Sunday, December 30, 2012


Little mess on the table and amazing grilled asparagus in ink and Kuretake. Colorful splashes, almost firework of ink indicates my happiness and delight, it was the best asparagus ever. I put bunch of seasonings on it: Turkish, Japanese, Georgian Khmeli Suneli, cumin, barberry, paprika, turmeric, grated cheese, oil and soy sauce and we grilled it for a few minutes on our new device Griddler.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dancing boy.

I saw this boy on the Subway, on the platform, dancing to his own music. Dark silhouette against the urban landscape. It brought light and wonder into dusk of my own mood. Ink.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 27 sketches in Gamma sketchbook.

I prewashed sketchbooks pages by dropping ink puddles. With the vintage pencil on the top it gives me more of sensitive look at the drawn memories of the day.
Couple on the top got off the same station as I did and I thought again could be my neighbors who I was eyeballing.
It was freezing and windy and my throat is itchy today, but it was worth it, my travel and sketching yesterday, my meeting very colorful man with extraordinary life adventures, with amazing stories and possibility of reading his upcoming book.
I used Bell pencil and bits of Pentel Multi-8 pencil for color.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Only 2 pages in Gamma sketchbook.

Yesterday I got a lift from somebody, which made me pretty unhappy, because shortened my sketching time, and cut my 15 min walk in cold Williamsburg, when I can gaze around and think in silence, so I got only half a trip with pencil, on the way back. The good part I met, may be,  potential client, woman with the taste.
I am challenging myself to go on a sketching spree, may be I will, finally, get satisfied with Subway sketching. I was looking jealously at half empty benches underground yesterday, thinking to stop there, but I promised to have dinner together at home.
 I tried to use watercolor pencil with wash, but somehow disliked it, and got back to plain mechanical pencil.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Subway sketches on the way to Williamsburg and back.

I don't mind trotting on a Subway as long as I can get a seat and sketch people. My pretty sketchbook got some abuse from splattered ink and few smears of metallic on the jacket from my dirty hands in gloves.
Few touches of color with Pentel Multi-8 pencil. One day I will go and ride on a Subway just for sketching.
Here is the wall, glazed in metallics.
A bit closer. They really like that finish and they usually don't like and don't know anything. So this is sort of champagne color. So I think I deserve a sweet roll with cottage cheese tomorrow for breakfast, for saving the day.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bowl of soup.

Here is a story about bowl of soup, given to me by one woman, who I find very interesting and would like to keep friendship with, who seems so knowledgeable and deep, I hope not to loose her in my hermit style of life, but know too well that nothing could keep me away from drawing.
It is also a story about a fight between me and paper, strange, smooth, cheap, glossy, useless paper, which I ripped and burn and salted, to make it work for me. Ink and Kuretake change their colors, sunk in it, become unrecognizable and I am not sure that I was right to insist on using it, it would, probably, look richer on watercolor paper.
I like to draw simple things like bread and soup, tea kettle, because this objects carrying warmth and peace, same for everyone, it is about people without depicting people.
Here is the room I did for that woman.
Soft glazing with touch of metallic and small brunches with leaves. It is shimmering.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Hurricane Sandy dragged seaweed and sand along with water onto small streets in South Brooklyn. I guess, it attracted seagulls. Once I was walking and got stunned by big birds flying near my face. It was not as scary as in Hitchcock's movie, but it was pretty unnatural to see them so low and so many and so far from the beach.
So I did drawing of that street and added birds later. I still may replay the composition, because still unsatisfied with the result. But I am happy I did it, because so many visual thoughts stay undrawn and with all our busyness and rushing never reach the paper and fading away.
I used ink and Kuretake on Bockingford tinted watercolor paper. Funny, this was my last piece of this paper and suddenly I felt how good it was for ink, how much I want more of this paper in ivory and grey and white colors.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 19 Subway sketches in Gamma sketchbook.

Yesterday's Subway trip and the whole day didn't seem a big waste because I got to sketch people on a train. I still can't get enough of plain mechanical pencil on aged with ink Gamma sketchbook pages. Something really attractive in one pencil and one sketchbook, so little to carry, but such a powerful tool to express and document.
On one station group of construction workers came in, their faces dirty, they were laughing, I managed to catch one, they left on the next stop, pity, such a colorful group. The guy on the bottom was so quiet, never lifted his eyes, so I felt almost too aggressive staring at him, he stepped out on the same stop as I did, hope he is not my neighbor. I find people beautiful and fascinating with the depth of their own world, they keep for themselves.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17 Subway sketches.

Sketches with vintage mechanical pencil Bell in Gamma sketchbook.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I was deeply shocked by shooting of innocent small children in Connecticut. This the end of the world for their families, scars for life for their siblings and classmates, wound in the heart for everyone who consider themselves human. This is the first page in Gamma sketchbook, which I intended for happy sketch in a Subway with ink and Kuretake, but instead it took my tears and grief about 27 lives taken so violently.  How scary to live in the world where we can't protect our children?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Starting new Gamma sketchbook.

I started new sketchbook on a Subway, Gamma by Stillman & Birn. The one with Van Gogh's drawing of a Sower on the sleeve.
I have a very special relationships with Van Gogh, I fell in love with his work at 15, after reading the book by Irving Stone " Lust for life". Van Gogh's "Letters to his brother Theo" is one of my favorite books ever, I got it at 17 and brought it here with me. Stone based his book on that Letters. Whenever I needed advice or inspiration, or just a friend, I opened a book at any page and listened to wise words.
So all this to explain why I did this drawing on the second page, leaving the first for something more special than a Subway sketches, I felt stupid to be so superstitious, but it was the only way to start that beautiful new sketchbook, till it become tainted, familiar, approachable.
I used vintage green pencil signed "Bell system property" with metal yellow patch covering last 6 letters, something really charming in that pencil, very personal and I like how it was gliding on paper.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Decided to finish "Wolfnights", hanging out on my table for a long while. It was remarkable evening in Manhattan and the best wrap ever loaded with the best meat and vegetables. We were sitting on swinging seats on chains, looking at midnight street and enjoying food and conversation.
I used old piece of paper, ink and Kuretake.
Really charming place, gotta go again.

Couple of sketches on the way to flu.

Going trough the day with Delta sketchbook and water soluble pencil.
I know I skipped W in a word here, but I already had fever, but didn't know I was sick, I just felt miserable and was holding on to being upright.
I used a bit of ink and Kuretake and salt on the upside down sketch, I turn sketchbook to make it more comfortable to draw.
I am on the last page of Delta and giving her goodbye hug.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Blackberry breakfast.

This is still life with blackberries and cups and at the same time it is an intense stare at the breakfast scene, trying to absorb every little detail of berries, sweet baklava, green desert plates, shaped like a flower, tea kettle, all this fragile peaceful beauty of a family breakfast, which is soon will be gone, will be replaced by the darkness, like everything else, will become someones distant memory, maybe not even mine.
I used ink and Kuretake and a little bit of salt. Scanner cannot show shimmering specks of salt or sand, or jewelry sparkles, covering the whole drawing.
BTW, this tea kettle is done, got destroyed by Sandy, like most of electrical stuff at home, I already got a replacement, different shape, different color, how it will fit in my drawings?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Couple of Subway sketches in Delta and Baby Peggy.

Riding late on a Subway gave me little time to sketch, too many people, no free seats, so I was standing and drawing in my head, much better than on paper.
I am at the end of Delta sketchbook by Stillman & Birn, makes me sad, I fell in love with this strong ivory paper, it takes any media so thankfully, washes, ink, watercolors, allows pencil to glide, kept up with my tossing it in the book bag,  really good companion, I would say, faithful friend, who knew more about me that I wanted to share.
I saw couple of silent movies from 1920's with Baby Peggy, than I Googled her, very interesting child she was, porcelain face with Chinese eyes, million expressions, read about her life, she is 94 now, accomplished writer, advocating for children actors rights.
Still want to see  “Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room.”  documentary.
After watching movie  The Artist I was really attracted to black-and-white movies, to that beautiful play of light and shadows, it was like someone was painting with black ink amazing compositions in front of my eyes. Without color you see the structure of life much better, clearer, and emotion paints it for you.
I used pencil and wash here, in Delta.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Big truck. Aftermath.

We have big machinery everywhere, some of it, probably, temporary generators, some strange structures, some bright colors, we have blue, gray and yellow equipment inside buildings. We have people in white clothes, looking like aliens, I guess  it is cleaning company, restoring vital functions of our octopus buildings organism, chewed by the ocean.
Here is a big green truck with heavy load. I used ink and Kuretake, I miss happy puddles with orange rims.
Aliens among us.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Subway musicians.

Changing trains got wrapped up into music for a moment. Two musicians with violins. For some reason I felt that music painted surroundings in flaming reds. I was hiding with my sketchbook behind some metal boxes, where slightly smelled like urine and music licked my shoes with orange waves like tired sea.
I used ink, Kuretake, salt, Inktense pencils, mixed media on Arches.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Subway obsession on my phone.

Have to apologize for sudden stream of photos instead of drawings (I still do it, drawings, they scattered on my table, unfinished, unloved), it is really hard to get back to normal, when life is so uncertain and many things sort of lost meaning, become almost embarrassingly unimportant.
I kind off turned into eyes only, interesting feeling, when you are seeing, registering and not judging, not giving labels.
So here is about Subway.  In faux finishes world textures plays a big role, and here it is, many of them, interesting water stain on the back with blues and yellows and dirty umber, cascading green.
It is still "N" train station. Pretty amazing composition with arch, metal beam with little pipe, from this pipe water was dripping in interesting rhythm, I was trying to apply it to musical beat, that rhythm and it was so illogical, so spastic, probably very eclectic this music should be. Visually it was interesting, a bit theatrical (could make an interesting set for a movie or a play, so urban with mosaic of windows and graffiti and skeleton of the tree).
Nothing special, just the view through the metal structure, a bit suffocating.
You could see half of the Brooklyn from the platform. Also "N" train.
Here is Coney Island, where many trains start their journey. Feels so many choices you have, illusion of course, but elevating spirit.
Here is Piglet (still about Subway, because on the way to the train station), interesting that his shadow reveals his true nature, pig. You can see a young and perky pig in his shadow. May be I should reverse it and pig would be shadowing a white dog?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Subway sketches in Delta sketchbook and insomnia.

Since I can't sleep from 3 am I may as well post my latest sketches on a Subway.
I miss drawing, few stops on N train is not enough time.
People seems to avoid subway car with homeless people in it, my first intention was also to take the next car, but then I thought, why? What happen to this person who lost his home, his dignity, may be his family and cannot find his place in society? Who am I to judge?
Here is the view at the ocean from the Ocean Parkway train station platform. So calm and pretty, but so much devastation it brought to my neighborhood and many others.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Aftermath Sandy.

This is Brooklyn street, the way I saw it one evening, when I went to walk my little dog, empty, dark, abandoned, sliced by headlights  of cars occasionally passing by, with glistening mud and broken glass under my feet. It use to be full of life and lit up in the evening, with dogs barking and people chatting on the porches. It was flooded by hurricane Sandy.
Sorry, if it looks too abstract. I wanted to show it broken in pieces of light and dark, with fear and uncertainty I felt at a moment.
I used ink, Kuretake pens and salt on Fabriano Artistico paper.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Forgotten Subway sketch.

Sketch I did on N train in Delta sketchbook. Everyone in its own world. Pencil and wash.  The whole sketchbook turn out colorless, when I intended it for happy watercolors.  May be I should wipe my glasses?

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Hard to say goodbye to my car. Not only because I can't  buy a new one like that, but because it was taken from us so suddenly by the black water of the ocean, cutting it in its prime, cutting off the slice of life. Somehow it put a dot on our previous adventures connected to the Car, our happy trips Upstate, our secretive escapades Downtown, my drawing ventures. I miss it dearly. Feels sort of I let it die, like neglected pet. Unfair.
May be it is brought up from the Old World I came from, where things were given a deeper meaning, where it was more connected to people's lives, almost given a life of its own?
We liked that it was big, we like to sit high up, we liked that it was black color and had loud speakers, which echoing electronic beat so nicely, we liked window on the roof, that you can stand, stick out, laugh and let the wind to chew your hair and duck down when see sheriff's car on the road.
I used ink, Kuretake, I used salt, sort of imitating what really happened.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Subway sketches in Delta on the way to Kingston Avenue.

Sketched New Yorkers on the way to the other part of Brooklyn. I really like this ivory color paper in Delta, was hoping to take it with me on small trips and use watercolor, it would be so good for little splashes of color, but life turned the way nobody was expecting and I am filling Delta with monochromatic sketches of subway riders.
I like this water soluble pencil, among the others it is my favorite. Koh-I-Noor Gioconda. It could be soft like on the man in the middle, on the bottom page, or dissolve into puddle. I hope to try it in a few layers, to get more gradation, but in quick subway sketches one layer is the only option, people come and leave on every stop.
I have Derwent Sketching Dark Wash pencil, Staedtler, Derwent Graphitone stick, Faber-Castel Durer pencil and I am always looking for something new.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sketches in Delta.

Sketches in Delta sketchbook, about and around.
Scribbled in darkness.
On the train. Pencil and wash.

Autumn truck and Liza.

For some reason I decide to try really strange very smooth paper, I have in the corner of my room, probably feeling bad to get rid of it by simply throwing it away, because it doesn't look useful for my ink technique. Instead I was struggling with stubborn surface, trying to move ink, and if felt wet and cold and lonely and I missed my warm car. I used ink and Kuretake.

Here is a photo of Liza Queenie in her charming fat days. She was adorable.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


We have no heat again and it is freezing in my room.
During our ordeal in the midst of the hurricane Sandy, on one of the days, my husband hiked to the street (no power, no heat, don't remember if also no water, no elevator) and it was  truck on the street with hot food, "Schnitzel & Things", sponsored by mayor Bloomberg. My husband brought it also to my poor friend, who stuck on 20th floor, sick and in pain, forgotten.  It was suddenly a piece of normality, meat, hot, pretty, like it is possible to live again, and somewhere life and other people.
So I drew it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Trying to climb up from the dark spot, what my life was for the last couple of weeks, when my half asleep-half nightmares of distorted images of struggling people, broken pieces of houses and cars and lives, black water, madе me silent and helpless, madе me feel I can't draw.
We got power back today, some imitation of hot water, it is still cold but light makes it all possible, so I finished this drawing, which I did in short rides to my freezing work room, wrapped in warm oversized sweater with hot tea in my other hand.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane Sandy.

I started drawing Liza before the hurricane and when it happened and right before my eyes black water start swallowing cars on streets and wind threw pieces of scaffolding downstairs, and everything looked like cheap imitation of horror movie, and then following days of never ending nightmare with fears, candlelight, darkness and cold, piles of sand and garbage, absence of food and water, - I couldn't draw anymore, it didn't make sense.
On 7th day we got cold water, than light, yesterday internet. We still burning gas on the stove range to get warmer, we still don't have heat and hot water, stores around us still remain closed and struggling to clean up after the hurricane, and car is done.  I scribble something on the drawing of Liza, what I saw, what I felt. So here is the drawing.