Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Late November one year ago

Our weather is predictably inconsistent  or consistently unpredictable. It was comparatively balmy this time a year ago. I spent an afternoon on a farm near Troy off highway 5. There might have been a fierce wind but nothing like the sub zero temperatures we've experienced the last few days let alone the icy sidewalks and certainly nothing like the five feet of snow Buffalo has endured in the last day or so brrrr

Field near Troy pastel on gessoed illustration board 11"x14"
©mcohenlabelle Nov 27 2013

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mid November Sunday afternoon, light snow...drawing as usual

Today I took a different route to avoid traffic and road closure for the Santa Claus parade - Locke to Barton  to Bay to Mulberry  to park just shy of James North.Traffic flowed like a charm.

Seated posed on strathmore pasted 18"x24"unfinished
©mcohenlabelle Nov 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Study for a head

oil and crayon 9"x12"generic gessoed panel
© mcohenlabelle Nov 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recent Sunday afternoon drawings

charcoal on manilla
©mcohenlabelle Nov 2014

pastel on strathmore
©mcohenlabelle Nov 2014

charcoal and pastel on manilla
©mcohenlabelle Nov 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Draft - menu for all tastes

As D and I walked home on Locke St.  past Democracy,  a recently opened restaurant (v likely named after John Locke) -  - we toyed with opening our own multi-ethnic eatery and calling it Theocracy after no one in particular. 
We played and tossed around ideas for a menu with a broad, multi-denominational flavour:
For Jews - blintzes bagels and borscht
For Christians – meat and potatoes with a side of coleslaw – Friday maybe loaves and fishes,  canned peas
For Muslims -  baba ghanoush. humus, lamb stew, couscous
For atheists – tea and counseling – liquor license pending
For Buddhists - vegetarian tofu and beans

For the excommunicated - penance, Perrier water

Divinity students  would serve
Who would cook – maybe catered
Investors welcomed

Or we could call our eatery Autocracy and just serve cake,  plain and simple. Cake for the masses or special gourmet cakes for the elites and upper classes,  all on a late summer afternoon. 

Marcia LaBelle mcohenlabelle and David Cohen © 2014

oil on masonite
Marcia LaBelle mcohenlabelle  © 2009

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Corner of room

Some customary disarray, ungroomed. 

gouache on gessoed panel 5"x7"
Marcia LaBelle mcohenlabelle © 2013

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Paddy Green

Approaching this time last year - actually later in the fall, closer to deer season and not so humid.

oil 9"x12" gessoed panel
Marcia LaBelle mcohenlabelle © 2013

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Prior to waking up

Another dream of breathless exertion. This time I awoke from climbing an almost vertical street covered with snow over treacherous patches of ice on my way to an art gallery in downtown Hamilton. 
A tricky climb, I struggled on hands and knees past a new development of  identical one storey bungalows set far back  from the street  before  finally  reaching the small storefront gallery which to my excitement was also a coffee house atop this crazy man made mountain. As I paid for a cup of steaming coffee and a cookie I questioned  their wisdom of situating their gallery atop a hill. Their reply came as a question - "Have you never been to NY?"  I couldn’t understand what bearing that had on anything - but I said I used to live in NY tying to recall in what way if any NY was known for  hills - dreams have their own unfathomable rules - nor do I recall taking one sip of that coffee or one bite of that cookie before waking up. Hungry.

pastel and charcoal on strathmore 18"x24"
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

¾ symmetrical view

You can build up resistance from doing nothing.
I woke up this morning from a surprisingly strenuous dream whereby  I was participating in a yoga class, more or less captive,  although I hadn’t been to a yoga workout in years. Every nerve, cell and muscle in my sedentary body was on the floor,  up against a wall straining and stretching  to emulate a difficult position with limbs crossed in every direction.  Simple conformity on my part would surely have spelled success, but try as I might the convoluted pose eluded me.
Just a  dream I reminded myself -all due to  the heat or the late night snack? Nevertheless I resolved to sign  up for a therapeutic beginners yoga starting next week.

 pastel on strathmore 18"x24"
The model is in fact a yoga teacher
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Side view

Preparation for a leap into faith or public service or meditation - a rehearsal stage as in yoga
Being right wing is nothing to be proud of -

Conversely being left wing is nothing to be ashamed of which according to a friend comprises roughly 2% of the population

pastel on strathmore 18"x24"
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014


The model  sat patiently, uncomplaining on the studio floor a year ago in April, somewhat chilly as it might have been
click to enlarge

pastel on gray Strathmore 18"x24"
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

The young poet

Restless, reclining, introspective 
on strathmore 18"x24" charcoal and pastel
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

on strathmore 18"x24" charcoal and pastel
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

March continues the presence of winter

The glamour of snow, its irresistible allure endures - preferring not  to be upstaged by thawing. The set designer for spring has  taken a leave of absence, some say indefinitely, wanting  the play of snow to have a longer run.  
Last week a brisk and stinging wind made snow rendering a serious undertaking. Night time schnapps restores circulation.

Bank of Spencer Creek pastel 10¾"x10"
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Escarpment near Spencer Creek pastel 14"½x10"
MCL(marciacohenlabelle) © 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A woman resting

A few weeks ago this was the last pose of the afternoon. For me it was just the opposite of  relaxed, uphill going all the way.

pastel on toned strathmore 18"x24"
Marcia LaBelle mcohenlabelle © 2014
click to enlarge

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Forever and a day

Or this winter wonderland is here to stay - like the Gershwin melody 'our love is here to stay'
Nothing  grand - a lot of small adjustments, seemingly endless.

Forever and a day, color  pastel on Maidstone 10"x10"
In fact I love winter, I just hope there isn't flooding with snow turning into rain and if it freezes again I hope the wheels of our car don't get frozen stuck in several inches of solid ice like they did last Sunday. 

Forever and a day pastel on Maidstone 10"x10"

Forever and a day, color  pastel on Maidstone 10"x10"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Addiction to hand warmers

My hand warmer which looks like a large, oversize tea bag was still warm as I ate my dinner tonight and then clambered up the stairs to look at  the internet. 

This pastel is from earlier in the afternoon not far from  Crooks Hollow Rd, where I planted myself  as firmly as I could on a deep snowy embankment with partial sun and particles of blowing snow. 
The descent from the road was short but fairly steep and at one point laden down with stuff, I misjudged the depth of the snow, lost my balance and fell forward. Shirley said that at least I had something soft to fall into. 
But she had an equally unsettling experience - I thought the wind sent her easel flying, but she said no, it broke. 

Crooks hollow unfinished pastel on toned paper approximately 10"X10"
mcohenlabelle MCL © 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chair with arms

I went into my studio this afternoon to check on cobwebs and leakage and rescued this painting of a chair that is probably the same chair from studies in one of my notebooks. I did these years ago. 

oil on masonite 18"x24" (# 1)
mcohenlabelle MCL©2014

mixed media on paper 11"x14" (#2)
mcohenlabelle MCL©2014

mixed media on paper 11"x14" (#3)
mcohenlabelle MCL©2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A different kind of light

In spite of the warming trend I only half dressed and instead of rushing outside to glory in the warming trend, I propped a drawing I had worked on last Sunday against a piece of furniture in my dining room and worked on it for over an hour. The challenge always  is that the model is absent and so is the combination of muted natural light and artificial light of the  3rd floor studio – in place of which I have the mid day light of my south facing dining room. Not that I mind but I do nevertheless have to be cognizant of that difference. Not that I wish to burden anyone  with that trifling detail, it’s enough that I burden myself.  Now I hardly sound sincere and that poses a different kind of problem – a peculiarity of character that I’ve had years of practice at. You know what they say – practice, practice, practice.

From a Sunday afternoon
pastel on strathmore toned paper 24"x18"
Marcia LaBelle MCohenL ©2014

From a Sunday afternoon
pastel on strathmore toned paper 24"x18"
Marcia LaBelle MCohenL ©2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February’s handshake

Not as cold as they said it would be, especially when the sun came out. Also I had a pair of hand warmers and although the expiry date read July of last year, lo and behold they still worked like a charm. Mind you I did bring back up warmers that were current. 
I borrowed my husband’s camera to take a few photos but he forgot to put in the battery,  so that ended that idea. Now that there’s a warming trend I’ll try to get back there tomorrow or Thursday.

Crook's Hollow
pastel on prepared paper 10"x7"
mcohenlabelle MCohenL © 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Torn paper

It might seem banal or unimaginative to call this drawing torn paper with respect to the fact that when I was removing the paper from the board, I managed to rip a small piece of it.

figure half reclining 
pastel on toned Strathmore 24"x18"
mcohenlabelle MCohenL ©2013

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Seated figure

December 29, 2013
This was the last drawing I worked on at our open life studio before the end of last year.  The paper was very gritty, indestructible  – not the best to my liking – but I prepared it myself. Of course it comes in handy to blame the paper. The truth is I'm still fiddling. As my grandmother might have said, so nu?

Seated figure, pastel on gessoed watercolor paper 19"x24"
mcohenlabelle MCohenL © 2013

mcohenlabelle MCohenL © 2013

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Man, car, snow

We said good-bye.  A few minutes later in the background I heard the gunning  of a motor, but paid no attention. When it persisted and got more desperate, I went to the window. It was our car. There he was with our neighbour, two shovels, a bag of salt, a few grunts and a push and eventually he left.
That’s the thing – there was snow over ice from yesterday’s topping.

Quick sketch.

conte on bond paper 8"x10"
man cleaning snow off car
mcohenlabelle Feb 2014 © MCohenL

Weeping willow early November

My friend Gershon once said, (actually more than once)  that because he hadn't painted that day he really shouldn't eat. I said somewhat alarmed, “Oh!”. I was very young.
This was said while we were already eating – both of us cabbage borscht and gefilte fish with horse radish. Really good menu at this restaurant, The Bagel, they generally drew a large crowd  (they made their own bagels  daily – huge),  near his studio on Spadina. 
The owner of The Bagel, Benny, was short, bald head, white shirt and apron, wonderful man - a character. So was Gershon. Both were Polish. Gershon had a number on his forearm if you get the idea – but not Benny.
Every once in awhile Benny would fly off the handle – seldom really - but noticeable when he did. And his wife behind the counter would say quietly, “Benny, please.”  I commented about this, his anger. Gershon said that maybe he had a reason to be angry i.e. there was a cause - and how could I judge if I didn’t know. I waited for an explanation but there wasn’t any.
But back to Gershon and his painting/eating  thing – what made him say that? Was it guilt? Maybe he was just addicted to painting through the night and the bottle of vodka that went with it. I was much too young to know about things like being, driven etc – still don’t

Willow tree November oil primed panel 9"x12"
Marcia LaBelle(MC0henL©2013)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Incalculable risks on a slippery day

Last  Sunday morning was like a skating rink again.  When you stepped outside the ground was covered with a treacherous sheet of ice – sidewalks, roads, parking lots.  Old people as they walked to church to sing hymns, pray, worship  - took their time with cautious, mincing carefully measured steps – to slip and break something on their way to worship would be like a bad joke, worse – it wouldn’t do – for one, it would almost certainly disappoint their priest or rector, much more than missing a carefully crafted sermon – upsetting all around.
Watch yourself my husband cautioned. I was on my way religiously to James North where I attend the life drawing sanctuary once a week – I’ve taken a vow to go as regularly as possible. But naturally once in a while I miss,  like most of us, I slip up now and then. 

A pastel drawing from Sunday last May

pastel and charcoal on Strathmore 18"x 24"
M Cohen L © 2013

Monday, February 3, 2014


I have a rhythm section in my left ear, a percussive tapping that fades in and out. 
Right now it’s at rest. Sometimes it feels as though I have a front row seat at a gig with Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich who I enjoy, find exciting. Or maybe a flamenco dancer with a persistent duende like stamping while I’m trying to sleep. At first this unsolicited drumming entertained me but after awhile its prolonged hunger for attention wore me out, dismayed me. Now after a few weeks of it I’ve become mildly detached  and accepting  as though a neighbor has just dropped by uninvited or unexpectedly for a visit and I’m too polite to say, “please not now, I’m busy” and eventually the visitor gets the idea and leaves.

An  unmade futon with red comforter.

oil on gessoed panel 9"x12"
M Cohen L © 2013

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Something tangential

Two years ago, the name of Man Ray re-crossed my radar. How that came about - I had recently watched a fascinating film based on the novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. There was a memorable scene for me where the doctor’s mistress, an artist, is showing the doctor’s most recent mistress (who has recently developed a relationship with her camera) some photographs from a book on Man Ray, or was it on Man Ray’s wife? There’s quite possibly some misinformation here.  I should rewatch that film when I have a chance. Then I too decided to leaf through some of Man Ray's  extraordinary photographs.

oil on canvas paper 9"x12" based  loosely on a black and white photo by Man Ray (not shown)
M Cohen L © 2012

Friday, January 31, 2014

Adjustments to the plan, persistence

Time honored haggling.
This is how it works. They were having difficulty putting through my adjustments. The system wouldn’t allow it. If, after the fourth call, you haven’t been cut off and if your  problem still dangles like an unchewable, indigestible issue unresolved – the help desk will transfer you to the solutions desk – selections of robust music will blast your eardrum while you wait – music to dance to, by yourself?

Finally like a dream come true - a cheerful, confident voice answers, picks you up off the dusty, kvetch laden floor and dusts you off – that same voice  strokes your nerves – “we’re sorry, we value your loyalty, maybe we can help – expand your message box, definitely – increase your decreases - unlimited this and unlimited that and not only that - a big fat credit. Let’s see what we can do.”  She dangles large numbers in front of my nose.

“What, wow,  – O yes really that’s wonderful, really wonderful. Thank you. When? Right now, right this minute,  fantastic, really”  And there you have it, a perfect solution after time honored haggling,  speechless.

From a warmer day, sigh of relief, last November off  hwy 97.

oil on gesso primed panel 14"x11"
M Cohen L © 2013

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On and off the grid

When I see the blue flashing lights of the black modem across the room I feel as though I’m on a space ship – A full frontal view facing the street is best, the technician said for receiving the signal – unlike the white modem which could receive signals from any position. 
Recently the faithful white modem developed erratic flickering symptoms on all its ports – an anxiety attack – it no longer sent or received signals reliably. "You mean consistently",  one technician corrected" -"intermittently" another said. 
I mentioned this to my daughter – “Enjoy being off the grid” she laughed.

But now the capacity of my line has been verified – I’ve been reinstated, upgraded – an ongoing process that has gone on for weeks has been resolved. 
Communication triumphed. Confusion - no longer an issue – comforting like a stiff drink or hot soup to warm you up when you come in out of the cold.

The model landing without mishap 
charcoal, pastel on Strathmore 18x24
mcohenl © 2014