The Crown Publishing Group provided me a copy of the book: “Urban Watercolor Sketching” by Felix Scheinberger in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  Thanks Crown Publishing!  I haven’t done this before – here goes!

My background – where am I coming from?

I love art and design and creative expression.  As a youngster I mostly expressed myself in music and dance.  I liked doing little crafty projects and have always been a mad doodler, but was unfortunately intimidated by several art teachers at school and got the idea that I can’t draw or paint and shouldn’t try, that it starts with a magical innate talent and that only those folks should be pursuing it, even at an amateur level (I know this isn’t such an unfamiliar story).  I did a girls’ night out at a paint bar a couple of years ago, we painted an African scene and I really enjoyed the process and like the way it came out.  I signed up for a beginning acrylics class in my town and although it wasn’t entirely what I expected, and I wish it could have been longer, it set me on a journey of trying to draw and paint and realizing I like a lot of what I create.  And that it can be very relaxing to use my art supplies.  And no one else needs to see it.

The things I liked best about this book was:

  • The artist’s unique style and years of experience
  • The artist’s willingness to share trade secrets, even if some of them sound a little grody (using spit to get certain textures – not sure if I’ll go there – but I do like having as many tricks at my disposal as possible)
  • Some interesting new techniques that probably only a working artist could provide

The things I liked least about this book was:

  • After reading it, I never had a very clear picture about what makes this “Urban”.  Based on the title I expected it to be techniques strictly related to painting urban landscapes.  There were many of those, but it was not focused on urban surroundings.  This was confusing to me and I started to think maybe the word “urban” means something specific in the art world that I’m not aware of?  Which leads me to…
  • I didn’t feel like it was a good fit for a beginner (it didn’t make that claim, that I remember, so just noting this as FYI).  It seemed geared more toward folks who have been drawing and painting far longer than me, folks looking to better define their personal style and get new, somewhat advanced, tips.
  • I found his style somewhat aloof – could have been more engaging – maybe he was trying too hard not to insert himself too much?

Stuff I like right now

Three of my favorite things right now:

look at you.  just sitting in a pile being all delicious.
  • Amazon Prime’s original new show Transparent. It’s been ages since a series made me ponder it between episodes as much as this one. I appreciate that it doesn’t always offer the comfort of tidiness or logic or even knowing if something is happening in physical reality or just a metaphor. It is beautiful and brilliant. O Jeffrey Tambor, I thought you were grand before, but now you are a god(dess) to me.  Gaby Hoffman is my other favorite on this show.
  • Unitasking. I barely ever seem to accomplish this, at least for a sustained period. I have a wicked case of what many in the meditation/Buddhist/yoga etc. world call “monkey mind” – the mind that flits about like a naughty little monkey wreaking havoc. But I’m trying harder to do less things at once.  When it happens, if it happens, it is luxurious and rewarding.

Help me help the world!!

There are 2 things that someone needs to create and manufacture in my area of the world. Hey, how about you? I would except I can’t – I’m an idea person only. I don’t need any credit for these, only to have the products become a reality asap and perhaps get some free samples.

1) “New Baby Head” (henceforth referred to as NBH) detergent and/or fabric softener: last week inexplicably I smelled the nbh smell for about a day in my cubicle. It really soothed me and gave me a little lift. Everyone loves to smell nbh, I think some people are just more covert than others when sniffing the top of a new baby’s head. I think the world might be a calmer happier place if our clothes smelled like nbh. So please get on this. This is the one more urgently needed than #2.

2) Manscaping Catchall (alternate product name: Gentleman’s Grooming Tray): are you in charge of manscaping your partner’s hirsute head or neck parts? (ok, yes, I’m being sexist: perhaps you “scape” a female partner – but let’s face it, it’s usually the dudes who get the out of control hairs). When said partner gets comfy on a couch near decent lighting, is your first thought: “Oh good, time to get the safety scissors b/c those insane nose/ear/eyebrow/forehead/etc. hairs have got to go?” And then you pause, wondering, “But I just vacuumed in here, and those little suckers get everywhere.” ?

Enter the Manscaping Catchall (Gentleman’s Grooming Tray)! This is a convenient, portable, dishwasher-safe, lightweight tray kind of like a large paint palette or one of those nifty puke pails they have in the hospital – but this has small straps that attach it around the scapee’s ears. So manscaper and manscapee can be hands-free while all of the trimmed hairs conveniently fall onto the tray. There could also perhaps be a version with higher rims for the sneezy types.

So stop readin and start craftin these up!

A sure sign that you’re no longer a youngin?

You inherit a family member’s leftover Halloween candy – dozens & dozens of Peppermint Patties and Twizzlers, doled out into little baggies – and your first thought is, “Score! Lots of baggies I can re-use!” And you take the candy into work.

When did I become so…that?

and Everything in its Place

Really, I should rename the folders in my Gmail account to better reflect my reality.  Right now it is a banal and unhelpful set that includes “Photos”, “Family”, “Email lists”, “Friends”.

These would work much better:

  • “Amazing coupons at that chain store you love, which expired last week”
  • “Health info you feel you must review and commit to memory, and will be disproven in 2 years”
  • “Creative ideas to make your home more efficient, fun, or able to be navigated on foot, that you have no time to implement”
  • “Emails from acquaintances with awkward questions you’re not sure how to answer without consulting two close friends”

Me: Is there, like, a disorder where, unless you write something down, it feels like that thing isn’t official, or really real or something?

Care Provider: Oh, probab . . .

Me: Wait, no, actually, is there a disorder where you feel compelled to write lots of things down in order for them to be official and on the radar and “real”, but you struggle against it b/c you’re afraid it means you’re a freak?  Cuz I think have THAT one.

Care provider: Hmm.

Jealous Of

Spent far too long in this life of mine


ruing things I wasn’t born to be


As I grow old, I grow more jealous, too –


I’m even jealous of your jealousy


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