topiary cats

topiary cats

Thursday, June 30, 2016


32 floors up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Straight A

Fifth grade is officially OVER and Daya got a straight A report card, except for gym. 
Which makes no sense but I don't care.

THIRTEEN dance classes, assisting two classes, and being on team and she still managed to knock out straight As!

I told her I don't care how much dance she takes as long as she keeps her grades up.
She did it.

Daya rocks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mad: Notebook

Part1, more tomorrow!!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Jerry's Plein Air Thing in Union Square

Jerry's hosted a paint-out in Union Square, including a free art supply sample bag!

We all know that's why I really went.

Here is the swag bag! There was a bookmark and one of Jerry's collapsible water bottles...I have about three of them so I gave it to Daya, along with the bookmark.  

I will most probably get some of the cool aluminium panels; they seem really cool and I am glad to be able to try them.

Jerry's Rocks!!


I attempted to cross 5th Ave from the West side which was a really stupid idea because I got stuck in the Gay Pride Parade**. There were absolutely no places whatsoever to cross 5th ave.....So I walked a bunch of blocks down, then over- then back up to 14th street to take the L which I should have done to begin with.

**The Gay Pride Parade is fun, wacky, and generally very friendly- normally it's a good time. The costumes are fantastic.  But it is a lot less fun when you can't move anywhere and you can't cross 5th ave because you were a dumbass and didn't take the L train to begin with.

I eventually got to Union Square.  Fran was there waiting for me.  She is in town for a few days.
So I got my free art supply sample bag and I painted a really stupid painting.  Honestly I don't care. There is absolutely no possible way I could have focused properly.

And I knew that going in; it was just that kind of atmosphere today.
I am no Casey Baugh, who did a demo that I did not attend.

6x8 oil on panel

Frisbee-Status Painting

One of the artists drew a lovely picture of me painting while I painted.
Several people came over to admire my Belly River box from Alla Prima Pochade.

I also got paint on one of the statue bases. I left it there.

I got white paint on the statue

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Topiary Dome

I checked my email. There are changes. More changes. Because minds have changed and keep changing.

It is Saturday 9:47 and I have to do these changes and I do not want to do these changes.
Maybe I can get it done in an hour....

And here is a quick little 1 hour painting.
8x10 pastel (all Sennelier) on Richeson sanded paper (anthracite)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Work Blew Up

It is Friday night at 11:16pm and I just finished working.

I got a rush project late last week, I did it, then Thursday afternoon (yesterday) I found out the stakeholders want to completely re-do it...for the fourth time.

And they need it for Monday morning London time.

So I'm done!  Again!

Friday, June 24, 2016


Daya graduated 5th grade yesterday!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Haiku

summer is stupid
way too hot i have melted
ac makes me broke

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Daya got a Drama Award in the awards ceremony at school.

There was .....a violin concert.... right in the middle of the award ceremony.
It was so very extremely odd.

Someone deserves the Strange Ceremony Award for planning that.
The violins should have played at the start of the ceremony.

Instead, about 15 minutes into announcing awards, the violins got their awards and then went offstage to get their violins and come back onstage.  They played two songs and left again.

Then, the rest of the awards were given out.

So. Very. Odd.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mad: Ajax Tree

i have been so insanely busy and I really ought to have painted our theme, since I came up with it and I was REALLY excited.....

The Ajax Tree!

Carey has an amazing dog named Ajax and he has....had a special tree.
It was the coolest looking tree ever, and unfortunately it died.

So it is an ex-Ajax Tree.

I really do need to paint it.

Here is Ajax under the Ajax Tree.  I either don't have a better pic or I cant find it....

.....and it is now very past my bedtime.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Where is Stape?

Yesterday the New York Botanical Gardens hosted a pretty wonderful plein air event.
Stapleton Kearns gave me a discount code off my entry which was really nice of him.

I don't normally go alllll the way up there because it is quite a trek, and I have to pay- so I always go to Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, where I get in free with my Pratt Alumni card.

Anyhow, I went up to NYBG which is a truly fantastic place.  I haven't been in years and I forgot just how fantastic it really is.

There were three amazing Sargents in the small painting exhibition. They alone were worth going to see.

And then I walked around the entire place- which is rather large- checking out the painters and looking for Stape to say hello.

I could not find Stape. I could not find him anywhere.

Now, Stape is really, really easy to spot.  He is 1400 feet tall and paints with a huge Gloucester easel (i want one) and ginormous brushes. You can't miss him.  But somehow, I did.

I knew Stape would have chosen some insane ungodly-bright-searing-hot-no-shade place to set up camp.
And he doesn't use an umbrella.

No Stape. I called him but his phone was off or something.
It was probably rebelling due to heat-stroke.

I saw plenty of other painters, though- they all have the same umbrella as I do! It was REALLY REALLY WEIRD to be on the non-painting side of plein air gear.
It felt kind of wrong, actually.

Stape called me a while later, after I left. As it turns out, he was at the Rose Garden.
Guess who else had been hanging around the rose garden?


And I still managed to miss Stape.

Can YOU find Stape?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Alternate Reality

I thought Fathers Day was last Sunday.

I sent a card, I called my father, I even wished Sid- and Stapleton Kearns- a happy fathers day.
Apparently either no one cares about fathers day or they didn't know the date either because I found out THURSDAY MORNING when I saw the Walgreens billboard in Times Square.

Wow, I'm all kinds of clueless.

It might be genetic though.  One year my father, stepmother and their daughter celebrated his birthday on the wrong day.  They all wondered why they didn't hear from me until the next day when I called.  Then they figured it out.

It is also true that my head has been in the clouds- literally- from painting all those skyscapes.
This is a side effect of too much paint---- a bad case of Artist Brain.

At least it is funny.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ice Willow

Here is a quick ice willow.
1 hour
pastel (mungyo semi-hards) on colourfix

My little box is getting dusty.  :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016


I somehow acquired this teeny box of Rembrandt 30 half sticks.
It is adorable, has a great color range, and it goes PERFECTLY with The Box that  Sid Made.

For oils, I added a mini razor scraper to clean the glass palette.
And I stuck a kneaded eraser in the box too.

So now, all I have to do is throw a pad of paper, the pastels, and the box in my bag and I'm all set.
It isn't a plein air setup. This is for tabletop sketching.

Here is tonight's sketch.  Pastel on colourfix, 5x7.
It's not a particularly successful painting but that is ok. It had things to teach me.
ALL artists have more crappy paintings than good ones.  That's just how it goes.  Anyone who says differently is lying.

One of the main differences between a beginner and a more advanced artist is the knowledge that 1) all paintings go through an ugly stage, just work through it and 2) not everything has to be good or will be good.

I am still very much finding my way with pastels.  They have a lot to teach me. I am a beginner again.

I have known this for a long time.  Today I told Dru that I have been saying for years that pastels would be my secondary medium if I could just find the time. This year I am making the time.

Pastels have so very much to teach me.
Dru is a fantastic friend because she puts up with all my rambling.

So, micro-mini.
Here is my painting of the evening (Weds evening) as part of my wonderful micro-mini setup.

My box is so special because Sid made it.  It is a great and clever setup, but it was a handmade gift from a friend and I really will treasure it and use it for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dusty Weekend

I have some paintings from the weekend that need to be here on my blog.

Diane Townsend (who lives in Hudson) makes fluorescent pastels. I had a couple and I got some more.

Turquoise Tree ACEO (2.5 x 3.5) on colourfix

Plein air up at Olana.
5x7 pastel on colourfix

That set on the right is...was.... the 30 full stick Rembrandt set but I broke all the sticks in half and supplemented with open stock. So the color range doubled and it is super easy to travel with.

Pastel boxes are taped to the side palettes of my Belly River box. It worked out perfectly.

Dru took this pic of me painting. I forgot to bring my painting apron but especially for pastels it doesn't matter.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mad: Sparta

I have no idea why Sparta is our theme.
Carey thought it up.

I went classical with it, though I suppose there are many modern "Sparta" things that can be done.
5x7 pastel on stonehenge (unprimed! it is different working on non-gritty paper)

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Box that Sid Made

Sid made me a cigar box/table easel/paint box!
It is so clever and wonderful and I love it madly.

Sid also made an extremely clever wet panel carrier to go with the box.

I broke it in with a little oil painting.
This is what the clouds over the Hudson River looked like when I came home from Hudson on Saturday night.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Heavy Rain and All the Cheeze

It rained yesterday morning so we made a trip to the farmers' market to get fresh croissants, rosemary flatbread, and all the cheeze we could find.

We got back home just as the rain picked up.

Fresh mozzarella
Raw honey fig goat cheeze
Basil garlic farmers cheeze
Porcini brie
Goats milk gouda
Really nice bleu cheeze

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Left-Behinders!

I got a text from Dru Thursday evening.
Apparently I left my panties at her place a couple of weeks ago.
I was appropriately embarrassed, and she said she would keep my secret.

Then I thought, "This is pretty funny" and "I need a blog post with a ridiculous snarky title which is also a terrible pun".

So I promptly lost all my shame and Dru was kind enough to send a pic of my undies (WITH A MODEL) so I could post them here on my blog for all the internets to see.

The Left-Behinders!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pale Sunset

The sky at sunset was really pretty the other night, and it inspired this quick little painting.
30 minutes-ish
pastel (unisons) on colourfix primed stonehenge paper

Here is the palette I used.
The great thing about pastels is that they force you to make color-value decisions. You have to choose the right color that is ALSO the right value in one stick.

Thursday, June 09, 2016


Daya and I were waiting for the train and she asked me, "What does 5-10-25 mean? Is that some kind of code or date?"

I had to explain it meant nickels, dimes, and quarters.  And how there weren't many pay phones left anymore because everyone has cellphones.

Daya had a lot of questions about payphones.

There aren't many left throughout the city. I'm not sure if this one still works.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Such Disappoint

1. I have Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday off.

I was SO LOOKING FORWARD to some child-free days off!

Stupid-no-school-I am-upset-I-need-a-freaking-BREAK!
I think I will cancel my vacay day on Tuesday and reschedule it for when Daya won't be home.

NOTE: I don't care if this sounds terrible, it's nothing against Daya but I just want some time and space to myself without someone needing something.

2. I was going to do a small painting tonight but it is almost 10pm and...yeah it's not going to happen.
Painting fail. :(

3. Stupid stupid stupid Con Edison took my electric bill and now I'm overdrawn until Friday.

4. There is no picture for this blog post.

5. No thunderstorms today.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Mad: Cute

I have a painting on my easel that isn't done and I was going to finish it for this week's theme.
That did not happen.

In fact, I couldn't even remember what our theme was until this afternoon and I had to look at my texts to Carey to remember it.

I'm in small painting mode.... so instead of the larger easel painting here are some supercute baby trees in clouds.

Cloud Saplings
pastel on colourfix primed Stonehenge

Monday, June 06, 2016

It Was a Long Day

9am to 7pm.
Volunteers have lots of work to do...taking the little kids to the bathroom, check in, check out, getting the little kids upstairs and downstairs, helping with anything- costumes, etc.

But I took pictures from the wings.
I took a LOT of pictures and I will give the links out to everyone.

Daya is in pain, but she is showered and in bed.
I am completely zonked.

I'll deal with uploading photos over the next few days but in the meantime here is a video of team rehearsal from early morning before the first recital. They aren't in costume for this number- most of them are in dress for the opening act, which this song was not.

Daya is the one who does a flip across stage.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Recital Day & Pink Clouds

Pink Clouds
Pastel on colourfix primed stonehenge

I painted this, and the one from yesterday while binge-watching Game of Thrones season 4.
What an awesome series.

When this posts it will be Sunday, which is recital day. Daya hurt her knee- somehow- on Thursday. She is ok though, between ice packs, a knee brace, tylenol, advil, tiger balm, and some other stinky analgesic cream I can't remember the name of. She had a full day of dance today, two classes and a long team rehearsal and she is fine.

Recital day will be long- we have to be there early and will be there all day.  It is fun though; I really enjoy it.

Because I volunteer, I can go wherever I want which is infinitely better than sitting in the audience.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Buried Alive

Buried Alive
colourfix primed stonehenge paper

Friday, June 03, 2016

Field Trip

Daya's class took a a field trip to the Imperial Theater in Times Square to learn about Les Miserables.
It wasn't the full show, just a few musical highlights and they got to see some theater special effects. Stuff like that.

Initially I was surprised they were going to see Les Miz because it is definitely not a children's story.
But that's ok.  Over the weekend Daya got to learn the entire story and listen to all the songs, which she liked very much. I rented the 2012 movie for her which is basically the musical in a movie.
Without the cool revolving stage.

Anyhow, I work right in Times Square so I went to meet Daya's class when they came out of the theater.

Daya was very happy to see me, and it was cool to say hi to her in the middle of the day, too.

Field Trip

Thursday, June 02, 2016


Last Thursday night I bought a bottle of red wine. Just a normal regular small bottle.
It was a nice bottle of wine, from Italy and it cost $12.

I opened it as one opens a wine bottle- with a corkscrew. But my corkscrew did not work.

So I peeled off the foil cover to discover that there was no cork.
What passed for a cork was a thick plastic seal.
Not even a plastic cork!

Ok I understand that vintners are proud of their wine but isn't it a little presumptuous to just assume the whole bottle will be gone in one sitting?

It is now Wednesday night. Six nights later and I have just finished the bottle.
I had to cover the top with tinfoil, which is just tacky.

It may also be tacky that it takes me that long to get through a small bottle of wine but I was in Hudson for a couple of those nights and I don't drink wine most nights at all.

So...... cork, please? Is that too much to ask?

It is nice wine but...
no cork.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


For the most part, I'm not a very OCD kind of person.

However, when my OCD nerve gets hit, I go completely insane.
It might not come as a surprise that one of my OCD vulnerable spots is my art...and art supplies.

Soooo...... back in 1995 or so I got my very first artist-grade set of soft pastels.  It is a Rembrandt 60 half stick set, and of course I still have it. When I painted Medusa I used several of the sticks.  One was a lovely turquoise color.

I decided to get a full stick of that perfect turquoise color.  So I looked at the color listing on the box and color charts and it is Rembrandt 640,7.  I got a few others as well. They all match perfectly...except the 640,7...the new full sticks are a teeny bit bluer than my perfect greenish turquoise half stick!

Of course it doesn't really matter, except that it is the end of the world.


The top swatch is my 1995 stick.
The bottom is the newer one.

I went to Blick.
I went to DaVinci.
I went to Jerrys.
I brought my pastel with me and swatched every single brand they had in open stock.
I compared THREE 640,7 sticks.
They all match each other but they are all slightly bluer than my swatch.

I got pretty close but no exact-exact matches.

And it has made me batshit crazy.



BOX UPDATE: The super saw my box tossed in the lobby by the window and he took it.
I got it today.

I gave the courier absolute hell.
Amazon was nice and sent a replacement order, but I cancelled it because I did get my box.