Sunday, December 30, 2007

The myriad functions of art

NPR’s program All Things Considered had a very interesting interview with artist Mary Frank yesterday. The best part came at the end when Frank listed her ideas about the functions of art. I’ve broken down what she said into bullet points. You can read more at NPR.

(Mary Frank)… “says she's constantly revising her notion of what art is and how it speaks to people. For Frank, art has myriad functions:

• to comfort the dead
• awaken the living
• to know the migration seasons of birds and fish
• to know the human immigrations of the past
• and right now to be able to use experiences and transform them
• to make the eyes of children widen
• to give courage
• and never be afraid of tenderness or the absurd
• and to gather joy”

-Mary Frank, Artist

I particularly like, "to gather joy."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday Flowers

A perfect day. No packages to wrap. Nothing to bake. No lists of errands to run. Leftovers for dinner. This day was mine to do with as I please, for the first time in many weeks. I went to the library and came home with a stack of new books to read. I browsed my favorite websites and rented a movie. I thought about the benefits of going to the gym as I nibbled biscotti with my cup of coffee. Then I drew this holiday bouquet which I’ve been enjoying from a distance for the past week. (My scanner, which may need to be replaced soon, kept cutting off the top, no matter how I positioned the page...)

I love the white lilies in the arrangement. They looked beautiful against the dark evergreens and red pepper berries. The lilies are lovely, but their scent (warm urine) makes me feel nauseous. They were placed on a table in the entryway, away from the living room. As soon as I was done drawing them, I threw the lilies outside for the deer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A favorite ornament...

This is a rushed sketch of a stylized "star" with beribboned shells which hangs at the top of our Christmas tree. The decoration is made of white bisque, designed by Margaret Furlong of Salem, Oregon. She makes a variety of shell ornaments which are quite lovely and can be viewed at her website.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mom's German Walnut Coffee Cake

When I was young my three brothers and I eagerly awaited the German walnut coffee cake my mother made every year for Christmas breakfast. Now, preparing this cake for Christmas morning has become a part of my family's holiday traditions.

I don’t exactly understand the chemistry of it, though. The coffee cake is a yeast bread, but as soon as it’s mixed, it’s put in the refrigerator where it sits overnight. (It rises only slightly in the refrigerator). In the morning the heavy dough is rolled into a rectangle, filling is added and the bread is baked. Yet it always rises beautifully, like the kind of bread that needs to rise in a warm room, receive a punch and rise again.

This coffee cake is very easy to make and the recipe is quite dependable. I’ve never had it fail. It feezes well and keeps for several days. The recipe, with step-by-step photos can be found at Kitchen Canvas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Cookies #2

My holiday cookie baking is done! Now there are five different kinds of cookies in the freezer, awaiting a quick defrosting and guests to devour them.

The presents are wrapped
The cookies are baked
This weekend
we decorate

(Sorry. Couldn't help myself.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Cookies #1

Here's a drawing of my first two batches of Christmas cookies. I prefer plain, basically unadorned cookies and usually start my holiday baking with my mother's recipe for chocolate walnut refrigerator cookies. Then it's on to biscotti, courtesy of a friend's Italian grandmother. More tomorrow...

(I had intended the cookie grids to appear on one page, but it was too large for my scanner. Oops, I misspelled refrigerator...)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Book Review - The Writer's Brush: Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures by Writers

Although I haven't had a lot of time to spend with this new and very large book (457 oversized pages), I'm sure I will once this busy month ends. The book includes reproductions of paintings, drawings, and sculpture by more than 200 of the world's most famous writers. Many of the European writers are unfamiliar to me, but there is a wonderful selection of art by writers I love: poet Charles Simic, Mark Twain, William Saroyan, Wallace Sevens, T.H. White, Jonathan Lethem, Henry Milller, Hermann Hesse, Patricia Highsmith... to name just a few. It's fascinating to see the variety of doodles, sketches and paintings they've created. (When I found art by a favorite writer, I really wanted to see more than just one or two examples. Space constraints, though.) A brief biography is included for each writer, in addition to quotations from journals or letters about what motivated them to express their creativity through art. The colorful painting on the book jacket is by Sylvia Plath.

"Look, says the image, at how few words I need. Listen, says the poem, to what you can read between the lines." - Gunter Grass

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cart de Frisco Sandwich

When I was in college, Cart de Frisco was one of several outdoor food carts parked outside the University of Oregon bookstore. They sold grilled chicken sandwiches, which were sloppy, spicy and very delicious. I think the chicken was marinated and grilled on a stick like a shish kebab. The meat was removed from the stick and smashed onto a grilled bun and topped with coleslaw with an Asian-style dressing on it. It was messy and wonderfully flavorful.

In the food section of last week’s Oregonian they had a recipe which sounded a lot like the Cart de Frisco sandwich, although it called for grilled pork loin rather than chicken. I tried it last weekend and it was very similar. While the recipe might need a bit of tweaking, I’d definitely make it again. And you can, too, if you want. You'll find the recipe at my new blog Kitchen Canvas.

Messy objects are fun to paint!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's stormy here...

Another cup of coffee and a quick little sketch to delay heading off into the wind and rain to run errands.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

EDM Challenge #147: Something made of wood

This is a small cherry writing desk my husband built for my birthday a few years ago. I really love everything about it. Today I took off all the stuff piled on it, drew it and then realized I had removed much of what made it interesting. Maybe I’ll draw it again in the future, complete with the unopened mail and other mess which is typically on it.

I chose the desk to draw because I need practice with perspective, which is a challenge for me. The drawing took me hours to complete and the proportions are still not accurate. Oh well, tomorrow I'll paint something fun...

Graphite on Bristol

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Comfort Food

Ronell's recent post at My French Kitchen about eating comfort food with friends started me thinking about which foods I find most comforting. Aside from the obvious list of sweets, beginning with all things chocolate, I realized that almost everything on my comfort food list includes noodles – macaroni and cheese, chicken soup, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. It's hard to beat the comfort of carbs! And now I think I will have to add this dish of spicy shrimp, asparagus and udon noodles. I made it after a day of shopping and running errands in the freezing fog, which has enveloped southern Oregon for days. You'll find the recipe at Kitchen Canvas, if you're interested:

I really love the way the Japanese Udon noodles are packaged, divided into three neat little bundles, each tidily wrapped with ribbon. In looking at the package I discovered they are actually a product of Australia, so a lot of carbon fuel was burned getting them to me in the United States.

When only food will comfort, what appeals to you?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cranberry-Orange Relish with Ginger

I bought a bag of cranberries today, soon to become cranberry relish for Thanksgiving dinner. The relish recipe below is tart and orangey with just a touch of spicy heat from the crystallized ginger. It's the perfect fresh foil for the rich mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing we will soon be enjoying.

I have much to be thankful for. I hope you do, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry-Orange Relish with Ginger
(Fine Cooking)

12 oz. fresh cranberries, picked over and stemmed
1 small navel orange, including the peel, cut into eighths
Generous 1/3 cup roughly chopped crystallized ginger
1 T. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

In a food processor, combine the cranberries, orange, crystallized ginger, sugar and salt.
Process until coarsely ground, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Focal point?

This is a photo of the view across the river from where I live in Oregon. I’d like to use it for my second landscape attempt. But as I look at the image, I don’t see an obvious focal point. The photo was taken on a somewhat overcast day and doesn’t have dramatic lighting. It's a somewhat mundane image, but still, that's the view.

Is there a focal point that’s apparent to others that I am missing?

I could probably use artistic license and put something in the painting that isn’t really there. Not sure what that would be… I have occasionally seen cattle come to the edge of the river to drink, but I really don’t want to put a cow in the painting.

I welcome your suggestions And thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Beginning landscape...

I've started taking classes from Vinita Pappas, a wonderful local artist. Vinita is an excellent teacher - well organized, methodical, encouraging and humorous. She's just joined EDM, so you'll soon be seeing her work. She does, however, insist that we do quick value and color studies before beginning a painting. My preferred method is to skip that and go from what I see in my mind's eye to picking up the paintbrush and creating it. But since that hasn't worked out too well for me, I'm making a real effort to slow down and think things through before I begin. Her first lessons have been on landscapes, which I've never done before. I'm not sure that's even an area I want to focus on. But here is one of my first attempts, painted from a photo taken in the rural area where I live. In the first version, I've cropped the badly painted barn and evergreen. Not sure which I prefer. What do you think?

There are just so many things wrong with this. Maybe a few splatters of paint would help...
Probably not.

Watercolor on Arches 140 lb.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

EDM #144: Something (sort of) square

This is a very square cow, created out of a folded sheet of cut up rusty metal that sits on my kitchen counter.

Graphite with watercolor on smooth Bristol. (This is the first time
I've used watercolor on smooth drawing paper and I really like the effect.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

EDM #141: Something with Bristles

This is a (partial) drawing of a child's rain cape from China, which has been hanging on my wall for many years. It's a lovely object, apparently made of dried palm fiber. The ends are quite bristly. Palm fiber rain capes are used by the indigenous people of southern China. A photo by John Amato of a similar (adult) rain cape can be viewed here, if you're interested: palm rain cape. (The fringe around the adult cape looks a lot softer.)

Pen with watercolor on Arches 140 lb. (Instant coffee for the background)

Monday, October 29, 2007

More pears...

I've been so frustrated with watercolor lately that I've decided to take a break from it and return to just using pencil for awhile.
Graphite on Bristol.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

EDM #140: An Envelope

This is the kind of mail I would prefer not to receive. I'm sure you all know what it is. And where it's headed.
Graphite and colored pencil on Bristol

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Satsuma Mandarin Orange

It's a Mandarin orange, but it looks a bit like a pear in my drawing. I was pleased to find it at the grocery store yesterday, with leaves still attached.
Graphite on Bristol

Thursday, October 25, 2007

EDM #92: Brown paper bag

I was in a hurry when I did this drawing. I hadn't done any art for a couple of weeks and just wanted to draw something. It looks rushed, plus I wasn't really paying attention to size when I drew these, so part of the drawing did not fit in the scanner. And there's a problem with the composition. The two bags on the right look like they are touching, rather than one overlapping the other. I did that with those red pears, too. Guess that's something I need to watch out for...
Graphite on Bristol.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Casey has tagged me - now it's my turn to tell seven random things about myself and pass it on to seven other bloggers. Here are my truly random facts...

1. A crazed part of me believes becoming an artist has less to with practicing every day than it does with finding just the right art book. I own a lot of art books.

2. I love the feel of fine linens and buy the best quality sheets I can afford. And if those freshly laundered sheets were to be dried on a line and put away in the linen closet with the scent of sunshine and summer breeze on them, it would provide a moment of perfection when they were put on the bed. ( I haven't really experienced this for years, but still vividly remember loving the scent of my mother's line-dried sheets.)

3. I detest bananas and the smell of ripe bananas makes me feel sick. My earliest memory of elementary school is of other children taking smelly, overripe bananas out of their paper sacks at lunchtime. But I love to paint them!

4. When I was in my twenties I spent five weeks in India on a spiritual quest of sorts and quickly became ill, losing 30 pounds during my stay. By the time I left the country I could only tolerate peanuts, buffalo yogurt and (yes, I know it doesn’t jive with #3) tiny, sweet Indian bananas. Spending time in India was fascinating and revealing. Mostly I learned the truth of the saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

5. Books are my passion and I read most genres, except romance novels. I read every day and walking into a home without books unsettles me.

6. I lived in Monterey, California during the counter-culture days of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and still have my ticket stub from the Monterey Pop Festival ($10). My roommate decided to give her ticket away because she had never heard of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix or The Who, a decision I’m sure she lived to regret.

7. My first marriage was a serious lapse in judgment, but I did much, much better on my second attempt. Meeting and marrying my kind, generous and capable husband has profoundly changed my life. His positive and easy-going manner has provided a wonderful counterbalance to my tendency towards moody negativity and self-criticism.

Here are the seven people I'm tagging: Jana, Jess, Sherry, Christeen, Laura, Joan, Juj, If you have the time and inclination to participate, I'd love to learn more about you. I understand, if it doesn't appeal to you. If you've already responded to being tagged, please send me the link when you have a chance.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

EDM #139: Something with a handle

"Profusion" zinnias are one of my favorite flowers. They bloom like crazy all summer, continuing well into the fall. The flowers start out a rich deep orange-red, fade to a lovely apricot in the sunlight and end up a pale yellow. They last a long time in flower arrangements. Maybe they should be called perfection instead of profusion.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

EDM #138: Something Soft

I'm very attached to my feather pillow.
Graphite on Bristol.

Monday, September 24, 2007

EDM #137: Something that turns on and off

Where I go, my iron goes. I have friends who never iron anything, but I mostly wear cotton, linen or woolen garments and would be a wrinkled mess without my iron. When I was a teenager my older brother used to pay me $.25 per shirt to do his ironing.

I thought this was a good choice for this challenge because after using an iron, usually when I'm on my way somewhere, I often wonder whether I remembered to turn the iron off. So I end up thinking about this "something which turns on and off" much more than I should. It is a less pressing questions these days, since I purchased an iron which automatically turns off on it's own after its been unused for a while. Now I don't worry so much about burning the house down...except of course, the iron might be from China...and defective, and might not shut off on its own. I guess I don't totally trust the technology because I usually end up seriously thinking about turning around to double check, an impulse I have so far been able to restrain. And my house is still standing.

Graphite on Bristol. (My scanner seems to miss a lot of detail/subtle shadings on graphite drawings. Do other people have that problem with their scanners?)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

EDM #135: A Salad

This is a painting of the tomato/mozzarella/basil salad I had for lunch. There was a vinagrette on it, but I decided to keep it simple. (Which really means, I didn't have a clue how to paint an oily vinagrette.)

Wednesday Kitchen: Harry's Tomato and Gorgonzola Soup

It’s cool and rainy where I live in Oregon today - perfect weather for tomato soup, which is what we're having for dinner. This recipe is quick and easy to make. It’s nothing special until you add the gorgonzola and then it’s quite delicious.

Harry’s Tomato and Gorgonzola Soup
4 Servings

½ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced carrot
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained
(see note)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I often omit this)
1 cup water or more
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled or shredded (about 1 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the onion, celery and carrot in the oil until the onion is soft. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, 1 cup water, basil and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots are soft or tender-crisp. Remove from heat, add the cheese, cover for 2 to 3 minutes and then stir until the cheese is melted and well-blended. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Soup can be reheated, if desired.

Note: While fresh is best, using good-quality canned tomatoes is fine.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

EDM #134: Draw something from an unusual angle

I found this stylized head - which looks like it came from ancient statuary - at a garden store in Eugene. Although it’s really just poured concrete (with the addition of pitting and patina), I thought it deserved to be inside rather than in the garden. I drew it sitting on the edge of the bathtub, looking up at it.

Graphite on Bristol.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

EDM #132: Draw a chain

I was ready with graphite pencil and bristol board to draw what I thought would be shiny links in a chain. But when I looked in the bucket in the laundry room which contained the chains, I discovered they were old and rusty. Although I've never tried to paint "rust" before, I decided to give it a try.

Pen and watercolor on 140 lb. CP Fabriano

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

EDM# 26: Draw a Vegetable

I was curious why we have such an unattractive name for this lovely vegetable. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

"The name eggplant in the United States, Australia, and Canada developed from the fact that the fruits of some 18th century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen's eggs. Aubergine is the British name given to this fruit, from the French aubergine, derived from Catalan albergínia; from Arabic al-bãdhinjãn الباذنجان, Persian بادنجان bâdinjân, from Sanskrit vatinganah. In South Africa the fruit is known as a Brinjal. In India it is called by a variety of names. Baingan in Hindi and Urdu, and Katharikkaai in Tamil. In Mandarin Chinese the plant and fruit are referred to as qiezi (Simplified Chinese: 茄子; Traditional Chinese: 茄子; Pinyin: qiézi). In Spanish it is called Berenjena. In Trinidad & Tobago it is called Melongene or Baigan.

Because of the eggplant's relationship with the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, it was at one time believed to be poisonous."

I painted this on 300 lb. wc paper from Cheap Joe's. It's a totally different experience from 140 lb. paper...I'm sure I heard a huge sucking sound as soon as the wet brush was put to paper...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

EDM #112: Draw something fresh

Is there anything fresher than a cherry tomato, warmed by the sun and eaten right off the vine? Another one of life's sweet pleasures.
(Pigma Micron pen with watercolor)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Fall Leaf

When the acorns from the oak trees around our house start crashing onto the deck in mid-August, I know autumn is on its way. This morning when I looked out the window there was one (and only one) orange leaf on the vine maple in my garden, another harbinger of fall.

I had a lull in my work schedule today and decided to see if I could capture that first leaf. As usual, it was more difficult than I expected and the color bears little resemblance to the leaf in the photo. Still, I enjoyed the attempt. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Kitchen: Peach Upside Down Cake (EDM #133)

I have made this cake once a year for the past 25 years or so, always on a hot August day when the local peaches are ripe. The recipe is from the original “Joy of Cooking” cookbook. (It’s called French apple or peach cake in the book, but I always call it peach upside down cake.) Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Peach Upside Down Cake
Sweet and rich.
A deep 8-inch pie pan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Grease the pan or ovenproof dish and cover the bottom well with:
Two cups or more sliced apples, peaches or other fruit

Sprinkle fruit with:
2/3 cup sugar
Cinnamon or nutmeg (I use both)
Grated rind and juice of one lemon

Dredge with:
1 Tablespoon flour

Pour over surface:
2 to 4 tablespoons melted butter

Prepare the following batter. Sift before measuring:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Resift with:
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Beat and add:
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon melted butter
¼ cup milk

Beat these ingredients with swift strokes until blended. Cover the fruit with the batter. (The batter is skimpy and will be hard to spread-you don’t have to cover every peach slice.) Bake the cake for about 30 minutes. Reverse it on a platter. Cool slightly.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday Kitchen: Sun-dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Spread

I like making this recipe in the summer, when there is fresh basil growing on my deck. It looks very appealing when it’s prepared as instructed below, but sometimes I just mix everything together and serve it pre-mixed. Increase the amount of tomatoes, olives and balsamic vinegar if you want a more intense flavor. (The drawing is ink with watercolor pencils, applied with water brush - very anemic result.)

Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Spread
(Adaptation of recipe by Chef Charlie Trotter)

10-12 ounces soft goat cheese
8 ounces cream cheese (light is okay)
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
3 tablespoons basil, cut into a fine chiffonade
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon + balsamic vinegar

Combine the goat and cream cheese together in a bowl. Form into a round shape and place in the center of a large plate and press the cheese down slightly. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, olive oil and vinegar. Pour the tomato mixture over the cheese. Arrange pita chips or crackers alongside the cheese mixture and serve immediately.

Friday, August 10, 2007

EDM #131: Spray bottle

Although I was very unenthusiastic about this challenge and did it quickly without much thought, I actually think it turned out better than #130, which I labored over and tried to make perfect.

EDM Challenge #130: School supplies

I took college classes on and off during my twenties, but didn’t really get serious about completing work for my BA degree until I was in my thirties and my twins were in school. I still remember the pleasure of shopping at the University of Oregon bookstore for notebooks, pens, and other supplies prior to the start of fall term. The more mature person I’d become still loved looking at the textbooks and other supplies stacked on my desk, ready for the first day of school. And how would I have made it without those ubiquitous yellow post-its?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Experimenting with ink over washes..

This is the time of year when fowers in the pots on my deck are at their peak, soon to begin their decline as hot August weather takes its toll. Every year I try to draw and paint the flowers, but give up, overwhelmed by the amount of detail.

I was excited to see the technique demonstrated last week by Virginia ( where she first put down a loose watercolor wash and then went back and drew the flowers over the wash in ink. I decided to try her technique. The first painting (top) shows pots on my deck, planted with three different types of flowers. It wasn’t entirely successful as the foliage melded together into one huge mass. Next time I will put in more negative space and more color spots for the flowers. I also think it would have looked better if I had painted both pots the same terra cotta color. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on how to improve these paintings.

Today I tried the same technique on a bouquet of flowers. It turned out much better. Thanks, Virginia for posting your paintings - it was very helpful.

(BTW these paintings were done on that Strathmore 140 lb. CP paper which was so badly disparaged over the weekend. I soak the paper for five minutes or so and then staple it wet onto a foam core board. No problems with buckling. But after reading the various opinions about paper, I’m definitely going to pick up some Fabriano when I’m in town and give it a try.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

EDM #129: Draw people doing something

This is a graphite sketch, drawn from a photo, of my daughter-in-law reading to my granddaughter Georgia. Unfortunately, it bears virtually no resemblance to either of them. Anyway, now I'm almost caught up on the most recent EDM challenges!

Wednesday Kitchen: Fruit Salad with Orange and Cardamom

Today is the first day of August, the last full month of summer. With it comes a return of 90+ temperatures in the part of Oregon where I live. I’ve been craving a slice of cold watermelon, but there’s none in the house right now. I decided if I couldn’t eat it, I could at least paint it, using a painting exercise from one of my “how to” watercolor books. And looking at the watermelon inspired me to post a new recipe.

Years ago I wheedled a fruit salad recipe from the chef at the Treehouse restaurant in Eugene. It was made with Kirshwasser (cherry brandy), crème de menthe and poppy seeds. I used it for years, but I guess I got sick of it because one summer it suddenly tasted horrid to me and I never made it again.

This month’s issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine has several appealing recipes for fruit salads. I tried the recipe below and liked it a lot. It’s subtle and not too sweet, as a fruit salad should be. (Actually, this recipe doesn’t call for watermelon, but I added it when I made it.) Hope you like it. Stay cool!

Nectarines, Grapes and Blueberries
With Orange and Cardamom

July 2007 Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 4 to 6
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated zest from one orange
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 medium nectarines, pitted and cut into ½ inch pieces (about 3 cups)
9 ounces large green grapes, halved pole to pole (about 2 cups)
1 pint blueberries, picked over
1-2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime

Combine sugar, zest, and cardamom in large bowl. Using rubber spatula, press mixture into side of bowl until sugar becomes damp, about 30 seconds. Gently toss fruit with sugar mixture until combined. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases its juices, 15 to 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice to taste and serve.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

EDM #128: View through a doorway

There's a small hallway outside our downstairs guest room. The door can be closed for privacy, but we usually leave it open, as in this drawing. (I probably should have left my elevated foot out...)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

EDM #127: Skyscape

This drawing shows the grove of tall, skinny black oak trees that we view through the atrium door off the living room. They aren't particularly attractive trees individually, but they look pretty massed together. On stormy days in the winter, they sway back and forth wildly and I always expect them to end up joining me inside.

This drawing seemed like a good idea for a skyscape, but the execution didn't really work. (The lack of shading on the atrium doors makes them look convex.'s always so easy to see this kind of stuff once its been posted.) The trees are what I see when I'm lying on the sofa and looking up at the sky. The window unit over the atrium door has a crazy number of moldings (within moldings) and was hard for me to draw. It would be a great drawing exercise for someone who could a) draw a straight line and b) realistically depict perspective, neither of which I do very well.

NOTE TO MYSELF: Do not try to go over fine ink lines with a larger size pen. It never works.

Back to the sofa now...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

EDM #23: Draw your foot

I had minor toe surgery for a bone spur yesterday. As soon as the surgery was scheduled, I knew it provided me with the perfect opportunity to painlessly complete EDM challenge #23- draw your foot. Do you think I'm cheating? I mean, there's only one toe showing...

For the next two weeks I'm supposed to keep my foot elevated as much as possible. A less principled person might milk the situation, but I'll settle for a weekend of being waited on by my sweet husband. (Ronnell, I bought all the ingredients for your nectarines in rose syrup, intending to make it the day before my surgery, but the nectarines weren't ripe enough. My husband actually prepared it this afternoon - with only a bit of coaching from me. Can't wait to have it for dessert. Thanks for listing the ingredients in metric and the U.S. measurement system for cooking. Is the U.S. the only country in the world that still hasn't converted 100% to the metric system?)

I have a laptop, books and art supplies at hand, so plan to have a very relaxed and productive weekend, doing at least a couple of the things I love most in life.

Thoughts about clogging, er, I mean blogging...

I had to start this post about my new blog with a drawing of one of my clogs, but somehow I didn’t imagine it would look so huge AND ugly…they are, I guess. Shrug. I’m really into comfort these days…

If someone had told me a year ago that I would have my own blog, I would have been very amused. At that time my internet usage consisted of ordering books from Amazon and checking progressive political blogs for signs of hope that the damage done to our country by the Bush administration might be coming to an end.

Then I encountered, a site that allows members to catalogue their book collections and communicate with other people who have a passion for books. I started spending a lot of time on the site, listing my books, getting ideas for future reads, discovering new poetry, and reading book reviews posted by other Shelfari members.

I decided to start my own blog. I named it “Present Tense.” I told a few friends and family members about it and envisioned it as a way to share family photos and other pleasures of summer life. But my simple vision expanded after I discovered the Everyday Matters website. I decided to start drawing and painting again and joined the group. I began posting my drawings on the website and it was fun getting feedback and encouragement from other artists. What a wonderful community of friendly, generous people! 

Then, as I checked out the lovely art and links on the websites of EDM members, I encountered some amazing food blogs. They inspired me to start sharing some of my favorite recipes. My blog began to feel a bit fractured. It was apparent that I really needed FOUR BLOGS – one for food, one for books, another for art and finally a blog for nothing but political rants.

I’ve taken the past couple of weeks off from blogging to think about what I want to focus on and how much time I can realistically spend on it. Books and art give me the greatest pleasure. So I’ve decided to stick with Shelfari for book related activities. I'm going to use the "Present Tense" blog for occasional family-related posts (not of interest to the rest of the world). My new blog, “Flat Sound of Wooden Clogs,” will focus mostly on art. When I paint something from the kitchen, I’ll pair it with a favorite recipe, so I’ll still be able to occasionally share my love of cooking.

If you've been visiting me at the Present Tense blog (, please delete the link. I hope you'll visit me here.

I'm working on a self-portrait to replace that 30 year old photo I used on Present Tense. I had a drawing I liked, but my son told me I looked deranged in it. Guess I'll keep working on that...

This has turned into a very long post. Thanks for stopping by. I welcome your thoughts about your own experience with blogging!