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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A little update from my journey...

Yeah, I know - it's been a long time...but things haven't exactly been peachy lately.  I am in the definition of LIMBO - still not eating and anxiously waiting for one of the potential surgeons to get back to me and say whether he can do this operation or not.  It's tough to feel like you are "stuck."  However, in my last yoga class, the teacher read this poem by Mary Oliver that really inspired me:

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
       love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild gees, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I thought it was very nice.  I've also been experimenting with pastels lately.  I haven't finished it yet, but I started a simple still life of art supplies:
 This is what I've got so far:
 It's gotten difficult to be in the kitchen lately because my hunger pangs have been going through the roof.  However, I did end up making croissants and danishes for my family - which they loved.
 Making croissants might be the most labor-intensive thing I've ever done in the kitchen.  I'm not recommending trying these at home folks.  They are quite a chore!
Danishes were a TAD easier...but not by much!

Yup.  This is me getting chased by wild turkeys on my morning walk...
 And this is me dyeing my hair (slightly) red!  Because I needed a change and I'm too wimpy to get a tattoo.

I am hoping that this waiting-period will be relatively short.  But my medical history doesn't take two seconds to review!  I'm quite a complicated case, but I am hoping that the right surgeon will come along SOON and I will be able to the end of the summer...please!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Still life is done!

Still life #6 I think?  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I love the earthy colors and the complex arrangement.  Everything looks really solid.

To be honest, I've taken a break from blogging because things haven't exactly been peachy lately.  It turns out that after all of this, I might actually need surgery to really heal this fistula.  Tomorrow I go into the city for an upper GI study.  Wish me luck...

On a positive note, Monday I start my 200-hour yoga teaching certification program!!!  I am hoping all of the "zen-ness" will help clear my mind and get me mentally ready for surgery and help me to live with all of this uncertainty.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Art show...pretty soon!

I just found out that "Picture This" in Westport Connecticut is going to have a one day showing of my work in September - very excited!
This is what I've done so far on my still life - it's interesting how I did the grapes.  Instead of painting each individual circle, I blocked in the whole  grape "shape" first, then shadowed in where it was the darkest, then brushed through where it was the lightest.  After that, I mixed the darkest shade of purple and drew little circles.  Finally, I mixed a bright light purple and added the bright white accents.
I painted this background for another inchies piece.

Voila!  Almost there...
 Then I made Spinach Lasagna with Bolognese sauce...


Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 81

Time to whip out the old pasta maker and make some pasta from scratch for a nice homemade dinner.
...with a nice meat sauce.

It is pretty amazing that I can't taste my food but everything (so I hear) turns out amazing.  I've gotten so used to cooking that I hardly use recipes anymore, and I am getting accustomed to not using measuring equipment as well.  My method is simple - use as many spices as possible!  I love collecting spices and spice blends - they are my new toys.  I love inventing different combinations of herbs and spices, pairing them with different meats and vegetables, and seeing what happens.  This is all really making me want to apply to culinary school!
These are the two little scenes I created in my shadow box so far.  I like the idea of creating miniature dioramas in each of the 9 slots.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

80 days NPO,,,

I've been playing around with those Copic markers - they're a lot of fun.  Very good for illustrations.
I made Mark Bittman's recipe for Arroz Con Pollo - the saffron adds such a lovely color to the dish and makes it smell amazing.
We took a day trip to the Yankee Candle Factory, which my parents used to take my whole family to as a child.  It brought back a lot of good old memories.

I saw these beautiful wood carvings there:
Then back to work:  Still Life #6 - I'm on a roll!!!!
This was the set up - quite a bit complicated!
First I outlined it in pastel.
Slowly by surely starting to fill it in...
I made Spinach Ricotta Tacos for my mom:
And Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken with a sherry-dijon sauce.

Twice-baked potatoes

I started a shadow box and am making a scene in each one:
I have to be honest - art is getting a little monotonous for me.  I need some new inspiration.  I would love to hone my technique to expand my world a bit, which is why I am really pushing myself with this still life.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 75 - my still life is finally finished!

My fifth still life is finally finished!!!!
 It's funny - the first still life I did was so intimidating, but I see that this time around, I had a better instinct for what colors to mix, where to add shadows, light, and bright white sparkles.  It's funny though - no color on that canvas is straight from the tube.  Every color is mixed.  It makes the process pretty labor-intensive, but it just makes the colors dance right off of the canvas.  I love doing reflections.  I think that just came out so neat.
My palette after all of that mixing!
 I'm on a food kick now, so I think my sixth still life will be food-related as well.  Some beautiful ideas to paint that might turn out pretty cool:  corn on the cob, candy, cereal boxes, a mexican recipe with chile peppers, beans, salsa jar, olive oil bottle, dried pasta in various shapes with bottle of tomato sauce and parmesan rind...the possibilities are endless!
 Then I played around with my own artistic process and glued various magazine images to a canvas, covered that with layers of napkins and matte medium, and added acrylics and fabric to it.
"Slow and steady wins the race."
I never know exactly what I am going to put on each canvas until I am actually in the process.  I just follow the flow and go from tree to flower to girl...or whatever pops into my imagination.  It does't have to make sense.  It just has to feel right.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Days 71, 72, 73, 74 - Summer is approaching!

Dinner tonight:  Chicken Cacciatore
Saute the onions, bell pepper, and garlic.
Dredge the chicken in flour and brown it.
Add wine, stock, and tomatoes.
Chicken Cacciatore!

Butternut Squash
Wild Rice Bread - whole wheat bread with cooked wild rice in it.
 English Muffins...on the griddle - how easy is that?!

Then I made a Spinach Souffle - I didn't realize how easy souffles were to make!
Whip the egg whites. 
Boil the potatoes.

Make a bechamel sauce (sort of) with milk, egg yolks, onions, garlic, and flour.

Process the sauce with melted cheddar cheese and 10oz of spinach, and fold the egg whites in.
Top with grated parmesan cheese
Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.
Serve immediately.  (It drops pretty quickly)

Quinoa, Mango, and Black Bean Salad
 My mom and I did an exercise where we pick any word and then pick 3-5 colors to express it.  We picked frustration.  Quite appropriate for this time.  This is what we came up with:


I did a little more on my still life - I think the reflection in the colander is pretty cool.
 Then my mom and I did another exercise where we picked a word and tried to portray it the best we could in any way we felt like.  We just got this great set of Copic Markers,  So we chose the word patience (very appropriate too) and gave the markers a try.
seeds take time...patience...