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"A Hudson Valley Journal" by painter/graphic designer/paper mache artist Natalie Wargin

In 2010, I exhibited my line of greeting cards at the National Stationery Show in New York City for the second time. While I cannot remember how many orders I wrote over the course of the four days, I do remember the people that I met including fellow greeting card designer Natalie Wargin and her husband Russ Bliss.

Natalie Wargin

Natalie and Russ in front of her booth at the 2010 National Stationery Show

I just loved Natalie's artwork, which was inspired by her paper mache art, and her spunky attitude and genuine nature. We struck up a lovely friendship that has endured many years and is largely maintained through quarterly emails and the rare, but highly welcomed, visit in person.

natalie wargin

One of Natalie's digital designs that appears on greeting cards and prints

So I was happy to learn that this year Natalie was presenting a show of her paintings in Gardiner, New York at the same time that my husband Seth and I would be in the area. Every year, Seth and I eat Thanksgiving lunch in Warwick, Rhode Island with my family and then Thanksgiving dinner in Long Beach, New York with Seth's family. It's a long day of food and driving but we end up in the New York/New Jersey area and that makes for a fun long weekend of museum explorations, visits with friends, occasional shopping, and lots of great food in a part of the country where a vegan and a celiac/vegetarian can eat amongst carnivores with ease.

This year's New York highlights included visits to The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Bronx Museum of the Arts and a short walk along the Grand Concourse, the Brooklyn Flea in Industry City where I purchased a book by awesome illustrator Claudia Pearson, and several incredible meals including one memorable one at the Australian Thirsty Koala in Astoria.

On our way back to Massachusetts, we met Natalie and Russ in Gardiner, New York to see her show which was in the Gardiner Library. Here are some photos of Natalie's paintings which were inspired by "a visual representation of my beautiful surroundings. They are a timely reminder of what we can lose if we're not careful." To see better photos of her work, please visit Natalie's blog and to read about her process, see her Instagram.

It was a very peaceful drive through the Catskills and a fitting end to a busy city weekend. It had been four years since we saw Natalie and Russ in person but we picked up exactly where we had left off. If you are interested in purchasing any of the paintings that are left from this show (several are already sold and will be going to South Africa, Australia, and part of the United States far and wide), please contact Natalie and let her know I say hello.

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