Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thinking about New York

Coffee at 8th Avenue and 23rd Street, NYC
charcoal on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

On the last morning in New York we had the breakfast thing
figured out. That was the only meal we had to plan -- every
other meal was beyond great. I'm an oatmeal fan, but I also
need coffee, and in recent years this means Starbucks. There
is no shortage of Starbucks cafés in NYC. But we realized we've
been spoiled by hotels with room service on our once yearly
trips to Nova Scotia.

People who deliver breakfast in hotels bring it in on a steam
table covered with a linen cloth, and on hot china plates,
under silver domes. The breakfast guy or woman in uniform lifts
the covers on your steaming hot plates, shows you where the milk
is, pours the coffee, and asks if there's anything else you need.
So after a few years of loving this treatment for about four
mornings a year I don't like cranky servers.

After a few less-than-cheerful starts we figured out a
workable routine -- get the coffee first at Starbucks, then
go to another spot for oatmeal and Steven's eggs over easy.

The Starbucks we preferred in our neighbourhood -- very
sunny -- singing, great music on the stereo -- happy clients --
The Starbucks at 8th and 23rd St. The couple I drew tonight
looked extremely happy, and self satisfied with their tidy
Mother's Day clothes. I asked if I could photograph them
for a painting, and they said yes. I hope to turn this drawing
into a painting at a later date. I'd like to do a New York series.
We'll see how it goes.

After coffee we headed off to a great bistro serving oatmeal
and super eggs over easy -- but the coffee was milky and not
quite warm enough. We drank it anyway because everything
else was great, including the elegant lady, a Sloane, next
to us who told us some wonderful stories about her life.
The pre-breakfast giant Starbucks worked: we were awake and
happy, so cold coffee wasn't the end of the world .

Have a loving-your-breakfast day

P.S. Breakfast at home? Starbucks coffee - two, made at
home, oatmeal and skim milk, and for Steven eggs,
toast, coffee. All good. Throw in the paper, CBC on
the radio, a couple of cats, a dog, maybe a few pages
of the novel, and a tall kid, and it's a great morning.


Flora Doehler said...

I love the sketch! I think that's a great idea to have a New York series. It could open at our consulate or trade mission or whatever in New York!

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks Flora,

It feels good to draw and paint again in the studio after a hiatus. Right now I'm still trying to get my web up to the right address. Yikes.
So hard.

Love Barbara

laura said...

Really charming drawing! Who wouldn't be happy to be breakfasting in NYC?
My first job was on 23rd Street, in the Flatiron Building at 23rd and Fifth.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

Thanks so much. I have seen the Flatiron building, have a photo of it snapped from a cab, what a beauty. You are right. I'd go back in a second. We loved it so much.

Take care,


Elizabeth Seaver said...

I just love your sketches, Barbara! They sing with life!

Laurel Daniel said...

Sounds like your trip to NYC was fabulous - what a great experience. Congratulations!

eldon said...

It's good to go and it's good to come back isn't it? Glad you had a good time even for the bad coffee.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks so much. I really loved the look of this happy couple. I was delighted when they said I could take their picture.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

It was really great. I don't think I've really landed. Thank goodness the people across the street love New York, and understand why I miss it so much. I finally realized that I miss everything -- but most of all the wonderful people I met.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

The coffee was really good at Starbucks. And that's why we had coffee first. Actually everything was really good -- the food, the art,
the people. The people were beyond amazing.

Like you.

Take care,


Linny D. Vine said...

This is such a great sketch - full of character and emotion!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

Thanks so much. I really like the couple. You know when you're an artist everything looks like subject matter. I was delighted when they agreed to let me photograph them.

Take care,


Nicki said...

I love this sketch and I am sure the couple was thrilled to have an artist request their photo for a future painting. Really, how cool is that?!


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!