Thursday, July 31, 2008

Loose ends..

I'm tired of painting little objects. But I'm not inspired to paint anything else, either. So I spent the last week making color charts and just fooling around. But I don't have much to show for it...

Maybe I need some new paint.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

At the Butterfly Pavilion

Notice the bee to the right of the butterfly in the photo? A second after I snapped this, the butterfly bolted after being buzzed.

We took an excursion to the small town of Elkton, Oregon yesterday to visit some wineries and see the Butterfly Pavilion. The flower gardens at the Pavilion were spectacular. It's impossible to beat Mother Nature's palette!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date

I first learned about the Virtual Sketch Date blog at Laura's blog and decided to participate this month. A photo is posted on the Virtual Sketch Date blog every month and people can sign up to post their artistic interpretation of the photo, using whatever medium they want. I've attempted to paint the photograph several times this week, simplifying it more and more as the week progressed. These turned out the best, although they have problems. The top is watercolor; the bottom image was done using a Pigma Micron pen with Tombow watercolor markers. The leaf shadows were much easier to do with the watercolor markers than with a paintbrush. I need to practice painting leaves, too. Also, the photo was somewhat ambiguous. I think those were oranges, and not large lemons, in the photo!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I do it for art...

If someone would buy me a selection of those cute little fake plastic pastries from Japan, I wouldn't have to bake real pastries for use in my paintings. Notice how there is only one Mexican chocolate cookie on the plate? Perhaps I showed restraint, or perhaps that is all that was left from the batch I baked yesterday.

Spicy and fragrant...

I'm not a huge fan of petunias but the deep purple colored ones go into my garden every year. I love their spicy, rich fragrance.

WC on Fabriano Artistico CP

A morning visitor

I was having my morning coffee when this little guy ambled across the deck to check out what was for breakfast.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


This pitcher, an E-Bay find for $1.99, has a certain cartoonish perkiness about it that I like.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thanks, Clare!

This award was sent to me by Clare at Mummushka's Sketch Journal. If you haven't visited Clare's blog, stop by. She does lovely and interesting journal spreads. Thanks so much for thinking of me, Clare!

The rules of accepting the award are as follows:
Put the logo on your blog.
Add a link to the person who awarded you.
Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
Add links to those blogs on yours.
Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

I'm going to ignore the award rules for now (rules, as we all know, are meant to be broken) and send this on to just two other bloggers, Laura at Laura's Watercolors and Rock at Rock Kyndl-Creative Pursuits. Laura's watercolor paintings are beautiful, with lovely transparent colors, and she's a friendly and interesting person to chat with. Rock does meticulous artwork, but his fans have to wait a long time between posts. So stop by his blog and remind him that we're waiting and want more.

That's it for now.

I would prefer not to...

A postcard I received today from the trainer at the gym I belong to, reminding me I've fallen off the exercise bandwagon.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pathogens and Bonuses

I’m preparing enchiladas verde today and this poblano chile is going into the sauce, although I’m feeling a little bit apprehensive about cooking it. When I went to the grocery store yesterday there was a large sign in the chile section of the produce department warning consumers that eating chiles might result in a hospital visit. Chiles, along with tomatoes and cilantro, have been added to the Food and Drug Administration’s list of suspected sources of the salmonella outbreak, which has sickened more than 1,000 people across the U.S.

I checked the chiles carefully for breaks in the skin and washed them in hot soapy water. They will be charred under the broiler for a few minutes and also baked in the oven. I think that will take care of any pathogens. (But maybe I’ll double-check that on the internet.) It’s so creepy having to worry about the safety of our food.

It’s been a difficult year for the FDA – tainted pharmaceuticals, e.coli outbreaks, and now salmonella. Despite this, I heard on the news a few days ago that FDA managers are receiving bonuses this year, ranging from $20,000 to $50,000! Oh, shrug. After 8 years of Bush, I suffer from outrage fatigue.

President Bush may be the least respected and most disliked American president ever, but there is one area where this administration shines. Rewarding incompetency.

(Gotta say, that shadow color just does not work. Maybe I'll re-do it...)

RECIPE ALERT: I just experienced the best chile verde enchiladas I have ever eaten, wonderfully fresh and piquant. If you like Mexican food, I encourage you to pick up a copy of the August 2008 Cook's Illustrated magazine and give the recipe a try.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shiitake Mushrooms, Pinot Noir, Polenta...

I'm trying a new recipe tonight for dinner - polenta with a Pinot Noir sauce composed of shallots and shiitake mushrooms, served with roasted asparagus. Check back tomorrow, if it's tasty I'll post it at my food blog, Kitchen Canvas.

I LOVE using the hot press Fabriano Artistico paper. Although most of what I paint looks like crap on it, it forces me to work quickly, which result in a looser watercolor, always my goal. (Although I seldom achieve it.)

Update: It was delicious and I've posted the recipe at kitchen Canvas.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Onion with shallots

It's been a while since I painted one of the EDM challenges. Here's #179: Draw an onion.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Arte de Pico

Willow, blogger extraordinaire at Willow Manor has sent this award my way. If you haven’t visited Willow’s website, do so now. It’s an eclectic delight – recipes, poetry, art, music, movies, ghosts, antiques and much more.Thank you Willow.

And now I’m passing the award on to some of my favorite blogs:
1. Suzanne at A Brush with Color
2. Jana at Jana’s Journal and Sketch Blog
3. Robyn at Have Dogs will Travel
4. Jennifer at Sketch-a-Rama
5. Judy at A Drawing a Day

If you wish to participate, the rules to follow with this award are:
1) Choose five blogs that you consider deserving of this award
for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also
contribution to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2) Post the name of the author and link to each award winning blog.

3) Each award winner posts the award and the name and link to the blog of the award presenter.

4) The award winner and one who has given the prize should post the link of Arte yPico blog, the origin to this award.

An Abundance of Orange

Million bells, petunias, profusion zinnias...I seem to have planted mostly orange flowers this year.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Etches and Effervescence

I’m a big fan of champagne (who isn’t) and use the most minor of occasions as a reason to open a bottle. A friend told me years ago that you can tell the quality of champagne by how many, and how small the bubble train is. (More is better.) I don’t know if that’s true, but now I keep my eye on the bubbles when I drink a glass.

There’s an interesting little article in the August 2008 Discovery magazine about the science of champagne. That wonderful tickly aroma when you take a drink? – “At the top…When a bubble breaches the surface of the beverage, its cap erupts and the rest of the bubble collapses in on itself, exploding into a cloud of tiny droplets that carry aromatic molecules of flavor from the liquid portion of the champagne.”

The glass plays an important role in the bubble train. “Bubble trains form when gas pockets latch on to etchings in the glass. Microsopic fibers from cleaning cloths or dust can also generate these trains. Some champagne glassmakers make small etches in the bottom of champagne glasses to increase nucleation and create more bubble trains.” I guess I won’t wash the dust out of the glasses anymore.

“To make for a consistent flow of bubbles, according to a paper by Liger-Belair, champagne should be served in a slender, curved flute, which is also best suited for creating aromatic foam at the top.”

I received eight new champagne glasses (shown below) for my birthday this year. They don’t fulfill the requirements listed above, but seem to work just fine. There’s a little rim of silver around the top. They look and feel elegant.

A glass of pink or traditional champagne for you?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A found pear...

I spent some time today going through piles of stuff in my office, determined to achieve some order. One stack was composed of newspaper and magazine articles which once had some relevance to me, recipes, photos, names of (now) unknown people and phone numbers, announcements about events long passed, sketches and other odd bits of art. I came across this pear painting and was reminded of how much I liked painting on Rives BFK paper. I think the paper is actually for printmaking, but I tried it with watercolor and liked the way paper and paint interacted. And then I forgot about it. I think it's time to get some more. (The pear was painted on Rives and then cut out and glued on a piece of paper with a gouache wash on it.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day Fruit Salad

An Independence Day fruit salad, painted with a LIBERAL dose of affection for my country, imperfect as it is. Now it's time for deviled eggs, barbecued hamburgers, baked beans and fireworks on the football field at the local high school. I hope you're enjoying the 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Impulse buying...

I decided to drive to the quaint little town of Oakland, Oregon today to visit antique stores and see if I could find some interesting and unusual vases. As is usually the case for me, I did not find what I was looking for but left with something else I forgot I needed (I mean, wanted, at least in that moment).

I found these blue wooden clogs inside the door of the first antique store I visited. What a coincidence that I would actually encounter wooden clogs! I’ve been mulling over possible images for the header on my blog for months. Surely it was a sign when these blue clogs appeared. I considered buying them to photograph and use. But after thinking about it awhile, I decided not to purchase them, because well, I’d be stuck with those ugly blue wooden clogs. Plus, those pointed toes look rather modern to me.

I looked around some more and was struck by this lovely little demitasse cup. The English china was so delicate and glazed on the bottom was the date July 19, 1920. But it was really expensive. So, even though I just knew it would be a good prop for a watercolor painting, I walked on by.

I finally settled on a small yellow-ware bowl, suitably worn, from Plains, Georgia. (Perhaps it once belonged to President Carter’s family?). It will look nice on my counter with my other antique spongeware bowls, with shallots or garlic in it. I decided to buy it. But then I made the mistake, when I went to the counter to pay, of mentioning how much I liked the demitasse. The owner thought for a moment and then offered it to me at a 45% discount! How could I resist? I bought it.

When I got home I was stricken with buyer’s remorse. Would I really EVER paint a cup with that much detail? Very, very unlikely. Now I had yet another singleton cup to store somewhere. (There must be more creative ways to display pretty mismatched cups besides in a glass case like my grandmother had!) I went on E-bay to see what the starting bid was for the cup and saucer and discovered the (reduced) price I paid was the starting bid on E-bay. I’m glad, at least, that I did not pay the original asking price.

It’s not a big deal, a half a tank of gas, but still, not an item I really needed to spend money on. The classic impulse purchase. I wonder if Carol at Paris Breakfast, the master painter of lovely china, would like to paint it?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I have a lovely yarrow plant in my garden with a very complex structure, composed of many tiny flowerettes in shades of yellow, peach and dusty pink. I tried to simplify it in this painting. I succeeded to the point that the flower has become unrecognizable.