topiary cats

topiary cats

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fwingle Zibs!!

(I did not make this video someone named ellenprutske did. :) )

My friend and I are trying to find the Simlish lyrics because this is just SO. GOOD.
Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Best Holiday Greetings

Natural Pigments just sent out the best ever holiday email.  It's so good I have to re-post it here.

I'm dreaming of a Lead White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the highlights glisten,
And the paintings hasten
To dry in time for the art show.
I'm dreaming of a lead white Christmas
With every portrait that I paint
May your paint be stringy and bright
And may all your Christmases be lead white.

May your Holidays and New Year be flaky lead white! guess that doesn't sound so great to most people but a lot of oil painters would appreciate it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Turtle Pond

 Turtle Pond 6x8 oil on panel, about an hour and a half

I was standing on the dock behind Belvedere Castle. I really wanted to paint the castle, as a week ago I got all set up then the rain started- way earlier than the hourly forecast said it would-  of course I didn't have my umbrella. I would have stayed except the paint wouldn't adhere to my panel, I was so mad. So last Friday I went back to the same spot but the angle of the sun made the castle I painted Turtle Pond instead.

I think I dropped something in the pond by accident but I'm not sure what...I thought it was one of my solvent jar lids- the ones that Ben Haggett packs with his boxes...turns out it wasn't, thankfully- whatever it was sank so fast I couldn't tell what it was....nothing seems to be missing so hopefully it was just an old crusty oil paint-laden paper towel.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown CT

What can I possibly say about what happened in Newtown today?  It is just beyond inhuman and unimaginable.

Newtown CT is my hometown, I haven't been there for years but even so it is definitely one of my most favorite places on the planet. It is a wonderful beautiful peaceful pre-Revolutionary war New England town. Nothing ever happens there, and I am in such shock and grief about what happened today. Every time I hear about one of these tragic shootings I am sad but today I am really grieving, it's hit a very personal nerve. Especially since I have a daughter in second grade.  It's too close to home because, well, it is home. Newtown doesn't deserve to go down in history for something so infamous and offensive to humanity.

I just can't stop thinking about all those families who lost children.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Here is my portrait swap for this year. This is Clive, he lives in New Zealand.

9x12 pastel on panel

Friday, November 30, 2012

painting and cat

Carey says my blog is too sad and maybe she is right. But I am very sad so it is fitting.

I went out painting today in central park, up at the pool around 103rd street, away from all the tourists.  Here is a little 6x8 I did in just over an hour.

The more I paint the more I realize that painting is really a test of how good one's focus is. I am glad I painted small because I only had about an hour of good focus in me today.

I forgot my rigger and my trees at still a little too fat (WHEN will I get over that) but for an hour's work I'm ok with the painting.

The Pool 6x8 oil on panel

I am still ridiculously sad about my cat.  I still look down and expect to see a kitty, I have to remind myself I can't go and lug the cat to sit or sleep with me.  I have to stop myself from calling out hello to the cat when I get home. It's too empty here.

So last weekend I started filling out applications to the cat rescues to get pre-approved so I can have a new hope cat pulled from the NYC Urgent Cats kill list. I sent my application to Anjellicle Cat rescue, and filled out the NYC Urgent Cats Pre-screener which is sent out to many rescues.  A rescue, K9Kastle, contacted me immediately. I applied with them and was approved. I told them I was looking for a long-haired tortie, young, preferably between 1 and 3 years old who would be ok as a single cat. And...they have one!

I wasn't expecting to find a cat so soon. I go to see her on Sunday, and I'm 99% sure I will take her home.

It's bittersweet- I am so sad about Sigynn and I miss her so badly, but I am really excited to have found another kitty. I hope that having a cat around will lessen the sense of loss- I will miss Sigynn for a long time but it really will be wonderful to have a kitty around again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Goodbye Umber

I said goodbye to Umber today.  But at least he's still alive. Since Ali died, Umber has been really lonely.  My friend Branwen's rat, Mr. Cocoa, died a couple of weeks ago and his snuggle-buddy, Sunshine is all alone and very lonely. Rats are like people in that they require companionship of their own kind.  So Umber moved in with his girlfriend in New Jersey.

Umber was the second-coolest rat I ever had.  He was by far the friendliest, most social rat I ever knew.  He was also immune to stress, including the time he fell into my daughter's bath.  He liked to go out and participated in two medieval faires, trick or treating, trips to the playground, Ali's vet visits, and visits to my friend's home.  He is a great traveling rat and loves everyone pretty much instantly, especially if they scratch his head.

Here is Umber winning a cheese-stick war with Branwen.

I have no pets now.  It's really weird and my apartment feels oddly empty.  I can't believe I lost all of my pets in a single year.

Umber will be missed terribly but I know it ws the right decision and the best thing for him.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's More Important?

...My life and safety or your photo with the naked cowboy?

Last night I was crossing 7th ave and 46th street. there is a little narrow island in the middle of 7th ave which is a very busy street. I got stuck there with a huge gaggle of tourists and the Naked Cowboy. The tourists wanted to take a picture with the Naked Cowboy, so they were trying to get me to move....INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC. Think speeding buses and trucks.

If you are a tourist in NYC (or anywhere) please do not ask anyone to endanger their safety so you can get a photo with a half naked man who will still be there when the light changes.

He's not worth killing someone for

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye Sigynn

My beautiful, wonderful, evil, lovable, self-important, furry purry cat is gone, it will be one week tomorrow and I am still a wreck. Sigynn was with me for almost 15 years.

199?? - November 8th 2012

Also known as:
Queen of Fur

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodbye Alizarin

8 June 2010- 29 September 2012

My rat Alizarin passed on tonight. She was really old.  I had a feeling earlier today that she was dying...she was acting slow (although still eating!) and she felt colder than usual.  Ali couldn't have had a better passing...she went peacefully, painlessly, at home in her hammock with her friend there to soothe her, after a really long and happy life.  I will miss her; she was my special Siamese Beauty Queen.  I had always wanted a Siamese rat, and I adopted her a couple of years ago at Ratfest.

Ali was extremely hyper, addicted to her wheel and chocolate, she was the only rat that bit me more than once, deliberately, although that stopped when she settled in and got comfy in her forever home.

I hope she is there at the Rainbow Bridge with Quinacridone who passed on in March.

Now Umber is all alone, poor guy. :(

Here is a picture of Ali being lazy in her hammock.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pigeon Risk Time Starts at Midnight!

I should have started PRT a month early this year.  Next year I probably will.

Monday, July 09, 2012

In the Cemetery

Well, I finally found a place where I can paint in peace and quiet- the local cemetery! I will never know why I didn't think of this sooner.

I did 2 paintings in 3 1/2 hours.

6x8 oil on panel
After I finished this painting I went to check out the grave up close, it was specially marked as someone from the civil war!

8x10 oil on panel
This angel marks the grave site of four children- with the rest of the family surrounding. The children were between the ages of 9 months to 4 years, from the 1870s and 1880s.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Oasis 1

I started this little sketch while waiting for ballet class to be over, and decided to finish it.  It's just a little practice so I can get used to Inspire Pro on my iPad.

Inspire Pro and Sensu Brush

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Gapstow Bridge

6x8 oil on panel, 2 hours

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Goodbye Quinacridone

Today I had my rat Quinacridone euthanized.  She would have been 2 years old on April 6th.

Quin was the Extremely Stupid Miracle Rat. Of all the pet rats I have had...probably close to 30, she cost more than all of them combined.  And she also had more medical issues than all of my other rats. And she was hands down the dumbest rat I ever had.  But she did have a very sweet personality.

In October Quin started picking fights with Umber.  He bit her eye and we ended up at the emergency vet at 12:30am- of course over the weekend. I thought I would put her down then, but she just got some meds and a referral to the local exotics vet.  We went there the next morning.  I couldnt get an appointment without major cost- she seemed fine so I waited.  She continued to be fine despite a horrific looking scab over her eye, which I was sure was gone.  A week later the scab fell off and she was fine!  The eye was fine- though blind- but she was perfectly normal otherwise.

In November she developed a really bizarre skin condition- little scabs everywhere, blood, she looked horrible.  Back to the vet...she got meds which did not work.  I couldnt put any more money into her since at that time my cat was being treated for diabetes.  Quin looked horrendous until about mid-January, and the skin problem disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared.  She was fine.

This week she developed an issue with her tooth- it was knocked off alignment and wasn't being filed down properly- it started growing into her upper lip.  This is pretty common and easily treated by clipping the tooth- but I think it dislocated because of her habit of clinging onto the cage bars at dinnertime (and not realizing she has to let go to get the food).  I made the decision to say goodbye today.  She had a long and happy life.

Quin's favorite food was chocolate, or anything sweet.  I made sure the last thing she ate was her "candy".

Quin was very pretty- she was a blue point siamese rat. Her looks and sweet disposition made up for her lack of intelligence.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Florida Plein Air

I was in Florida all last week, went with a friend and took the kids to Disney.  We had a great time.  It was very warm, which meant swimming pools......of course I brought my paint box.

I am changing up my plein air colors- cobalts are my new thing.  I have cobalt blue and cobalt turquoise (and cobalt green), but always used French Ultramarine as my main blue.  I think that might be changing to cobalt...kind of a shame, since cobalt is both expensive and toxic.  But it's so pretty!

This first painting is the pool fountain at night.  I like the colors ok but the brushwork is not so great.  I literally could not see what I was doing- my reading lamp was useless. A good light for my paint box is now a necessity. Looking at the painting in the light the next morning was a bit of a surprise, as I really had no idea what it looked like.

6x8 oil on panel

This second painting was also by the pool.  By far, this was the most comfortable and relaxing painting spot I have been in!

6x8 oil on panel

Palettes for both were quinacridone red (PR209!! not PV19) Cadmium yellow light, cobalt blue, cobalt turquoise, cobalt violet, titanium white

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thursday, February 02, 2012


This past weekend I was fortunate enough to go to Snowcamp, a winter painting workshop with Stapleton Kearns.  I had a good time and learned a lot. The days were 13 hours long.

Here is the group:

I learned some really important things, such as:


The scenery was gorgeous.

Stape did demos.....pictured is the SMALL brush he used.....

.....and took us through paint handling exercises.  Here is my Magritte tribute:

We painted.

And it was pretty cold.

The cold was fine with me though, because I had this in my room:

Stape talked a lot about OBSERVATION AND INSTALLATION.

I have now observed that a jacuzzi is an absolute necessity, so I would like someone to come over and install one in my apartment immediately.  It would really help me to maintain my UNITY OF EFFECT.  I pay the landlord on time every month; it's absolutely baffling to me as to why this has not happened already.

 Here is the inn we stayed at, from the back.

I stayed an extra night because of travel arrangements. I knew one person was checking in that evening, but what a surprise when I went downstairs at 7:30pm to find that all the staff had gone home and I was literally the ONLY PERSON IN THE INN!  They do not serve dinner on Monday nights so no one was there.

It was a little creepy and I almost died from culture shock The front desk was wide open, the computer was left unlocked, and the front door was also, of course, unlocked.  All the keys to all the rooms were just out in the open.  This would never ever ever in a gazillion years happen in NYC.

I called my friend in NYC and talked to my daughter for a while.  Then a family who was also staying there came back!  Special thanks go to My Lovely and Fabulous Oily Girlfriend Sandra who kept me company via texting all the way from Australia!  Special thanks also to My Other Lovely and Fabulous Oily Girlfriend Carey who kept me company during my travels.  Big hugs and zebra kisses to both of you.

While I was adding layers my cat was getting hers taken off:

Good news!  Kitty is officially no longer diabetic and is off insulin!  She remains on Prozac and her appetite pill.

Between the cat and Snowcamp...I am really, really broke.  It was worth it though.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Pavonia (after Leighton)

I started this painting last spring sometime and finished was the only unfinished painting left in my queue.  This is as far as I am taking it. Working with old master paintings is always such an enriching experience.

14x18 oil on canvas.  click for larger view.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


Happy New Year!

As always, it's time to set new intentions.  Here are mine for this year:

1. Drink a lot of tea. (already off to a good start!)
2. Paint portraits.

That's it!

Here is a pretty color chart of my new Rublev paints.  I love them muchly.