The Traveling Artist

Inspired By: Coney Island & Brighton Beach

A couple of weeks ago we spontaneously decided to head out to Coney Island. Guess what …never been there – which is ridiculous given that it is a short ride from here (well longer by subway). But we finally did it and it was fun even though after season.

Love all the colors and dorky vantage signs and I love this color combo of navy blue, light blue, pink and orange. Def. a good color combo in my book to keep in mind.

As you can see not many people there at this time of the year but it was sunny and beautiful.

I do love a good boardwalk for sure.

Super fun building and not sure if you can spy it but the two figures on the top are wearing masks. Coney Island may seem a bit vintage-y but has its finger on the pulse of time LOL

Love the murals on the side of the – I think aquarium but I might be mistaken.

Another nice color combo with the different yellows and blue and some black.

Hahah- you gotta love New Yorkers and their signs …I mean …why sugar coat

Loved all the lines and the Cyclone sign is awesome. The Cyclone is a wooden roller coaster from 1927 and still runs during the season. I have had many friends telling me it comes with serious back problems – LOL. but I think one day I want to try it. Have you been on it yet? Let me know how it is.

Also a fun view.

And those fake vintage signs were fun on the side of a building. Love the very saturated colors.

Stickers everywhere.

Nathan’s was unfortunately closed but the sign still brought me lots of joy. I mean I am German after all and we do like places that sell sausage ;)

It was wonderful to walk at the beach a little bit.

Couldn’t explore this area further where a lot of free standing walls with murals were standing- since it was fenced off. But maybe next time.

A couple minutes from Coney Island is Brighton Beach also known as “Little Odessa” due its tight-knit Russian and Eastern European communities which is reflected by the stores and signs.

I wanted to go there because of it’s interesting architecture in terms of apartments buildings build around 1900- 1930s

The brick work on some of those buildings is just amazing – alternating colored bricks making patterns and adding interest

Raised bricks forming patterns. And those are huge buildings. Amazing!

Loved the wonderful iron door and also the entrance tiles.

An wonderful art deco apartment facade with chevron and speed lines. You know I have an art deco crush, no?

Be still my heart – look at this magnificent entrance and the wonderful colored terra cotta tiles. I could not stop swooning in front of this building.

Another incredible entrance. Sometimes the building itself was built pretty simple but the entrance was always done in a grand way.

Loved the paving in a front yard towards the entrance- great pattern! I actually took the photo because I have three stamps that could make this pattern up :) Maybe you see something soon that resembles this pattern in my art journal ;)

Loved the blue painted bricks in the facade and the blue fire escape. 

It was a great day – we had fun exploring a different area of Brooklyn . I cannot wait to explore more. 

Comments (3)

  • Lani

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    Such a fun trip down memory lane.
    My parents were dating when they went to Coney Island, as I did later with my husband. I still have a knife left from the set we won at the “bowling machine”.
    I went to kindergarten with Nathan’s grandson (Handworker) @1951.
    For years, my parent’s would wake me up in the middle of the night because they wanted a Nathan’s hot dog and couldn’t leave me alone in bed on Ocean Pkwy & Ave. K.
    When I was 18 I “ran away” from home and became a nanny in Brighton Beach Towers. I often shopped under “The El” in B.B.and at the “Shlock” shop owned by Neil Diamond’s parents. This was all before the Russians (rumored to be “The Mob”) took over. I baby-sat Lieba & Neil Sedaka’s kids also; friends of the people I worked for. My husband’s grandmother lived in one of those buildings. And his parents lived in a co-op 1 train stop before Coney Island.
    That was before we left to live in our VW van for 3 months, ending up here at the beach in Hermosa Beach in 1970.
    It has been a strange and winding road!
    🎶Thanks for the memories…🎶

    Reply

  • vivian

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    Your ‘eye for photos’ is awesome!! Not the usual ‘eye’ but SO creative! I love the ART DECO
    also, a very special time in architecture and architects.

    I also want to say this was also a study of ‘fireescapes’ against the lovely patterned brick walls.

    SO MUCH INSPIRATION!!

    Reply

  • Marge

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    Thanks for the great pictures, they bring back many memories for me. Marge

    Reply

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Day Trip Inspirations

As we are getting used to the idea that we won’t be really traveling for a while we started doing some day trips to fight the cabin fever that started to set in lately. I thought I’d share some pictures with you. One day we did an amazing bike tour on the Westside of Manhattan all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. on the picture above you see General Grants Tomb which is actually a National Monument.

The little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. I love the story behind it and also the children’s book about it. I still need to get it.

Sisyphus Stones Sculpture– another amazing story to read – I like stories my friends, can’t you tell? It was a lovely bike ride- we clocked 28 Miles (45 km) and I would do it again – totally fun!

On another day we rented a car and had an outdoor visit with some friends who have a place in Asbury Park down the Jersey Shore.

It was super fun to stroll around and it felt almost a bit normal given that I hadn’t been in any stores since March that are not essential businesses.

I loved spending some time in an antique store …can you tell what this above is? It is a mold for fishing hooks- soooo cool!

If I’d had more space and more money I would have taken this beautiful Eastlake Victorian Easel with me ….but alas …still thinking of it though.

Then we took our new Covid Car …yet …we got one – you know some people get Covid Puppies, we got a Covid car and took it out for a ride to the Palisades Interstate Park

We did a really nice little walk and then ended up in Terrytown – a gorgeous town in New York State.

Isn’t this building amazing?

One of the favorite hikes we did recently was in Norvin State Forest, where we hiked to high point.

This made me smile …guess that was the intention LOL

Wonderful sandwich picnic at highpoint with a nice view of Manhattan wayyyyyy back there …can you see the tiny silhouette?

Loved being out and about and forget about the stuff in the world for a bit.

These pictures are from a bike tour in Long Valley on the Columbia Trail – super fun – the bike and hiking trail is very even and smooth, built on an old train track and you cross several little villages.

Historic places

and fantasy villages :)

It was a great bike ride until I had a flat when we were still about 13 Miles away from the car and of course we did not have a bike kit with us. Rookie mistake – oh well. 

It feels good to be reminded that in 1/2 and hour to 45 minutes you can be out and about in nature …it is a nice addition to city live right now and I actually enjoy some closer areas. Cannot wait to get out next weekend again- as long as the weather holds- we will try to do at least one day trip a week. 

Comments (3)

  • Monica Junge

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    I enjoyed the pictures along w/the writing as to where they were taken.

    Reply

  • Andrea R Huelsenbeck

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    Oh, Nathalie, thank you so much for sharing these pictures. I just love them.

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Mold for fishing hooks…interesting.
    Smile in the rocks…perfect.
    That easel…go back for it in your new car.
    Now off I go to read the story of the lighthouse.
    Thanks for the stories and photos Nat.

    Reply

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Inspired By: Austin & Blanco

At the beginning of the month my girlfriends and I went to Austin to celebrate a special birthday with our friend Heather. It was a super fun and also very inspiring long weekend.

We stayed in an old Union house turned Hotel and I just loved the very slick but warm design of the rooms. Everything about it made me happy. Blue, brown, grey, black …ahhh swoon.

We had an amazing dinner in a private vault in the basement of a restaurant -That was super fun … no other photos “what happens in the vault – stays in the vault”

We went downtown for a little shopping trip on Congress South – of course I didn’t check the weather app again before I left and the temperature dropped significantly from the prediction I had seen- hence the interesting layered look – oh well. I loved the wonderful old signs on the stores

and realized once again that even though I badly want a cool hat- I am jhsut not a hat person.

But I am a Mural person – and that was way cheaper too – LOL

Super fun !

And I want this pizza sign -it is the cutest!

Also — why not- LOL- I like it!

More amazing signs and storefronts

And def. liked how Austin celebrates their “Keep Austin Weird” motto.

which was proven once again in the candy store- Who puts a scale in a candy store? That is soooo weird – LOL.

That Candy store was really cool!!!!

This store window was cooler than the store- but I like the name …I wish it was a real yarn and embroidery store LOL.

This book store had a beautiful set up and book art everywhere – I could have spent hours in there.

Fun – and famous Boot Store – I am not a Cowboy boot person but some of these were pretty pretty cool.

More cool signs – I am a sucker for awesome vintage signs.

Here our “old gang” in the back of a rented bus to bring us to our friend’s party – Don’t be fooled- this is a tame picture from the beginning of the trip and …well what happens in the back of the bus stays in the back of the bus ;)

We stoped in Blanco- what a cute little town. Very picturesque.

And I just fell in love with those city buildings

I want to paint those!

And what do you find when you go to an antique store in Blanco? Spurs – I had no ideas there are so many different designs – these are so cool.

Our friend making drinks for us. She is the Greene in Milam&Greene Whiskey and the party was at the Distillery. We are so proud of her even though that means she moved away from us :(

We had a great time seeing the distillery and spending time with old and new friends

I love this oak tree right outside of the tasting room

It is a great place to visit -if you are ever in the area take a spin and visit the tasting room! And if you see my friend Heather -say hello from her friend Nat in Jersey ;)

I cannot wait to go back some time later this year- it was a lot of fun and there is so much more to see. Next time I make sure to bring my sketch book …for before the tasting of course ;)

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Inspired By: Loew’s Theatre, Jersey City

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I attended a fundraiser event at Loew’s Theatre here in Jersey City. I have heard so many wonderful things about this theater I couldn’t wait to finally get a look.

Can you say Wall-paper bliss? LOL- but let’s start from the beginning- What is this theater? Loew’s Theater was opened in 1929 as one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theaters.

It was closed in 1986 and remained closed. An investor bought the theater and wanted to demolish it to build a new monstrosity on the spot. Preservationists began a campaign to save the structure and succeeded in saving the building from demolition.

The theatre was subsequently sold to the city of Jersey City, the current owner. Since then it is operated by a volunteer organisation, the Friends of the Loews.

During the 7 years the Friends of Liberty fought to save it, “the Theatre was abandoned and it decayed accordingly. Pipes froze and burst. Mold grew on the worn-out upholstered seats. Paint peeled from the dampness and cold. The roof leaked. Every surface became covered in dust. Before the City of Jersey City bought the Loew’s in 1993, an architectural report made it clear that nothing worked within the Theatre. The report estimated that it would take about $5 million just to get the Loew’s minimally operational, and at least $12 million to make the Theatre fully functional and up to code.”

The Friends of the Loews have been doing an insane amount of work to repear, and preserve the theater which had been in a horrible condition. Every weekend for years and still they met up to work in the theater.

Here is yours truly goofball lady shooting an infinity mirror photo in the foyer of the ladies room.

The theatre reopened in 2001 thanks to the FOL. Not all parts of the theater can be accessed for the public as to fire code regulations and problems and there is still a ton of work to do. There are some movie screenings, events and even weddings.

But oh my- tell me it wasn’t sooo worth it to preserve this place.

In 2010, the Village Voice called the Loew’s Jersey the “Best Movie Theatre in New York” — even though we’re located in Jersey City!

I loved the total overboard grand ceilings- all the details are just insane.

Look at the curtain

and the velvet paneling

I was just in awe seeing all this

Here is the men’s foyer- a little smoking room – go figure- LOL.

Wherever you move – amazing details.

The movie theater was amazing as well – I wanna see a move soon there. Above is an organ – it is not the orginal anymore but like the one that was there.

The ceiling and the balcony of the movie theater – you cannot go to the balcony- that is off limits for now.

Swoon !!!

Part of the appeal for me of course was that it was a bit run down and it showed the age- although I am fully aware that this is not good and that everything has to be done to preserve it.

I am amazed by this neighborhood organization ! I hope the city will step up to it’s commitment and give the funding it promised a long time ago to make this place fully functional again.

Maybe the city needs a Push!!!

BTW – I was super excited to learn that the The Strokes did their official video Under Cover of Darkness in the Loew’s theater. I am a huge Strokes fan – so I finish with that video for you :)

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    What a fun post Nat!
    I just love old buildings that have all that history and detail.
    The video was fun to watch as well.
    Hats off to the FOL for all their hard work.

    Reply

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Inspired by: The New Cathedral in Coventry

At the beginning of the month I was teaching with my friend Julie in Coventry. I came in on Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon was the only time for some sightseeing – so off we went.

Coventry was devastatingly destroyed during the German Blitz in 1940 during World War II and many people died during the attacks and many lost their homes. Coventry Cathedral was destroyed as well and remains as a ruin in the middle of the city. I posted about the ruins last year – you can find the post here. This year I went also into the New Cathedral – wow!

What a beautiful building.

Above is the Baptistery window which you will see right after you go in. The New Cathedral was built next to the remains of the old cathedral. “Spence the architect insisted that instead of re-building the old cathedral it should be kept in ruins as a garden of remembrance and that the new cathedral should be built alongside, the two buildings together effectively forming one church.” The cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962.

The Christ in Glory tapestry by Graham Sutherland, which is maybe one of the worlds largest, is breath taking!

There were also hundreds of seat cushions- little pieces of art!

Below is the Chapel of Christ the Servant (also known as the Chapel of Industry). A giant glass building with  a cross and crown of thorns above the altar

Next to the Chapel of Christ the Servant is the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane.

A mosaic of the angel who offers the cup of suffering to Christ as he prayed.

I am so glad I went back to see the New Cathedral as well. I think last year when I was there with Birgit it was closed.

St Michael’s Victory over the Devil, a sculpture by Jacob Epstein outside the Chapel.

 

I am glad I could share this little trip with Julie – although- boy was I tired after the red eye flight over the pond ;)

And I leave this post with this plague on the wall of the old cathedral.

Hope this little trip was inspiring for you!

 

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Sydney Opera House Painting

2016

I was lucky to be invited twice to teach in Australia and I have fond memories of Sydney. The first time I went to Sydney we were able to get some tickets to a Herbie Hancock concert in the opera – the very last seats in the back …the sound was good..Herbie was a tiny ant- but it was pretty cool :) Australia is fascinating and a real Artful Adventure – for this painting I used an Australian Dictionary for the background, made a stamp with gum tree nuts and also used actual gum tree nuts. The painting is part of the travel chapter in my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media. Maybe some day I will be back but until then this painting is my little Australia at home :)

Acrylic paint, ink, marker, charcoal, paper ephemera, gum tree nuts on canvas 9×12 -Available for Purchase – email me if interested .

 

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Inspired by: Amsterdam

A couple weeks ago my husband and I spent a couple days in Amsterdam. Amsterdam will always hold a special place in my heart, because that is the city my husband and I actually got together :)

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment which was amazing and in a house from the 15hundreds – the top photo is the view out of the bedroom window – pretty cool

Of course we went straight to a cheese store ..well we had to do some grocery shopping and that includes getting good cheese …Oh man, heaven!

We also took a little Canal tour – for the hundreds time- but it never gets old. Look at those pretty houseboats

and houses

and bridge corners

and did I say houses?

 

It was a bit of a gloomy day but still nice enough for the tour

I already started painting some of the views – just so beautiful!

We also walked a lot and that requires some refreshment and people watching at one of our favorite bars for that .

And everything looks even prettier when it gets dark

I fell in Love with the houses below while waiting for the tram close to the Rijksmuseum.

All the details- swoon.

And we went back to the one windmill in Amsterdam – which houses the Brewery I’TIJ’ which we have been visiting for 20 years and has changed and hasn’t :)

we spent a lovely afternoon there with drinks, cheese with celery salt etc. and some friends. It was a really good short trip. I do miss the possibility of going to a different country by train or plane in just a couple hours, so I am glad we were able to sneak this little trip in when taking care of some matters in Germany :)

 

Comments (2)

  • Jean Goza

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    Loved the photos. Amsterdam has been on my bucket list for awhile. I agree about travel in Europe. I love the ability to hop on a train or plane and be in another country so quickly. Very cool!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Jean – you would love it or sure! Amsterdam is awesome!

      Reply

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Inspired by Paducah, Kentucky

A couple weeks ago I taught some workshops in Paducah Kentucky, which was so much fun – but on top of it I also loved how inspirational this town is.

Well …first of all- the tiny airport made me smile …

when the one and only and tiny baggage belt started ringing an alarm indicating the baggage comes out I snorted and laughed out loud ….

I loved Kristin’s gorgeous planters with succulent outside the studio

tiny typewriter platers, what is not to love about it?

Wooden Sculpture – amazing!

Also all around the store were differently painted hydrants – it was fun to look out for them.

Aren’t those cool?

At the same time I was there there happened to be a Art and Music Festival and of course, there were tons of BBQ stands- this one proudly displayed all the trophies they won. And yes…I ate BBQ – lots of BBQ LOL

I loved those goggly eyes in a bush

But my favorite part of Paducah def. were all the beautiful and unique old houses. So gorgeous – look at the brickbuilding on top – that one was abandoned and had a secret garden in the back

 

Look at this one – so so so beautiful

This building looked like a little castle

and I love the porch and the windows on this one.

And I totally lost my heart on this cute litte Dutch Colonial …look at the cute heart shutter boards – swoon!

Cannot wait to sketch  more houses :) Hope you enjoyed the little stroll through Paducah !

Comments (4)

  • Kristin Williams

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    Loved seeing Paducah through your eyes! Come back, soon! xoxoxo K

    Reply

  • Kathy

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    Love the photos capturing the charm of Paducah.

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Different Kinda Art Stroll: Freeman Alley, NYC

Freeman Alley is a little …well alley  in the Lower East Side

you almost walk by and miss it. In 1909 people would line up in a so called “bread line” through the alley in the hope to receive some food from the Bowery Mission.

In a more and more polished looking part of the city …it is a refreshing to find some wheat pastes and graffiti – Lot’s of layers

At the end of the alley you find a restaurant -but I was more into the fire escapes !

Definitely have to come back and see what’s new when I am in the East Village next time. You find it off Rivington Street – don’t miss it ;)

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