A New Year

This post is long overdue, but I'm sure you all understand how busy the holiday season can be.  Jeff had to be on call for the holiday weekend so we spent the weeks prior doing the Christmas activities that we love. 


We saw the Nutcracker! We go see it every year.  The New York City Ballet does such a fantastic job.  This year we decided to give Handel's Messiah a try but probably won't be doing that again.  It was hard to stay awake.  

We also went to the Met and the Met Breuer for two great exhibits.  The one at the Met Breuer was on Edvard Munch.  I love the art of the German Expressionists and Edvard Munch was very influential to the German Expressionist movement.  I love the emotions seen on the faces of his subjects.


At the Met we saw an exhibit on David Hockney.  This same exhibit was shown at the Tate Britain.  At that showing, according to The New Yorker, nearly half a million people lined up to see it.  The exhibit at the Met was certainly crowded as well.  It made it hard to get some decent pictures causing me a great deal of frustration.  Before the exhibit I had heard of David Hockney but had not seen much of his work up close.  I wasn't sure how much I would like the exhibit, but I enjoyed it very much.  I really enjoy his color palettes and use of space.  


When Jeff was at work Christmas day a manhole exploded next to our hotel shutting off the power. No heat, hot water, lights, internet, or television.  I got a lot of reading done.  When Jeff got home we ordered Chinese food but before it arrived Jeff was called back into work.  I was bummed but Jeff had it far worse than I did.  


We needed a Christmas re-do!  New Year's Eve and the day prior we got just that. We went to Mystic, Connecticut.  We got lunch at Mystic Pizza and it was delicious! We went to the aquarium and then to Foxwoods Casino to see John Oliver do stand-up.  It was funny but not as good as his show on HBO.  

For New Year's Eve we went to Yale's University Art Gallery and saw this beautiful piece by Van Gogh.  


We picked up some food and then went back home to White Plains, NY.  I had purchased some Kedem Sparkling Grape Juice to go with our midnight kiss! It was a hit. 

During the holiday season I got quite a few commissions which I had to keep secret.  Now I can share them with you.  


I believe I told you before that the daily sketch I did of Jeff on the toilet in Israel was very well loved.  Our friend Alex requested a colored version of the sketch to decorate his bathroom!


Jeff's aunt Mindy also requested a couple of portraits!


And our friends Diana and Daniel requested one as well. 

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Thanks to all of you for your support. It is so very appreciated!

I survived 2017! It was a very long year. Now I can look forward to the new year and hopefully many new projects.  I am also looking forward to more art exhibits and travel!  At the end of the month we are headed back to Montreal and Quebec City.  I can't wait to sketch that trip! And in March we will be moving back to Maine!  Wasn't expecting that.  Look for many lobsters and lighthouses in my daily sketches there.  


Thanks for reading.  


November was our last month in D.C. and it went by so fast.  We started with a long list of things we wanted to do and we can proudly say only a few things remain.  Everywhere we visit we find little places that we could go to again and again.  We have those in D.C. now!

One of those places for me is the Washington National Cathedral.  It is the most beautiful building I have seen in the United States.  My chin dropped looking at it.    


While we were there we took a tour on Gothic architecture that included an English Tea.  Awesome!


November 11th was Jeff and I's 2 year anniversary!  We went to Georgetown and took a walking tour. The tour was outstanding despite the cold.  


We also went for dinner and some jazz at the Blues Alley jazz club. 


We went again a few days later to see Jazzmeia Horn perform. 


We visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture with my cousin Amy.  

Then we crossed some more museums off our list.  We went to the Freer Gallery of Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  


For Thanksgiving we flew to Orlando, Florida to spend time with Jeff's parents.


Our first full day there Jeff and Carol wanted to take me to the Florida Carriage Museum.  We got there, purchased tickets, and went to go see those carriages.  There was one problem.  The majority of the collection had been sold which they failed to mention when we bought the tickets.  

The carriages were pretty cool. What was left of them.  


Once Stu got out of work we went out for dinner.  In every air vent of his car Stu had placed a clip-on air freshener. In case that wasn't enough he had an air wick resting in a cup holder in the back seat.  Jeff of course felt the need to point all of this out. It was pretty hilarious.  


Thanksgiving was a delicious success. Just ask Jeff!

We thought we could avoid the Black Friday crowds at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. We were very wrong.


The next day we went to Tarpon Springs, Florida.


There we got on a boat and watched a man dive for sponges or in this case a sponge.  

Stu's words, "One and done."

I still had a good time.


Sunday we hung around to see how well Stu fared in fantasy football.  I hung out in the kitchen and made guacamole and tahini brownies.  


We flew back to Arlington the next day.

We went for a tour of the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress.


For our last day in D.C. we went to the National Gallery of Art one last time. Until the next time we happen to be in the area!

It's now December and Jeff has started a new job in White Plains, New York. It's weird not having him around all day.


I finished up some art pieces and sprayed a little fixative on them in a courtyard near our hotel the other day.  The store owners didn't like this and security told me so.  I guess I did look like trouble sporting a hoodie and carrying a spray can.  


I am very excited because now I have completed 100 days worth of my daily sketches.


I started this project as we left for Israel and planned on being out of the country for 3-6 months.  Things didn't go as planned.  That happens. We spent about a month in Israel and then 2 months in Washington, D.C..  

Finding something to draw everyday was not always easy.  However, I am so glad that I stuck with it and plan on continuing with it.    

Not all 100 sketches made it to the blog but they are all on Facebook and my website.  To see them all click here!

Thanks for reading. 



Virginia is for Lovers

It has been a while! Again! But I got some commissions that I am very excited about and happily working on.

So what have we been up to?


After the Renoir exhibit we visited the National Museum of Natural History.  We only completed one floor so we need to go back to see the rest.  It was amazing!  

They had a never-ending collection of gems and minerals including the Hope Diamond.


They had a mummified bull,


fabric made from bark,

and a moai from Easter Island!


Even the last passenger pigeon, Martha, was there.


We also went back to the National Gallery to see the exhibit, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting.  The exhibit was good but was missing "Girl with a Pearl Earring," which is what I was really hoping to see. Jeff of course has seen it already. 


We also took a little trip to Charlottesville to visit some presidential homes. Last time we came to D.C. we visited Jefferson's Monticello and Washington's Mt. Vernon but did not get to Madison or Monroe.  We also thought it would be cool to see the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum which includes a tour of the historic home he was born in.  


We got to Charlottesville Thursday night.  The next morning, on my birthday, we got up early with plans to spend the day at James Monroe's Highland.  But when the tour guide started with "this is where Monroe's home would have stood had it not burned down," Jeff and I knew this was not a winner.  Yea so no actual home of James Monroe.  


Part of his guest house still remains but the main house was built by the people who lived on the plantation after Monroe. Not exactly what we came to see.  We got there about 9:30am and were ready to leave by 11.  

We had planned that day to visit Mitchie Tavern if we had time.  Sunday we planned to visit the Woodrow Wilson house.  But plans change.  We decided to do both that day and then Sunday take a day trip to Richmond.  

When we were planning the trip neither of us had much interest in seeing the tavern but it was the best part of the day.  


It is a historic tavern from the time of Jefferson.  They offer self-guided tours and you can of course fill up on fried chicken and other Southern classics.  We did the tour.  During the tour the hostess showed us a colonial game called "Shut the Box".  I won!  And because it was my birthday she also taught Jeff and I a colonial dance called the "Promenade".


The Woodrow Wilson Library and Birthplace was not a huge hit either.  Most of the people on the tour were considerably older.  One particular man really wanted to talk about a nearby railroad that didn't have much to do with Woodrow Wilson's birthplace.  That was... special.

I had a wonderful birthday dinner with my love.  It was very Southern but with vegetarian options!  Just what I wanted.


The next day we had plans to visit James Madison's Montpelier.  


After visiting Monroe's plantation we were a little nervous it might not go so well but it was excellent. First we took a tour of the house.  I loved learning about Dolly Madison and Jeff thought our tour guide was excellent.  After the tour, we took a walk through the forest and gardens and then finished the day with a tour about slavery at the plantation.


Sunday we took a walking tour of historic Richmond and walked along the canal.  The tour was just alright.  We got some lunch afterwards and before being seated we were asked, "Smoking or non-smoking?" I didn't know that was still a thing. Weird.


After lunch we went to the Edgar Allen Poe Museum.  They had a fantastic reading of the "Tell-Tale Heart" and lots of black cats wandering around.  Jeff and I got a collection of his poems and short stories to read to each other. 


On Monday while we still had the rental car we went for a hike at Great Falls Park.  The views were really great.  

For Halloween we binged on Stranger Things 2 and candy.  


Since we have been back in Arlington we visited two more museums.  We went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  

The museum was only okay so we went back to the Smithsonian American Art museum to see the Kara Walker exhibit. 


This past weekend we went to the National Museum of the American Indian but that was also a disappointment.  We wanted more.  There was one exhibit I enjoyed called The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire.


Our time in D.C. is growing short which makes us sad.  So we are trying to find time to finish projects, read for hours, and still see everything on our list.  


More adventures to come.  Thanks for reading. 


Work and Play

Since my last blog we have been trying to stick to a schedule of working from home Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then we go out and have fun on Tuesday, Thursday, and of course weekends.

Last weekend we went to a Washington, D.C. landmark called Ben's Chili Bowl.   


I had a vegetarian chili dog and it was tasty.  Jeff had the real one.

After lunch we went to the museum inside the National Archives and then went upstairs to the rotunda to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  Sorry no pictures were allowed inside.  


On Sunday our football teams played each other.   We couldn't get the game on TV so went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch it there.  My team won and that makes me happy, but that did look like a touchdown.  


Monday we stayed home and worked.  I got to catch up on podcasts while I worked on illustrations while Jeff enjoyed Star Trek playing in the background as he worked.  


Tuesday we went to the zoo.  It started off very slow.  We couldn't find any animals that weren't in hiding somewhere except for a peacock and some chipmunks and squirrels that ran across the path.  


Then we heard there was a Sloth Bear feeding.  We figured that was the best way to see some animals and it was a good decision on our part.  

From then on we saw lots of animals including Giant Pandas which Jeff and I had never seen in real life before.  

This orangutan was very fascinated with this woman.  He would not stop looking at her and even smeared his feces on the window for her.  What a connection! 


Wednesday was another work day but yesterday we had a date day and night!

We went to the movies to see "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women" which is about the man who created Wonder Woman and the women he took inspiration from.  I read an outstanding book on the same topic called The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.  We both liked the movie even though it is not doing well in theaters.  If you have any interest in seeing it you better act quickly.  

After the movie we went to The Phillips Collection.  Jeff and I weren't blown away by the collection itself but they had an exhibit called Renoir and Friends that we loved.  


The highlight of the exhibit was this painting "Luncheon of the Boating Party" which is part of their permanent collection and is considered one of Renoir's greatest paintings. 

Afterwards we went to my favorite bookstore, Kramerbooks, and favorite barbecue joint, Smoke & Barrel, for dinner. They have many yummy vegetarian options.

 It was a perfect day.  

Time to get some work done.  

Thanks for reading.



D.C. We Made It!

Sorry it has been so long since my last post.  We had a lot going on.  

Before making it to D.C. we stayed with Uncle Larry in New Jersey.  This gave us some time to catch up on sleep, do some laundry and look for a short term apartment.  


For the most part things there were pretty quiet. 

One day we did go with Jeff's Aunt Mindy to lunch and then to the Grounds for Sculpture. 


The Grounds for Sculpture was amazing.  My favorite sculptures were those of famous paintings.

 Based on Edouard Manet's "Olympia".

Based on Edouard Manet's "Olympia".

 Based on Renoir's "The Boating Party".

Based on Renoir's "The Boating Party".

Other days in New Jersey were spent sketching, eating Rita's, and watching football.  

Finally we had an appointment to look at an apartment in Arlington Virginia on the subway line.  It was a winner.  


When we were in Jerusalem we didn't get around to doing much touristy stuff because we thought we were going to be there 3-6 months.  We ended up working and just trying to survive our apartment.  

We decided when we got to D.C. we would start doing stuff right away.  Our first day out we went to the National Gallery.  We went there the last time we came to D.C. but we really wanted to go back.  


On the way back we stopped at the Pentagon Memorial because Uncle Larry insisted we go see it.  It was unexpected.  Instead of a monument they created a beautiful park.   


Friday we went to the National Air and Space Museum.  They had a lot of cool planes.  

They had the Spirit of St. Louis.


They had the Wright Brother's plane.  


Jeff was super thrilled they had the studio model of the USS Enterprise.  He even found a channel here that basically plays Star Trek non-stop.  I may turn into a trekkie before this trip is over. 


Saturday we had plans to go to the botanical gardens, walk around the nearby Chinatown, and end the night with sushi! But our plans didn't really work out.  

First the botanical gardens were very small and we saw the thing in maybe an hour.


Chinatown was not that close. And the sushi restaurant we wanted to go to had shut down.  

We ended up walking around the National Mall and seeing the monuments.  

After our walk that day we had had almost completed 10 miles and were up for something heartier than sushi.  We went to Jeff's favorite steakhouse chain BLT.  When Jeff's steak wasn't cooked like he asked even though he had already eaten half of it they insisted on making him a new one, taking it off the bill, and giving us two free sides and three desserts!  Three desserts! We are convinced they must have mistaken Jeff for a food critic.  Works for us!


Sunday and Monday football happened.  And baseball also happened because the Yankees made it to the playoffs.


Tuesday we took a break from sports and went to Ford's Theater and Museum where President Lincoln was assassinated.  


You are even able to go to the old boarding house across the street where Lincoln was brought after he was shot.  

The theater is a working theater again.  After the assassination it shut down.  It reopened in 1968.

Later that evening we went back to see Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman". That play is brilliant.


In between we went to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. 

I got to see my first painting by Anna Marie Robertson Moses aka Grandma Moses! 

 "Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City" 1946

"Grandma Moses Goes to the Big City" 1946

And this painting by one of my favorite American artists Thomas Hart Benton.  

 "Achelous and Hercules" 1947

"Achelous and Hercules" 1947

After some wonderful days of sightseeing we are now getting caught up on work stuff.  


Thanks for reading. 

Art and Hummus

In order to spend as little time in our apartment as possible and to mix things up we have tried a few different coffee shops to work from.  The Starbucks of Israel is called Aroma.  They have one inside an open air mall. 


This particular location was supposed to have amazing views of the City of David but it was too hot that day to sit outside.  We sat inside where we found it too cold and too loud.  You know how Starbucks plays light jazz?  Well, this coffee shop played Rihanna non-stop.  That got annoying very fast.  It was cool exploring a new area but we probably won’t be going back there to work. 


We don’t have tv or cable at our place but we brought a DVD lecture series with us called The Great Courses: History of European Art.  When I started out in college as a graphic design major I switched to social work before being able to take any art history classes.  Now I am trying to make up for it.  I get so excited watching these, I feel like a student again.  


During one of our Sunday phone calls to Jeff’s parents, it was suggested we make grilled cheese sandwiches. This was genius.  The next day we went to a Russian deli I had found for Jeff.  I knew Jeff would like it because it had lots of meats he might not be able to find elsewhere such as the very frowned upon pig!  They also had cheese there.  We picked up some slices and made grilled cheese for dinner.  It didn't take hours to make and it was amazing.  

Jeff and I have been trying to learn Hebrew while we are here but it is very difficult and extremely frustrating.  When it takes us a second to figure out the price we were just given the shop owner grumbles “12 shekels” How are we going to learn that way?

We tried working from another cafe called Sam’s Bagels.  The bagels of course did not come close to a New York style bagel.  First of all they were only going to put cream cheese on one half.  This was not okay and I told him so.  Once I had cream cheese on both sides I made the best of it.  


Thursday night we participated in a hummus workshop we had signed up for through Abraham Hostel.  The hostel also hosts a lot of tours.  The last time we were in Israel we took two of their tours to the West Bank. We visited the Samaritan village, Bethlehem, the Jordan River, and Jericho.  


The hummus workshop was a lot of fun.  I had of course made hummus before with canned chickpeas and food processor but that is not the Israeli way.  They soak the raw chickpeas overnight and then boil them for three hours so that the hummus is at its freshest.  

Even though it was a small group the instructor tried to separate Jeff and I.  I was going to have to make hummus with Edmond from the UK and Jeff was paired with a Canadian Vietnam vet.  Jeff then became the instructor and said “No I think Sarah and I will work together.”


Our hummus and Israeli salad was a delicious success.  

Friday ended up being a quiet day for the most part.  We worked from home and then went to Mahane Yehuda again to get food before Shabbat.  The marketplace before Shabbat is a madhouse. Everyone for themselves.  


For our Friday night Shabbat we decided to have some challah.  I have had challah french toast and plain challah at other restaurants in NYC but never before the braided challah.  It was so beautiful and so delicious. 


For Saturday Shabbat we went for a walk to Liberty Bell Park.  It is a small sculpture park complete with a bell!  


It also had an amphitheater which Jeff decided to make use of.  


Sunday we walked to the Israel Museum.  It is an encyclopedic museum and has a little bit of everything.  


Jeff and I decided to take an archeology tour.  We were looking at a collection of gold coins with the faces of different Roman emperors.  Jeff made a Trump joke and everyone in the group groaned at the thought of Trump’s face on a coin except one proud republican from Ohio who needed to make that known to us. 

After the archeology tour we had to look at their art collection. I am normally drawn to expressionist paintings but if I had to choose a favorite painting I think it was actually "The Death of Adonis” by Peter Paul Rubens.  


I think what I am drawn to here is mostly the subject material.  Until recently I didn't know much about Greek mythology.  I knew their names but that was pretty much it.  It is a common theme in art and now that I know the stories I can appreciate these paintings more.  Here Aphrodite is mourning the loss of her human lover Adonis in the company of Eros and The Fates. 

My next favorite would be “The Peasant Lawyer” by the Studio of Peter Brueghel the Younger. 


After the museum we had an appointment to go look at another apartment. Again the pictures on the website sparkled but failed to do so in person.  Jeff thought maybe he had to increase the budget and look at some higher priced apartments.  But when he did the pictures for those apartments proudly displayed the mold.

That night we went to an American-style restaurant mostly because they had buffalo wings and it had been 18 days since Jeff last had any.  I fought with a waitress to sample the vegan cheese before giving her my order but I was not successful. 


This week we hope to do some sightseeing.  Rosh Hashanah begins Wednesday night. The shops close and stay closed until Shabbat is over Saturday night.  We plan on taking advantage of some tourist attractions that may still be open.  Must get to the marketplace before this city shuts down!  Thanks for reading. More next week.  

Welcome to Israel

The day of our departure, August 31st, our plane had already been delayed an hour so we stopped at what appeared to be a restaurant on the way to our gate.  Restaurant prices but definitely fast food.  We paid forty dollars for some soggy pretzels and two microwaved pizzas! Yum.

We were flying from JFK to Tel Aviv, Israel via Istanbul,Turkey.  I was pleased with myself for remembering to request a vegetarian meal but I ended up with rice and vegetables, two side salads dry with no dressing. Fruit for dessert.  

I was able to get a bit of sleep on the plane and was feeling good about that.  We were getting ready for breakfast and Jeff pointed out that we were probably going to miss our connecting flight.  Stress started kicking in.

Then a message from a flight attendant came over the loudspeaker requesting doctors.  Jeff went to the next cabin. From where I was sitting I could see him and some nurses performing CPR on a woman.  People around me were videotaping and taking pictures on their iphones.  I found it repulsive.

When Jeff came back he told me that by the time the doctors were called the woman was already dead.  An emergency landing was made in Switzerland. We found out she was only 32.

This was day one of our trip.  


We made it to Turkey eventually and when we got there the airlines had already printed us boarding passes for a later flight to Israel.  We landed at the Tel Aviv airport much later in the day than we expected and it was a Friday.  We still had to take an hour taxi ride to Jerusalem, drop off our stuff, and buy food for the weekend before everything closed at sunset for Shabbat.  

We got to our airbnb apartment rental, dropped off our bags, and took a quick look around.  The pictures on airbnb were quite deceptive but we have plenty of space and its in a great location.


You can see from the floor plan there is a living room with an extra bed but I haven't photographed it yet.

The kitchen is quite skinny. 


Below is part of what I call the weird hall that starts at the front door and leads to the bathroom.


It's no NYC, luxury, waterfront, high rise.  

We hurried to the store and got some water, milk, and cereal.  Then settled in for Shabbat. Jeff even taught me the prayer for the Shabbat candles.


Saturday morning we finished unpacking our stuff and then met our friends Abe and Agata for coffee.  They took us and their daughter to Independence Park.  After Shabbat was over we took a walk and got some falafel for dinner.  

 *There were many dogs at the park, and one was feeling especially frisky.

*There were many dogs at the park, and one was feeling especially frisky.

Sunday we explored Israel's biggest open air marketplace Machane Yehuda.  It is filled with little shops selling fresh produce, salads, breads, dried fruits, nuts, and even housewares for some of the best prices.  


They have even begun to add some great restaurants.  But, eating out is very expensive in Israel so I will be doing most of the cooking.  That night we did go to a kosher burger place.  The food was excellent and an old man came in off the street just to serenade us with his horn.  Great!


Monday we went back to the market place and loaded up on staples and ingredients to make ful medames and shakshuka. I'll tell you more about that next week.

We then took a walk through the Old City.  


The Old City is what was considered Jerusalem in biblical times.  It is divided into four quarters. There is the Jewish quarter, the Christian quarter, the Muslim quarter, and the Armenien quarter. That day we visited the Muslim quarter for some of the best knafeh.  Knafeh is a middle eastern cheese pastry soaked in syrup and topped with pistachios. 

It looks like this.


When we got back to our place Jeff realized that the gas stove in our apartment doesn't have a vent! We ended up going out again and buying a portable, two burner, electric stove from a small appliance shop down the road.  

This morning we were looking at some of the pots pans and other kitchen appliances our hosts left us with and they were not in great condition. Something weird growing in the tea kettle we could not remove.  So we went back to visit our friend at the appliance store and bought a kettle and some cooking pans.  We have been giving this guy so much business, he gave us a free wooden spoon and a discount on the stove. And since we have been spending so much time with him I felt I needed this picture!


Today was supposed to be a work day for us but not a lot was accomplished. When we got back from the appliance store Jeff had a stain on his pants and went to open the washer. Turns out the washer was filled with sulphur-smelling water that had been sitting there for who knows how long. And buckets of the stuff came pouring out. 

Its been an adventure so far. Thanks for reading! More next week.

A New Focus

Recently I decided to give my art a new focus.  I've decided to branch into religious art and paint in my own comic book style the religious paintings commonly painted by the old masters.  In addition to that I will be painting some bible stories that were not as popular.

But before I dive into all of that I have started to paint my own experiences with religion and the SDA church.  This may surprise/disappoint some of you but I no longer identify or consider myself Adventist or religious.  I have decided to just come out with it, because I no longer want to pretend and just want to be myself.  I consider myself to be a spiritual person and leave it at that.

I began to realize that Adventism wasn't for me when I decided to be a missionary in S. Korea for a year.  During that year I taught ESL for the SDA Language Institute.  In addition to teaching English I was expected to encourage my students to come to religious programs and church services as a way of practicing their English skills.  

I was not very good at this. I made the announcements, but I never pushed this on my students.  I wasn't ever one to push my beliefs on anyone, but there I found out this was not a good quality to have.  

I was scolded by my boss/pastor for being a bad teacher and a missionary.  When it came out that I was dating a Korean he told me he believed that I only cared about boys and I wasn't focused on saving souls.  I went to my Korean roommate for comfort but she agreed with him and told me to go back to the states and that I was a "bad adventist".  

I talked to some teachers from my orientation group and learned that pastors received a bonus every time someone was baptized and that some pastors waited for students at the elevator with a piece of paper trying to sign them up for baptism.  I found this disgusting.  But I sucked it up, enjoyed my weekends with good friends, and finished my contract.  

After coming home I thought things would normalize but they never did.  I took on church positions to try and get a better perspective but the doubts and negative experiences continued.  

Despite all this, I find religion fascinating and continue to read and study not only Christianity but all religions.  The studying I do now is for myself and I feel happy again.

There really is no better place to do all of this than in Israel.

That's right! Jeff and I will be spending 6 months in Israel starting in September.  We are so excited!


Broad Strokes

My cousin Amy and I both had interest in reading the book Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order), by Bridget Quinn.  Amy got around to reading it before me which is usually the case.  She told me she really enjoyed it and I decided to read it sooner rather than later.  

I am a little more than halfway through the book and I am really loving the stories of these women and their art.  The featured paintings for three of the artists are located at the Met!  This weekend Jeff and I went to go see them and I shared with him what I had learned.

The first painting is called Self Portrait with Two Pupils, Mademoiselle Marie Gabrielle Capet and Mademoiselle Carreaux de Rosemond. Kind of a mouthful. It was painted by Adelaide Labille-Guiard.  She was admitted to the Royal Academy out of spite, when Marie Antoinette forced them to admit a female artist of her choosing.  As a result, the Royal Academy placed a quota on the number of female painters admitted.  This painting was featured in the next salon and considered a slap in the face to the Royal Academy for their quota. 

This painting is called Portrait of Charlotte du Val d'Ognes, by Marie Denise Villers.  This is my favorite painting of the three.  This painting was believed to be painted by Jaques Louis David.  It was later discovered that this painting had been in the official Salon of 1801, which Jaques Louis David did not participate in.  

When it was revealed that the painting had been painted by a woman, the scholars who had been deceived before claimed that it made more sense that this was painted by a woman because it contained errors that David simply would not make.  Picture me rolling my eyes right now.

Further research of this painting by Ann Higgonet, showed that Marie Denise Villers shared a studio at the Louvre with another female artist Charlotte du Val d'Ognes, the subject of this painting.  

This third painting is called Horse Fair, by Rosa Bonheur. Rosa had a passion for painting animals and America.  Here she purposely paints the horses much larger than the men trying to control them.  Paintings like this tended to show the man greater in size. The man being the master.  Rosa wanted to show that the horse could not be mastered.  This painting is believed to be a secret self portrait because there is one man without facial hair that looks at the audience. 

Some of the artists in this book that I have yet to read have featured paintings at MOMA.  I am hoping to be able to do the same with those if they are currently on display.  

Thanks for reading! 


Pink Martini

This weekend we went to Montreal for the international jazz festival.  We had heard good things and decided to check it out.  Also I just love going to Montreal and can always find a reason to go.  

Our first day there we stopped off at out favorite poutine place. Poutine for breakfast. Yum! 

After that we headed over to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  We wanted to go to a new exhibit called Revolution. It was all about the art and music of the 60's.  

Everyone was given a headset, and as you walked through the exhibit different songs played.  There was lots of Beatles, Lennon, Creedence, and Pink Floyd. Good stuff!


Saturday night we had tickets to see Pink Martini.  Pink Martini's music is a combination of jazz, big band, and world music.  They have songs in several languages.  Each song felt like a trip in another country.  

This was the first song of the evening and the first song they wrote.

After the concert we bought a poster and got the band to sign it for us! 

Sunday before heading back home we went to see Habitat 67, which is Montreal's architectural landmark.  We learned after that you can take a tour, and we plan on doing that next time we visit. 

The last stop was the Jean Talon outdoor market.  I love outdoor markets.  I love all the fresh produce, bread, and other treats.  The colors at these markets are just beautiful.  I got some cucumbers and avocados. Jeff picked out a delicious olive oil!

Aww this trip felt way too short.  Back to work.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to those of you that have already resubscribed to this blog.

Fun in Philly

Recently we spent a long weekend in Philadelphia.  Jeff and I always keep a huge, never ending list of things we want to do.  The number of things we wanted to do in Philly had grown, so we decided to make a trip of it.  

The first day we went to the Eastern State Penitentiary. 

We liked it, but didn't love it.

I loved that they left it in ruins. 

And seeing Al Capone's cell was a hit as well.

From there we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, because I had never been!

I really enjoyed this museum. It reminded me of the Met, only much smaller and more doable.  I have been to the Met so many times and have yet to see it all.  Luckily, I live in New York, I'm a member, and can go again and again. 

Normally when I go to a museum my favorite section is the modern art section. With this museum I actually enjoyed the Asian art section the most.

The museum had Japanese architecture, beautiful Tibetan furniture, and lots of Chinese tri-colored, glazed, figurines.  

In the modern and American sections, I did see some beautiful stuff as well.

Some Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and a very famous painting by Thomas Eakins.

The next day we got up and went to Philly's National Museum of American Jewish History.  The amount of information there was overwhelming. I wanted to read and study it all, but couldn't.

After that, Jeff had a surprise destination in mind.  We went to a place called Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. It was an outdoor lot that artist Isaiah Zagar filled with walls of mosaic sculpture.  The mosaics are created with found objects such as, broken tiles, dishes, bottles, bicycle wheels, figurines, etc.  Basically he turns trash into treasure! I could not stop taking pictures.

The next day we went to the Barnes Foundation.  The Barnes Foundation is the private collection of Albert C. Barnes. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed, so you must go and see it yourself.   Mr. Barnes was a little obsessed with Renoir.  I have never seen so much of Renoir in one place.  He also had a number of Matiisse and Cezanne paintings as well.  

After that we went across the street to the Rodin sculpture museum. 

After both of these activities, I was dying to go to an art store and sketch, but our next stop was Atlantic City!

It was my first time there, but Jeff had been there before.  He took me to a delicious Cuban restaurant, at the Tropicana Casino, called Cuba Libre.  I had some delicious veggie paella and black bean soup.

We also did some shopping at one of the casino stores. It had lots of international treats like Turkish Delight.  We stocked up on that!  

I looked for those assorted butter cookies that come in the blue tin at Christmas time.  I told Jeff that these are my favorite cookies, and now Jeff loves me even more for it.  Apparently it shows how much of an old soul I really am.  We didn't find them there, but I found them back in NYC when we got home. Score!

The last day of our trip, before going home, we went to the aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.  I saw some adorable hippos, but overall I wasn't impressed.  The aquarium in Chicago just blew it away.

We are home now, but not for long...  

Tomorrow we leave for Montreal.  



Originally posted June 6, 2017.

For memorial weekend, Jeff took some time off and we made the most of it.  Friday after work we got in the car and headed to Washington, D.C.  It has been a while since either of us have been there and we were looking forward to it.


For our first full day in Washington, D.C. we had plans to hit up two museums, the National Gallery and the Museum of American History.

Jeff has been reading about the health benefits of drinking coffee, so during this trip we tried to pretend like we loved it and downed some espresso shots to start our day.  As we tried other coffee variations during this trip, we came to the realization that we just aren't coffee people.  We are tea people!  If we have to drink coffee, espresso is the way to go, because I only have to drink a tiny amount.

After the espresso, we started in the modern wing of the museum.  After seeing just a few paintings we realized our whole day would be spent here.  We weren't going anywhere.

The National Gallery was amazing!  By far my favorite collection of paintings.  After 6 hours of art we still hadn't seen it all.

However, I did get to see my first da Vinci!


Washington, D.C. is known for its Ethiopian food.  I am not a fan, but Jeff really likes it and so for love I gave it another shot.  I didn't care for it in Kenya and I didn't care for it in D.C.


Before going back to the hotel we stopped off at one of my favorite book stores, Kramerbooks.  My cousin Amy had taken me there on my last trip to D.C. and I wanted to show Jeff. I picked up a copy of Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  I can rarely go into a bookstore without making a purchase.  I have a problem.

The next day we spent another day at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.  The real chin dropper was the size of the flag that inspired the star spangled banner.  Unfortunately pictures of the flag were not allowed.

I also got to see Julia Child's kitchen!

And I really enjoyed the political cartoons and propaganda posters.

This one was the best!


That night we had a much tastier dinner at the restaurant Smoke and Barrel. A barbecue  joint with lots of vegetarian options.  I got the stuffed spud! Delicious.

The next day we got in the car and drove to Virginia.  I have been dying to go back to Colonial Williamsburg.  And this time we did it right.

We were able to go to governor's mansion,

the capitol building and court house,

the tavern,

the wig shop,

the apothecary,

and more!

I have a real passion for American history, particularly the American revolution, where it all began.  I loved it all!

For the fourth day of our trip we took another road trip to Virginia. One place Jeff had always wanted to go to was Jefferson's home, Monticello.  I really loved his home and the beautiful gardens.

On our last day before heading home we went to George Washington's home, Mt. Vernon. George Washington's home and plantation were much bigger than Thomas Jefferson's, but I think I prefer Monticello.

We had such a great time and are already planning another trip back.

Thanks for reading!

Things are Happening

It has been awhile since I posted, but I have been super busy, which is great for a new artist!

I got word back that my seven deadly sins piece, "Lust", was accepted into the member show! If you're a New Yorker and you want to come, and I hope you do... the opening reception will be Thursday June 8th from 7-9pm.  My piece will be on view at the gallery until June 29th. 

Before the member show, I will be participating in an open studio event.  35 different artists will be showing their work.  The public is invited to look through the studios, meet the artists, and ask questions.  And of course there will be art for sale!

In addition to these two events, I have another illustration project I am working on that I am so excited about.  I'll share more about that when everything is official.

This weekend, Jeff and I went to the Jewish Museum to see an exhibition on one of my favorite artists Florine Stettheimer.  I first learned about Florine Stettheimer at the Met but recently she has become increasingly popular.  

 What I love about Florine's work is the the color palette she uses, which is usually a lot of bright pastel colors.  In this exhibit I got to see some different palettes and I loved those as well.   Another thing I love about her work is that there is so much going on in each of her paintings.  I could stand at each painting for a long time.    

Thanks for reading!

Spring is Here!

Originally posted April 18, 2017.

Things have been pretty quiet, since our last trip to Montreal.

For the most part, free time was consumed by doing our taxes.

It sucks when we have to be adults.

So glad that’s behind us.

We did take some time one weekend to go to Jersey for the big fossils, gems, and minerals show! As nerdy as we are, we thought this was going to be really cool, and while I am glad we went, it did not meet my expectations.

Most of you probably saw this coming.

In the studio, I have been working on finishing up my series.  I am closer to finishing Sloth which was a sin that I decided to do a second time.

So far, I am much happier with this version, than the previous one.

I also submitted LustGreed, and Gluttony, to a member show at Trestle gallery.  I hope they get accepted and sell.  But one step at a time.

In addition to the series, I have started playing around with different materials.

The purpose of this exercise was to not to overthink it and just have fun.  I did exactly that.

I created this collage inside an old hardcover book.

I found the book at a thrift store and am now using it as a sketch book.

I’m going to call this collage, “I’ve got a bad feeling.”

I got the idea to use an old book as a sketchbook, from artists, Martha Rich and Lisa Congdon.

Spring took a while getting here, but its finally warming up.  Jeff and I have a long list of summer adventures planned, so stay tuned for that.

Thanks for reading!

Weekend Away

Originally posted March 29, 2017.

This past weekend, we left Friday after work to head back to Montreal for a short visit.  We listened to some tunes on the way there and it brought us back to the days of driving from Maine to New York on the weekends.

Last time we went to Montreal we saw that they had an upcoming Chagall exhibit and made plans to come back and see it. We also had tickets for a Canadiens Hockey game, Saturday night, and reservations to the Sugar Shack for Sunday.  And at some point during the weekend we wanted to stop for poutine and then the tea place we found on our last trip.  It was going to be a busy weekend.

We woke up Saturday morning and got Poutine for breakfast! It was so good, and one thing to cross off our list.

We then headed to the art museum for the Chagall exhibit.  Jeff and I go to a lot of art museums and I have seen Chagall’s work here and there and loved it, but at this exhibit, I came to the realization he is one of my favorite artists!

Chagall is most famous for his stained glass windows and paintings but he also did tapestries, ceramics, illustration, costume and set design, and last but certainly not least collage!

I gave Jeff my review of the exhibit as we were leaving and told him it was my favorite exhibit I’ve seen so far. So you can imagine I went a little camera crazy. I’ll try not to go overboard.

Even though he is most famous for his stained glass pieces, they are not my favorites.  But this one I really liked.

They also had some sketches for some other stained glass windows he had done.  This was my favorite of those.

This was the tapestry they had.

This was one of the illustrations he did for a book of fables.  He would have his wife read the fables to him as he worked.

He would also have her read the plays to him and listen to the music as he did set and costume design.

When I saw the first set of costumes I was not in love with them.  But the more I looked at them the more I liked them.  Then we saw several more sets of costumes for other ballets and I was in love.

Jeff read that when Chagall was designing the sets and costumes he would want to know the choreography for each of the characters so he knew where they were on the stage. This was so that he could make the set and costumes line up and create a painting in motion. Woah!

One more set of costumes!

I was so excited to see Chagall had collage pieces.  He used a lot of interesting materials to collage with. In addition to paper, he used fabric, lace, and plants.

Now the paintings.  Oh the paintings!

The painting that stood out the most was this one!

I also really enjoyed Chagall’s self portrait.

There were two circus paintings shown.  The “red circus” and the “blue circus”.  Jeff prefers the red, but I like the blue one more.

There was so much to see.

After the exhibit we raced to the tea place, had some tea, and I got Jeff a traditional Chinese tea set for his birthday.

Next stop was the Bell Centre for the hockey game.  But after going through security, the original tickets we received in the mail from StubHub were rejected.  Jeff got the money back and a coupon but no game for us.  Boo. Dinner instead.

Sunday before heading back home, we went to the Sugar Shack.   There, this Santa Claus look-a-like taps trees for maple syrup but has turned it into a tourist destination.

First there is a huge feast, family style.  Before we got there we thought it would be a small group and we could practice our French with the people next to us.  But the place was crawling with people.

Then since it was family style, Jeff stole some soup from the family next to us.  They did not look happy.  Apparently it was family style but for each group not for the whole table.  Oops.  We sensed it would be best not to practice French with these people after that.  Oh well.

For the first course there was soup, bread, and bread & butter pickles.  All very good!

Next course there was a ton of meat for my carnivore boyfriend.  Sausages, ham, bacon, meat pie, and meatballs.  I stocked up on the beans, mashed potatoes, and eggs.

For dessert we had sugar pie, which was amazing, and of course pancakes with maple syrup!

During the meal the band would play and we were given spoons to play.  I enjoyed this very much and was super disappointed I didn’t bring any flannel to wear.  Shame on me.

In addition to the meal there was maple syrup on snow, selfie stations and a horse-pulled wagon ride.  The horse ride ended up just being a short ride to the parking lot, which was kind of a disappointment, but anyway.

Last we stopped at the gift shop and got maple sugar candy and a candle.  They also sold maple scented perfume.  We so wish we got a picture of this, but next to the perfume was a picture of the owner with the words “Entice Me!”  I passed on the perfume, and we headed back home.

Thanks for reading

Marsden Hartley

Originally Posted March 23, 2017

This past weekend, Jeff and I spent a few hours at the Met Breuer to see the exhibit, Marsden Hartley’s Maine.

Marsden Hartley was a painter, poet, and essayist, born in Lewiston Maine.

His mother died when he was just 8 years old.  So his father, four years later, remarried to Martha Marsden.  Hartley took Marsden as his first name when he was in his twenties.  His birth name being Edmund.

When Hartley was 14 years old his whole family moved to Ohio but Marsden was left in Maine to work in a shoe shop.  Hartley found this part of his life to be extremely lonely. He eventually rejoined his family in Ohio and studied painting at the Cleveland School of Art.

Marsden Hartley was very inspired by the writings of American transcendentalists Henry David Thorough and Ralph Waldo Emerson. This caused Hartley to turn his painting career into a spiritual journey.

His first mature paintings were done from a farm in Lowell Maine, which caught the eye of art promoter and photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

Hartley was also inspired by European painter Cézanne and American painter Winslow Homer. Homer’s coastal paintings in particular influenced Hartley’s work.

During the regionalism movement artists believed that a “sense of rootedness” was key to their work.  This is when Hartley decided he was going to be, and declared himself “the painter of Maine”

Hartley said, “to paint only Maine and put Maine really on the art map as is my right”

In addition to painting Maine landscapes, Hartley painted all things Maine, such as its lobsterman, lumber industry, waves, and churches.

Hartley gave special attention to Mt. Katahdin, wanting to make it his own as Cézanne had with Mont Sainte-Victoire.

Hartley painted Maine until his death in 1943.

Having recently moved to NYC from Maine, I had a lot of Maine pride during this exhibit and still do. During my travels and living in NYC, I have had the privilege of seeing some extraordinary art. Seeing this exhibit was so awesome and extremely motivating.

Hope you enjoyed reading this.  Thanks again!


Street Art

Originally posted March 16, 2017

Since I came to New York City I find myself taking pictures of all the amazing street art I find.  I first spotted the work of street artist Wellington Naberezney Sipros, in Manhattan.  I love the ears and mustache.

I showed the picture to Jeff when we met for dinner later that night, and he told me he was an artist for a graffiti and street art project, called the Bushwick Collective.

For those reading that aren’t familiar with Bushwick, it is an artsy neighborhood in Brooklyn.  Even though you can see the work of these artists all over NYC, you definitely need to take a trip to Bushwick, because it’s everywhere.

One weekend Jeff and I decided to do exactly that.

The first one I saw after getting off the subway was this! Things were off to a good start!

We walked all around Bushwick in the freezing cold taking pictures of the artwork.

I saw another one by Sipros.

And so much more.

The photos below are of street art I have found elsewhere in NYC:

And I even have a photo of street art I saw in Morocco!

If you like the street art I have shared with you, you can follow The Bushwick Collective on Instagram or Facebook.

Since my residency critique I have finished working on “Greed”.


I took feedback from my peers and tried to use more of my own illustrations in my collages.  So I have some magazine images but I created my own mouse as well as the coins, gold and diamonds.

I am doing sloth over again, and I made a rough sketch this week that I am happy with.  I’ll try and execute it next week.

Thanks for reading!

Residency Critique

Originally posted March 2, 2017

In my last post, I shared with you a new series I am working on that I was going to be showing to my residency group for critique.  I had the critique this past Tuesday, and I think it went very well.  I got a lot of feedback and questions asked of me. Now I have a lot to think about moving forward with this series.

4 artists including myself were presenting Tuesday and we each had 15 minutes.  I thought to myself, “I won’t need 15 minutes,” but then I ended up going over! Oops!

I brought photos of what I have so far, that I shared with you last week, and a picture of one of my smaller collages for those who had not seen my work before.

I started with gluttony and how I was pleased with gluttony. I also mentioned that after gluttony I am not as satisfied with the previous pieces I did.  I showed them sloth and explained my issues with that particular piece.  The audience wasn’t saying much at this point.  I got a couple laughs here and there when I explained my frustrations with sloth ,but that was it.

I then began explaining the troubles I had working on lust but then showed them what I had come up with as a final result.  This was when everyone started talking.

The carrots were a huge hit! I was quite proud of that.  Jeff pointed out to me later that adding the carrots was one of the last ideas I had to make it more lust like and it worked!

An artist there said the feeling she got when she looked at it made her uncomfortable but that she liked how it made her feel at the same time!  She also thought the bunnies and carrots that I had constructed for the piece were whimsical and playful and suggested that I may not need to rely on children’s book images for  an entire piece like I have with the smaller collages.  She did say, however, that she really liked the magazine images in this piece.

Other feedback I got was that they wanted to see more lust pieces in my series, and on a larger scale.  Another artist pitched in that she would like to see me cover a whole wall with more bunnies and more carrots but have the bunnies interacting with each other in some way like a Heironymous Bosch piece! They also suggested I do a piece where all the sins are interacting with each other, which I had been considering doing before.

Before the meeting, my residency leader Christina, read my last blog post and my artist statement and sent me an email with a bunch of questions.  At the meeting she told me to think more about who my audience is.

In the meeting and in the email, she wanted to know about my obsession with using vintage materials.

The question of who my audience is, I am going to have to give some more thought.  I talked in my last post of how I had felt boxed into making art for children and I don’t want to make art for just kids. One artist said strongly,”if you continue to move in this direction with the series than you would have to do it without the kids.”

Christina mentioned that children’s movies had jokes that were more for adults than the actual kids, just to make the movie more tolerable for the adult stuck watching the thing, but that she didn’t want that for my art.  I don’t want that either.

As far as the vintage materials go, I use them because I love them.  I find them interesting and beautiful. Thats pretty much it!

A lot on my mind right now.

Thanks again for reading!