joined in the Masters In Oil project over in the oil painting forum at Wet Canvas. As a result, I've been spending a lot of quality time with Princess Charlotte. All I want to do is paint, and I love feeling like that. This is not yet finished but I hope to have it done this week. 12 x 16 oil on canvas after Franz Winterhalter.

I wish I wasn't so tired tonight, otherwise I'd continue painting. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cactus Monday: Train Edition

This past weekend was Ratfest. I thought of you, Cactuteers, on the train home. So I made this Cactus-tree on the train with my awesome travel watercolor set.

Watercolor 4 x 6


Speaking of Ratfest, it was very fun again this year. Portraits were very much in demand, and i was able to recover the costs of the trip and then some. I also did the cake again, of course.

Some portraits and the cake:

Water-soluable graphite, 9 x 12

These are all done in oil pastel 9 x 12:

Monday, July 13, 2009

July Updates

I cant believe I haven't posted since May! Ok, I can believe it; I get like that sometimes.

Thanks to all of you who emailed me. Everything is fine. I have been really busy at work. And instead of being online I've been reading and painting! I have 2 paintings going on right now. One I'm not too happy with and need to change a few things. I'll post it when I'm happy with it. The other is large (30 x 30 in, 76 x 76 cm) and I expect the grisaille underpainting may take me a few months to complete. But it will be so worth it. The smell of linseed oil is marvellous and painting makes me very happy. Oil paint makes me especially happy. I don't know how anyone can live without it. :)

The new cat is going back to Connecticut this weekend. Having 2 cats is just not working. She's as sweet as can be, and she's come out of her shell but Sigynn is not. happy. at. all.

She's so unhappy that she pees right outside the litter box about every other day or so. Also, they fight. In the middle of the night. Because Daya doesn't want the cat in her room while she falls asleep. So I either have Daya waking me up to move Dizzy out of her room, or I have cats fighting in the middle of the night, or I wake up to the fragrant smell of cat pee.

All of these things are interfering with my sleep. So kitty must go. I will never ever try and put another cat with Sigynn. Which I knew before; I should really just listen to myself when I know I'm right.

I do hope you are well. I'll resume Cactus Monday at some point, and I'll catch up on all of your lovely blogs as well.

Oh, also, Pigeon Risk is coming up and the August crap is already starting. Again with the transit. Did you know that the subway fare went up to $2.25? Well, it did. And I didn't change my pre-tax commuter benefit for the month of August, so once again, I'll be paying double transit in August. It will even out in October when I skip a paycheck deduction but...really...something like this seems to happen every August. Good thing I have Pigeon Risk in place. I'll also be travelling next month to see family, so I might need double Pigeon Risk vibes.

You are all welcome to join me for Pigeon Risk Time (PRT).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This cat is the sweetest cat EVER. She's friendlier than Sigynn and better around Daya, which is wonderful. Yesterday afternoon she officially came out of hiding and turned on the charm. She doesn't care if Daya gets up in her face and she's not skittish at all. But, I guess what can you expect from a cat that was bottle fed by people from 10 days old?

Now it all depends on Sigynn to make the final choice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

CAcTus Monday- Dizzy Edition

I went to Connecticut. Got back last night. I went to visit my friend Cathy and help paint her dining room. And tease her for having 10 cats when the limit was set to six.

I can't have more than one cat because Sigynn *really* hates other cats.


One of Cathy's cats isn't too happy with the 10 cat situation. She's being bullied. She's becoming a loner. Not good.

So....I have acquired another cat, Dizzy. On a trial basis until mid-July. If she and Sigynn are still hostile and growling I'll take Dizzy back to Connecticut. If this works out Dizzy will be Daya's cat, because I can say Sigynn is Daya's cat all I want to but we all know she's MY cat.

Dizzy is 2 1/2 years old and Cathy had her from 10 days old. They bottle fed her. Cathy wouldn't give one of her cats to just anyone, and I certainly wouldn't even consider taking in another cat unless it was a really special circumstance like this one.

Dizzy is hanging out under Daya's bed. Isn't she gorgeous??

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2 Posts in One Day!

I gave a quick call to Soulbrush today. She has such good vibes, and I came home and immediately started a new painting. Lovely silky wonderful oils. I missed them.

Will post the painting when it is done, hopefully next week sometime.

An actual Blog post

I am in such a pissy awful terrible mood and I have to remind myself to be nice to people. I think it's hormones.


There is a weird LOW bass noise in my apartment and I can't figure out what it is or where it is coming from but it is DRIVING. ME. INSANE. I feel it in my bones, it is such a low and unpleasant vibration. And it never fucking stops.

Actually I think I finally figured it out but can't be 100% sure.

I think my upstairs neighbors got a Roomba.

While it might sound funny, it really isn't. For the love of all that is good in this world, if you live in an apartment and someone lives below you, and you MUST get one of these things, PLEASE do not run it 24-7. Or overnight.

The most fucked up thing about it is that I kind of want one to scrub my kitchen floor all the time. And I really want to stop hearing that awful constant low rumble from above. I can even hear it through my earplugs.

NYC is grating on my nerves so badly these days it is awful. I was going to move this summer...but...really unique and amazing opportunities are happening with my job and I am not willing to leave until I can be non-location specific, which is in the works.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Not Sure What This Means...

So this morning I woke up from a dream that I was in the art store and I found this WONDERFUL AND AMAZING BOOK that was beautifully designed and illustrated with lovely plant illustrations. It was almost medieval looking. So cool. And it was all about plants from bogs.

I am such a geek.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cactus Monday (#61)

Senita and NellY went walking in London
But as they crossed The Strand
They looked RIGHT instead of left...
And that is how they became...


Next week: Don't miss how Senita and NellY reincarnate!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Really Quick b/c I'm Tired

Am up too late. Must sleep. Have actually been workking. Hard. Can you imagine. Have to do it again tomorrow.

Have also discovered the hard way that the fridge in my hotel room is not actually cold. Not at all. Shouldn't even be called a fridge. Am too tired to bother checking to see if it's plugged in or not. The milk's already gone bad so it's not worth checking.

The cereal is ok though.

Am still loving every second of London. The Jack the Ripper tour was fabuloso.

I am going to see Soulbrush tomorrow. Can't wait.

Monday, April 20, 2009


It is a rare thing in life to find someone who is such a kindred spirit that they immediately take up permanent residence in your heart. And Soulbrush is a rare lady indeed. For one thing she has pink hair. For another, she's crazy. Which is why I am very proud to present this special, unique, and extremely prestigious award:

(showing off my mad Photoshop skillz hee hee)

We spent 9 hours together and talked the entire time. And we're not done talking so she's invited me over to dinner Thursday night. And you know what that means: I GET TO MEET SNUFFLES! (and hopefully Maggie but not guaranteed)

This morning we met at Trafalgar Square and talked for a while. Then we went to the National Gallery for a few minutes so I can say I've been there. Unlike New York, you cannot take any pictures whatsoever AT ALL even without a flash NO EXCEPTIONS.

Here is the pic I took when the guard wasn't looking:

We left very quickly afterwards.

Then we went walking down...well I forgot what street but we went to a little tourist shop and bought....

...matching condoms!

Aren't these hilarious?

Here's what we did next:

I pet the horse and the sign was wrong: he did not bite me.

We went on a boat down the Thames. It was beautiful.

We walked across London Bridge.

Then we went to this supercool pub that had actual gravestones in the garden.

WE SAW A GHOST behind the resident garden gargoyle. Check this out: what do you think?

Then we went for a beautiful and proper Afternoon Tea. Which turned out to be a British/South African Afternoon Tea, because Soulbrush and I both had tea from South Arica with British scones and meringues. It was pure heaven.

Speaking of South Africa, that country won't leave me alone. I keep meeting things/people South African. Soulbrush herself is South African. I found a South African place here:

And I'm staying right across the road from here:

The cool thing about not having to pay for this trip is I can do more shopping!!!!! Daya made out exceptionally well today. I will have to get very creative when packing my suitcase. Soul, THANK YOU for the beautiful gifts you bought for Daya. And my funky tea cozy.

Here are some night photos:

Soul, THANK YOU for such an amazing and FUN day!!! Can't wait to see you Thursday!!