Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 in Review

2018 has been a great year for special events involving family and friends as well as a year of new locations and lots of inspiration. My thanks to all of you who have followed along here and on Facebook. I appreciate your visits and your comments. Here are some of the highlights of my year.

In January I participated in the "30 Paintings in 30 Days" challenge focusing on painting in gouache. I enjoyed the experience and need to force myself to do it more. Here is one of my favorite paintings from that challenge.

Gouache painting of one of our snowstorms.

January also marked the second Women's March and I was there in the crowd. Like the first one it was a very moving experience. It can't be described.

Women's March, January 2018.

In February things were quiet. I did a few still life paintings and this one of the avocado was one of my favorites.

I was caught up by some of the events at the Olympics and tried to capture a few of the events as they were happening like this skater's performance.

I sketched at a new location for me, the Roerich Museum with the NYC Urban Sketchers in March. It was an interesting brownstone filled with art.

I've sketched at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and had always wanted to do a sketch of the Great Hall and took on the challenge this year. It's quite a view!

Great Hall at the Met.

April was a busy month with a 100 people challenge and making lots of alcohol ink tiles for The Catbird Seat, a shop/art gallery in Sayville that has been selling some of my artwork.

Seahorse alcohol ink tile.

At the end of April into part of May my husband and I traveled to Australia. My niece was getting married and that was the original reason for the trip, but we visited several cities and spent a month traveling around. I was able to meet up with the Sydney Urban Sketchers, the Manly Sketchers, and the Perth Urban Sketchers. Our "tribe" of sketchers is always so welcoming. Here is a bit of what I created while I was gone and a few photos of the experience.

Our first stop was Sydney and among the many locations I sketched at was the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Opera House

From Sydney we flew to Perth and stayed in the cute town of Fremantle. I loved the town and the houses.

Fremantle house.

We visited a Wild Animal Park where I made a few new friends.

Making a new friend at the zoo.

The best creature by far!!!

The wedding itself was in Pemberton at Pump Hill Farm which was about 3 hrs from Perth. Here is the beautiful, happy couple.

Kathleen and Fionn

I did a painting for them while we were there. I sketched the wedding location early that morning and then the following morning painted Kathleen and Fionn into the setting using one of the photos I took.

A few day after the wedding my husband and I returned to Perth which was a wonderful city...just the right size to explore and have fun. We spent an additional week there on our own before heading home.

Perth Bell Tower

When we returned home in May it was nearly Memorial Day. While doing a show with the South Bay Art Association I met a couple of women who bought one of my paintings and then asked me to do a painting of their house. We've become friends and they have been very supportive of my work.

Cheryl and Lorraine's house.

I also participated in two garden tours in May, one in Bellport and one in Sayville. This was the garden surrounding the pool at one of the homes.

Garden with a pool.

I also was able to sketch two of the musicians involved in one of the garden tours. They were thrilled that I sketched them quickly while they were playing.

Entertainment at the garden tour.

June was quiet and I had a bit of time to relax at the beach before flying off for my next trip. 

Pathway Through the Dunes

In July I was able to take another wonderful trip. I started with 10 days in Porto, Portugal for the 9th Urban Sketching Symposium. It was wonderful! I got to meet people from all over the world, some of whom I have been friends with on the internet but hadn't met before like my friend, Kitty van den Heuvel from the Netherlands.

Kitty van den Heuvel and me.

All around us was so much inspiration. I could have stayed there a month with no problem.

Sao Bento Train Station, Porto, Portugal.

Restaurant along the Douro River in Porto.

 My next stop was Riga, Latvia for another wedding. My nephew, Joe married Angela in a ceremony on the beach. It was beautiful. 

Angela and Joe

Latvia was really interesting. I didn't get to do much sketching since most of my short stay was spent visiting with family. I did a few sketches like this one of the Buddy Bears in Dome Square in Riga.

Buddy Bears in Dome Square.

When I returned home Paint the Great South Bay took place in August. It was a week of painting in various locations along the south shore. It is a fun event to be part of. Here are a few of my paintings done for the event. I was also interviewed for a newspaper article about Paint the Great South Bay.

Terry Street Garden (Sold)

Waiting for the Ferry

In September things were less hectic and I was able to get into NYC with the Urban Sketchers to sketch at the Conservancy Garden which is part of Central Park.

Statue at the Conservancy Garden

I was able to get some beach sketching done too.

Girls just want to have fun.

The NYC Urban Sketchers visited the Gowanus Canal area of Brooklyn. This is one of my sketches from that day.

Canoeing Along the Gowanus

September also brought some family excitement. Charlie Finn was born to my nephew, Jeff and his wife, Kelly. They live in California and I can't wait to get out there and meet this little angel. Apparently he is a good napper just like his daddy.

Sleeping Charlie.

October started with a visit to Patchogue by the Clydesdales. It was a fun event to sketch but very crowded. The horses and wagon stopped at several restaurants to make a "delivery."

Clydesdales in Patchogue.

Inktober was also taking place and I successfully did an ink sketch very day, even capturing the sewer workmen in my neighborhood. They were so excited that I sketched them. lol

Working on the Line

My husband and I went to Maine in October and were there for Pumpkinfest. I did sketch the creative pumpkins again this year but also went out to Pemaquid Point where I did a gouache painting.

Pemaquid Point, Maine

October brought another great-nephew to my family. Asher Finn is now the little brother of Emersyn Grace Finn. They are the children of my nephew, Mike and his wife, Rachel. They also live in California, so when I get out there I will have several new family members to meet.

Emersyn and Asher

November brought a visit to the Brooklyn Museum with the NYC Urban Sketchers. The mummy stayed quite still for this sketch. lol

Brooklyn Museum Mummy

I also attended the Draw-A-Thon sponsored by the High School of Art and Design. I did some nude sketches but was more interested in the costumed models.

Models in costume.

In December I was involved in several arts and craft shows as well as the annual show my plein air group has. All this involved 3 weekends in a row which was a bit much for me, but the sales were good so I can't really complain. I did sketch at the craft shows and tried to get in as much sketching as I could. One day I sketched inside a cathedral with a friend.

One of my paintings has a new home in Korea. A customer purchased it to give as a gift to the new in-laws of his son. The in-laws had been here in the summer for the wedding and had visited the Fire Island Lighthouse and loved it.  The parents from Long Island were going to Korea for the traditional wedding and wanted it as a gift for the parents of their new daughter-in-law. How fun is that!

Vendor table at the Holiday Art Fair.

Cathedral of the Incarnation

This morning I went out and did my last plein air sketch for the year. It was sketched of a church in Patchogue.

St. Paul's Church

Again, my thanks to you for visiting by blog and sharing your thoughts and comments with me.

Wishing you a happy 2019 filled with family, friends, love, health and inspiration!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Yesterday the NYC Urban Sketchers met at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens for sketching. There are several big greenhouses that are partly underground and will keep you warm (a bit too warm) while it is frosty outside. The weather report was for a fairly mild day so I was hoping to get to sketch outdoors too.

I began in the Desert greenhouse which has some wonderful varieties of cacti. That is my favorite of the rooms for sketching because it is dry and long as you are not wearing a heavy sweater. I was prepared with a flannel shirt and a t-shirt I was comfortable. I included the windows so this wouldn't be mistaken for a sketch from Arizona.

Then we walked over to the cafe for lunch. I brought my own lunch due to my experience the last time we were there in the winter and the concession stand was so underwhelming. This one was too. Coffee was made one cup at a time with you know how long that took with about 15 sketchers waiting. They had soup, wraps (that were premade and cold) or scones and cookies. Not very exciting fare for sure!  How difficult is it to provide something a bit better? Yes, there is a regular restaurant but lunch runs around $20 and takes far too much time.

After lunch we headed back to the greenhouses. I went in the tropical room and it was just too hot. The temperate room wasn't much better, so I opted to go outside. It wasn't as windy as earlier in the day but I needed my warm coat, hat, scarf, and fingerless gloves. After a while I was wishing I had my tights on under my jeans...and covered the tips of my fingers. All this to be able to sketch the conservatory. 

Around 3 we met to walk over to Tooker's Alley for drinks and "show and tell." I didn't sketch there because I was busy talking to a couple that were visiting from San Francisco and a guy visiting from Copenhagen. We also had a guy from somewhere in South America but he didn't join us for show and tell. It was a good day of sketching and meeting new people.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Food Court

Like many locations I tend to return to them. Yesterday was a wet, rainy day but I needed to get out of the house for a while. I headed over to the Smith Haven Mall, walked through the stores (bought nothing) and then stopped at the food court to sketch. I like sketching at the Japanese food stall because their uniforms are so colorful...and they always have someone standing in front handing out samples.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Barber Shop

There is a barber shop in Patchogue and I've wanted to sketch it for a while, but there never seems to be a parking space near it. What I like about this particular barber shop is that it has a big picture window with nothing really blocking the view. The other day when I passed there was a parking spot in the perfect location but the sun's glare on the window made it really difficult to see what was inside. I couldn't see the barber's hand holding the scissors so that is quite a bit off, but the glare was so bright that only when I was nearly finished could I see that the mirrors were oval, not rectangular...and they had frames around them. Who would have expected that??? lol I will continue to keep checking for a spot at a good time of day and redo this.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Last evening my Wednesday night sketch group met at the library. We had a real low turnout since it was so close to Christmas...only 4 of us showed up. We didn't have a theme but we are planning an ATC exchange soon so I thought I would do a few of those. I brought along a few Christmas characters that I used for one card and then I used a reference photo on my phone for the other card.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


I needed some gift cards for presents yesterday so I did  a few views of my poinsettia that is sitting on my coffee table...and is still alive. lol

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!
Last night I did a sketch of one of my special Christmas ornaments. Many years ago I was in San Diego with my parents visiting my sister and her family for Christmas. One night we went to the Wild Animal Park with her boys. At the time she just had the two older boys. We went into one of the shops that had Christmas ornaments and I bought two angel ornaments that reminded me of them. The oldest, Mike, had blonde hair so I always think of him when I hang this ornament on the tree. My other nephew, Jeff, had dark hair so I bought a dark haired angel that always makes me think of him. Poor Ryan doesn't have an angel to remind me of him, but I have lots of memories of Christmases with all of them! My sister is gone now and each of the boys is married with beautiful families of their own. I love having ornaments that are so special.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Church of the Assumption

A friend had given me the name of a Polish deli in Copaigue where his family gets kielbasa. I like kielbasa if it is the real thing, not what they usually sell in the supermarket. I don't think I had ever gone to Copaigue before but since it was only about 30 minutes from me I decided to head over there. The deli was impressive...wall to wall products that were Polish/Slavic...nothing in English. lol My mother's side of the family is Polish so I was doing research for us. The kielbasa looked good so I bought some. We ate some of it for lunch and my husband (who has no Polish in his DNA) said it was the best he's ever had. I thought it was pretty good.

When I left the deli I spotted this church out of the corner of my eye down one of the streets. It is the Church of the Assumption in Copaigue.  It looked so welcoming with the doors wide open. I found a spot to park and sketched the building while the mass was still going on. Before I finished the congregation started coming out and I decided that added a lot to the sketch so I added a few people.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

O Christmas Tree

I decided to do something a little different for me and use a music sheet for the background of my painting. I tried printing out the music on my regular watercolor paper but it wouldn't go through the printer. I ended up using regular copy paper. I will try another like this soon but see if I can find a better paper that works.

Saturday, December 22, 2018


Guess who had some Christmas shopping left to do and wanted company. My hubby always waits until right before Christmas to pick up "a few things." I told him I would go but my plan was to sketch Santa, not shop. I end up at the same mall each year, the Lake Grove Mall and I swear there is always the exact same Santa. Maybe they keep him in the back the rest of the year. Anyway, I didn't do the whole setup this year and I moved the little Christmas tree closer to his chair.