Sunday, March 29, 2009

Poetry and rain

On this rainy Oregon day I baked a loaf of lemon bread, thought about painting, organized stuff, drank a lot of coffee, and revisited Raymond Carver.

April is National Poetry month.


I looked into the room a moment ago,
and this is what I saw –
my chair in its place by the window,
the book turned facedown on the table.
and on the sill, the cigarette
left burning in its ashtray.
Malingerer! My uncle yelled at me
so long ago. He was right.
I’ve set aside time today,
same as every day,
for doing nothing at all.

From All of Us: Collected Poems
by Raymond Carver

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Could it be any more symmetrical?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chicken and dumplings...

When I was a little girl, my favorite dinner was my mother's chicken and dumplings. I tried preparing it once when my children were young, but the dumplings had the texture of glue. When I was leafing through my cookbooks this week, I noticed a recipe for chicken and dumplings and decided to try again. It was delicious! The perfect dinner on a day when the the sky is spitting snow, hail and rain, and the temperatures are in the 20s.

I use this cookbook a lot. It's from the people who publish Cooks Illustrated magazine and the recipes are dependably good.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The buzzards have returned

My husband mentioned this week that the buzzards have returned. Huh? I guess I didn't realize they left in the winter. So I was thinking about buzzards while reading the dismal news in the local paper. Then I read another article about how some of the people deeply involved in the sub-prime mortgage mess are now making a killing buying up the bad assets they helped create, at bargain prices of course. That's the inspiration for this collage. I wasn't sure how to put a suit on a buzzard, but you get the idea...

Yesterday I noticed an increase in my husband's paycheck, the first installment on Obama's $850 a year tax cut for the middle class. Had we received an $850 check from the government, it would have gone directly into savings. Since the goal of the stimulus bill is to get people to spend money, it's probably more effective to spread the tax cut out over 12 months. I know I'm much more likely to spend an extra $60 a month without really noticing. With a 16.5% unemployment rate in the county where I live, I probably should just pass it on to the local food bank.

But all is not doom and gloom. I do have a more positive harbinger of spring than the return of the buzzards. When I stepped outside yesterday evening, I heard the frogs croaking, a sound I always find quite joyful.

Monday, March 2, 2009


These carrots were laying on the table in front of me, but they look like I painted them looking down at them. I think I'm missing the part of the brain that interprets perspective. I'm stumped. Why don't these look like they are coming towards me? I'm sure it's probably obvious to everyone else...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Darker values

I've had such a difficult time with watercolors recently that I decided to try oil painting again. I took an oil painting class five years ago, but then got busy with other things and never did much with it. I'd like to try again.

These mandarins are my first attempt. The color is too intense and the range of values doesn't include darks, as the gray scale version below clearly illustrates. After reading Laura's suggestion on Jana's blog about darker values through the use of glazes, I decided this painting might benefit from that technique. But I'm not sure what colors to use for the glazes and would welcome suggestions. I choose not to use a blue/orange complimentary mix to contour the mandarins because I didn't like the greenish brown color which resulted, (see under leaf on right mandarin) and adding darker red colors looked too garish.

Any suggestions regarding how to improve this painting would be greatly appreciated.