About csir2014

Retired architect reborn as a painter and sketcher.

Hope Studio Watercolors: A seminar under the guidance of Sally Treanor.

I am busy “turning out” twelve new paintings for a show with Sara Zak, my favorite oil painter, and Chris Hawley, city planner and terrific instagram photographer. We three share a love for the places and architecture of Buffalo, our city. Our show is scheduled for Studio Hart on Allen Street in Buffalo, and will be called “Buffalo – a work in progress”. I won’t be posting these new paintings until the show is closer. It opens on January 9th, the second Friday which is being called the First Friday because of galleries taking time off the week after New Year’s.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, another cool thing is happening.

I’ve been taking watercolor classes from Sally Treanor, a wonderful teacher and artist, since we met in a figure drawing class at the Buffalo Arts Studio back in 2002. Our daughters, Cynnie Gaasch and Margaret Frey, were both working at the BAS, and thought we, the mothers, would enjoy figure drawing. Sally asked me if I had every tried watercolors. No, I hadn’t. She was in her second session teaching watercolor at the BAS. I signed up, and have been painting with Sally ever since, twelve years in fact.

Doreen Boyer DeBoth is also a student of watercolor with Sally Treanor. She is best known for her oils, and for the gallery she operates at 447 Amherst Street in Buffalo, Artsphere Studio and Gallery. She and Sally are curating a show of watercolors by Sally’s students over the years.  It’s called “Hope Studio Watercolors: A seminar under the guidance of Sally Treanor.” It opens with a reception on Friday December 5th from 5 – 9 pm, and runs until January 3, 2015.

Sally continues to be an inspiration for me. I never would have tried watercolor if our daughters hadn’t put us together back in 2002. I love painting.  Since retiring from Architecture in 2010, I have been loving it more and more.

I have 5 paintings in this show. I’m posting them here. Hope you like them. They are all Buffalo inspired.

5.Darwin Martin House Reflections

Darwin Martin House Reflections

4.Lafayette HS Detail 3.Cargill From The River

Lafayette HS Detail                                                  Cargill from the River

2.City of Night Light 1.Botanical Gardens

City of Night Light                                    Botanical Gardens

Love a good workshop!

Watercolor artist Jeannie McGuire from Pittsburgh came to Buffalo to conduct this fall’s workshop for the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society (I’m president :)) It was an incredible week, maybe the best workshop ever for me. We worked with faces and figures and groups of figures from our old and newer photos. We learned so much from Jeannie. She shared her approach, her stories and her talent. What a warm and wonderful woman and artist. She also judged our 12th National Watercolor Exhibition 2014, still on view at the Kenan Center in Lockport. I was thrilled to be among the award winners. Got the Silvestro Family Award for my watercolor “Faded Technology.” Thank you to DeEtta Silvestro and her family for supporting our Watercolor Society.

Faded Technology

I painted this using a photo I took during the first City of Night celebration in 2013, celebrating our wonderful Silo City and our Emerging Artists. Buffalo is a wonderful place to be an artist!

Back to the workshop. These are the photos I used as resources.

IMG_9822 - Version 4

I took this “family” photo in 1994 at my daughter Cynnie’s graduation from Hampshire College. From left to right, my mom, Suska, Cyn’s dad Jack, Jack’s wife Perce, and my daughter Liz, aged 15.



This is a composite of the other resource photos. First my husband, Tom, then my grandparents, Bessie and Will (used Will only), my mom and her sisters (used Agnes on the right only), and me with Cynnie back in 1971 or 1972 (a photo taken by my wonderful friend, Cynnie Butler Parti.)

Here are my paintings, including the first “project”, the eye! We painted an eye first, then faces (Tom, Agnes, and Me with Cynnie), and then a figure (Grandfather Will Compton), and then a group of figures (Our Interesting Family!). We used transparent watercolor, lots of pigment on our flat brushes, only flat brushes, big flat brushes, and we experimented with titanium white. If you are familiar with transparent watercolor painters and painting, you know that pure transparent watercolor is TRANSPARENT! The white in such a pure painting is the paper. The addition of white pigment creates another entire aspect, opacity, the ability to do and redo. And it’s fun. So, here they are.

Eyes 1

Tom Auntie Boo Cynnie and Mom

Grandpa Compton

Our Interesting Family


We just returned from a few sunny and warm days visiting Mike Palamuso, Tom’s son, in Seattle. What a wonderful city.

It’s a very long plane flight with a stopover in Chicago. I passed the time from Buffalo to Chicago sketching my surroundings in my new Moleskin. Used three different Pigma Micron pen sizes for clarity and interest.

on the plane

This is me sketching at the Thursday afternoon Queen Anne Farmers Market. Great food choices for lunch.  I had fish chowder. Really good. I look so serious.

Carol in Seattle

Here’s the sketch, using watercolor pencils, Derwent Inktense, with water! Very bright. Same Moleskin and Pigma Micron pens.

Queen Anne Market

Lots of exploring with Mike. This is the view from Magnolia Boulevard.

Magnolia Blvd overlook

Tom and I stopped first in Columbia City for a visit to my favorite store, Green Eileen! OMG. After lunch we drove to Seward Park for a great view of Mt. Rainier over Lake Washington.

Mt Rainier and Lake Washington

Our hotel in lower Queen Anne, the Mediterranean Inn, had a fabulous rooftop view. The view from our room looked in the opposite direction up Queen Anne hill. 

Seattle skyline

up Queen Anne

It felt good to sketch everyday.  Going to keep it up while we’re home. Buffalo is full of interesting places and views, vistas and details.

at the seashore

Carolina Beach view

This sketch is from my trip to visit my daughter and granddaughter in the Wilmington, NC area. We had a lovely lunch on an inland waterway in Carolina Beach.  Sketch took as long as it took to choose and get our lunch, probably 20 minutes with pigma micron felt pen in my trusty moleskin sketchbook.

carolina beach photo

Then we went to the beach in Liz’s jeep wrangler. Carolina Beach. Beautiful family place. Nice and clean with great warm surf to play in.

Carolina Beach

This beach view is also in my moleskin, felt pen and my new Derwent intense watercolor pencils.

Wrightsville Beach

From my visit last Spring. Wrightsville Beach. Painted in my studio from a photo. Watercolor on arches paper.

I love visiting North Carolina!

Who says you can’t work on a watercolor forever?

I started this painting, pure transparent watercolor, last winter, entered it in three shows. No successes!

Morning Gold1

So, decided to begin by washing off most of the color, especially the greens, and then covered a lot of it with white gouache. Then color, then gouache, then tinted gouache, then watercolor, and more watercolor.

morning gold3morning gold5

Tried cropping it in iPhoto.

  morning gold cropped6

Then cut it in half, added more color. Done for the time being.  One of those paintings that gets too much attention!


You Are Here

Siracuse_2.Granger Front yards Siracuse_3.Toms Fence

6 of my paintings and sketches are included in the “You Are Here” Painting for Preservation Exhibition at Artspace Buffalo Gallery,219 Main Street, Buffalo. The Show runs from September 12 to October 4.  The opening reception is tonight!, Friday, September 12th, 6-8. Lots of nice heartfelt work. https://www.facebook.com/paintingforpreservation?ref=hl

Siracuse_6.Elmwood Village Backyard


I love where I live, and derive inspiration from my husband, Tom Palamuso’s creations, both inside and out.

Painting For Preservation, August 12, 2014, Black Rock Locks, Canal on the Niagara River


The Army Corps of Engineers opened up the Locks at Black Rock Canal adjacent to the Niagara River to artists and members of Painting for Preservation. It was a beautiful day; a day to paint or sketch or photograph one of our Western New York treasures with other artists and believers in preservation of our environment.

From the P4P blog,http://paintingforpreservation.blogspot.com:

“Welcome to Painting for Preservation! This initiative, founded by artist Sara M. Zak, is aimed at drawing attention to distressed, at-risk, and under-utilized historic locations through on site art making.

Mission: To bring together artists of all media in support of historic distressed properties and communities. To create artwork on-site related to the location as a means of raising positive awareness of the space.”