What’s OLD is NEW again

What’s OLD is NEW again

Indigo Sky

Indigo Sky

I’m thinking about the future of Indigo Sky.

In a whirlwind romance, a lovely New York socialite marries a fêted, debonair author. But beneath the charm is a cheating husband addicted to hasheesh. Her dream marriage turns sour and the simplicity of her life runs amok when a handsome stranger, her husband’s business partner, threatens her staunch loyalty to her wayward husband. When she faces the ugly truth about her marriage, her need to finalize her divorce sends her on mad chase across the wilds of nineteenth century America with a handsome stranger—she learns hard lessons of murder, kidnapping and more that almost destroy her.

A new release in paperback and audiobook will be here sometime soon. After last week’s blog, I Write and I Paint, my novel, Indigo Sky needed a blog of its own. If you like romance, and you like adventure, Indigo Sky is for you! Shopping at Tiffany’s, getting caught up in the New York Draft Riot, the Civil War, and the wilds of the Great Plains. Here’s an excerpt from my book that will curl your toes.


Dawn finally broke, and Leila sat listlessly on the pallet. Would today be the day she was raped? Death was preferable.

Little Star peeked through the doorway and crooked her finger. “Come.”

Leila crawled out and blinked against the strong light. Rising stiffly, she stretched, enjoying the sun on her face. She smiled at children laughing and playing between the tipis.

A group of women waited for her. “You bathe.”

Bathe? Leila almost laughed with relief.

The women led her silently to a copse of trees. A stream gurgled over rocks. They stripped her clothes off, urged her into a deep pool and washed her with a chunk of herb scented soap.

She reveled in the cold water until an elder hustled her out, drying her with scraps of soft hide.

Stony faced, the elder worried her gums and mumbled something rubbing herb oils on Leila’s body. Deep crevices on her face sagged in a perpetual expression of discontent. The elder peered over Leila, her small black eyes glittered with malice. She rattled off in an angry tirade.

One of the young women giggled behind slim fingers.

Leila glanced from one to the other. “What did she say?”

Little Star arrived with a hide garment over her arm and handed it to the elder. “She say you white like chicken fat, and don’t know why Red Arrow want you.”

The truth dawned on Leila. This was the moment she’d dreaded. She backed away holding up her palms. “N—no!”

Snarling, the elder grabbed Leila and issued brief instructions. The other women hastily pulled the buckskin dress over her head. Beads and feathers decorated the soft garment. Had circumstances been different, the dress would have delighted Leila. The women took her arms and led her back to the lodge.

Red Arrow stood in the center of a clearing between the tipis, hands behind his back, black eyes impassive.

Leila’s heart pounded and she hung back. The women shoved her and she fell to her knees at the warrior’s feet. “I—I will not be your woman—your whore.” She took his callused hand. “Please, I have a husband.”

He shook her off. “You obey.”

“I can’t—won’t!”

Red Arrow looked at Hook Nose. The leader nodded at a group of warriors. They stepped forward and hauled Leila up, dragging her from the clearing.

She twisted around. “What are they going to do to me?” She cried.

For you viewing pleasure, here’s the Indigo Sky trailer;

Indigo Sky_07_11_15 – Small

Stay tuned for more . . .




I write, and I paint. Is it possible to do both? Really?

Wonder Woman 1942

Wonder Woman 1942 ( I used to own these, mom made me throw out all my comic books. Imagine?)

The Urban Sketching Handbook, Understanding Perspective by Stephanie Bower

The Urban Sketching Handbook, Understanding Perspective by Stephanie Bower

Comic book visuals that captured the hearts of America, mystified me. My pencil crossed the blank page pulling lines to create yesteryear’s super heroine, Wonder Woman. I don’t remember coloring the pictures. It would have had to be crayon, so I just used my pencil.

I sketch on location. Like my long time architect friend, Stephanie Bower. She takes groups all over Seattle, Italy, Hong Kong, Asia, and more. She teaches sketching and makes perspective easy. A great tool for drawing is her new book, Urban Sketching Handbook, Understanding Perspective: She says in her book,  How does perspective work? And where is that darn vanishing point? Understanding Perspective helps you bridge the theoretical world of Perspective concept with the real world of on site sketching. Stephanie shows you how in her book and online with her Crafty classes video.

Where is writing in this creative world of mine?

I didn’t get to choose between writing and painting until I decided to paint Bierstadt’s Domes of Yosemite. Captivated by how the painting came to life, although told as fiction, this true romance, Indigo Sky, is based on Bierstadt’s journey.

After extensive studies and writing workshops, I realized that I could never get this book written while I was still painting. My writing hijacked me, and held me prisoner until the ‘end.’ The time flew by.

Metaphors and similes, the tools serious writers need made a difference, I learned and I loved writing . . . Truly!!!


Indigo Sky

Invitation to Gail's Art Bash and book signing-Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30 PM

Invitation to Gail’s Art Bash and book signing-Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30 PM

Suspended . . . Coney Island painting project. The beach, Washington Baths, swimming, blackball, cool sand under the boardwalk, with friends watching Tuesday night fireworks, Nathan’s hotdogs, French fries and steamed corn.

Today’s blog sees the culmination of my book and my Coney Island project. Indigo Sky is published as an Amazon eBook, and will be out in paperback and audiobook by August.

Coney Island project to be installed at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum on July 9, 2016. An art bash and book signing exhibition is forthcoming on Thursday, September 8, 2016. An invitation is at the left.

Knowing that I can’t write and paint simultaneously, my dilemma is to choose. Like notable American novelist Peter Selgin says, “It’s like choosing between two lovers.” One is like a water sprite leaping from rock to rock in a babbling brook—delightful, delicious and delectable. The other is serious, elusive with thoughts examining and imagining experiences and occasionally describing them.

Drawing a breath, is like drawing a line. My passion for painting and drawing is like breathing. My tools . . . pencil, paintbrush, and sketchbook are indispensable, like my morning coffee.

Choose writing, and I become a thinking machine. It’s difficult to raise up a world of words that express traits in my characters. My readers ask that I keep writing. I am torn, and still sketching and painting. My writing is waiting.



 Preservationists and Coney Island residents want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community's use. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Preservationists and Coney Island residents want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community’s use. Photos by Lore Croghan of Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Back in the day, the Coney Island Pumping Station saved many lives and properties by providing high-pressure water to firefighters.
Educator Merryl Kafka wanted to drive that point home visually — so she wore a firefighter’s helmet to testify at a city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on October 8th.

“Coney has lost much of its architectural framework, but we can save this 1938 modern masterpiece preserved as public art … with a new purpose,” said Kafka, the co-founder of the Rachel Carson High School of Coastal Studies in Coney Island. “Let this building be the one.”

Preservationists from the Art Deco Society of New York and numerous other groups turned out to testify that they want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community’s use.
The pumping station at 2301 Neptune Ave. was one of seven Brooklyn historic sites that have been on the LPC’s calendar for consideration as landmarks for many years without a decision from the preservation agency.

The hearing was a first step in an intensive LPC campaign to clear up that calendar backlog. There are 95 properties citywide on the backlog list.
The lozenge-shaped Arte Moderne-style pumping station was the only public work designed by prominent architect Irwin Chanin. It boosted the water pressure available for firefighters in Coney Island, which was frequently stricken by devastating conflagrations.

Merryl Kafka

Merryl Kafka wears a firefighter’s helmet to the October 8th Landmarks Preservation commission hearing about the Coney Island Pumping Station. BEST HAT. EVER!

Decorative Art Deco-style limestone statues of winged horses were removed many years ago from the long-decommissioned pumping station and loaned to the Brooklyn Museum.
“The Elgin Marbles are waiting at the Brooklyn Museum for reassembly,” testified Sean Khorsandi, an alumnus of Cooper Union, like Chanin himself.
“The power lies with you,”  Khorsandi told commissioners.
“Give a landmark to a neighborhood that basically is NYCHA public housing,” Dick Zigun, known as the unofficial mayor of Coney Island, said at the hearing.

Does this interest you? What is your take on saving America’s history?

This blog is a repeat today with the Good news as of October 8, 2015. The Pumping Station has been saved.Original existing pumping station and my oil paintingTop: Original existing pumping station on Neptune Ave in Coney Island and below: Pumping Station Pink-my oil painting on aluminum 12×24″Pumping Station Pink 12x24" Oil/Aluminum



Outdoor Fireplace and Seating

Outdoor Fireplace and Seating

Pinterest Canopied Daybed from Frontgate

Pinterest Canopied Daybed from Frontgate

So, what’s up with these outdoor living spaces?

You want a great outdoor living room, just like the one indoors. Same rules apply, except now, instead of using the term ‘living room’, let’s call it your outdoor living space. You need to make a plan . . . mostly for continuity, but also for your sanity.

Here goes a plan—Create a focus, like the center of attraction, and it can’t be your dog. A fireplace works much better. Next, decide how you want to move around and how you’ll get humans into the outdoor room. Create a traffic pattern with walkways, shrubs, trees. Depending on where you are coming from, the shape of the walkway can be part of the whole design. Not only is it a people mover, but also a work of art. If you have room to make the path about three feet wide, then you have plenty of solid space to walk when moving furniture. A path can just be stepping stones, or pavers, or even slate.

Now you have a focus, the fireplace, to create your seating area, Seating can come from a variety of places. It all depends on your budget. For soft comfort, be sure that the outdoor seating cushions are as comfy as your indoor furniture. There are fabrics today that can handle a downpour and spring back once they are dry. Outdoor rugs are comfortable for those bare feet. Be sure you lay one down to define the sitting area. Ask for fabrics that do not fade. The label has to say that it won’t fade. You can also get movable furniture like chairs, benches and stools. Remember the kids, they like the small chairs and tables to color, have a snack and entertain their friends. Try all the furniture out to make sure you are comfortable before you buy.

Consider a full-size fireplace, if not, then a fire pit would provide a wonderful substitute. Food and fire have brought people together forever. Just check your local building codes to verify fire-safety and placement rules regarding outdoor fireplaces and fire pits before you invest in one.

Watch this video about United House Wrecking in Stamford, CT and their patio furniture.

Published on Apr 16, 2013

Phil at United House Wrecking in Stamford, CT, talks about our extensive patio furniture collection as well as our outdoor decor. The statues, fountains, planters and more have been staples of UHW for almost 60 years.

Stools are great to slip in an extra seat at the table for unexpected guests. Remember those outdoor outlets to keep your toys in tip-top running shape, and give you the ability to stay connected. Use solar wherever possible. Everything is wireless today for your speakers to resound for your listening and dancing pleasure. In case you are wondering . . . sure, you can dance on outdoor pavers, just pick your feet up a little more and maybe pivot a little less.

Lighting from Klaff's Lighting, Norwalk, CT

Lighting from Klaff’s Lighting, Norwalk, CT

Lighting adds drama, while uplights accent the branches of the trees, garden lighting enhance the shrubbery, and lights your walkways, steps and surrounding garden outline. String lights across the patio, those overhead lights are functional. Remember to research the many lighting options available today. If they make an all-weather outdoor television, anything is possible. For your lighting, Klaffs Lighting in Norwalk, CT is a great place to get a great lighting plan for your outdoor living space. Ask about LED lighting!

Any questions?


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