Friday, January 28, 2011


Round #1 - the tarte wins. Lecon learned. Do not speak ill of local tartes if you value your health.

So how did a tarte put me in the back of this vehicle yesterday?

Granted I am now permanently in love with FDNY EMTs! New York's finest are the greatest and the cutest!

Firstly I haven't been to the pool for months. Secondly I sit A LOT, but I get up frequently. Evidently not frequently enough. Lastly my two encounters with drawing New York tartes onsite on Sunday and Monday did me in. I was so focused, so nervous, so fraught I sat drawing for 2+ hours straight and forgot to get up at all = not good for sciatica. Tense as a cat grappling with these damn tartes, my brush was my weapon. Another lecon learned. YOU MUST RELAX!

On Tuesday an old sciatica nerve injury complained.

Photo by Sarmdmemt On Wednesday I started doing exercises on YouTube = bad idea when you're in pain. Wait until the pain goes away for before exercising! On Thursday I woke up in worse pain and my left leg caved like a strand of over-cooked spagetti. I had to crawl around the apartment. Time to call 911.

A friend suggested I bring books and sketchpad to the ER.

How right she was! 

It's been a long time since I've sketched onsite except for said tartes, but this was fun and a distraction from the long wait (3-4 hours). The final diagnosis - bed rest, rehab, pain killers and a cane. 

C'est la vie. I've been checking in with a few of artist friends who sketch onsite ALL THE TIME. Rick Tulka draws everyday at Cafe Le Select in Paris and has no back pains to speak of.

My cousin-in-law, William Ternay is never without his sketchbook. Bill said to me:
"You must bring to this new experience "Beginner's Mind" Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable, make errors and go with the old flow! . Easier said than done".

Time to go back to Drawing With The Right Side of The Brain - all about loosening up. Going with the flow whether you draw regularly or even draw at all!

Two drawings by a fourth-grader - before & after! This book used to be my drawing bible and I just reordered it. I need to relax and enjoy the process of drawing -

"Don't worry, Be Happy"
Tartes, I'm not done with you yet, even though you knocked me out first round, I'll be back soon and in a better frame of mind.



  1. Major lesson: when it comes to tartes, eat first. Sketch later.
    Sorry about all that, Carol!
    But rehab and therapy will help oodles,
    and so will Betty Edwards, or whatever helps you relax.
    A new pair of big plaid glasses?
    Bonne chance! Judith

  2. Now thats what I call suffering for your Art. Bummer tho. Hope your doing better soon and out sketching again. Just remember to stretch as you sketch. :))

  3. Geri, NJ1:44 PM

    Adding my voice to wishing you have inspired me with your sacrifice for art...I will dig out my old copy of that very tired of digging out of snow!

  4. Ohhh nooo, feel better! I can't believe tartes would do this to you! ts ts ts

  5. Remarkable.
    So sorry to hear you too had a ride in an ambulance.
    As I recall, probably not the fondest memories you might have, yet you seem to have handled it with considerable grace. Formidable!

    We should do a "artistic injuries" joint blog.
    Here's my entry from
    two weeks ago...

  6. Incredible drawings! Feel better....

  7. OMG! Feel better!!!!!!!!

  8. Marie-Noël de Montréal4:02 PM

    Un gros merci pour votre charmant bulletin quotidien !
    Vous avez beaucoup de talents et beaucoup d'humour. Et vous nous rappelez le meilleur de Paris...

    Thanks a lot !

  9. Hope you fully recover and be back to pounding the pavements for pastries again! You still have such a great sense of humour despite the pain!

  10. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Oh, my! Well, at least the NYPD people were cute! Take care of yourself.
    For many years I had a problem sitting at a computer - would get phlebitis. I learned - and got a laptop. You will make necessary adjustments. You are a smart cookie.
    Be a good girl, do what the doctor says, and get well.

  11. What kind of ER Physician would let you go without prescribing something chocolate to ease the pain? Rest up; we are depending on you for our pastry fix!

  12. Oh, Carol,
    what a way to test the preparedness of THE FDNY!
    I am so glad to hear that they were there for you and you made it through the wait at the ER sketching.
    Get well soon,

  13. Hope your feeling better soon! What a saga just for those tarts. But your 'on site' sketches are really great! It enabled me to imagine exactly what was going on.

  14. Oh Carol! I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I know that pain all too well and rest will serve you well. I am sure the rehab will give you an extra boost as will all of this sketching.

    What a brilliant idea to always grab your sketchbook - even when 911 responds!

    Feel better soon!

  15. Good Lord, you poor thing!!!
    Who'd have thunk it?? Sketching?
    Great art work from the ER and great photo journalism of the firemen - BUT - take it easy!!
    Get well soon, take a rest, and have a great weekend ( in bed!).

  16. Dear Carol, Your blog is always the highlight of my morning. So sorry you are suffering for your art. I've had sciatic pain and muscles in spasm, and it's no fun. Rest first and then gentle releases -- Thai massage is wonderful, if you can find someone who does it, and Restorative Yoga or Feldenkreis for very gentle motions that relax the exertions of everyday life. Hope the right healers will come into your life so you can keep delivering joy to us every day.

  17. Hope ou are all better soon mon amis! You forget to easily that in Paris you must walk! Why do we walk? Because if we do not walk we will not be able to move at all! Too many tartes go to the thighs! OhMY! Althougt I know it is winter and we are stuck inside with this rediculous snow falling everyday! UGH! We have to at least stretch!NON?
    Hope your feeling better soon!

  18. Hope ou are all better soon mon amis! You forget to easily that in Paris you must walk! Why do we walk? Because if we do not walk we will not be able to move at all! Too many tartes go to the thighs! OhMY! Althougt I know it is winter and we are stuck inside with this rediculous snow falling everyday! UGH! We have to at least stretch!NON?
    Hope your feeling better soon!

  19. Amazing how hard relaxing can be. Hope you're better soon. You will vanquish the tartes!

  20. Poor you. I have same thing and I do the duck walk to help with the pain when I have it. Yoga helps too
    I bet the EMT guys loved your drawings. Feel better!!

  21. Oh my goodness, Carol. I am so sorry to hear about your recent pains and trip to ER.

    Wonderful that you can still make art from this experience, but still....

    I remember that drawing book. I lent my copy to someone, and it never was returned. Hope that someone is still drawing on some side of the brain.

    Hoping also that you will be feeling better and better really soon.

    Thank you also for the introductions to other blogs and books. xo

  22. Carol--
    I'm so sorry about your injury, but I can totally relate! I was working so hard on the Sketchbook Project for the Brooklyn Art Library...the deadline was last Tuesday 1/18/11, and I was hunched over working on it for many days. On MLK day, I was off work and got up at 7 a.m. to utilize the day for art. While brushing my teeth, my back just went OUT, and I was immobile for the rest of the week. I think all those hours bent over my artwork produced the immobile back--I can so relate! I hope you feel better! I just love your artwork and blog.
    Jill H

  23. Get well soon Carol~~~big hugs~~

  24. Oh Carol, I hope you get better soon!

  25. Anonymous9:32 AM

    I recently came across your blog when researching my next trip to Paris. I am so glad I did! I am in awe of your talent and can't wait to purchase one of your prints! Feel better soon... I absolutely love reading about your adventures and your drawings...!!!! oy my!!! Thanks for brightening my day! Feel better soon!!!!

  26. So sorry to read about your sciatica pain.
    I'm still recovering from a bout of that nasty stuff; it's painful beyond words. Be careful when walking w/a cane on snow or ice. Maybe canes come w/snowshoes or ice grips for those of you in arctic snow territory.


  27. THANK YOU!



    Your kind words mean a lot!!
    It's soooo boring being stuck in bed endless hours. But I realized this morning I CAN PAINT IN BED!! Especially since my mattress is on the floor.
    much more fun than doing 2010 taxes for sure...
    Now I have to find out about:

    THE DUCK WALK (???)




    Big MERCI!

  28. Please take care with your health and stay well. 30 min of yoga stretches 5 days/week might ease your sciatica pain.

  29. Well dear Carol, I am honored that you took my advice about "Beginner's Mind," and humbled that you put my drawing up on PB. And as you well know, its' all about practice practice practice.
    Taking your sketchbook with you to the hospital reminds me of when I was rushed to the ER in NY with a burst appendix. Thank goodness I had my sketchbook, and those visits from you.

  30. OMG, Carol--I missed this! So sorry--be careful! Your sketches of the EMT's are great. I love Bert Dodson's drawing book--Keys to Drawing. Good for you, and I totally agree with your cousin on this one--it's hard to feel so uncomfortable with new things, but he's so right. Your things here look fabulous to me. Hope you feel much better very soon! xoxo

  31. SO sorry!
    The same thing happened to me last spring.
    I was sitting and focusing on paintings for a commission and voila!
    I awoke one morning in mucho pain in back and down my leg. Off to ER
    and given the same diagnosis. PT helped but I still have nerve twinges in my leg.
    'Senior yoga' helps too.
    Those damn tartes!
    Feel better!

  32. OKay, first sorry you are in pain...second...
    LMAO...of course you drew them!!! That is so wonderful!! Love it. Poor Ms Agog...wishing you a speedy recovery. Revenge of the Tarte Sketch Crawl, I can see it coming..:)
    Xo darlin'.. Take care.

  33. Oh Good Grief !! Who woulda thunk it !!
    Topped by a Tart .. I am so sorry ! I have had tiny bits of sciatica , usually only at bedtime.. but I can imagine the pain when it is serious..

    I love the sketches... way better than photos!
    I like to do watercolors, my husband sketches beautifully .. I have to do it too.

    Feel better, muchas besos !!

  34. Sorry about your sciatica, Lydia has been having a touch of it too. Venice not an ideal place for crippled old gits, all those paving stones and bridges. I have visions of me giving piggy backs to both of you, café to café, bar to bar. Bacaro to bacaro, coffee, drawing, cake, drawing, ciccheti, drawing, spritz, drawing, wine, drawing, more cake, drawing, more wine, drawing, more wine!!!!! Rest and recuperate and feel better soon.
    Hope you feel better soon
    Lyd sends her love
    Sid XX

  35. I hope you recover quickly! The tarte may have won this round, but you'll get revenge by eating its relatives.

  36. Oh no, Carol! I'm so sorry you're in pain, but look what it got you - another opportunity to sketch on site! You're so good at it. I can see the motion and the flurry in your sketches.

    I'd say that should be on your list - more real-time sketching - once your leg is better.

  37. This must be the month for emergency room visits- and if Martha Stewart can document hers, so can you!
    I wish you a speedy recovery.

  38. Oh Carol! And I was cranky to come home to a cold house covered in snow (ran out of fuel...French delivery people don't deliver on the weekend). I've had sciatica issues, and you are wonderfully upbeat, given the pain and discomfort.

    I did a teacher training with Judith Lasater in London a couple of years ago. She is the preeminent expert on restorative yoga. I can confirm that it would truly be worth your while to look into this type of yoga practice, which as you probably know by now involves a deep degree of relaxation (which in turn triggers some profound physical responses).

    Ideally, you could meet with a restorative yoga teacher who would teach you poses specific to your issues. It's the kind of thing that really should be demonstrated, as you'd be using rolled-up towels and other such props. You can find a directory of yoga instructors who've trained in restorative yoga.

    I wish you all the best in recovering--and mastering the art of the tart!

  39. THANKS Tammy,

    This sounds terrific - so many excellent suggest to help heal myself ;)
    It's most appreciated.
    I will follow up once the pain is gone. There is Restorative Yoga in New York.
    Kind regards,


  40. Carol I hope you are doing better than when I first found you! I can tell you first hand when I saw her drawings I was absolutely astounded at how spot on they were! I am sorry I have not gotten around to this sooner, but having you as a patient was absolutely the highlight of my day! One of the best patients I ever had. I actually printed out the sketch and I am trying to show everyone I know at every opportunity!You are extremely talented and I wish you the best. I forget how many readers you told me you have... but add one more in me!

  41. Hi Carol! I'm a big fan -don't know if my last comment
    I'm an artist, fellow glogger ( - come see: there's cartoon insects, great moments in art history, pathetic love affairs - almost everything you need to cheer you up!),
    paris lover (I'm taking my son in april - it's been 19 years since my last visit)and sciatica sufferer. couldn't sit in the car, constant pain - I got up one night and right leg totally gave out - numb. Dr. gave me Voltaren (sic), said cause was arthritic changes.
    When I started to work out (ab exercises), it completely went away.
    I wish you all the best! I love getting your posts - your drawings/paintings are wonderful!

  42. PS Came back from second trip to Venice last november. If you want any info, let me know.
    pps great photo of bardem (sigh)

  43. OMGosh Carol...

    I wish you a very quick recovery and not too much pain...

    Hang in there... Love the sketches!



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