Yes, this is still ab boring watercolor blog so for deep artistic reasons, we will be rescuing this watercolor illustration this week . . .
. . . but only after a bit of digression [cats].
I looked out of my upstairs bathroom window a few days ago and I saw this:
That’s Taffy and his arch enemy, Bibs, napping together in the crevice that forms where the roof of the garage meets the back wall of our shed. This crevice traps a lot of dead leaves that blow out of that little woods behind our house and I guess they make a nice cushion to sleep on. I haven’t seen Taffy up there for years — but his mother, Candy, used to take him up there with his two brothers when they were kittens, and spend the day in hiding (from the big mean people who wanted to love them too much, that is, ME).
As you can see, nothing interesting is going on in the little woods behind our house, but the end of our street is pretty happening:
Spring is over-rated. I think blooming trees look trashy, and the weather is always, always a disappointment. So it was sunny for a day. Big fucking whoop.
Rather than moon about the buds and green things shooting out of the earth, I am becoming obsessed with the last pile of snow on the north shore of Long Island, which looked like this when we got back from New Orleans last week:
On Tuesday it looked like this:
And today, Thursday morning, it looks like this (car shown for size reference):
In another sign of the times, our front yard cat, Steve, has moved out of his Winter headquarters under the holly tree on the side of our stoop and settled into his Spring pied-à-terre behind the other holly tree on the other side of the porch:
His new spot catches wonderful morning sun (which Steve adores) now that the earth has done its seasonal tilt on its axis. I leaned an old storm window against the house so that, if it rains, the storm window keeps Steve and his straw nest nice and dry:
You all know that I am a life-long Cat Lady, but lately I have been thinking, and thinking hard, about getting another DoG. So naturally, this book came my way (Thank you, Universe):
This is a delightful book of essays by Delia Ephron about a handful of topics including the four listed in the title. The short essays are entertaining, but the long ones are magnificent. If you want to write, you owe it to yourself to read this book because the way she captures her distinct voice is masterful.
The long essay titled Why I Can’t Write About My Mother shows what I mean when I say she captures her singular voice so expertly. Read this essay closely and you will understand that Delia Ephron has an exquisite understanding of the way her mind works, and she has the supreme skill to get her thought process — and no, she does not transcribe it — on the page. She writes good, solid, short sentences that still whack you over the head with style and emotion. And watch how her paragraphs seem to wander away from their starting points, and how they widen the scope of the subject, all while never really straying all that far from the true heart of the matter. Talk about control!
Delia Ephron wrote movies and a play with her sister, Nora, and she really loves her DoG, Honey, who is as cute as all get-out:
This is a terrible thing to tell an author — that you “passed around” one book among several people. That is like telling an office worker she is only going to be paid one hour out of every four that she works. Well, that’s an imperfect comparison, but you get my drift: An author wants to hear that you bought her book to give to the several people you wanted to share it with. Jeeze. Christy Childers is the name of the woman who posts her crappy postcards on the inter webs. I am not a fan.
But that’s just me, hating my life as a writer this week. It’s been eight days since my agent emailed me to say that she got my manuscript and it looked beautiful, but she would read it more carefully that night and get back to me.
It feels like eight weeks. Each day that I don’t hear from her, I am convinced she hates my manuscript more than she did the day before and that she hates me more and more each day and that I should retire from writing and go get useful job in a donut shop. And then I spiral downwards and sock away a third vodka on the rocks.
Last week I read something about how much damage plastic straws do to the environment, so I started to re-use my straws. The one that is currently in the lowball glass on the kitchen windowsill that awaits tonight’s pour has been in use since Sunday. (You’re welcome, Earth.)
OK, let’s get to the real reason you all have gathered here this Friday. Let’s rescue a watercolor!
There is nothing wrong with this picture (of Claude Monet’s lily pond in his famous water garden in Giverny, France) except that it has four corners. You know how I am trying to bust out of the four-cornered illustration? So I was looking at this rectangular picture and I thought it needed this:
Of course you can’t understand what those scribbles mean because , well, look at that mess; but you can see that I want to add something to that upper left hand area and add two extra corners, which I begin comme ça:
Imagine my surprise. I got the tone of the blues, greens, and yellow correct on the first try. So I continue to blob in the background foliage:
I am a huuuuuuge fan of letting the watercolor bleed into interesting splotches, so this is how I got the “pond” area soaking wet (but not too wet) and dropped in some contrasting color, and then I waited for it all to dry:
YES!!! I love that big bleed! And it works well with the already existing bleed. Yay. The hardest part is done. The rest of this rescue should be nothing but fun fun fun.
If you look closely, however, you can see that part of this beautiful bleed abuts abruptly and noticeably against a darker bit of splotch, which I will have to rectify:
I have to paint in a matching splotch:
And because the water lily pads did not exactly match up, I painted and cut out teeny little pads that I glued in, to act like sutures to the two parts of this illustration:
Cropped and ready for its close-up — and yes, you can see the “scar” between the original painting and the addition:
This will magically disappear when the printer scans it and cleans it up, much like I have done (see below) using the app that comes with iPhoto:
That scribble was all about a weeping willow tree that I wanted to introduce to the left hand side of the illustration. But I’m not totally committed to that idea, so to test it I paint and cut out a tree trunk and place it appropriately:
You might recall that I did a whole thing about the weeping willows in the Square du Vert-Galant garden on the tip of the Ile de la Cité in the middle of the Seine River in Paris in my book Gardens of Awe and Folly:
So I do know my way around a willow tree. But for Monet’s garden, I looked at Monet’s own use of the tree as a foreground device:
Here’s how I try out an idea on a finished painting: I slip the painting inside a clear plastic sheet protector and I paint on the plastic surface. In this case, I painted in the willow tree wisps in white acrylic paint (because water color does not apply to a plastic surface) and let dry. Then I painted over the white acrylic with my watercolors:
So now I got an idea of how my willow tree idea will go over:
I’m undecided. I don’t want this picture to look too busy. But I kind of like having that tree in the view. Whether the willow tree stays or not, I am cropping the illustration like this:
I might be too much in love with those bleeds to hide them with willow leaves, which might not be the best thing for this picture. Maybe it does need that foreground tree. I will dither over this indefinitely. I would appreciate your opinions.
As I type this, der Drumpf has spent the morning on Fox TV, admitting that he lied about his knowledge of the hush money paid to Stormy Daniels, although he claimed that Michael Cohen only represented him in a tiny fraction of his business dealings. Oh, you have to love an imbecile such as Drumpf:
The problem with Trump’s claim that Cohen only dealt with a small part of his legal work is that it dramatically complicates his lawyers’ efforts to shield documents seized in FBI raids under the guise of “attorney-client privilege.” And it proves that he lied about the pay-off when he stated, on Air Force One ON TAPE that he knew nothing about it.
He also admitted that he didn’t get Melania a gift for her birthday today, but he did get her a really nice card. Well…that’s what you get when you marry for money, honey.
Here is another quote from der Drumpf’s bloviation on Fox TV:
“I’m fighting a battle against a horrible group of deep-seated people, drain the swamp, that are coming up with all sorts of phony charges against me, and they’re not bringing up real charges against the other side.”
The way Dumpf drops in that slogan — drain the swamp — out of nowhere . . . that is hilarious, and classic Drumpfery. Equally enjoyable was seeing the terrified looks on the faces of the sycophants of his Fox & Friends as they realized that letting Drumpf prattle on and on was not a good idea after all.
Another unhinged quote, this time about Mr. Meuller’s investigation at the FBI:
“If you take a look, they’re so conflicted, the people that are doing the investigation, you have 13 people that are Democrats, you have Hillary Clinton people, you have people that worked on Hillary Clinton’s foundation. I don’t mean Democrats, I mean, like, the real deal.”
Like, I hope Fox & Friends invites him back real soon. It makes me happy when the world gets to hear Drumpf doing Drumpf.
It makes me this happy:
Have a happy weekend, everyone. Re-use the plastic straws in your tipple; tune in to the Today Show on Monday morning, April 30, to feast your eyes on a pair of Brit vegans who going to show us all how to cook delicious vegetable-based food and save the world; and please go find your patch of dirt in the sun and have a good roll.