j'ai besoin d'une pause

Off to Pittsburgh, marathons, mountains and the Eastern seaboard to enjoy grandchildren, big city life and good food.

Do you ever wonder who runs our country? And why?

One representative says this:

While another thinks the Democrats are responsible for the flu and links President Carter with another epidemic.

I had better go back to school to catch up with the truth as seen through these eyes because clearly I am un-edu-cated.

Dis-integration Bundle begins to deteriorate

Seth Apter, the artist behind Dis-integration, with more than 120 players, has set a new goal: make something from this dis-integrating (dis-integration) bundle.

A challenge.

A project.

A moment.

Let's see if I can meet any of these when I return from my May trip.

Check back for updates, if you will.

Bundle, 25 April, Maple Tree

On 25 April, the bundle is really showing signs of wind, rain, motion and perhaps even animal chatter.

Bundle, 18 April, Maple Tree

On 18 April, I found the entire bundle on the ground. The rope had broken; the paint stick flipped out 25 feet away and the wind was about to take the dis-integration project as far as the creek. I rescued it; retied it and put it back on the Maple Street.

Bundle, 15 April (close up)

On 15 April 2009, evident signs of dis-integration appear (see upper right hand corner)

Bundle, 2 April relocated to Maple Tree

After 2 April when the Dis-integration bundle was moved from the porch to the Maple Tree, it had the misfortune of falling, and started to show real signs of disintegration (see furled corner at centre).

NB: I promised to update some folks about how the bagasse paper stood up in the dis-integration project, and will report separately on Prosaic Paradise's blog

GOP is doing an Elizabeth Arden

Re-branding the GOP, skipping away from the precipice of the right and trying to secure an improved cosmetic make-over, members of the Republican Party band together for a surgical solution.

What's next?

NB: Check out more Fuchs' illustrations here.


Moonlight Chronicles

What I've always liked about Dan Price's Moonlight Chronicles and still like is the zine is personal, never pretending to be something it isn't, accessible and keeps Dan going.

When I irregularly published my own zine, I followed many zines, and Dan's in particular. It was also a blast to attend a zine symposium, get juiced up by the young and the young at h'art (tm) and meet Dan in person.

Dan's zine can be bought with five bucks (see order form above).

If you like real, and a handwritten illustrated zine, you'll be more than pleased.

Controversial Painting: Obama 100 Days

Michael D'Antuono, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 54 ©

Michael D’Antuono's painting “The Truth” on the South Plaza of NYC’s Union Square on the 100th day of Barack Obama’s presidency has proven controversial via


Pigs, farm, La Gloria, epidemic, transmission

Information about the possibility of the swine flu spreading from pig farms noted in this article may uncover the source of transmission.

The proximity of a 5 year old near the farm(s) contracting the flu seems somewhat (underlined) suspicious.

Good research and background here.

In order to contain an epidemic one must know its source and how it was transmitted. I done buying fountain pens?

Pilot 823 via Stylophiles

Marlen Basilea

Perhaps one more pen and I am done, overdone, exhausted and sated with fountain pens.

Since buying the Sailor Sapporo, I've become more intrigued with Japanese pens and the Pilot 823 sounds like a very superior pen for a big bunch of bucks.

But, and that is a big but, it is clear as the nose on my face that I don't want to buy another fountain pen without holding it in my hand. If Karen hadn't shown me her Sailors, and I hadn't actually had a Sapporo in my hand at the Fountain Pen Hospital, I'm not certain I would own one today.

While I've been ogling the Marlen Basilea for months, it won't get purchased if I can't find one in the wild. Interestingly, a member of the Fountain Pen Network has one up for sale now, but not with a nib I want or a price I am willing to pay for a pen I haven't held and has been used.

In evaluating the two, I might go for the Marlen if I can find one during my travels because (a) it is different, Italian and (b) a colour combination that appeals to my aesthetics. I also believe it may have rhodium trim.

I also suspect the Pilot is not substantially different from the Sailors, although I could be proven wrong.

Perhaps I'll have my head examined just thinking of another fountain pen purchase, or perhaps after I buy all the grand-kids gifts this month, I'll decide that the coffers are more than bare and forgo all thoughts of anything but a Pentel Slicci.

Who knows!

One Closet

Living in a house with one closet and untold trunks, and a penchant for dropping stuff into bowls, baskets and drawers, I can find myself in a tizzy, dizzy state looking for a simple item like a pair of shoes. In this case, transitional summer shoes rather than all my hike, bike, and mighty outdoor shoes.

Most of the trunks are down cellar but one really antique one is in the upstairs hall with my winter shoes.

I totally forget that the army trunk was buried in that one closet, and that all my summer shoes had been piled in there.

One closet, no light, a fried green tomato brain and escalating heat had me flummoxed all morning.

Doing a horary sometimes helps. Unfortunately, the Moon had gone beyond another aspect, Pluto in the 4th, and my patience wearing thin.

I did find them and immediately switched out of my winter Merrill #3 pair into my favourite but rather ratty NM Chaco black sandals.

It is mighty hot here today.

Books: Growing up Buckley

Christopher Buckley
(Doesn't he look very much like his Dad?)

Growing up Buckley, an excerpt in the New York Times online magazine section by Christoper Buckley is a terrific read, whether a fan or foe.

I was a fan!

Same Sex Marriage, Iowa Style

In the heart-land, same sex couples are lining up to take their vows.



Reading Red Velvet I learned something new about the number 18--the date of my birth.

Question: What is the significance of the number 18 in Judaism?

Answer: The word for "life" in Hebrew is "chai." The two Hebrew letters that make up the word "chai" are chet and yud. In Gematria (the numerical value of Hebrew letters), chai is equivalent to 8 and yud is equivalent to 10. So "chai", chet and yud together, equals 18. Giving money in multiples of $18 is symbolic of giving "chai" or life. Many people give money in mulitiples of $18 as presents to someone celebrating a birth, a bar or bat mitzvah or a wedding.

Books: A sign above the door

via NYT, Jade Mountain, 2nd Avenue near 12th Street, NYC

Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York is a book I wish I had thought of when I had my camera, lived in New York City and had stamina.

I've always loved old signs, storefronts and typography .

And not so coincidentally, like the reviewer Steven Heller, I ate in this Chinese Restaurant on 2nd Avenue often in the late 70s.

Books: Conversation with Jay McInterney

Here at the NY Times, you can catch an interesting, albeit short interview with Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney.

Published in 1984, Bright Lights, Big City, is a coming of age story, but whether it was 1979, or 1953, or 1931 (arbitrary dates), coming of age in New York City can't be compared to any other city.

I don't mean to suggest that other cities are unworthy, but rather that there is a uniqueness to walking the streets of the Apple that differs from walks in Paris, London, Boise, Santa Fe or Albany.

I remember looking up at skyscrapers, with those bright lights mesmerizing me well into my 20s.

I remember the night life in the Villages, East and West, with waves of highs and lows.

I can distinctly see the glowing colours on 42nd Street, Broadway, and steps that took you down, or the stairways that took you up to night-clubs, jazz joints and fine and seedy dining.

I can remember 6th Avenue's transformation to the Avenue of the Americas.

And more.

But unlike Jay McInerney I left on more than one occasion and although in my heart I know it's home, I live elsewhere.

Watching Spring

Forsythia in Bloom

Last weekend as I drove to Warwick (Orange County), the colours increased and nature was wrapping itself in splendid cloaks.

Maple Tree turning

Only today did buds begin to appear in sharp contrast to branches on my Maple trees in Wayne County.


Epidemic could turn Pandemic

It is best to be safe than sorry, and the cautionary words of the WHO Secretary should be taken seriously.

Genetic variations, and inadequate vaccines have been predicted. The overdosing of existing antibiotics has also planned a role in morbidity.

Mass spectrum antibiotics may not have much effect with a virus of this sort, and a vaccine, as stated by all public health spokes people, is not quickly developed.

World Malaria Day

Malaria Distribution, WHO map

The number of those infected with malaria, and the number who have died, has not decreased in more than twenty-five years. In fact in some regions significant increases in P. vivax and P. falciparum have been reported. If you check this overview dated 1997, you'll see how little has changed.

And the fact of the matter is attention to hygiene and the elimination of stagnant water could reduce the number of infections.

Investigators from the US, France, South America, England, Portugal, Scotland, Italy and elsewhere have worked together to develop a vaccine since the World Health Organisation set up a unique study of malaria, HIV and tuberculous about a decade ago.

Before that study was inaugurated many of the same investigators, and frequently from the same countries, worked in close collaboration to develop vaccines with colleagues from endemic countries.

Although for a short while, Colombian researchers believed they had found ways to eradicate the disease, it was soon clear that neither prophylaxis treatment or vaccine attempts succeeded.

It is highly unlikely that setting up arbitrary goals as appeared in this piece are realistic or serve either the efforts taken and made by scientists, world-wide, or those at risk of acquiring this parasitic disease.


Books: The Song is Over

Isn't it delicious when both the reviewer and the book reviewed come together, the way "The Song is You," Arthur Phillips new novel, sings in Kate Christensen's voice. The NY Times also posts later, the first chapter of Phillips new novel here.

The title is also a popular Sinatra tune.

Ms. Christensen's review not only brings excitement to the prospect of reading this new novel, but by her compare and contrast style, brings the author into a clearer perspective.

What is a collection: Sailors

Left to right: Sailor M1911, Sailor Sapporo, Sailor Navy Calligrapher and long clear Sailor Calligrapher

Well, I have four, a Sapporo, an M1911, a clear calligrapher and a navy blue calligrapher that looks almost but not quite like the M1911.

What I've learned writing with all of these pens, day after day this month, is that a lighter weight Sailor can be as rewarding a write as a more expensive Sailor m1911, or a Sapporo.

I liked the way a music nib (Sailor) wrote in the shop, and fantasized for weeks on end before splurging on it. Then when another Sailor came up for sale with a Zoom for a pittance, I splurged again.

Frankly, I had nearly forgotten about the two calligraphers (memory sluggish on occasion) and might not have been ever so keen on more fountain pen investments.

And, I am seriously thinking of putting the M1911 up for sale. I prefer the rhodium finishes.


Bookstore Memories

NPR did a short retrospective on Barney Bosset, publisher of Grove Press and Evergreen Review recently and while listening to the commentator, my mind made a detour back to the early 60s while vignettes of my frequent visits to the St. Mark's Bookshop flashed before me.

You can read some thoughts on the bookstop here and here at the Reality Studio, a William Burroughs Community web site.

Town Topics also mentions the famous, or infamous bookshop here.

The shop moved on more than one occasion, and is now on the corner of 9th Street and Third Avenue but back when I frequented the shop it was more a stall than a store.

It was narrow, crowded with books, journals, pamphlets and carried a huge number of poetry chapbooks, many displayed on revolving wire racks just waiting for my grubbing hands to pluck them up to read, often surreptitiously, on subway rides or stuffed into my school bag on my bicycle for secret rituals under the blankets.

I was little more than a teen-ager, but reading was among my most serious passions and books more edible than comfort food.

Whether it was the East or the West Village, I was there.

The newest transformation of the bookshop is as banal as a chain but still carries some interesting reading material.

The only real news is here: Daily Show

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Balzheimers Disease
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Ink Ain't Working in a Pen, Make it Work in Art

Noodler's Cranberry, Jet Pens

Rather than try to sell some of the inks I have that just don't work in my fountain pens, I'm going to use them as backgrounds in some collages I am working on.

So those dangerous, luscious Noodler's Bay Staters, Cranberry, Blue and Concord Grape, are going to become art supplies instead of fountain pen inks.

Why dangerous?

I thought with certainty that these would be good to go in a dedicated Wality fountain pen.

I was wrong.

They have stained and nearly destroyed those poor wonderful eye-droppers.


Books: Follow Me, Joanna Scott

The key to the mystery of a crazy quilt novel probably resides in this final sentence of Leah Hager Cohen's review of Joanna Scott's "Follow Me" in the April 17th New York Times Book review section:
to the rush of voices, the press of consciousness, beyond her authority: a presence unseen yet avid, and undyingly alert to human endeavor.
Nowhere as colourful, dangerous or amoral or immoral as the protagonist's peripatetic journey, I know from personal experience that leaves do fall onto our path, strangers do influence our next moves and often the stories we can or could tell of our adventures will resonate as myth rather than reality.

But the adventure is real, and the telling of it may occasionally be embellished, frequently abbreviated, seemingly candid and often makes our lives richer and the fireside talks alive and yes, ablaze with a certain magic.

Perhaps the novelist, Scott, went too far, or perhaps not far enough, but whichever direction she took, a book that can encompass the life of a wanderer may make for good reading.

Joanna Scott will be interviewed on Bookworms today.

Following up on Nemirovsky's ink

It recently dawned on me that the curator of the Nemirovsky Exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City may have more information to share about what writing implements were in the exhibited valise.

I called her on Monday, and she returned my call the following day.

While she doesn't know the answer, she is fluent in French, and believes some reference was made to Ms. Nemirovsky's fountain pen and/or the ink in a French language biography. At her convenience, she agreed to check and get back to me.

She did mention during our conversation that when she examined the valise she noticed it was ink stained--aqua.

An answer may be forthcoming.


Amigo Day, in Latin America

President Barack Obama and President Hugo Chavez
Photo by Nick Sabloff ©

Reconstructing bridges with OAS members can't be bad, and re-establishing positive relationships with Latin and South American countries can only be good.

Earth Day Adventure

Finally, oh joyous day, I found a recycle center that will take: cardboard, magazines, all plastics, tins, metal, electronics, and garbage. It is only open two days a week, Wednesday & Saturday, but is also about 15 miles closer to home.

I made it my primary task to get there as quickly as possible today in honour of Earth Day and Freedom Day (my freedom of junk).

MS will also come over soon and flatten out the burning barrels that were destroyed by the inclement winter weather and clear up that ugly corner in the yard.


Books: T. C. Boyle on Bookworms

Insights by both Boyle and Silverblatt at Bookworms are more than worth hearing or seeing.

Boyle's analogy of his own work to Kafka's Hunger Artist is worth at least two hundred quick bucks or in steadier times two thousand.

Red Velvet - Visual Anthropologies

Somewhere I discovered Red Velvet and the blogger's Visual Anthropologies.

The most recent project on the holocaust, survival and the rescuers is just phenomenal.

More on Art and Banks

It appears that ABN AMRO (my former bank) is also laying claim to Louis Reijtenbagh's art collection and filing suit in anticipation of a potential bankruptcy and competing claims by J.P Morgan/Chase.

Of course it will be the museum(s) that will suffer the unintended consequences of these losses and potential gains of the banks, unless they show some generosity of spirit and permit the museum(s) to hold and house the works of art.

What an economic mess we are in!


Books: Mysteries

If you like mysteries--I certainly do--you might check out this site that contains a huge number of mystery book reviews.

Books: Reza Aslan

Jon Stewart interviews Reza Aslan, author of "No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.

It appears Mr. Aslan has just published a second book entitled, "How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror."

Reza Aslan's first book is brilliant, a compact history that takes the reader from pre-Mohammad to present time. It is a book worthy of owning and having in a reference library. Its sheer weight of historical fact(s) is impossible to hold in one's memory especially as the sweeping tides of Islam moved rapidly and are infrequently recorded--particular in English.

I very much look forward to reading his second book and learn how he sees the current terror trends, and in particular how he differentiates between and among one Islamic group and another--a landmine, a quagmire and always a treacherous road to follow.

Stewart's brief interview below:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Reza Aslan
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Plein Air: Marc Hanson

If you enjoy plein air, check out Marc Hanson's work here.

I've been following Marc's rising star for several years and rank him among my favourites.

Black Bear in the Front Yard

Photo by Joseph Stepko, Post Gazette © 2006

It seems that the black bear population is increasing in Pennyslvania.

We had a suspicious out of range visitation yesterday on the front yard--fumbled, fallen bird feeder and a crushed metal compost container--too much destruction for a wild turkey, deer or rodent.

My front door flew open from the wind this morning, and I decided better to be safe than sorry and put a heavy chair in front of the door. I'm thinking of more precautions but haven't figured out what yet. I ain't looking forward to a house guest with black fur.

And frankly, I had enough frights when I lived in New Mexico, where bears are plentiful and often make visitations. On more than one occasion a bear made a hearty meal of a lone householder.

Not pretty!

Engels, niet Nederlandse

While it is certain that Dutch is not an easy language to master, it is worth saving. Substituting English as the primary language at university may force the language into a smaller niche than already exists by geography and population.

The language is spoken, with various dialects in Belgium, the Netherlands and Suriname, a small population by world-wide standards, of approximately 20 million.

"Hello Kitty" Anne Frank Remembered

Prinsengracht, Anne Frank Museum

In this documentary, part 3, "Hello Kitty," Mieps Gies walks into the green grocer off the Rozengracht that once sold me my own greens and crates of plums and pears.

The documentary is well done, the translation good and seemingly accurate, and the facts presented in a human voice, that of Mieps Gies.

The Great Wall of China

Recent surveys expose more than 150 additional miles of wall, estimates that bring the Wall, more than 2,000 years old, to 3,900 miles (6,300 kilometres) in the northern part of China.

What a feat!


Is my fear of Dystopia(s) becoming a reality?

Via Swedish Fanfic Challenge .
Dystopia by Johanna Hedberg ©

While driving through the snow to and from Callicoon on 19 February 2009, I was listening to Explorations on our local radio station. Dr. Michio Kaku interviewed Richard Heinberg (Power Down) and Eric Assadorian, in which they talk a rather dark future.

And here at alternet is another dystopic story about famine and global weather changes that are affecting both food production and industries.


Books: Wetland

A vibrant and smashingly witty pan on Wetlands, and if the review is accurate, and it probably is, this book will reach the best seller list, and then find its way to a land-fill or get sent to the recycle center.


The Next Streisand: Susan Boyle

All over the net, up and down tubes, Susan Boyle is making headlines.

What a lovely voice. What a lovely, down-to-earth British gal.

Good on you Ms. Boyle:

My ole town hit hard in recession: Providence

Benefit Street, Providence RI

Providence was never the glitzy town The New York Magazine tried to make of it in the late 80s, or the city's movers and shakers tried to turn it into in the 90s, but rather a blue colour City that could be a town, with a patina of glaze over its upgraded Downtown, with excellent restaurants and two quality universities.

Downtown After Dark,Providence RI

Capitol, Providence RI

But blue or white, I loved its intimacy, its architecture, it's small but magnificent vistas, especially on the northern approach as 95 meets 195, the exquisite in miniature domes, and the folksiness of the predominantly immigrant populations with their loves and hates.

It hurts to think it is in dire straits and limping along in this economy. It hurts because I lived there, loved there and have family and friends who still call Providence home.

Warming up in Cuba

I am beyond gratified that our relations with Cuba may warm up sufficiently to enable travel and trade.

I love their sugar--easy to obtain in Amsterdam; don't smoke cigars and have had and have friends and colleagues on either side of the issue, but boycotting Cuba has always troubled me.

Back in my malaria vaccine related days, a few Cuban representatives came to ask about a potential collaboration (malaria is still endemic world-wide) and diplomatic channels did not prevail.

No collaboration.

Not very helpful for international public health I said.

No one listened.

In the Art and Banking World

Via NRC "View of the 'Golden Bend', Amsterdam,
Gerrit Berckheyde (circa 1672)

View of the 'Golden Bend',
the richest part of the Herengracht in Amsterdam
Gerrit Berckheyde (circa 1672)

JP Morgan-Chase is reclaiming a painting on loan to the National Gallery (Washington, DC) from the Rijksmuseum.

It was used, and is now abused for collateral damage of a 50m loan by its original owner who had gifted it to the Dutch museum.

How fortuitous for JPM that the painting is in the US.

Is there extradition for works of art?


How Cool is this: Moss Graffitti

GreenUpgrader via the Huffington Post.

And from Greengraffi (Netherlands), the benefits of advertising green:


sustainable communication media, completely carbon and water neutral

- high impact, long reach, affordable

- long lasting

- targeted communication with your target market in their surroundings

- free publicity opportunities

- positive image for your brand

- full service: from creation through execution

Spring Song II - Poetry Month

Herb garden coming to life, signs of Oregano and miniature flowers

A spring poem for Easter day by Jean Garrigue (1914-1972), anthologized in the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets edition The Four Seasons, edited by J. D. McClatchy.

Spring Song II

And now my spring beauties,
Things of the earth,
Beetles, shards and wings of moth
And snail houses left
From last summer's wreck,
Now spring smoke
Of the burned dead leaves
And veils of the scent
Of some secret plant,

Come, my beauties, teach me,
Let me have your wild surprise,
Yes, and tell me on my knees
Of your new life.


Shopping Independent Art Suppliers

Wherever I go, by auto, plane, or public transport, I have on my agenda finding the local art supply store.

Some I've visited regularly, others I've bought from on line.

New York Central Art Store in New York City, NY, has been around since 1905. I've shopped in this store since the late 1950s, and love it. It has some quirky sales folks, mostly young and upcoming artists, and one of the largest paper collections I've ever seen (on the second floor). They also make some lovely journals and sketchbooks with their own logo from national and international paper manufacturers. If you in the New York City area--make your way down to NY Central, 62 Third Avenue. Nearest subways, R and 5/6 and part of the West Village scene.

Artisan Art
(Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos, New Mexico) was introduced to me at an Art Expo in Santa Fe in 2002. When living in New Mexico, it was my go-to-store. It's a store you will always find an art pal, and a good gab.

Of the three stores, while I've shopped in Santa Fe frequently, it was the Taos store I know best. And if Taos doesn't have a supply you want, the Santa Fe store will come to your rescue and send anything you want up the mountain. You can find the Santa Fe store at 2601 Cerrillos Road; the Albuquerque store is on Monte Visa NE and the Taos store is set back off Paseo del Pueblo Sur (the road that takes you directly into town). More geared to oil painters than other medium, but I never went out of the store empty-handed.

Papers, in Albuquerque NM, on 114 Amherst Dr SE (505) 254-1434, has no web presence, but is a joyful, colour experience. I've bought two fountain pens here, many notebooks, paper accessories and beautiful paper sheets. The staff and owner are extremely friendly and the neighbourhood is funky, and great for shopping and eating.

Art Media, Portland, Oregon, is one of the most spacious art supply stores I've visited, and so well lighted, it is easy to find your cart growing higher and higher. I haven't been to Oregon for quite some time, but I have ordered a supply or two on line.

Guild Art, Northampton, MA, is on Main Street and worth spending some time exploring. It is a little dark inside, and patience and interest is needed to find those special items the store carries. I've gotten some of my best carrying and storing supplies here at the Guild.

JVS, in Great Barrington, MA, is off the Main Street at 38 Railroad Street and while on the smaller side, it is chockablock full of wonderful art supplies of every variety. I've discovered over the many years that I stop in town for a coffee and a shopping fix, that JVS often has the newest, brightest art supplies on the market. Some of their accessories are among the most fun. And it is a treat that they are open on Sundays.

Topknotch in Pittsburgh, PA, on Craig Street and not far from Carnegie Mellon is a must stop for me on all my visits. They are currently running a big web page sale now.

Artist & Craftsman has several stores, two of which I am familiar with and have shopped at frequently, their 5603 Hobart Street shop in Pittsburgh and their Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY on Metropolitan Avenue). They had the full line of Bruynzell Full Color watercolor pencils way back when and it's where I started my collection. They also do some very good, affordable framing.

Fine Arts, Rochester, New York, often has the most up to date supplies. I've purchased many an item from them on line.

Dakota in Washington State, is best known for their pastels, but their brush division is among the best I've ever found. This is a place where personal attention is first rate. I've spent as much as an hour on the phone discussing the whys & hows of a brush and have always come away more knowledgeable and satisfied with the brush that arrived quickly and at an affordable price.

In Raleigh, NC, don't forget to stop by Askew & Taylor. I wouldn't have found this shop without the patient guidance of a friend, but I was delighted to find it and pick up some really good deals on their sales shelf--including my lovely Bruynzeel full colour pencils.

Wet Paint (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota) appears to be on top of new lines, trends and the right stuff with the latest paper products, the entire Daniel Smith watercolour line and good customer service. I thoroughly enjoyed a peak into the shop here at Youtube.

In fact it was viewing Wet Paint's video that get me thinking about how important it is to me to keep all these folks in business.

Cheap Joes (Boone, NC), is a place for artists to hang out in the mountains. Joe's paper, watercolours and specialty items are a real treat. I especially like the names Joe gives his watercolours--Copper Kettle & Fire Engine Red, amongst them.

And his Kilimanjaro watercolour paper is as good as any on the market--and reasonably priced.

Both Cheap Joes and New York Central have terrific offers of paper samples--both of which I've taken positive advantage of over the years. A great way to test out a paper, and not find you don't like those 10/sheets you'll never use.

I am sad to report that since living in and traveling through New England, several independent art stores have closed, one in Montpelier, VT and another in Bath, ME.

Want a one of a kind "journal" or "sketchbook

Click above to Etsy Shop

Check out these terrific looking one of a kind journals and sketchbooks. If I wasn't drowning in paper, I'd be buying at least two or more of these.

Kate Haggerty's Journal (4)

Materials: Sailor Calligraphy pen, Sailor ink used for bird outlines; Lamy Safari 1.1 nib with Noodler's Red Black ink used for text. Portfolio oil pastels for birds.

14 April '09, 6:32 PM: Life moves too quickly. Too slowly. And we are on Spring Break and at our cabin after months and months of being kooped (sic) up in the City but since we live close to the Park - we often get to see and hear some City birds.

I can't really see them but occasionally I see a tree bough move in a funny way and try to peer through my bedroom window to see if it is a bird.

But here at the cabin, all I have to do is walk outside and if I wait just a few minutes I'll see one--a bird in the sky, or one of (sic) bushes or on a branch of a tree.

We'll be here until Sunday. I wonder how many birds I'll see.

And Passover at the White House

Via NPR and GR, the President hosts a Passover Sedar.

Is this a first?

How Cool is This? Watercolour Palette

On sale today for $12.99 and mighty clever is this squared off watercolour palette ready to take a sheet of paper and a small selection of colours.

The company, has two other unique palettes designed specifically with the watercolourist in mind.


Picasso, the Elder

Worth checking: a retrospective of Picasso's work via the New York Times.

The complete exhibit on line at Gagosian Gallery.

Leaning Harlequin, Oil on canvas, 1901
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ©

Another early work from 1901 at Cantor Center for Visual Arts is Courtesan with Hat, by Pablo Picasso work.

Couple, 1970, Oil on canvas,
76 3/4 x 51 1/4 inches (195 x 130 cm),
Estate of Picasso ©

Pablo Picasso has repelled me, reduced me to artistic tears and fascinated me over the years. My revulsion and unwillingness to spend time studying his work lasted too long and was childish. I rejected what I didn't understand and hence missed that necessary continuous exposure and understanding of art history that makes for a good art student.

I should have known better for my art mentor, Max Granick, would have chided me unmercifully. Sometimes we get lucky, serendipitous or design, but it is nevertheless lucky to have someone like Max in one's life. Max was a high school friend's father, a prestigious picture framer for the Metropolitan, among other art houses and had one of the most important collections of Tribal Oceanic and African Art in the West.

When we 15 year olds got together to eat breakfast, or dinner at the Granick's 20-plus foot hand hewn table, we ate with statues and paintings on the table, on the walls, and on pedestals. In front of our massive plates of generous provisions from Ms. Granick's kitchen or Zabar's, we touched elbows with art history. We were privileged to hear about artists, genres, schools of thought and often see examples either at the house or in Max' workshop that rivalled none. If memory serves, I believe he dragged a few of us to an exhibit or two at the Metropolitan or the nearby MoMA to prove his point.

I don't know if my other school mates remember those Saturday mornings as well as I do, but I do know one is now a class act painter in her own right, and another, recently deceased, became one of few masterful art restorers.

I haven't thought about Max and his profound influence on me for many years, but when I read a rather off-hand aspersion about Picasso on a painting site this week, both my own early ignorance and Max' words came flying back to me through the ether.

It took me more than twenty years after those breakfasts to see Picasso's oeuvre, come to appreciate him as a painter and understand his process. It came about on a spring day in Paris and at his home museum.

Generally when I visit a museum, I decide before hand how I intend to see an exhibit: in its entirety, a single treasure, or a quick walk through. In 1989, I decided to spend an entire day at the Picasso Museum, and absorb.

That day of absorption lead to more studying of his work, and a hundred and eighty degree turn-about, from loathing to admiring.

Thank you Max!

And rest in peace, Max, JZ and Pablo Picasso.