Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thought for Thursday

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.”   ~Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm Waiting...All Day

I'm at home today.  All day.  Can't leave the house, which is fine because I have plenty of things to do around here.

I need to plan my day carefully or it could turn into a nothing day.  The telephone repair people are supposed to come and fix my non-existent phone service.  Could you imagine that a little thunderstorm could knock out my dial tone?  Yeah, me either, but it has.

While talking on the home phone last week I noticed alot of static on the line after a storm.  I called in the problem, but they told me the issue was inside my house, not due to that storm.  OK.  Unplug all the phones and then plug them back in.  Did that fix the problem?  No.  The static was so noisy I could barely hear anyone nor they me.  Then Sunday during a call the static got real loud and popped.  Now we're in trouble baby!  I tried to dial out, nothing.  I called my house from my cell phone, nothing.  Dead as a doornail.

Today is the repair date.  I am without a house phone since Sunday.  Not everyone I know has my cell number so who knows who's tried to call?  There's nothing I can do about it, so here I am. 

What time is the appointment for the repair man?  All day, 8A.M. to 5P.M.  Did I say all day?  Yes.  All. Day. Long.  Bright side?  I've got all day.  Just think about that for a moment. 

It's kind of nice to know you have All Day to yourself, but only if you chose that option on your own accord.  I really don't like it if someone else tells me I cannot leave my house for any reason All Day. 

It's a dilemma.

But I have a plan.  After I get off this computer I'm going to straighten up the house a bit.  Then I'll check my art supplies and straighten up the studio area.  That job seems to lead to good things when I do it.  The garden painting is waiting for me.  I might have to work on it so I can go on to something else I'm thinking of.  I thought it was a good idea to have a couple paintings going at once, but then my brain conks out.  I can have a painting going, a jewelry project in the works, and knitting on the needles all at once, but don't ask me to paint two paintings at the same time. 

That will get me to midday.  Lunch outside with my latest book will be a good break.  When that's done maybe I'll be ready to start on something new, as long as I got some inspiration in the studio clean-up. 

That repair guy better not show up at 5P.M.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

M.I.A in Manhattan

Yes, I know.  I was M.I.A on Monday.  Missing In Action.  Actually I was in action, in movement, on the road.  This time my sister's back went out and as she was unable to drive her car to get back to her apartment in New York City,  I drove her there on Monday.  So, it sort of was and sort of wasn't an adventure.

Every time I go to Manhattan I call it an adventure.  It 's no big deal to go there, I just make it seem like that.  I make believe I'm doing some big thing, but I'm really not.  I'm used to the city.  I worked there as a paste-up artist years ago downtown in the 20's and 5th Avenue.

When we were kids my mother took us into the city plenty of times. She grew up in Manhattan on Columbus Avenue on the West Side.  We lived just across the Queens Borough Bridge in Astoria and Manhattan was a bus ride over the bridge for us.  Our mom didn't want us to be country bumpkins and not know how to navigate the city.  We had to dress well to visit, or to shop, or to go to the theater.  No one was wearing dungarees to Manhattan in the 1960's!  Dungarees, aka jeans, were for weekend wear at home with comfy shoes and a sweater. 

Now when we go to the city my mom always remarks on how everyone in the city is dressed like a slob! Here and there you see some high society people, but even they're not dressed to the nines.  What is everyone doing with their expensive designer clothes and shoes?  Most times the fancy people are dressed in rags and some regular schmoes are wearing Chanel on the street!  East side, west side, doesn't matter.  Even on 5th Avenue or Madison Avenue, no one is really dressed like my mom was used to doing.  That time is over!

So anyway, I drove my sister to the West Side for her appointment, which took three hours.  But he's a great chiropractor, so we didn't care how long it took.  When we were done I dropped her off at her building and drove around for a half hour to find a place to park my Mountaineer.  Yeah, don't worry.  Everyone in Manhattan is driving an S.U.V!  Why?  Who knows?  More trucks than Audis, BMW's or Mercedes on the East side.  Park a truck in a garage and you have to pay extra!  I had to find street parking.

I found a spot, noted where I parked and walked a couple of blocks back to the apartment building.  The air was crisp, the sun high and warm, and I had an overall good feeling.  A free kind of feeling.  No agenda, nothing else to do, just a wonderful walk alone.  Head and eyes up and alert, but comfortable.

That's a good kind of adventure for me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thought for Thursday

I am so busy doing nothing... that the idea of doing anything - which as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.   ~Jerry Seinfeld, comedian 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Word for Wednesday is Wow

So, with the idea to tweak these photos from a lovely commenter from yesterday's post, here they are.  This is the way the hydrangeas were meant to be seen!  And yes the word is WOW! 

I forgot all about the image adjusting program on the computer and was relying on the camera.  I guess I just felt like ranting.  Sometimes I think my monitor is not calibrated correctly and my photos might be too dark.  But hey, who cares?  Right now I am in heaven looking at the color of these petals!  Yes, sir.  This is how they're supposed to look. 

Ideas are running through my head now.  Which to paint first?  Yippee!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fun with Photos, Not

There he is again.  The yellow goldfinch that likes to come by my pink coneflowers, or echinacea, flew in yesterday afternoon to eat some seeds.  These birds are so skittish they won't let me peek at them from my kitchen door.  I grabbed my camera soon as I saw this one and snapped this picture from the kitchen window, through the screen.  It's the best I could do to capture the bird.  The Mr. gets so excited to hear these birds were here.  He raises finches and canaries, but this one is special.  What a beautiful color he is!

Yesterday I had to clip these huge hydrangea because some animal must have fallen on the branches and many were broken.  I gathered some and arranged then in a vase on my patio table.  They are stunning.  This morning as I was writing my Morning Pages, yes I'm still doing that, don't ask anything else, I had the impulse to take a couple of photos to remember the deep blue color.  The edges of the petals were trimmed in a teal green and were very striking.

This photo looks nothing like the flowers!  I couldn't get the camera to darken so the true blue could show.  Nope, nothing I do would allow me to capture the colors of these flowers.  Ok, whatever.  I tried every angle and the automatic camera kept lightening the picture.  Thanks alot.

This is not what the hydrangea look like at all.  I guess it's going to be a fun day so far if this is how my morning started out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day at the Beach with Traffic

Living on Long Island, in lower New York State, affords those of us who enjoy the seashore, the wonderful opportunity to visit on a whim.  We live a fifteen minutes drive from the Atlantic Ocean and try to be on the water once a week in the summer.

Don't ask me how many miles the ocean is from my house, I have no idea.  Here we measure distance by time of travel.  In fact, signs have recently been posted on our parkways that give a digital readout for drivers how many minutes it will take to get to a destination. 

I've visited upstate New York many times and no one there ever says how long it takes to get anywhere.  They tell you the miles and when I'd ask the minutes they'd look at me as if I had two heads.  Well, there's no traffic upstate, unless you're stuck behind a tractor or cows are crossing the road. 

On Long Island there's traffic.  Serious traffic.  Parking lot traffic.  You can be stuck in traffic that, if you wanted you could get out of your car and talk to the driver behind you.  They could be passing out drinks and hors d'oeuvrs and having a party kind of traffic.  So many people descend on Long Island in the summer heading to the beaches that the fifteen minutes it usually takes me could turn into an hour of travel time.

Sometimes it gets crazy.  Sometimes the drivers get crazier than they usually are.  People start flipping out.  No one wants to be in any kind of traffic here.  Drivers can barely wait for the lousy red stop light to turn to green, how can they handle traffic?  Thing is, they can't!

The alternative to taking the parkway to the beach is to use the local streets.  It's nice, but that takes time too, but you sort of think it's quicker.  It's really not.  There's lights, local people doing their every day thing, more cars than usual because they're going to the beach too, but they live close enough to go locally.  And on the days that traffic is crazy on the parkway, all those same crazy people start getting off the parkway to use the streets.  Same craziness, same hour travel time.

We had a little bit of traffic this week on our way to Pt. Lookout beach.  Backed up for miles, I was trying to decide: Stay on the parkway or use the streets?  I felt that the cars were moving a bit, enough to decide to just stay on and take my chances.

Why was the traffic backed up?  Was the drawbridge up for a tall ship to go under? No.  Was there police activity (that could be horrendous)?  Nope.  Could be a huge pile-up, which did happen this week with tragic results which closed the Meadowbrook Parkway to the beach for hours.  Not this day.  No.  Two cars of drivers had pulled over the side of the road to consult their map.  Every car on the road slowed to stop and look at them.  What are they looking at?  Did everyone think they knew these people?  Did they think they were celebrities, which happens now and then?  What?  What's with that?  What, or who, did they think they were going to see rubbernecking like that?

That's Long Islanders, and New Yorkers, for you.  Gotta see what's going on!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thought for Thursday

"Artists do things that have never been done before.  They dig deep to create passion.  They connect by changing things for the better...To be excellent means you must be an artist." 

~The Insubordinate Ebook, Seth Godin

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Painting From Life

Beach Day, 7x10 watercolor (c)2000

Aegina Island Harbor, 7x10 watercolor (c)2000

Painting from life can be both exciting and nerve wracking, for me anyway.  I seem to go into a trance as the action of painting and the colors of the paints hypnotize me.  I don't see what I'm doing.  Overdoing the work with watercolors can happen before I can blink and wake up from my stupor. 

These two little paintings are the ones that were sold in my Etsy shop.  Both were painted on site.  I painted Beach Day while at my favorite Long Island beach, Pt. Lookout.  This couple were sitting in their beach chairs enjoying the day.  I guess they were having a good day, for all I know they were annoyed with each other and just sitting there.  Can you tell that I like a good story while I work?

The Greek harbor scene was painted while we were on a short day cruise to three Greek islands, Aegina, Poros, and another one that I can't remember now.  They were all lovely and had different scenes, but at Aegina we sat at a cafe to have an icy ice cream frappe because it was so hot we couldn't continue without something cold.  We were at the harbor and I had time to quickly draw the scene out with a bit of color.  I finished it later on, but basically had it sketched with paint right there.

When I started with watercolors I purchased a small travel set that included half pans of basic colors, small brushes, and tiny pad of watercolor paper, and a little bottle for water.  It's like a fanny pack you can clip around your waist, but I never do that.  I added pencils and some other stuff I need for painting and it's the perfect bring along set.

The funny thing is the paints that are included are minimal yet I do my best work using just those colors.  The palette at home has so many colors now, but I gravitate towards the ones in the travel set.  I think I should pay attention to that and maybe minimize my choices.  Whatever I do, I know I like painting from life.  I just have to try and stay in the present rather than have those out of body moments.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So That's That With That

While typing away here, thinking about the Greece vacation, trying to decide how to finish that garden painting, and overall impatience and indecision that is my usual trademark, I found out I had a few orders in my Etsy shop.  When did that happen?

A buyer purchased this set of spa cloths I knit.  They've been up on the site for quite a while.  Months ago someone bought a set, but the site's been sort of dry for some time.  I'm not sure how much I like Etsy for art.  The artists there have been complaining that there's a lot of mix ups in the search feature.  If a shopper is looking for original art, the search will include a lemon reamer among the paintings.  What's up with that?  How confusing is that to someone looking for an oil painting or a pencil drawing? 

I have a few small watercolors on Etsy, a couple of small handknit items, and the bead jewelry I've become fascinated with lately.  The paintings I've been doing this past year haven't made it to the online shop yet.  I'm ambivalent about putting them up and having them sit there.  But maybe that's the idea?  I don't know. 

So I prepared the spa cloth order and sent them out.  Yesterday I noticed I had another order for the same set of cloths.  What a thrill!  I put aside the garden watercolor for now and got busy knitting this order.  And then today I saw that a friend of my mom purchased a couple of small watercolors.  Another thrill!  Things are looking up!

Oh, and by the way, we've decided to nix the Greece vacation this year.  There's too much going on here and there to warrant knocking ourselves out to go.  Better off staying put, taking a short trip to the east end of Long Island, knitting, painting, beading, and waiting for my first grandchild to be born. (Thrill!)

So that's that with that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

To Go or Not To Go, That's The Question

To Chora, watercolor 9x10, (c)2000

Did you ever really want to do something or go somewhere, but when you think about it you really don't want to do that thing after all? 

I'm in such a dilemma.  The Mr. needs a vacation.  When I suggested going somewhere close by a few weeks ago he said no.  He doesn't want to leave his business.  But he really needs to get away and change his outlook, environment, you know, all the things that a vacation, or even a day off, can do for a person.  I could get away from the house stuff and maybe get some painting in.  For me it could be a short car ride away or a couple hours flying time.

Mind you, I'm not that innately adventurous, but I push myself.  Sometimes I dream of flying away if I see an airplane overhead.  I imagine going to a different place and having some cool experience where ever.  Then I think of how I need to plan and shop and do, and then I'm done with it. 

The Mr. was born on Patmos, an island in the Dodecanese in Greece and it's beautiful there.  He emigrated here with his family when he was a kid.  He would love to go, I could too.  On some summer days he'll talk about how it was on the island, what he could be doing if he was there, but he's here and he has a business to run.  I get that. 

Things in the world are such that it would be pricey to go so last minute.  Business is at it's busy time right now.  The euro and the dollar are an issue.  August is the vacation season in Europe.  Travel to Patmos is a pain because there isn't an airport there.  You need to fly out of Athens to another island and take a dolphin, or get on a ferry in Pireas for six hours.  It's alot of traveling for fifteen days of vacation.  Not to mention that Greece is not stable right now, every day another entity is on strike, there have been riots in Athens, and everything has become more expensive.

Our indecision only makes things more difficult.  All the whats, whens, whys, wheres and hows are thrown around during our discussions.  First we think we'd like to go and then we think of the reasons not to go.  Then we think it'd be good to go.  Next discussion we say forget it.  My family all say just go and don't think too much.  We talk about it later and say Yeah let's do it.  The next day we're not into it anymore.  Neither of us can decide.  Both of us are wishy washy.

Planning is not my forte.  This vacation stuff is such hard work I could just stay home.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photos for Friday

Yellow goldfinch on the echinacea in the front garden

The view through the kitchen window at the goldfinch

My lovely view out my kitchen window

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thought for Thursday

"Whenever we indulge in what might be called 'paint by numbers' art, we are engaging in cynicism and skepticism.  We are on a subtle level out to 'fool' people.  We are looking down at our audience and saying 'If I just feed them what they are used to getting, I can fool them.'  Does this mean that we must always and willfully break the mold?  No..we are always engaged in a delicate balancing act. We both know how things 'are done' and we must strive to listen accurately to see if that's how our particular piece of art wants to be done."
        ~Discovering A Sense Of Authenticity, Walking In This World, Julia Cameron

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NYC Adventure and Radio City Music Hall Concert

After the craziness of the whacko homeless woman laying all over my car as I parked in Manhattan, I walked over to my sister's apartment where we decided which restaurant to have dinner before our concert date at Radio City Music Hall.  The upper east side where she lives, is a very residential neighborhood with families, schools, and plenty of places to eat and shop.  It's comfortable and quiet.  Almost as if you're not really in the city, you can sneak in and sneak out without having to deal with alot of city stuff.  Except for my little excitement with the homeless woman, which my sister said is very unusual in her area.  Maybe things are changing?  Who knows?

So we decide to visit a busy Turkish restaurant we hadn't been to before and it was really good.  So good that I forgot to take pictures before we devoured the food.  We had salad with feta cheese, pide bread and tzatzik dip with some other spicy dip to start and braised lamb shanks with grilled eggplant, pilaf, and a dish of manti for our entrees.  We come from Greek and Armenian descent, so Turkish food is pretty much the same thing we're used to having at home.  Even though our cultures have a history of violence and genocide at the hands of Turks, we like the food and make believe it's Armenian or Greek cooking.  Anyway, that's the only photo I took of dinner!

Afterwards, we grabbed a cab and headed over to Radio City.  It's a gorgeous theater, built after the 1929 crash by John D. Rockefeller, in the mid-town area.  We were seeing a famous Greek singer, Dimitris Mitropanos.  He is known for popular Greek music called "laiko".  Droves of young and old people were there to see him.  We met many friends, and Son #1 and Gorgeous DIL (daughter-in-law) were there too. 

It was a wonderful show with great music and singing.  One thing about Greek concerts is that when the people get excited they want to dance.  They don't care where they are, on the steps, in their seat, in the aisle, they are dancing!  The poor security guards never know what's going to happen with that.  They think the people will rush the stage, but they never do.  They just want to dance, kinda Zorba the Greek-like stuff!  If there's room they'll start a line dance, but this show was the lone dancer type music. 
Many times these concerts offer a venue where you stand while the concert is going on because the people want to dance.  But who wants to stand for two or three hours?  No, I was happy to have a seat and watch the show.  I'll do my dancing another day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A NYC Adventure or Can't I Just Park My Car And Go?

I hope everyone enjoyed their festivities during this Independence Day holiday.  Of course I had an adventure in NYC once again and I thought you might like to hear about it. 

As you know, my sister lives in Manhattan and it gives me the push to go there.  I'm such a wuss when it comes to doing things out of my element.  Not that the city is a new thing to me.  I used to work in the city years ago doing paste-up/layout on the boards in an advertising agency. 

Lately I'm comfortable in my day to day stuff around here, that and, I'm not the greatest traveler.  Not that going to the city is traveling, but I'm such a scaredy-cat when it comes to getting around anywhere.  When I worked there I used to travel on the Long Island Railroad with my father.  He working there too so we'd go in together and then go our own way once we arrived.  Sometimes we'd meet up on the street and walk to the railroad together.  Other times we'd meet on the train, and other times I'd go home alone.  But every time I'd get on a train I needed to ask another traveler, "Is this the train to Hempstead?" like a jerk.  Oh brother!

Anyway, I met my sister this week to attend a concert at Radio City Music Hall.  I drove my car in instead of using the railroad or the subway.  She lives on the east side of Manhattan where there's no subway service yet.  Driving makes it easy and I found street parking pretty quickly. 

Soon after I pull into this roomy parking spot I notice a woman at the passenger side of the car trying to open the door to my back seat!  I'm thinking Who is this?  When she can't get in my car she throws her purse on the trunk and leans her whole body on the trunk too. 

Now she's laying on my car while it's still running!  I hadn't turned the engine off yet.  I was in the middle of calling my sister on my cell phone to say I found a spot and I'd be at her apartment soon, but now this woman is on my car!  She was in shock, but manages to tell me this is my next blog post!  Well light bulb moment for me, I whip out my camera and take pictures!

After long minutes of revving my engine, beeping the horn, making the alarm go off, and she's still sitting on my car, I decide to get out.  How long could I sit there?  Clearly this woman is a homeless whacko.  So I get out of the car and ask her why she's laying on it. She said she's waiting for someone, so I tell her go wait somewhere else.  She started getting angry and yelling at me. A psycho-nut case for sure, practically undressed in an unbuttoned blouse and messy appearance. I counter that I'm going to call the police and ask guys, who are standing in an apartment doorway, to dial 911.

My phone is another area code, what good will it do me in the city?  The men just stare at me and the crazy lady with their faces all agog. The whacko woman starts screaming that if I call 911 she'll tell the police that I threatened her life! 

And then she begins to hammer my car with her fists banging the trunk and the fender!  Ok, I decide I'm done with her.  I tell her "Oh yeah?  Go ahead.  Bang on the car some more because now I'm going to take your picture!  Go and bang away! Yeah! Good! Keep it up!" 

As I walked away from her and my car I saw her stop, take her bag and walk across the street to lay on some other car.  Wonderful.  Thanks alot NYC.  Do I need this stuff?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Photos

Enjoy the weekend and Happy Independence Day to all!

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  July 4, 1776
Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America
“ We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."    September 17, 1787

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thought for Thursday

"I didn't have the guts to become an artist, I had the ignorance." ~Jack Sorenson, Western artist, Cowboy

My thought for today was inspired by a fellow artist/blogger Kathleen Roeth and her blog post on Cowboy Wisdom.  A couple of her quotes had me laughing so hard I almost spit my coffee at the computer monitor!  This one was my favorite:
"After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut."
Go on and visit Kathleen's blog for more cowboy inspiration and lovely art.  Thanks Kathleen!

The Latest Work With Permission

©Dora Sislian Themelis, 11x14 Watercolor, Patmos Sunset Available for purchase The latest work is from another person's photograph...