Saturday, October 24, 2020

Sketching at the beach


Yesterday was a day to celebrate. It was almost 80 degrees! 

In Buffalo! In late October!

And so I went to the beach. We have the Pods for this purpose but we did not need them. Instead a group of us just gathered. At our height I believe there were seven of us. Plus strangers with whom we were interacting.

And their dogs!

A big poodle named Hannah came bounding up and ate the last piece of cheese off our cheese board! Then she kept trying to get into my backpack because she knew there was more cheese in there!

The dogs were playing fetch in the water and sailboats kept gliding by. It was a wonderful day off.

It is a challenge to sketch on the beach because the usual things I love to draw are not there. There are no traffic signals or parking meters or goose-neck street lamps or Do Not Enter signs.

Ha, ha! Once my sister Katie suggested I go with her to Allegany State Park where there is beautiful nature. She said, "You can draw there."

I said: "Draw what??"

LOL! Anyway at the beach I come up with sketches like the one pictured above. I did that the other day in the Pod.

Yesterday I sketched some dogs and sailboats and then simply zoned out and breathed the air and watched the sunset. 

It is good to zone out once in a while.

God rested and so should we!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Confessions of a Pod Person

My friend Ryan and I have bought Pods and now we are able to sit out in all weather.

Under all weather! The brand name of the pods is Under the Weather. It is not a perfect name because, you know, when you are under the weather you are sick. The subtitle is better. The pod package announces, "Be There -- Weather Or Not!"

That is accurate. You can be there, weather or not! These are little pop-up tents and as long as you do not mind looking a little silly in them, which we do not, the sky is the limit.

Still our goal in getting the Pods was simple: to go and sit on the beach in them. That is what we have already done because here in Buffalo the temperatures have already dipped. That is a picture of me up above that Ryan took! It shows me drawing in my Pod. 

The pods pop up very easily, almost without any help. You tie them down with a few stakes, which is also easy, even for me. Folding them back up again is more of a challenge but Ryan is helping me learn. There is just a little knack to it and I will acquire that.

As long as I can master that, I can see how useful this will be to me as an artist.

I love to draw, ahem, plein air. That means you are outside, as opposed to looking at a photograph. I am never happier than when I am beholding a scene and getting ready to get it down on paper. There was one day, I remember it was 95 degrees or something, and I was in downtown Buffalo settling down on a scorching bench, and I was totally blissed out because in front of me was this huge Art Deco police station and cars all around it, everything ready for drawing.

And didn't I sit there, all afternoon!

Maybe someone should invent an air-conditioned Pod for those occasions! Meanwhile we have this one. Ryan has reported, and it is true, that even on a chilly day, if the sun is out, the Pod heats up. When we tested them the other day they warmed up even under cloudy skies. We were impervious to wind and rain and that is a wonderful thing. That hat I was wearing in the picture quickly became unnecessary.

I will be able to draw whatever I want!

I can set the thing up in Niagara Square if I feel like it and take another crack at drawing City Hall.

Have Pod. 

Will draw!

Friday, October 2, 2020

From summer to fall


Yikes, all at once it is Autumn~!

That ~ symbol ended up there by mistake but I like how it looks so I will leave it there.

Just a few days ago it was warm, sweltering even, and I drew that little sketch up above. Actually the sketch is about a foot long. I drew it in my Long and Narrow sketchbook which I choose to use when I want to have fun.

I did that sketch at Wilkeson Pointe on Buffalo's Outer Harbor. I was there with my friend Ryan and we had noticed how cool these people looked walking on this ridge. They were silhouetted against the sunset and looked like shadows. The woman second from the front was wearing a sari and I did try to get that sari in there. It is fun working in ink because there are no second chances but also you do not erase and fuss over things too much. 

Anyway there it is, my portrait of people walking along the ridge at Wilkeson Pointe!

I like any drawing I did that I can look at and say: That is pretty much what I saw. This drawing does that.

Soon I will be going back to drawing at least some of the time in my car. How things change! The other night I made it to the Outer Harbor but it was, I must admit it, pretty chilly.

Today I wore a scarf when I went walking in the park. I took this picture.



I met my brother George and he had a knit cap. It was one of those days in Buffalo when you saw people in shorts and people in parkas.

I am working on getting Christmas cards printed! There, I said it ... Christmas.

It is closer than you think!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Cat and mouse

"For there is nothing so sweet as his peace when at rest."

Jeoffry caught another mouse!

That sentence rings out with a sense of great joy. However when I actually perceived the event, it was not as joyous. A dead mouse in the house -- perhaps it is not as bad as a live mouse running around but it is still not pretty.

I was at the Steinway playing Johannes Brahms and suddenly my eyes began roaming the room and that was when I saw something by the radiator.

At first I was thinking, it is just one of Jeoffry's toys. He has several toys that look alarmingly real including a small brown fabric mouse and a big alarming-looking rat. Maybe it is that gross little toy mouse. That is what I said to myself as I continued playing the Brahms.

I decided to wait until the piece was over and so I did that. For the record this was the first Impromptu Op. 119. I like to run through the whole set. However on this occasion that was not to be.

After I played the last notes of that first impromptu I got up for an impromptu check on that mouse.

It sure looked real. 

It was real.

Jeoffry got up meowing. He likes to listen to music and he did not like that it had been interrupted. He should have thought of that in view of the mouse. Couldn't he have eaten it or something? Could he not have taken it somewhere else?

But now that I thought of it we had been warned. He had been obsessed with the area surrounding the radiator. He had even been sleeping there.

The things that cats know that we do not!

Meanwhile... it has quietly been five years since Jeoffry's first mouse -- at least the first mouse to our knowledge.

I wonder when we will find the next one!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The hottest Mass

I love summer. I love the clothes. I love being able to dress like a Moroccan and walk out of the house in sandals.


Today I went to the hottest Mass in my life!

I made a mistake and wore a long rayon dress. You think rayon is OK! But it is not. Its real name is Viscose. I learned that recently and I will never forget it. Still I thought, rayon is my friend, and because it was sleeveless I had a light cotton jacket to wear over it and ....

I got to church 15 minutes early because I wanted to go to Confession. Which, as usual, is a whole other story. I chose a pew and then I went to Confession and then I returned and knelt and began to say the prayers I had been assigned for my penance.

Then I started sweating.

What to do? What to do? The priest was still hearing confessions. Mass was overdue. How would I survive this? Here I was sweating in my Viscose gown and I had, what, an hour to go?

A fan was oscillating at the front of the church and I decided I would switch pews and park myself there.

I said a few of my Hail Marys and then I moved again a pew up because I realized that the social distancing cord that had blocked this pew off had fallen off. Also, moving up a pew moved me closer to the fan.

But I was still sweating!

Vicious Viscose!

Finally I thought: Mass has not even started yet. This is hopeless. And I got up once more. This time I went out to my car. I was going to leave. Then of course Catholic guilt took over. Other people were in the church and they were sweating it out.

Besides which, I had just been to confession which does not happen as often as it should and how often do I get to go to Communion after just having been to Confession? If you do not go to Communion after Confession that almost adds up to wasting a perfectly good Confession.

I took a drink of water and turned off the car engine and went back in.

By this time Mass had begun. We were at the Kyrie. I found a pew near the back so I would not make a spectacle of myself one more time. Also I wanted to be able to leave if I had to. I have to say, this was a record.

This was the fourth time I had switched pews in one single Mass!

But it ended well because fourth time's a charm and I was able to get through it.

That is a lesson you learn in life. You are always afraid to switch seats but what the heck, people will get over it. I did that I do not know how many times at Kleinhans Music Hall. One time I remember was in Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" where this couple in front of me was making out. I do not mind if you want to make out to Mahler but not in front of me. So I moved.

They will get over it. Repeat as needed.

End result, as we say here in Buffalo, I made it to Confession and Mass. When I got home, this is funny but I felt better. Everything felt less sticky. It was as if something had been corrected.I credited Mass.

I'm glad I sweated it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mystery on Forest Avenue

Today for my daily ink sketch I went driving around aimlessly looking for something and I wound up on Forest Avenue by the H. H. Richardson complex.

I mean I was at the Richardson complex! But I did not draw it. Instead I turned around on the bench where I sat and drew the brick building across the street. That is it up above! The picture so far is no great shakes but I am not yet through with it. I even had trouble taking a decent picture of it thanks to this strange big bright thing that appeared in the sky and was shining down. However, I will say this, that picture I drew does the job.

That is what I saw!

I think it comes from being a reporter and a music critic for so long but I love when I can look at a drawing I did and say that. Sometimes reviewing a concert, especially if the piece was new music, I did not want to give it a concrete thumbs up or thumbs down. So I would just tell myself, you do not have to be clever or have any great insights. Just say what you experienced. Say what it was like. That comes from being a reporter. That is what I do with drawing.

This building I drew, as you can see, it is kind of weird!

I have wondered about it forever. And while I was drawing, a stranger stopped by as strangers often do.

"What was that building?" I asked him.

He didn't know. Then he said, "Did you see the head?"

That's right ... there had been a head! A big head in front of a building -- was it this building? It was like out of that Russian opera "Ruslan and Ludmilla." In "Ruslan and Ludmilla" the big head appears in a forest and in Buffalo the big head appears on Forest Avenue. Surely somebody had that in mind. Anyway, there was a giant white Victorian head parked in front of some building on Forest and that was what this gentleman was talking about.

"I did see the head!" I exclaimed. "But not recently. Was it here?"

Neither of us could figure that out. But it turns out yes, here was where the head was. Online information is scant but I was able to learn that the head had been a replica of a decoration at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. I sort of remembered that. Unfortunately the head was made of Styrofoam and so could not take our winters and fell apart.

Here is a picture of the head which is gone now. We lost our head!

But there is that building in the background, sure enough. So...

What was it?

It turns out it was a streetcar repair barn. It was built in 1895 and it was used for the Pan-Am trolleys, among other trolleys, I imagine.

I should have guessed. It is mammoth! And there are all these huge windows and doors.

Now it is owned by the Buffalo History Museum. It is a Resource Center but it reminds me of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory because nobody ever goes in ... and nobody ever goes out. That was always the case. I mean even before the pandemic.

This is why I draw.

You solve mysteries!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Skies I have seen

The skies these days have been striking!

In that last picture I did not mean to showcase the sky.

 But just look at it!

Monday, May 11, 2020

The budget bar -- Quarantini, anyone?

One interesting thing about this, ahem, pandemic is that everyone is learning to make cocktails. I am no exception.

Today I went to Price Rite and did some shopping to stock the bar.  They had this brand of seltzer I had never heard of. It had the greatest brand name. Vintage!

Vintage Seltzer was only 25 cents a liter! So I bought I do not know how many. Luckily there was no limit on it as they are limiting all kinds of stuff, I think just to stress us out.

While I was selecting my seltzer ...

... people in masks were saying hello to me. I think it was because I looked so darn happy with this bargain I had found. One advantage to the Vintage Seltzer was it came in orange, which the Price Rite brand does not. However the Price Rite brand has grapefruit seltzer which I bought the other day because either the Vintage was not there or I did not notice it.

I also bought maraschino cherries. They had a beautiful brand name, Cherry Lane. They were something like $1.25 a jar.

The other day at Price Rite I bought lime juice. I know, I cannot stay away from Price Rite! I think it is because I am always being told to stay home and that makes me want to go out. You got to shop, you know?

Price Rite was almost empty today as you can see by this picture I took.

The emptiness must be because current norms and regulations have turned grocery shopping, which used to be fun, into something onerous and forbidding and to be dreaded. Who the heck wants to wear a mask, you know? I cannot breathe in mine. And it all looks so post-apocalyptic.

You have to keep your eyes on the prize! That cocktail at the end of the day. The Quarantini as it is called.

With the Vintage seltzer!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Martha, Mary, and online Mass

Today being Sunday I got the trusty tablet and I heard Mass from St. John Cantius in Chicago. Remember, that was the church I went to that time where they gave me a holy card in the confessional.

I tuned in to this Mass last week and I liked it. It is live at 9:30 Chicago time, 8:30 Buffalo time. It is a Low Mass. There is a High Mass but it is something like noon, and that gives other things time to get in the way. One of these Sundays I will try the High Mass but today was not that day.

Instead I parked myself at the dining room table with the tablet. The Wi-Fi is good in there.

Everyone tells you to watch Mass online but it is easier said than done. Do you stand when you are supposed to? Do you kneel? How do you behave? I have decided the best thing to do is sit with my missal and I follow along. St. John Cantius is a huge and gorgeous church, rather like our dear departed St. Gerard's. I found myself just enjoying the pleasure of it all. It is actually a luxury to be able to follow along so carefully. At our usual in-person Mass I am so distracted by coffee hour and choir it is hard to think.

After all these years of being a Martha...

... I am turning into a Mary!

Mary is the one in the center of the picture at the top of this post. With her prayer book before her, like me.  I love the details and humor in the picture. The elaborate buffet in the foreground. The people eating in the other room. The birdcage! Of course there is a birdcage!

It's sweet how the artist captures St. Martha complaining about doing all the work and St. Mary just sitting there piously, having chosen the better portion. I always did have sympathy with Martha. Someone has to do the work. Also you have to remember that Martha is a great saint, as is Mary, and there is a high place in heaven for them both.

I did a little digging and the artist is a Renaissance German master, Georg Friedrich Stettner. I should have guessed German. We Germans, we love our food. And everyone in the picture looks German. I mean look at Mary, with her blond hair. I love the palette, the muted tones contrasting with that beautiful rich red. Nice work, Herr Stettner! Terrific job.

Back to my Low Mass. I am sitting there and Howard comes in to feed Jeoffry.

"Don't pay any attention to me," he said, getting on with his work.

So it was funny, all there was, was this silence. A Low Mass is quiet! There was nothing but silence and whispering and occasionally the tinkling of a bell. Once in a while a floorboard groaned.

Howard said, "I like the sound of this."

I did, too!

I can tell you what the Gospel was about. Go on, ask me. I know what the Secret Prayer was. I knew that it was the Fourth Sunday of Easter, alleluia, alleluia.

I miss being at actual Mass, that goes without saying. The situation can make me terribly uneasy when I think about it because I have not seen the like in my lifetime and I pray that when this is all over I never shall again.

But you cannot and should not ignore the blessings that are there!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Birds of Buffalo

I went walking this morning in Delaware Park in a snowstorm. I do not care if it is May 9. It really did whip into a snowstorm. Welcome to Buffalo, kids!

It got so bad that I had to turn back. I was walking around Hoyt Lake and the water was thrashing around and the snow was blowing.


In the meantime I saw a couple of great birds!

From time to time on this Web log we confer about birds. Which is lucky! Because the first bird I saw was a fat little songbird, bright yellow with a touch of gray.

I thought: I do believe I have seen this bird before. Because I remembered writing about it here and headlining it "Yellow Bird."

Sure enough! And now I see it was an American Goldfinch.

That was six years ago. These birds do not appear too often!

Then I saw a bright orange bird! Considering we were in a snowstorm it was funny there were all these tropical-looking birds.

I was pretty sure the orange bird was a Baltimore Oriole, even though I had never seen one before. I just checked into it ...

... and yes, I can say pretty positively that it was. Here is something I did not know: Wikipedia says: "It received its name from the resemblance of the male's colors to those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore."

What does Lord Baltimore's coat of arms look like? Ah!

Lord Baltimore's coat of arms is incorporated into the flag of Maryland, home to the city of Baltimore. The things we are learning!

What about the Lady Baltimore Cake? There is a recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook. I should bake one to celebrate.

But moving on...

When I got home my cat Jeoffry was fascinated by something out the back window. I looked over his shoulder and there was a cardinal! Not the tropical-looking male cardinal but the more subtle female, sitting on a wire.

Jeoffry was transfixed and so was I!

There is a funny meme going around about people stuck at home because of the virus. It shows people stuck at home watching the bird feeder and the cat -- an orange cat! -- thinking, "I told them it was cool."

It is! Cool. Especially today.

Has the snow stopped yet?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The sunset tonight

I had to post this picture.

I was just getting ready to take a peek at the Metropolitan Opera's free opera tonight, which is "Der Rosenkavalier," and you know me and that opera. But suddenly out the window I saw these pink clouds.

All I could think of was, "And you will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud." However these were in the west, not the east.

In any case, beautiful!

I am always watching the sky. When I was a baby I would look for the moon in the sky in the middle of the afternoon. I would spot it. My mother remembered once I was saying "moon" and they thought they were not understanding me right. I was pointing at the sky.

And sure enough!

There was the moon, up in the blue sky.

Anyway, these clouds, this sunset.

They made my day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Our wacky spring

We are having a wacky spring here in Buffalo! In addition to everything else.

I took the picture up above walking in Delaware Park a couple of hours ago.

When I got home I took this picture.

That was out my back window!

You know one thing, walking in the park I thought how much I was appreciating what I saw.

This is my time of year!

I like weird weather!

Midsummer ... I am child of the summer, born on June 1, but summer is not my time. It would be, maybe, if I lived somewhere else. I love swimming, I love summer clothes, I love being able to walk around in long dresses and sandals. However...

There is something about the brooding weather that I love. The silence. The freedom to be with your own thoughts. The mists.

I cannot help it!

With which we give you Prince, "Sometimes It Snows In April."

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

My new Buffalo coloring challenge

I love coloring books and the other day I came up with my first coloring page. And I dared to start a coloring challenge!

Everyone is sitting around because of the coronavirus and is in need of fun and games. So I found this drawing I did of Lance Diamond Way. Lance Diamond Way is on Elmwood Avenue at the corner of West Utica. Lance used to sing at the Elmwood Lounge there. The Elmwood Lounge is now called Milkie's after its current and legendary owner Mike Milkie. That was where I drew this picture, looking out across the street.

That was a beautiful afternoon. My friend Meghan was with me and Mike Milkie sat down with us and reminisced about Lance and other things. I drank a beer. It is all too rare that life slows down like that and you have time to chill.

However later that day I never bothered looking back at my sketchbook. I thought: I would never have chosen that view and I will never have use for what I drew. The angle was tough, I thought. Plus I was talking while I was drawing and that does not always work out.

However. Oddly enough over the next few weeks that picture became one of my favorites. I kept finding myself going back to it. And when I decided to try doing up a coloring page, I immediately went for this picture.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone!

I had to re-draw it by hand because the original had shadows and such. I will have to post it so you see what I mean. It is a huge contrast! But otherwise I made no changes. The truck, the workers unloading the truck, the car across the street, everything was as I had originally drawn it. I love that in a sketch. I love to look at it and say: That is what I saw.

My drawing is on Facebook, on the page Mary Kunz Goldman Sketches, in case anyone wants to download it and try it.

Meanwhile above -- at the top of this post -- is an interpretation in Crayolas by Ryan Lysarz .... and here is one by my sister Margaret Mills. Ryan and I have been marveling at how for some reason they shared something of the same color scheme.

Our friend the author and poet Anne Apfel also used colors in that family.

She intended it to depict shadows falling at twilight. Some friends on Facebook said it reminded them of Ludwig Bemelman's "Madeline" books. Now I have such a big ego!

It is fascinating to me, all the different directions a picture can take depending on who is coloring it. I knew this was going to be fun, but not this much fun.

The things people come up with, I cannot get over it! I will have to post more tomorrow because I do not want to let everything out of the bag all at once. Because everyone is having fun with it we are going to add a new picture every week.

I am thinking next summer when this virus thing is past, we can have a show.

We can sip white wine and look at everyone's creations and celebrate what we have wrought!