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 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginarteau) 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.