Friday, December 10, 2010


This was it. The last one. Darnit, darnit.

I do believe I can keep doing this however. The format was simple - quick 1-2 minutes poses to warm up, look at some famous drawings to warm up your brain then use some different types of media to get the line and shadow you want. This class too, lacked the critique I would have enjoyed. I was always suspicious of the instructor who never had a bad thing to say however, I see where this guy is coming from and think it is a great strategy. There really is no judge, there is no right way - he showed us books on everything from doodles to masterful, accurate drawings. Drawing something and showing it to anyone else really is an exercise in humility and I've often compared it to standing naked in front of them. You know? There may be some perfect bodies out there, but only for a bit and then it goes away but more importantly, there are really not that many perfect bodies out there and there are a whole lot more imperfect bodies that are perfectly lovely to look at. It is the emotion of the drawing that holds you not the accuracy of the line.

I have several but I will end with what I feel is the best one I did all semester and this is the very last drawing I did - taking all of 8 minutes until the end of class and the model got up and walked away...

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I went to the Rotary thing last night and it was not fun. It was at a bar that was supposed to be so cool and I wore my dress, but I wore my black boots with it and no jewelry and in this town - that's a notch above dressing to go to the drug store - but everyone else had on their work clothes, which in this town, is black Banana Republic pants and a button down shirt. That didn't bother me so much but I really love this dress (it's really, really simple and not sparkly or anything) but there really was no reason to buy it after all! (Hmmmm, how many times will I be thinking THAT over the next 6 months?) There was no place to safely put your coat, so that heavy thing gets carried around and they give you a coupon for one drink, so I got a little sparkly wine, and stood around. I wandered into the back where they have a cool, cave-like room with no on in it, and hid for a while, then I went back out and watched the REALLY cool snowboard movie they projected up on the wall (but when I looked this place up on line, this is so funny, they said there's a snowboard movie going, which no one watches - except me, evidently) and then I admired the fact that it had these very cool drum like shaded fixtures hanging down, which I took a photo of, because that'd be a very understated elegant edginess in my SIMS house living room, then I chatted with a young man for a while who said this is just one of the 5 'events' he had going on this week, and then I talked with a woman I sat by at the last meeting who was great. She gave me her card, told me I was welcome to come stay at her house (which is about 50 minutes by train outside Manhattan) for 3 months next Fall and I set down my half empty glass and walked out into the cold. Then I stopped and got a cold mozzarella wrap and a red velvet cupcake, hopped on the subway and came home.

I'm glad I went to drop off the bag of toys I bought for their toy drive but I would much rather have stayed home...

I am thinking this may be part of the appeal of coming to NYC for 3 months. Am I so weird that I can do this and live all alone and be all alone for 3 months because DANG, I did not like chatting with strangers or hanging out at a bar. I am terrifically excited for Shawn to come and have someone to talk to and show all my favorite things I've found but I am more excited to get home to Christmas and all my family being there. THAT kind of socializing I can handle! Oh, and the animal kind. I wonder if those dogs have gone wild in my absence?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I went out specifically to take photos of Christmas here and wanted to share them here. It is getting so cold and the wind blows it right through you so this is getting a little tougher to do these days...
These are photos around Rockefeller Plaza which is totally swamped every minute of every day and night - it's CRAZY! This is also where Anthropologie is which used to be my favorite store until I found the one in Chelsea that carried wallpaper...
These are photos down Fifth Avenue - from Tiffany's

To Lord & Taylor
To Henri Bendel
To my own street!


I missed one class due to being in Omaha for Thanksgiving then I chose not to go to the next class as I was exhausted so here are the final photos from the final sculpture class held just last Monday, the 6th.

The model chose to shave her head and had the world tattoed on her skull. I struggled and the teacher mentioned I wasn't as confident and quick as I had gotten to be having missed the last 2 classes. The class size had dwindled to just 3 of us so I had a chance to chat with him a bit. I told him I was concerned in seeing my regression in just 2 weeks - what was going to happen to me when I went home? He told me to buy a box of clay and get a friend to sit for me for 3 hours while I sculpt away. (I don't think Laynie would sit still for a minute and maybe I could ask Flynn to just read - I've done that before. Maybe I could do Krista sleeping sitting up!) He told me I was a sculptor, but I'm a painter, and that I should be sure and keep doing this. I think he was trying to rout pupils for next semester's classes but it was a kind gesture. I have always liked sculpture but I got bored in this class and needed more interaction and more feed back and more encouragement than I got. I walked into my drawing class dreading drawing but now I absolutely love it and am thankful for the teacher to stir that up in me.

I will look into a sculpture class at home at CBC - surely they have something. I think working in 3-D is good practice for getting the volume in 2-D but then, there are other ways to push that (again - think of the instruction I got in the first weeks of the drawing class - which, I came to find out - the teacher was a sculptor - no wonder - !) -

I am homesick and want to go home. But when I think of leaving this place I want to stay. Next time - next Fall for 3 months - I need to find an apartment that has room enough for me to paint in. If I spent more time painting I would progress faster and it would keep me from spending money in these stores. I need to remember that when it comes to spending an additional $1,000 a month on rent - I could save that easily on the shopping...

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Ah - we finally got the model back from the last 2 weeks and will have 1 more class to go before we are done. Then no more class at all. Hmmmm.

Since I didn't have my camera last time, here is what the painting looked like at the beginning of class:
I continue to work and work on every inch of this canvas - this time I started on the far right side in the middle and made my way through the middle ALMOST to the other side. Four hours, and this is all I can do! The key is to just paint what you see - get the color right, get the tone right and of course, put it in the right place. I am very happy with it and know I will not finish next week but I have learned a LOT!

And this is what the painting looked like at the end of class:
I took the subway to class a bit early, but not much (I've been having a hard time sleeping, my mind is going a million miles an hour on getting ready to come home as well as this crazy SIMS house) as I woke up at 10. I worked out (YEA! but mostly because I bought 2 sleeveless dresses - and one sweater to wear over them) wrote something on this blog, took a shower and headed out into the 35 degree winter. It's not bad if you're walking for a long time - you warm up eventually and don't even notice it - but the 3 blocks to the subway is brutal. I stopped at Eva's across the street from the school and got a Lentil soup and large bottle of water to go and got to class just half an hour early. I took the drawing pictures and got all set up, just in time to start painting the minute the model sat down. I forgot all about the soup for the first couple hours and was glad I had it by the time 'long break' came around 4. I love this class. I love this teacher. I will miss this.

I stopped at the hot cookie place and the pizza place while walking to the subway and had cheese pizza and a peanut butter cookie for dinner while I rode the subway home. I am a pro and I eat very well. I hope I sleep better tonight...


Here are my latest drawings from class last Thursday. I forgot my camera so today when I went to my painting class, I took photos of my sketchbook that I leave there because it's so big to be hauling around on the subway (and no, I am not going to take a cab).

The model this week was really, really great. Not that she was so great at posing, she was quite boring at posing (man, that makes such a difference when you have someone who is agile and graceful and comfortable being naked in front of a bunch of strangers, but this one was HEFTY! She weighed a good 100 pounds more than normal but it was SO fun to draw her! We warmed up for a while (these are the first 2 pages of sketches) one minute poses, so they're quick. I started out with the normal pen and ink - like you'd use to do calligraphy - and then tried a pen I bought at a stationary store. It has an ink cartridge but the tip is a brush. It's great! It works more like a charcoal pencil because if you move quickly, it skips and looks like a pencil but you can make thick, black lines and (if you are really careful) you can make tiny, thin lines. I just draw on top of the other drawings, so it may be a little hard to see...

Then the teacher talks to us and shows us books of drawings for about half an hour and we take a break before we go on to the longer drawings. This teacher's name is Lee Tribe and I may have said it before, he's a weird guy, but he is incredibly inspiring. He is totally non-judgmental actually brought a book of drawings this time that looked like some kid in high school was doodling and making notes on the doodles. He told us not to worry about what our drawings look like - that some may think they are lousy or amateurish or not beautiful - but that we should draw what and how we feel like drawing and feel free to express ourselves in any way we choose. That may sound cheeky but you can't believe how good it is to hear when you are in a class with 10 other students who see your work and you see their's and you can't help but to compare.

I drew 2 drawings on a small, 12"x14" pad of watercolor paper because my sketch pad is thin paper - almost as bad as newsprint - but I felt so constrained by the tiny size of the paper for this huge body, I went back to my big sketchbook. These 2 were 20 minutes drawings but I was done in 10 so I drew each twice. Great fun!


I must admit, one of the biggest considerations I had for spending an extended period of time here, was to be here around Christmas time. There is no time better, in my opinion, to visit NYC than now. The department store windows, the street decorations, Rockefeller Center - it is all amazing. And now I have one more point to add to the list - the SALES. Holy Smoke. Yes, this is trouble.

I bought tickets to the NYC ballet to see the Nutcracker (they were not cheap - this had better be good!) and decided it was a good excuse to buy something great to wear. I'm not sure what excuse I used to buy all the stuff I have bought previously, but this is Beautiful Stuff, not just your Everyday Stuff. I used the local Rotary's Christmas party and toy drive (next week) as an excuse to buy a dress at Anthropologie plus I thought I could wear it to Erica and Greg's weddings as well. It was hard to stay away from black, especially in this city. This needed to be Better. Except when I was shopping I asked the salesgirl and she said her mom dressed up for it and complained that there were people there in jeans! Hmmmm, I COULD wear the Anthropologie dress.

Nah. So I bought these TWO, yes, TWO (they were 25% OFF!) funky, crazy, black dresses - well, one is too short for a dress - at Bloomingdales and I spent a sleepless night tossing and turning wondering what the heck I was doing and when I get them home - what was I going to do with them then? I would stick out like Gulliver in Pasco wearing these absolutely cool outfits. I guess I will just have to come back so I can wear them more...

Oh, this Post was supposed to be about the Christmas lights - so here are some photos (I don't think the videos work but they are the coolest!).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


If there's anyone out there who can tell me what the secret is to arranging photos on these pages, I'd sure appreciate the suggestions. They fight and fight to go where they want to go. I have given up. I will write around them.

I decided, clear back in August when I made all these reservations, that after my first 4 weeks here I would head home to Pasco for my first 1 week long school break. It ended up being a glitch in the schedule the school sent out - actually, only my Monday class was canceled that week, so I actually missed my Drawing and Painting classes. That was okay, though I hated missing my Painting class because we met at the Met and the teacher walked us through some masterpieces. How I would have loved to have been there!
The next 4 weeks were spent with much less worrying about where I was and how to get places (it really is pretty small and compact and with the street numbering - you never are really lost) and much more settling in and enjoying this crazy place.

Then came Thanksgiving week, where I missed my Monday class, Sculpture, to fly for the whole week to Omaha to spend with my parents and 4 of my 6 sisters. It was such a quiet, pleasant visit and we spent a lot of time planning on where we were going to eat dinner the next day and then going to Pam's to eat her dinners. The group has grown substantially as both of Pat's kids, Melissa and Greg, have now moved to Nebraska and Pam's Erica moved there from Chicago as well. Melissa married Matthew and now has a little baby, Steven, and Greg is now engaged to Lindsay and Erica is engaged to Nate. Everyone came to just about every dinner so I had a great opportunity to get to know them and enjoy some large family dinners.

My favorite time is spent later in the evenings just watching TV and visiting with my parents and walking through the backyard to Pat's to sit and chat with her for hours and then spending a whole day with Pam who jumped in and helped me put some walls on this floor plan on the SIMS house. I wish I had had more time with Stacey but she's just starting a business that took a lot of her time and she is far more a 'group' person than me so we visited 'en masse'. Kathy missed Thanksgiving dinner because of a migraine but she came over a lot, though I am so very worried about the fact that she can't see 4" in front of her and yet, she drives a car!
It really was a great, fun way to spend the week and I realized, when I got back, that I was down to just 3 weeks left here. Today, is 2 weeks - and the countdown begins.


I hoped to be able to take tons of photos of Central Park in lots of different seasons (like no one ever did that before?) and here are my 'Fall' ones. I hope I'm here when it snows but it has been so nice and mild so far (just the exact opposite to my snowy home in WA) I really doubt I will get those photos. I do plan to get SPRING shots, however...


So here's the deal. When I first got here, I colored my hair crazy - this skunk stripe on the top of my head, but my hair was still naturally curly.

It is so humid around here (and it rains this light drizzle a lot) that my hair was becoming just one big pile of fuzz. I started looking for a diffuser so I could try to keep the curls and reduce the fuzz but couldn't find one anywhere! I walked into a little hair salon just across the street from my apartment asking for one and ended up in the 'chair' discussing Keratin treatments to make the curls smooth and shiny (imagine - smooth and shiny? 2 words you would NEVER use to describe my hair!). This guy was a smooth talking salesman and after complaining about how much I've already spent on the color and how I wasn't about to spend more on 'smooth and shiny' he assured me that this treatment would literally, "change my life". A seller of dreams. A twister of words.

So I did it (ya, I'm a sucker) and I must admit, it changed my life. My hair is great! I IS smooth and shiny! It IS breaking off (especially where it is so blond) because this treatment is really hard on it but it doesn't frizz up AT ALL! Not even when I'm walking around for hours in this off and on light drizzle - I don't even THINK about it! I am no longer a giant head of fuzz! It is no longer thick and full - it's skinny and my barrettes and clips actually fall out of it instead of fail to clamp through it. It is NOT, however, curly, anymore. What was this guy thinking? You put the product in it then flat iron it until it penetrates so deep, those little hairs wouldn't THINK about curling. So I guess curls go with fuzz and straight goes with shiny. I will continue looking for the shiny curly treatment.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I thought I had a
plan - man, am I a good one for plans! Give me a schedule, give me a rule and I'll follow it to a 'T'! I started out about 1 to pick up my glasses (YEA!!!) and then grab some laundry soap (at the CVS drugstore - weird) drop them off at home and head out, making my way to 8th St. and my Drawing Class by 6:30. I ended up hanging out across the street from the new Ralph Lauren flagship store talking to Erica on the phone. I have determined this is my favorite building in this city and think this man has more taste than even Armani - yep, just decided that. Here are just a couple of the hundreds of photos I have taken of this place.

Then I stopped at the Gap because I have a coupon for 45% off one item on this particular day and I can't pass that up. Again, I'm sitting on an employee step ladder talking to Erica. We are having a great time preparing for her coming here in just another day. We are both a little nervous about her Metro trip from JFK airport to my apartment. It should take an hour and 4 minutes (according to Google Maps) and there are a few train changes and dang, if there might just be a few wrong turns but HANG IN THERE ERICA - just keep walking. Honest, you DO eventually, get there. She gets in at 5:20 in the morning so hopefully, it will not be dark when she sets out on her adventure!

I ended up back at my apartment a little tired from the last couple days of walking for miles and miles - though it is SO SO great. The day before I ended up in Chelsea - way south and on the west side of Manhattan and discovered an area of fun, outside flea markets, old factories gutted and turned into little shops and some fabulous bakeries and tile shops. Instead of heading out today, I took a break and sat at my computer for a while until it was time for class and little dinner before - a piece of pizza from my favorite spot just outside the subway station on the way to school. $1 gets you a hot, fresh piece of cheese pizza and it's the BEST!

The first 45 minutes of Drawing Class is spent on 2 minute poses where you draw fast with an old fashion ink pen and bottle of ink. Then the next 45 minutes is spent looking at the teacher's pile of drawing books while he goes over the drawings one by one sharing some great insights. My apartment is getting filled with incredible art books because of this guy! Then the model strikes one pose for the rest of class and we got about half an hour to draw and make things really dark because Lee Tribe (the teacher) wanted to demonstrate how to 'remove' ink and pen from your drawing. I really liked my drawing but realized it wasn't black enough so I went to town with the paint brush and India ink and pretty much ruined it. Oh well - it's an exercise!
We took a 20 minute break then came back and he showed us how to remove these marks. He is so funny. He is SO messy - he's got water all over his work area, his hands are all black, his drawing is a disaster - it's like a little kid with finger paints! When he erases, he just does it randomly - huge areas. I need to go back to his website to see what the end results look like. So, I went to town on my drawing, removing stuff and putting stuff back in. The model was squirmy, which doesn't help - man, it's important that these guys hold still and stick with the pose! I'm sure they're college students picking up some extra money and they don't realize how hard the job is... She kept moving her legs, so those are weak but I feel like I conveyed some 'volume'. Only TWO more classes to go.