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Queens of Bay 8
Each year they would say: "Ya know, lest veek, dere vuss a men chust like you." I would patiently tell them that it was me.

The "they" that I refer to is a dwindling group of elderly women: Shmata Queens of Coney. The "shmata," or "rag," not only refers to the head cloth, but also to the bathing suits - faded and misshapen by molding to aged and deformed bodies that have been out under the sun. They are now comfortable with me sketching in their midst and only occasionally ask to see what I do.

Once, as I was finishing a drawing, my model said, "Dere is vun ting you kent ketch about us." When I inquired what that might be, she answered, "How much ve eat."

Click to enlarge.

End of Joy
I was seated on a side street, painting the Tinturn Abbey of joy rides, the Thunderbolt. Black and looming, it stood abandoned.

A group of children surrounded me. They had just left the beach. Their chattering stopped as they watched my performance. Then, silently, they moved off as a group.

When they had walked a short distance, the smallest, a little girl, turned and ran back to me.

Without a word, she placed a quarter on my watercolor, then returned to her friends.

Click to enlarge.

The Necklace
I was sitting on my portable stool with my cardboard portfolio spread across my lap as a table, my paint box, water cup and paper assembled professionally. I was painting the comfort station near Stillwell Avenue, a squat, turret-like structure circled by curved stairways that lead from the boardwalk to the beach on either side. People occupy the steps while cleaning their feet and dressing.

Suddenly, a hand clutched my shoulder. An elderly man steadied himself and, looking over my shoulder, inquired, "What are you painting?"

We were both right in front of it. "You tell me," I said. He looked about and said, "Oh. The shit house." This was a gift.

My gallery director, looking over the works for my next exhibition, selected the painting I have described and asked, "What is this called?" "The Shit House." "We can't sell someone a picture with that name." So I called it "The Necklace."

Click to enlarge.

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