Painting #32 – Twin Peaks Inspired

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 0 No tags Permalink

Painting #32 is a Twin Peaks inspired piece in gouache. As you know, Twin Peaks Day is February 24th. Hope you plan on celebrating with a piece of cherry pie and a cup of black coffee. You know I will be.

I’m not sure about this piece. Some of it is not bad. Other areas could use some work. It’s my first nocturne, which was a challenge. Maybe acrylic would have been better? I don’t know. My next piece is sketched out and is a sci-fi theme. I’ll probably do it in acrylic. I think the scale is a bit wrong already on the drawing, but I’ll adjust it as I go. It’s never about how the pieces turn out really. It’s about how I feel when I’m painting, which is pretty awesome.

I’ve been working on crocheting a baby blanket and have been watching a ton of movies in preparation for the Oscar nominations. The Golden Globe nominations came out today and honestly they sucked. Really nothing that I’ve watched was nominated, and believe me I’ve been watching a wide range of movies. Have you seen anything you’ve enjoyed lately?

Next week is supposed to be hella cold. The next two weeks will be well below average temperatures, maybe 20 degrees below normal. We’re supposed to get a bit of a snowstorm the end of this week as well. Things are somewhat stressful at work as we are trying to hire three positions. I predict I will have some Saturdays in my future to work.

Stowaway Motel

Monday, January 25, 2021 0 No tags Permalink

The New Stowaway Motel
“On the World’s Most Famous Beach”
326 North Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, Florida
Phone CLinton 2-6725
Ultra Modern Rooms and Efficiencies, all with Air Conditioning – Steam Heat – 21″ T.V. – Tile Baths, Tubs and Showers. Restaurants and Shopping Centers nearby. 1/2 Block to Boardwalk and Amusement Area.

Pub. by O’Brien Color Studios, Daytona Beach, Florida
Made by Dexter, West Nyack, N.Y.
17711-B

This lovely card was mailed using a six cent stamp from Daytona Beach on April 25, 1970. It was sent to Mr & Mrs Paul Serbak, 1048 Ardmore Manor Drive, Pittsburgh PA, 15221. This house, right here, from Google Street View:

The card reads:

Hi Ann & Paul
We are at Daytona Beach now everything is going along fine. This is a very nice place. We are staying along the area. Bye Bye for this time
Ella & Joe

Joe, or Joseph Cotyk, was Ann Serbak’s brother. Paul Serbak passed away in 1978, and Ann in 1989. Joe Cotyk passed away in 1988 and Ella in 2007.

The Stowaway itself was liquidated in 1986, with an assessed value of $320,000. It has since become another hideous condo.

Painting #31 and Weather Blues

painting #31

Painting #31 is an acrylic study of a photo I took some time back. It could use a little more work, but I will likely leave it as is. I’m doing an online class on painting nocturnes now, which is interesting, but I’m having some trouble finding reference photos I like. Am I improving? Who knows. But the time spent painting is time not spent fretting about stressful or unhappy things. It’s impossible to paint and mentally deal with anything else other than paint, brush, and paper. I’ll take it.

The weather is endless gray days and snow. We’ll have a few minutes of sun here and there, and thankfully it’s not been bitterly cold, but I’m feeling the strain just the same. It’s harder to get out of bed and damn near impossible to get off the couch. I did read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which is the first book I’ve been able to finish in some time. Like a year. I don’t know if it’s just my mood or if my new glasses are helping my eyestrain some. I know it’s only 61 days until the official start of spring and we’ll probably have a February thaw and the end of winter will happen. I’m trying to plan on bright things, like a surprise Twin Peaks Day package I’m sending out and Valentine’s gifts for the staff members. Still, it’s a struggle. It’s hard to write letters when I don’t have much to say. It’s hard to take photos when everything is the same color of gray all the time.

Pines Motel – Mackinaw City

Thursday, January 14, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
Pines Motel Mackinaw City

When in our Bridge Country,
stop at
THE PINES MOTEL INC.
Located on the Straits of Mackinac,
Mackinaw City, Michigan
A Fine Modern Motel with wall-to-wall carpeting, ceramic tiled showers, electric heat and free Television. Ferry Service to Mackinac Island from the premises. Restaurants nearby. A Deposit will hold your reservation.
Bill & Donna Battige
Box 736 Ph. 1-616-436-8251
811 So. Huron Ave.
Mackinaw City, Mich. 49701

Made by Dexter Press Inc
Pub. for L.H. Tuttle, Cheboygan, Michigan 49721

This beautiful card, featuring the AAA logo, is unsent. The motel is gone, having long been replaced by a parking lot. Wilbur “Bill” Battige passed away in 1997 and Donna in 1999. The Pines, with its 15 units, was listed for sale the summer of 1974. I would guess this postcard predates that time.

Painting #30 – Windsor Riverwalk

Thursday, January 14, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
painting #30

Painting #30, and the final painting of the Class101 online course. It’s a gouache study of the Windsor Riverwalk, though it was not painted from a reference but instead my imagination. It might have turned out better if I had painted what I actually saw in my mind’s eye and remembered instead of a stylized view of it. Maybe it would have more feeling and would be less flat? Though there are still things not right with this painting, I have learned some during the process. The Class101 instructor gave virtually no feedback; most of the videos were not really instructions, but videos of her painting. Not a lot of tips or helpful information, aside from setting up a color chart with all of your paint colors so you can see in advance what colors will work best for your image. Honestly, I am learning more by posting on the Facebook and Reddit painting groups I below to and asking for advice on my paintings. I’ve started up another class, this one on nocturnes, and the instructor is providing such good advice I’m actually taking notes.

It’s been a rather mild winter so far, most days in the low 30s for highs. We’ve had a few days now with partial sunshine, which helps the old mood for sure. And now we’re half way through January, with only 64 days until the spring equinox. The world may well be falling apart – Trump was impeached for the second time yesterday and COVID numbers are high, high, high – but the inevitable march towards spring continues. I’ve repotted my office plants, which I’m sure was a huge shock to them, and I’ve ordered seeds for the vegetable garden as they are predicting significant delays again with gardening supplies. Who knows what spring or summer will look like? People over 65 in Calhoun County can sign up to get the vaccine, but there’s a very long wait list.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Friday, January 8, 2021 0 No tags Permalink

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and actually I don’t feel fine. What a week it has been. Everything seems unreal, and I wonder if things will ever go back to at least where people acted normal out in public. Once we’ve seen this anarchy, it may always be just under the surface if not bubbling over. I can make an analogy to the shelter world. Once a dog chooses to bite and gets the reaction it is looking for, that tool will always be available. It’s why you can’t adopt out dogs with a bite history. Did you ever expect to see insurgents storm the Capitol building? Maybe yes, if you watched them in Lansing, Michigan. And now that they know it works and they can do it whenever they want to interrupt democracy? It’s anarchy.

Between the intolerable state of US affairs and the UK COVID variant that is quickly spreading in the United States, the world feels a bit unstable. The shelter will be closed through March but what will actually take place? Will people actually take the vaccine? Will it be available, and will it be safe long-term? Are we merely in the bubble between a constant stream of pandemics now, brought on by overpopulation and climate change? What happens when everyone is evicted and there are no jobs?

In the meanwhile, I paint. I am still finishing the Class 101 online class and will be starting a nocturne painting class after that. The Class 101 was good as it got me painting things I normally wouldn’t paint and using some creativity instead of just trying to reproduce an image. But in other ways, it’s not really my style of painting either. I always do like having assignments or prompts to work on accomplishing. It gives me purpose. The above image is painting #29, twinkle lights on a balcony in gouache. And here is my helper:

I am thankful for the life we have built at home: me, Bob and Maxy. I’m thankful for my extended family. I’m thankful that I can mentally get away from the world and paint, that I have a job that for the most part I enjoy. That I am surrounded by cats. That I have friends, and Netflix. That the days are growing longer and there are 70 days until the official start of spring.

Making Waves

There’s no making waves in these parts these days. Everything is cold and gray. The temperatures have hovered around the freeze/thaw cycle since before New Year’s, and we haven’t seen the sun in longer than that. It’s sort of interesting, as the temperatures warm up just enough to start melting the snow which creates fog and then the fog freezes in the air and on all of the surfaces. We had an ice storm over the New Year weekend (and survived it without a working furnace!). It looks like the weather will be more of the same for the ten day forecast, and continued clouds. It is hard to tell between 6am and 11am, 4pm and 8pm. All the same gray. It’s hard to get motivated to get out of bed or to do much of anything.

making waves acrylic

I’m continuing on with the Class 101 painting class. This section was about making waves. I’ve decided that I don’t really enjoy painting waves. It’s hard to find a good reference photo that worked with the assignment. The painting above (#27, for those who are counting) is in acrylic and had several attempts at it. You were supposed to start with a lighter color and go in for the darker tones. These two paintings were supposed to feature light on top of the waves.

making waves gouache

This one is in gouache, and was started with darker and then lighter added in. The shapes are maybe a bit better but it’s still weird. I look forward to moving on to the next lesson and seeing what the assignment is. And I just look forward to painting. Even when it doesn’t turn out how I’d like, I love the process and learn from it. When I’m not painting, I’m often thinking about painting.

I did clean up my office plants a little. Added more soil, fed them. They are looking better. My office itself is a little cleaner, too. I am ready for the January thaw already. 72 days until spring.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Well, almost. And holy cats, what a year. From rotten politics to COVID and quarantine, we’re not sure if we are coming or going most days. While we look forward to the new year, it’s hard to tell what it will hold. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

This lovely vintage postcard features

La BreezeMotel
1114 No. Atlantic Ave., on A1A
Daytona Beach, Florida
Tel. CLinton 3-9165
Ultra Modern Rooms, Apts. And Efficiencies
Located Directly On The “World’s Most Famous Beach.”
Hot Water Heat Reasonable Rates

O’Brien Color Studios, Daytona Beach, Fla.

The card has not been used, but the writing on the back says:

Hello —–
This is a picture of our motel. It is a beautiful

and it cuts off there. The property, according to Google Street View, is now an empty lot.

Wishing you and your family much happiness and great health in 2021.

Vintage Christmas Postcards

Friday, December 11, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
vintage Christmas postcard

This December, I’ve been posting daily vintage Christmas postcards on the catobear.com Facebook page (click here). Although these cards are not necessarily what you would normally find in my collection (that is, mid-century chrome cards featuring motels), they are quite nice. Most are embossed and some have foil leaf on them. The writing on the back is always in black ink from a fountain pen, as these cards are from 1900 – 1915 or so.

vintage Christmas postcard

Some of my penpals may find one of these in their mail this Christmas, provided I can actually catch up on my work and my Christmas cards and everything else I am behind on. I have yet to even put up the decorations and we’re just over a week to the solstice.

Anyhow, if you want to see the full set of cards, follow catobear.com on Facebook through this whole month. Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

Painting #25 and #26

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
painting #25

I am slowly continuing on with the Class101 online painting class. If I painted as much as I thought about painting, I’d rarely leave my studio. But it’s no good to paint if you’re physically, mentally or emotionally too tired and this time of year can make you feel all three at once. Above is an assignment on glowing again, like the previous candles.

I’ve always been quite afraid of perspective and can never quite get it right. This assignment was on perspective, and I wanted to try something a bit more difficult. Does it look familiar, like from a movie?

Right now I’m working on a garden scape. I think I have three more lessons after that, and then I’ve signed up for a nocturne painting class. Honestly, painting has been the best new year’s resolution I have come up with.

In other news, coronavirus is changing how the holidays will happen. Even though I’ve been congratulating myself on stress management, I’ve had several things happen that are making me think I’ve been lying to myself. If I owe you a text or a letter or an email or a phone call…I’m pretty much paralyzed at this point when it comes to doing anything but barely making it through the day and going home with Bob and Maxy where I put the rest of the world behind me until the alarm clock goes off the next morning. Repeat.