As summer turns into fall, I’ve been drinking tea and painting on the couch while I listen to Stewart Wills read Moby Dick. Last fall I monomaniacally collected vintage camp blankets after finding one with an ombre Art Deco pattern at the Chelsea Flea with my uncle. This year I find myself attracted to waxed cotton longshoreman jackets, wide wale corduroy and the matte creaminess of gouache paint.

Part of living in NYC is making yourself comfortable in an uncomfortable environment. Ever wonder why old New Yorkers look like the trees that grow on the side of a mountain? It’s part of the secular vow of poverty we all take to become competitive people watchers. In uncertain times, it is comforting to imagine you can survive whatever the world throws at you. Not being an ultralight backpacker myself, I would like to survive and feel cozy. To furnish this fantasy I’ve bought a pile of blankets woven during the Great Depression and a new set of gouache paints.

To appreciate gouache it helps to know something about watercolor and acrylic paints between which gouache inhabits an uncanny valley. It’s a water soluble medium formulated for opacity, popular among commercial illustrators and cartoonists because it’s cheap, forgiving and dries faster than you can paint. I like being able to replace solvents like turpentine or acrylic gel medium with a shot glass of water when working in my poorly ventilated apartment. I also like to mix in watercolor to take advantage of the depth and brilliance of watercolor pigments.

living room 1

living room 2

Darwin, bat and bugs