Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wow. Five minutes out to catch my breath and update my blog! I have a friend who has a theory that the rest of the week will go as Monday goes... if Monday is busy the rest of the week will be busy, if Monday is slow the rest of the week will slow. I don't know how accurate this theory is on a long term basis, but it certainly held true for this week. It's been non-stop until today.
A few weeks ago we had 15 large pine trees cut down. Hated to lose them (such a lovely swooshing noise when the wind blew through them, plus lots of cool shade on our house) but they were too dangerous to keep. Since pines have one major tap root instead of the strong lateral root system of other trees they uproot fairly easily during heavy rain and wind -it was not unusual to see the tree trunks swaying back and forth! Not good when they're close enough to fall on your house.
After the trees are cut there are stumps to deal with. Luckily, my son works for a family tree cutting service, so he and his friend came down yesterday and ground the stumps. What an awesome machine is a modern stump grinder. The owner operates it by remote control. He stands a few feet away and pushes buttons. I watched as, robotlike, it rolled up to the first stump, lowered its rapidly spinning grinding teeth and proceeded to eat a large diameter stump in no time.
In old Southern tradition when someone comes over to help you out you always provide a good meal for them. So, while they were grinding, I was cooking (now you know why there's no new art to post today!). When all of the stumps were reduced to shreds of scattered pine chips we all settled down for a meal and talked a while. For dessert I served Blueberry Crisp (with my blog name being what it is, you knew it was going to be blueberries, didn't you?). Fruit cobblers are very popular down here in the South, but I actually prefer a fruit crisp. I love the sweet crunchy topping! For those who might like to try it, here's my Blueberry Crisp recipe:
4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Using a little of the melted butter, lightly grease a 9x13x2 baking pan
- Combine blueberries, 1/2 cup of the sugar, *water, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour into greased baking pan.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar (3/4 cup); add egg and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle on blueberry mixture and drizzle with melted butter.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm or cool. Great with vanilla ice cream!
*If using fresh blueberries, use recipe as is. If using frozen blueberries: when the berries thaw out there willl often be some liquid too. In this case, I omit the 1/2 cup of water and also add 1/2 - 1 tsp. corn starch to the blueberry mix so that it makes gives a nice "saucy" consistency to the blueberries instead of being watery.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
- CP's are as laborious and time consuming as CP artists say! Wow. My hat's off to all of the CP artists! But I have to admit.... it was fun to "color"! I felt like a kid again. I thoroughly enjoyed laying down the color with those richly pigmented pencils - it was actually relaxing.
- I do like the fact that CP's allow you to think as you go. No large swaths of color plunked down without thinking that are later regretted. Because it takes a while to cover an area you can adjust the color before you get too far. That's nice.
- I think I'd like to experiment some more with CP's. I read about an artist who uses mineral spirits (I think that's what it was?) and many, many layers with her CP pieces to achieve a deep rich glow that looks a lot like oil. That experiment would definitely be kept small!
- I don't usually do "edgy" crops and dark backgrounds. I tend to like a soft, vignetted look so this was a stretch for me. But I'm glad I tried it.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
- That a limited time to finish a painting is a great motivator as along as I don't allow time pressure to rush me into making poor decisions or mindlessly slapping paint around.
- That I need to constantly think about what I'm painting when I'm painting it. I've noticed I do much better if I've got some kind of an inner monologue going while I'm painting. For example, I start to paint an area and stop for a minute to study the source and ask myself questions about the size, color, shadow, direction of light, etc, and then try to put down a worthwhile brushstroke. I remember reading that John Singer Sargent would often start to paint a stroke and then stop, brushed poised in midair as he considered what effect the stroke he was about to make would have on the painting. He was thinking constantly while painting. This consistent attention doesn't come naturally to me. I start out being very conscious of what I'm painting and then my mind wanders off somewhere and I just simply paint... and inevitably mess up. So, I need to discipline myself to keep focused. I think this will get easier with practice.... I hope!
- That I need more practice and little projects will probably be a good way to work on technique. There's a book out called "Work Small, Learn Big: Sketching with Pen & Watercolor" and though I haven't read it, I like the sound of it. Makes sense that lots of different little projects will give a wide range of painting experiences - I've noticed that a lot of art bloggers do this so it must work.
In non-painting matters, got my monthly newspaper article finished up. May post that here later in the week.... after it's been published since the paper has first dibs on it :-) Tonight we're having my parents over for dinner in honor of Father's Day. So it's off to the kitchen to make pasta salad and assorted other dishes.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I enjoyed doing the sketch. I've always been attracted to pen and ink drawings...I love the crispness and simplicity.
BTW, this post is backward. I keep forgetting that it posts in the reverse order of how I type it in. In other words, I wanted the sketch and accompanying text after the bit about being offline. Oh well.... you learn as you go!
Well, after a few days offline (and off computer) due to havoc-wreaking Gremlins running amok in my system I think I've finally banished the irksome little beasts (fingers crossed).
While offline I was thinking about the subject of my next blog post. And couldn't help but wonder if anybody had even read it - or would read it? I write a monthly column for our local newspaper... it's a small rural newspaper, but writing my little column is an enjoyable task. I get to ramble a little about whatever is on my mind at the time and occasionally get comments here and there from folks I run into while doing errands around town. Writing for a newspaper gives you an instant audience. But a blog is different - especially a new blog when you don't have an established readership. I look at it as a message in a bottle. You write the message and send it off, not knowing where it's bound and when - or if ever - anyone will read the message. The bottle may be found quickly or might float for a long time before anyone finds it. Sometimes it may not be found at all. But you want to put a good message inside - a quality message - because you never know where it might end up and who might read it.
So, even though this is a new blog, starting out without readers, I shall strive to make it an enjoyable blog and one that's worth reading. If it picks up some readers along the way, that's wonderful! But until then, I'll consider the posts as good practice to hone my writing and art skills.