I feel like I’ve already been shouting it from the rooftops, but I’m just going to go ahead and drop this into a blog post too:
I’m having a Pop-Up Shop this weekend (Sat & Sun, Sept 17 & 18, 12-4pm) inside the West Elm on Broadway and W. 61st St in NYC!!!
West Elm is a national furniture and home decor store. They have a really cool initiative to promote local artists and makers through pop-up store-within-a-store events as well as carrying locally-made goods.
And what’s truly amazing is that they donate the space and don’t take a cut of any sales at the pop-up event. It’s really incredible!
As you can tell, I’m super excited (and somewhat nervous). Please come by and say hi! I’ll have some new, not-yet-on-the-website original paintings, as well as some reasonably priced prints.
Canadian Maritime Trip Log Book Continues: Returning to Newfoundland from the French islands of St. Pierre & Miquelon, dad and I rented a car in Deer Lake and drove up to L’Anse aux Meadows at the northern end of the western peninsula of Newfoundland. The trek took about 5 hours driving extra fast, and we checked in to our B&B, Jenny’s Runestone House in the early evening.
Jenny and her husband Dave were the sweetest, chattiest people. They brought all the guests together to foster conversation and were genuinely welcoming and warm. Her breakfasts were also filling and delicious. I can’t recommend this B&B enough.
Right around the corner from Jenny’s is L’Anse aux Meadows – the only known Viking outpost in North America! Our guide was AMAZING and so knowledgeable. I’m glad we did the tour and didn’t just wander around on our own: the site would’ve just looked like lonely rolling grassy hills with some plaques.
There was so much to learn – too much to recount here – but here are a few fun facts:
Viking is the word meaning “raiding” – the people are Norsemen, not Vikings. What they did was “go a-viking”(pronounced “vic-ing”).
This was not a settlement. This was an outpost that the Norsemen visited for an aggregate of 10 years over a 25 year period. We know there were at least two visits, perhaps more. From here, the Norsemen would travel around to gather resources to bring back to Greenland, such as wood, rocks and other natural resources.
A new Viking outpost (maybe full-blown settlement) has potentially been discovered on the southern portion of Newfoundland. The folks at L’Anse aux Meadows are waiting eagerly to hear what is discovered. It could really change the whole perceived history of the Norsemen in North America.
We saw our first moose siting here! Everyone told us there are tons of moose everywhere and to watch out when driving in case they bound out into the road. I was diligently looking all around as we drove and didn’t see a single one until we got to the park. (And as a PS, we didn’t see any more ever again.)
replica hut – l’anse aux meadows
The next day, it was pretty rainy and cold (as has been the theme of the trip), but we booked a 2.5 hour boat trip out of St. Anthony (the largest town on the northern peninsula and about 35 minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows) to see icebergs and whales.
Decked out in my anorak and rain pants, I hunkered down on the aft deck as we motored through the harbor out to the North Atlantic.
dad bundled up
han bundled up with iceberg
First, we came across a pair of humpback whales feeding by the rocky shoreline. We followed the sprays until we saw the slow backs arching out of the water, often followed by a graceful tail flick as the whales dove deep.
whale tail descending
We didn’t see any full breeching or jumping, but we did see some side fins as the whales trapped fish against the rocks and swam by, huge mouths agape to sweep in the fish.
Our boat guides with Northland Discovery Boat Tours were great – lots of whale info, as well as info about daily life in the town… like it’s an 11 hour drive to the closest Costco.
Next we got up close and personal with some incredible icebergs. We even saw a seal lounging on one of the ice hunks!
seal on an iceberg
look at that bright green water/ice!
The blue streaks contained within the bergs are created by melted ice water pouring into a crack and refreezing. Apparently if you were to hold a chunk of that blue streak, it would be clear as glass. That’s how pure the iceberg water is. A St. John’s brewery, Quidi Vidi, makes “Iceberg Beer” with water they claim is 25,000 years old.
blue streak close up
another dense blue streak
These icebergs break off from the glaciers on Greenland, as well as few from the arctic ice pack. They are eroded as they float southward by the lapping ocean; melting is actually only a small percentage of how they become smaller and smaller. Some may drag their bottoms on the ocean floor. As they change shape, they may “calf” (have smaller chunks break off) and even flip over if they get top-heavy enough. Jenny said she could watch icebergs all day, get up to use the bathroom, and when she gets back, the whole thing has flipped over and she’s missed it.
After our tour, we ate a warm lunch at Lightkeepers Seafood on Fishing Point (my French dip sandwich was so good) with a lovely views, wandered around Dark Tickle (a gift shop and local-berry jam factory in St. Lunaire-Griquet), and then went back to Jenny’s to continue watching icebergs and whales from the cliffs by the B&B.
As for food, we sampled some local fare: fresh seafood – mussels, scallops, shrimp, ate jam made out of local blueberries, partridgeberries, bakeapple (cloudberries) and crowberries.
We ate dinner the first evening at Northern Delight, where I had a not-too-greasy pan-fried local cod and dad had a whole lobster for $24 (CAD) – good deal. We were “treated” to a visit by some Mummers – people dressed up in masks and baggy clothes who danced around to local music (a typical Newfoundland Christmas tradition). I was creeped out, but I don’t generally like people in masks.
The second evening we ate at the more upscale restaurant, The Norseman by L’Anse aux Meadows, where we had freshly made butternut squash soup, scallops and mussels. All delicious. And here we were serenaded by a guitarist playing Newfoundland traditional folk songs and classic pop music. And actually that musician was also our costumed re-enactor at L’Anse aux Meadows the prior day!
I’d say two nights was the perfect amount of time to do all the things we wanted up in the north-western part of Newfoundland. 100% worth the visit!
Most people know that I have a few causes that are close to my heart: healthcare, women’s empowerment, the arts. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work and work-work raising funds and awareness, organizing, planning and jumping in wherever needed to give back, mentor and generally help out.
And over the years, I’ve asked for much support from my friends and family and community and have always been blown away by the resounding response.
In particular, through my work at The Brides Project and the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor, I’ve seen the emotional, financial and logistical challenges faced by a family dealing with cancer. It’s pervasive. It’s unmooring.
There’s always another person, family or community to help. And for me, this month, it comes in the form of a charity art auction for the Ackermann family, whose 2 and a half year old son, Brayden has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
I had never heard of this cancer, until a community of artists via Instagram decided to put together an art auction to raise money. DIPG only affects about 300 children per year, and what’s particularly scary is that Brayden was happy and seemingly healthy, until one day he lost use of the left side of his body. Of course his parents rushed him to Westchester Children’s Hospital, not knowing what to think.
How utterly devastating to learn that your child has a difficult diagnosis that’s rarely cured. And then to have to find the strength to do everything possible in the face of that and to preserve a normalcy and quality of life as much as possible for a child who may or may not really understand what is happening to him or her.
To try to help offset the financial worries for the Ackermann family, over 90 artists from around the world have donated pieces for an art auction to be held Friday September 16 – Sunday September 18. The auction will open on Friday at 7am Eastern on Instagram @brushstrokesforbrayden. Here’s the link for those that want to check it out or pass it along.
The artworks are currently being posted to that Instagram account so you can see what’s available before the auction opens. Opening bids are very reasonable, but hopefully we can raise a lot more money and awareness!
Please spread the word to your art loving friends, even if you don’t bid yourself. And if you find something you love, but don’t have Instagram, let me know, and we can discuss a proxy bidding system. I’m Artwork #9.
Thanks for always being there and exceeding my expectations.
I’ll be showing small and medium-sized acrylic paintings at the M1-5 Lounge in Tribeca this Thursday evening, August 18, 2016. Annnnndddd some of the paintings will be on SALE from prices listed on the website AT THIS EVENT ONLY.
This show, like the last one, will be hosted by Conception Events, however this time, instead of purchasing tickets, I’m giving away free tickets to the first 15 people who let me know they’re coming.
Okay, this one isn’t your normal pizza review because it’s not your standard pizza. On our Colorado vacation back in June, we headed into Snowmass Village the fist night to grab a low-key bite at New Belgium Ranger Station. The restaurant has tons of New Belgium beers on tap (the Colorado brewery that makes Fat Tire) and a good selection of appetizers, salads and apres-ski fare.
I had a delicious and huge kale salad that I couldn’t even finish, paired with a 1554 black ale, and Mark had a freshly grilled chicken breast accompanied by a green salad. Everything was quite tasty, and it didn’t hurt that we were sitting outside by a massive fire pit, watching the sun set over the mountains, turning the clouds all shades of yellow and pink.
Although I was also tempted to order the make-your-own s’mores kit, I refrained and we split the pepperoni pretzel rolls instead. Yum.
Maybe just slightly too cheesy, but otherwise it hit the eating-pizza-without-actually-eating-pizza spot. The pretzel bun had that lovely chunky rock salt, and inside was melted mozzarella and pepperoni, accompanied by a marinara dipping sauce.
This would definitely make a good apres-ski snack with a beer or two!
I’m thrilled to work one-on-one with friends and family and clients to paint something in my style that is uniquely for them. I’m always nervous in sending the final photos, hoping and praying that they will love it as much as I do. (Because when you work on something so much, you have to love it in the end…or else you would keep painting, as you’ll see below.) But what happens if they don’t love it? And how does this whole commission business work anyway?
The process is fairly simple and straightforward: you email me saying you’d like to commission a painting. We’ll talk about your budget, your space, the size of the wall, what colors you have in your mind, etc.
I’ll send you a contract with all of the agreed upon details and logistics like delivery date, downpayment and shipping. Even among friends, a contract formalizes everything so there’s no confusion or hurt feelings.
It works best if you already like my work and my style because if I try to recreate someone else’s style that you love, it probably won’t turn out how either of us wants. So there’s a bit of trust that I’m going to run with what we’ve discussed, and you won’t see it until the end.
Below is a commission I did recently; flip through the pictures to see how I changed and re-changed a particular section (upper-middle-right) that I wasn’t happy with: it went from too dark, to too blue, to starting over with white, to WAY too green, to the final peachy version in the end.
When I’m completely satisfied with the final product, I’ll send you some photos and we’ll set up a time to chat on the phone; but what if you don’t like what I’ve painted?
Well if it’s a matter of a particular area or tiny part of the work, no problem, tell me what’s bothering you, and I’ll tweak it. If it’s that you hate the whole thing altogether, you are under no obligation to buy it, but unfortunately I won’t be able to refund your deposit, since work has been done, materials purchased, etc. Iwill always try to work with you as much as possible to turn the painting into something you love.
I truly love collaborating on commissions and painting with someone in mind and working to make them happy. Obviously I love painting in general, but it’s extra special and purposeful knowing that a home is already being made for the piece.
What to collaborate? Use the contact sheet to email me about commissioning a painting! I have 4 commission spots left for 2016 and look forward to working with you!
Back in June, Mark and I spent a relaxing week hiking, swimming, reading and eating in Snowmass, Aspen and Denver, Colorado. We were lucky enough to stay at The Timbers Club in Snowmass – a gorgeous property right on the side of the mountain with a friendly and accommodating staff, comfy big beds, our own grill, afternoon cookies and multiple hot tubs to choose from.
One night for dinner, we popped across the street to a tiny strip mall with an excellent gourmet grocery store and a pizza place called Taster’s. (There’s one in Aspen too I think.)
We got a carry-out cheese pizza and ate it on the couch in front of a roaring fire and a flat screen TV.
We had heard mixed reviews from people who had eaten there before, and I think it lends itself to be that kind of pizza place.
Overall, it’s kind of what you would expect from a ski-town pizza place. It was warm and doughy and filling, with a good flavor and a lot of cheese. It wasn’t gourmet pizza by any stretch, and it wasn’t really even New York thin crust. It was kind of like a puffy bread with sauce and cheese and grease and spices. Quite comforting.
Would be good on a snowy afternoon when you don’t have to wear a bathing suit afterwards.
During our recent stay on the French island of St. Pierre, off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland, my dad and I visited the harbor island of Ile aux Marins.
The sun finally broke through the rain a bit and the ferry was running from downtown St. Pierre to the tiny, ghost-town of an island. Years ago the island was inhabited by fishermen who would bring their catch back to be cleaned and dried on large rock beds all over the island.
It’s now uninhabited (although some of the houses looked really well-kept so maybe some are still in use on summer weekends, unclear), at least by year-round residents.
The day we went over was incredibly windy (as I think it tends to be over there) and the tall grasses whipped our legs as we walked the grass trails around the homes to the 1970s shipwreck of the Transpacific and to the former fort at the end of the island. The island has no trees and so the wind flows easily and quickly over the hilltop.
The “fort”at one end of the island is, at this point, a large hill with rusted cannons and a flag pole. The cannons were actually never used as the French government never went through with establishing a defensive base there. The cannons were, however, used for a while on Bastille Day for celebration.
Near the fort is the rusted hull of the Transpacific – a shipwreck from the 70s that doesn’t seem that large until you notice the small house next to it and the comparison is pretty cool. The ship was abandoned and locals looted the cargo – lawnmowers and juke boxes among other day-to-day items.
shipwreck of the Transpacific on Ile aux Marins
shipwrecked hull next to a house – Ile aux Marins
In the middle of the island is a stark white and red church. Its clean lines and perfect proportions make it seem other-worldly or fake, especially when viewed from St. Pierre through the mist. The shadows are crisp.
On a hill near the church is a large crucifix.
Over another hill and down low is an above-ground, sea-side cemetery: eerie, quiet and spooky with not a few cracked tombs where you could look down in the dark depths within.
The whole place was beautiful and peaceful, with the constant wind in your ear and the screeching circling seagulls. There was a woman running a small snack bar and she was the only person we came across until some local sanitation workers arrived to empty the trash bins.
The islands of St. Pierre & Miquelon are actually part of France, but they are tiny islands off the southern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. You can get there by plane from Halifax or St. John’s, or by ferry from Fortune.
It’s so neat to be in France but over here in North America! They speak French with French accents (not Quebecois which I can’t understand du tout), use the euro and you get a nifty stamp in your passport upon entering!
My dad and I spent two nights on the island of St. Pierre during our father-daughter Maritime Canadian road-trip. St. Pierre is the smaller of the two islands but is the more heavily populated, with almost 6,000 residents (mostly concentrated in the town of St. Pierre) to Miquelon’s 600 residents.
Given that in mid-July it was cold and rainy, we didn’t take the opportunity to get soaked on a ferry-ride over to Miquelon. I’m not even sure the ferry was running one day since the winds were quite high. Next time!
So we centered our time around St. Pierre and the ghost island of Ile aux Marins located in St. Pierre’s bay. Ile aux Marins’ last resident died in the 1970s I believe, however many of the island houses are well-maintained and I wouldn’t be surprised if families used them as weekend/summer houses.
In St. Pierre, we stayed at Nuits St. Pierre, owned and operated by the lovely local proprietress, Patricia who picked us up at the airport. She also owns the next door cafe, Delices de Josephine where we took our afternoon Orangina.
The B&B was warm and cozy. There are 5 well-appointed rooms with modern amenities (including adapters – good because I hadn’t even thought to bring one!), slippers, robes, free wifi and a very comfy pull out couch (dad said the bed was comfy too).
Each morning, breakfast was prepared by a friendly young lady who had moved from Montreal to work in the hotel. I had the requisite pain au chocolate an baguette with lots of butter and coffee.
Even though it was rainy and chilly for most of our stay, we wandered around town, visiting the lighthouse, the salines (colorful seaside huts where they clean and dry the day’s catch), the post office for stamps, the WWI/WWII memorial, the Musee de l’Arche with a great history exhibit, the look-out point with 360 views of the town, harbor and expansive above-ground cemetery.
plaque memorializing sailors whose boats were torpedoed in WWII
painting at Musee de l’Arche depicting drying fish
The history centers mostly around fishing, although there was a great economic boom during the years of US Prohibition due to massive smuggling operations through St. Pierre. Al Capone even installed himself at the Hotel Robert (still in use) during that time.
salines – fishing shacks – in St. Pierre
me taking photos of dad taking photos in front of the lighthouse
According to one sign in the museum, there was prohibition in Canada too (who knew), but they allowed for the manufacture of alcohol so long as it was exported to a country who did not have prohibition. Well good thing St. Pierre is part of France – so convenient! So once the Canadians exported to France, the bootleggers took it from there to get it into the US.
Once Prohibition was lifted, St. Pierre’s economy collapsed, and they had to return to their fishing way of life with some added tourist income.
We ate our dinners at L’Atelier Gourmand and Le Feu de Braise. Neither were much to write home about – both solid and good – not incredibly memorable, although the scallops at Feu were tasty and fresh, and the steak au poivre at L’Atelier was up to snuff.
On our second day, the sun came out for a bit and we witnessed the end of the Halifax-St. Pierre annual regatta. The first sailboat arrived after setting out two days prior, battling some storms but finally making it safely to St. Pierre (some boats scratched out along the way). We joined in the end-of-race party tent for some snacks and people watching.
That evening we came across an outdoor concert near our hotel of traditional French music – old-timey feel good songs accompanied by drums and accordion.
Just as I had my fill of croissants at the local boulangerie (there are only two apparently, but we only stumbled upon one), it was time to move on to Newfoundland for the next leg of our journey!
Recently, a new underground shopping mall and food court has opened in the Columbus Circle subway stop. It’s brightly lit, well decorated and has some excellent options for coffee and dining, including Starbucks, FIKA, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Doughnuttery, Pressed Juicery, Casa Toscana and many more.
There are cute handmade jewelry stands down the center aisle, and all manner of shops from a wine store to a shop that has a mishmash of random novelty gifts and home goods (like a giant gummy bear piggy bank).
Inevitably there is a pizza place down there. And it is just called: Turnstyle The Pizza, as in, there is only one pizza place down here, and this is it.
So of course we were going to get pizza from there. It was only a matter of time being that it’s literally on our commute home from work.
One night, Mark stopped and picked up a large cheese pizza for dinner.
Looking good so far in its extra large New York pizza way:
But then I went to pick up a slice:
Ehhhhhh I can maybe even forgive a cheese slide, but I was overall disheartened at the way the cheese was kind of lumpy and crumbly and the sauce was particularly sweet and oversauced and the crust was particularly dry.
I mean, I ate it, duh. And maybe if you were really craving pizza, grabbing a slice down in the subway makes sense. But generally we can do better. That Italian Casa Toscana looks interesting to me, and they have gelato, so that might be the next place to try down in Turnstyle.
Has anyone else tried any of the other food down there?