Saturday, June 24, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

As the end of June grows closer, and summer's heat and humidity have indeed arrived in New York, I admit to having become an even lazier blogger.  Before July actually shows up, I'm determined to show you all some city views.


My favorite NYC farmers market is the one in Union Square, and it has finally come into its glorious summertime bounty.  Flowers and produce displays grow more marvelous every week.


Another June feature is rain, even thunderstorms.  Sometimes the downpours coincide with farmers market days, and keep me indoors.  Sometimes the weather is perfect, just like the strawberries in the following photo.


On rare cooler days, I continue to work on a current knitting project, a tubular fair isle cowl destined for eventual inclusion in my etsy.com shop.  The colors are cooling, even if the wool yarn is not!


Something else that has been taking my waking time is my recent return to oil painting after a sixteen year break.  I have begun trying to rescue a painting I abandoned back then.  Within the first few hours of sitting at my old easel, I realized how much I have missed painting.


Pleasant weather has also added opportunities to get together with friends.  There have been lots of lunches and museum visits and walks in Central Park. 

I've been reading quite a bit, and would recommend two recently finished novels, Transit by Rachel Cusk and Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves.  Keeping up with constantly changing current events and writing and calling my elected government representatives has also been a regular activity. 

There have been lots of walks around my West Side neighborhood.  My smart phone keeps track of my walking mileage, and I am sometimes surprised to discover how many miles I have walked!  Always wearing sunscreen, as I dutifully follow the advice of my excellent dermatologist.  A recent semi-annual skin cancer check up received the "your skin looks fine" verdict and I rejoiced.


On Sundays, another farmers market takes place along the Columbus Avenue sidewalk behind the Museum of Natural History.  It's a short walk for me, and a fine alternative to the much larger Union Square market that requires a subway ride.


Delicious tomatoes have finally appeared.  Cauliflower looks grand, too.  Actually, just about all the summer produce is now on display.  Cherries, zucchini, varieties of peas and beans, lettuces...the works!


On a recent hot Sunday afternoon walk home from the farmers market, I encountered a sweet little kitty who wandered onto the hot sidewalk in front of its home, offering me a warm greeting.  


However, realizing just how hot that concrete sidewalk was, the little kitty gracefully retreated toward a shadier spot.


On another sunny afternoon, I left my oil painting, to take a walk around the neighborhood, and passed by Lincoln Center, discovering this rather wonderful oversized ballerina sculpture had been installed in Dante Park.


The sculptor (whose name I did not discover) clearly was having fun with inspiration from Degas.  This ballerina seemed to be wishing she could be on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, along with the American Ballet Theater company.


Or was she perhaps gazing at the ice cream truck parked right in front of the Lincoln Center Plaza?


One late afternoon this past week, NYC's commuting home hour was also the time for a series of very fierce storms to pass through the metropolitan area.  Lots and lots of strong rain and wind.  The following morning was a gorgeous sight as I walked across Central Park to meet a friend at the Met Museum.  After viewing a very interesting exhibit of ancient Chinese art, we had lunch at a Park cafe terrace and then walked a bit.  That was when I saw the above scene.  One of the grand old willow trees by the Lake had toppled over during the storm.  It will be interesting to discover how the Parks Department will handle this fallen beauty.


I am hoping that this long overdue blog post will give you all an idea of what else has been going on around here.  I will leave you all with this view of the progress that I have been making on rescuing my old painting.  I think it is almost done, but want to let it rest for a while.  (Hot summer days can also encourage painters to take naps!)

As always, thank you all for your visits and lovely comments.  I realize that I owe you all many visits and will be trying to catch up with commenting on your summer posts.

41 comments:

  1. Frances - I adore your painting with the tea cup - how could you bear not to paint much for so long when you are so very good?

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    1. Weaver, thank you for the encouraging words. It was about 16 years ago that I returned to "gainful" employment after giving myself a four-year sabbatical during which I did lots of painting. The demands of the retain fashion world sort of pushed painting to the side...however, it was during that time that I began blogging! And had the pleasure of being able to connect with you. xo

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  2. Such a lovely painting Frances, you must keep at your artistry.

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    1. Many thanks, Elizabeth. it's been interesting to dust off the old paint brushes again. xo

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  3. Love your painting. So enjoying your photo and posts, not sure I actually like having to be an armchair traveller but your posts help.

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    1. Penny, I'm so glad you like the painting. Blogs from far away places really help me to do lots of enjoyable armchair traveling!

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  4. Hi Frances, just as I apparently give you pleasure with my regular blogs of events on the nature reserve, yours featuring wonderful views from walks around the big city are just as interesting to us folk living in the back of beyond here in the UK. The farmers markets are clearly something that you take great enjoyment from and your photos make them look quite wonderful. Not only that, you also have a remarkable creative talent, the knitting and painting are to be envied.

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    1. Derek, I thoroughly enjoy learning about how the seasons change on Sheppey, via your interesting blog. I guess that being able to connect with some nature at farmers markets or in Central Park are "hands on" ways for me to connect a bit with nature in this big city. I really appreciate your comment! xo

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  5. You have been so busy you make me tired!
    Your painting is stunning and you are quite right to go back to it.
    You have inspired me to get up to Central Park very soon.
    And yes, the Farmer’s Markets are coming into their glory.
    See you very soon. x

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    1. It would be fun to meet you for another Central Park walkabout soon...on a low heat and humidity day. Thank you for your kind words about the painting. It's been quite an experience to try to reawaken what's been dozing for many years! xo

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  6. I really enjoyed your pleasant thoughts and lovely photos too. Warm greetings to you and best wishes!

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  7. WoW!That painting is amazing.Having just had a week in France where it was very hot a "siesta" was essential!!!

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    1. How kind you are! It seems as if many parts of our world were on the warm side during this past week...perhaps as it was the culmination of the longer daylight hours? Siestas are very fine the year round to my way of thinking. xo

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  8. Your paintings are just beautiful! Thank you for your photo tours of New York...and please keep them coming!

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    1. Jennifer, I so appreciate your comment. I do promise many more city views. xo

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  9. Your summer looks and sounds wonderful. It must be a kick to start painting again. I need to follow your lead and get my studio cleaned up and ready to go. What exquisite knitting. It simply is beyond. I let my etsy shop close as I wasn't going to let it connect to my bank account. What is that about?

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    1. Donna, our summer weather was slow in arriving this year, but definitely has settled in now. I am glad to have the freedom to enjoy it...and don't miss having subway commutes to work! I do miss my work colleagues and am trying to stay in touch with them.
      Having seen examples of your paintings, I definitely would encourage to find your way back to your easel. My "studio" is really just a corner of my bedroom, but I'm fortunate to have wonderful northern light through a large window.
      Much of etsy remains a mystery to me, but I am always rather delighted when someone wishes to purchase something I have created.
      xo

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  10. I know I see much of what you are doing on Instagram but it is still lovely to read a blog post from you Frances. You paintings are beautiful.

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    1. Yes Gina, I remind myself that until fairly recently, I wasn't part of IG, and that blogging is still my favorite medium. You know what an avid reader I am, and somehow blogging gives me an opportunity to do a bit of writing. Definitely does take longer than the Insta feature, though. Thank you for your kind words. xo

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  11. I am glad to hear you are painting again. I am also doing more work when a jolt from an unlikely source not connected with painting at all made me sit up and do something. It is a very satisfying feeling isn't it?

    I also like seeing oversize street sculpture such as the ballerina in city streets. I remember in Berlin coming across many one year.

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    1. Dear Rachel, you would laugh to see the congested corner of my bedroom where my easel stands. I have so many other ongoing "creative" projects, as well as materials for projects I have yet to begin...it's quite a sight. Still, I truly love making things and am so happy to at last have the ability to set my priorities. As you say, it is a very satisfying feeling. I am finding that even when I am walking around the city, or sitting in a cafe with friends I am increasingly aware of the visual world. (Have to make sure I don't stumble and fall again though! Ha ha.)
      I love street sculpture. It is grand to have such projects funded by various sources. One of the bridges that crosses the Hudson River has recently reopened after great renovation and now features beautiful evening lighting...I have so far only seen the effects on tv, but have found them spectacular. Even if I wonder a bit about what it might be like to be driving across the bridge in the midst of the light show...hoping the designers and installers took all that sort of thing into consideration...
      What a long comment, eh? xo

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  12. I am loving your painting and the ones I saw on instagram Your backgrounds are so intriguing.
    I envy your ability to walk to the Farmers Market and your wonderful walk abouts.

    I too have been such a long time away from painting
    not sure my hands can take it. (I am shaking more and dropping everything very frustrating) But maybe that could be a new style ? I am thinking of using the big oil pastels not the smaller ones you find in shops. But I do enjoy the feeling of a brush in my hands.
    I do the smaller craft type art now but I miss painting. and printmaking. I am thinking of adding onto my garage so I could paint and have room for printmaking. I dream big sometimes.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. I am so happy to see your comment, and appreciate your compliments.
      I would encourage you to try some of the large oil pastels. Maybe just a few to get the "feel" of what might be possible?
      Today was cool enough for me to be able to split my day into painting and knitting. Bliss. xo

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  13. I love going on your tours around the city with you Frances and your painting is wonderful...so happy to follow you here and see you on Instagram too. Hope you're enjoying a lovely week,
    Susan x

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    1. Susan, thank you for those very kind words. There are so many interesting sights around NYC. Something is always new and interesting, while there is still enough of classic old New York to form a base. June is a grand month here...July can be a bit too hot! xo

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  14. So nice to catch up with you in a new blog post. Those tomatoes and strawberries look amazing. Such color. Glad you're painting again. It's always hard to pick it up again after such a long time away. Enjoy it!

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    1. Thank you, Carol! I am definitely enjoying both summer produce and getting reacquainted with good old oil paints. xo

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  15. A lovely post, Frances - and like everyone else, I absolutely love your oil painting. Please continue to paint - you really mustn't waste such a huge talent. xx

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    1. I so appreciate your comment. Something that I am increasingly aware of post-retirement last year, is to wake up in the morning and very loosely plan a day that pleases me. I love to paint, and it's been grand to return to oils, next to an open window...with the nearby tv telling me more terrible news developments from the current President. xo

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  16. What a lovely painting Frances! You are just great :)
    Lovely pictures from a lovely summercity...
    Hug from Titti

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    1. Thank you, Titti. Since this post, I've given the "rescued" painting a few more tweaks and think I might have finished it.
      Happy Weekend! xo

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  17. I love your posts especially when I spent 4days in NYC a couple of years ago with my DD and DGD we had so much fun and it brings it all back especially Central Park although of course we never saw it all but I was lucky enough to see the Beatles cIrcle and a guitarist playing away. Your painting is gorgeous you are so talented. It's lovely being retired and planning the enjoyable days we can have. Enjoy the summer Frances, I think ours is hidden for a few days but I am sure it will be back soon.
    Hazel c uk

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    1. Hazel, I am so glad that you enjoy seeing the photographs from around the city. Lots to see in summertime months...although when it's hot it's not really too pleasant to take long walks.
      Thanks very much for the kind words about the painting. Much appreciated! xo

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  18. Your painting and knitting share a very similar palette. I think both are wonderful and am so impressed that you have returned to an old medium with such success. O has swapped the New York heat for Japanese humidity but will be back with us in London shortly via Hong Kong. I'll be very relieved to see him in one piece after some health issues.

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    1. It's so good to see this comment from you, Lucille. Yes, there are definitely some colors that fill my comfort zone. It's sometimes interesting for me to attempt to stretch beyond it...often easier with the knitting that with painting!
      Thank you also for the updating on jet setting O. I envy him being able to travel to Japan...even with the humidity. (We have had plenty of humidity here in the past few days...it always eventually catches up with us every summer.) I know you will be glad to have him back in London soon. I'm also still hoping to have a UK trip this year and will keep you posted. xo

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  19. Hello Frances, here I am again and not cranky this time. All your photos are delightful but I must say, the pix of the Farmers Market produce are spectacular. Am not a cauliflower fan in the least but you make even those look tempting.
    Also admire the (sad) photo of the fallen tree. Do you ever take the subway up to the Cloisters & Fort Tryon Park? I have such happy memories of them from childhood & later, college visits. Would love to read your take on them if you do visit this year.
    Many thanks,
    Diane
    In Hot "but it's a dry heat" Colorado

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    1. Hello Diane, and thanks for visiting again. During these summer months, the Union Sq farmers market is an amazing place to see, but even the smaller farmers markets around the city do come into their own.
      Earlier this week I walked past the site of the fallen willow tree, and the entire tree had been cleared away.
      It's been ages since I've been up to the Cloisters, but I also have some nice memories, including a time very long ago when a boyfriend treated me to a champagne and caviar et al. picnic in Fort Tryon Park. Must have been in the late 1960s.
      Once again I am way overdue for posting a new blog. xo

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  20. I love very much your summer views and colors... Funny cat a beautiful cups of tea... Happy July in N. Y.

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    1. Thanks so much, Gabri! Happy July to you, as well. As you can tell, I am still a lazy blogger, but am managing a little more energy over on IG. Meanwhile, I am doing lots of painting and enjoying the summertime weather's opportunities. xo

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