Another Weekend of Art Class

This last weekend I took another three-day class at The Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island.  Martha Jordan brings in wonderful artists from all over the country to teach workshops.  This last weekend, Stanley Bielen came in from the East Coast to teach beautifully simplified small paintings to a group of fifteen from all over the country.

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We all had individual vignettes set up around the room.  It was so fun to see what people selected and then what they painted.  I learned a lot from the teacher and from watching the approach of other artists in the class.  I started to say “students”, but for the most part, the class was full of very accomplished artists.

I stopped to talk to a friend downstairs and by the time I returned after the morning demo, the only spot left was the one where Stanley had painted the demo, so I decided I would give it a try.

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These are small paintings at about 6″ x 8″, so this is even a little larger than the actual painting.  Being pleased with this I moved on the next day to a set-up of my own.

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This is not quite as loose as what Stanley was sharing, but it was fun and I felt good about it, which is not always the case.

In the afternoon, I looked at the choices available and found this beautiful little teapot, and thought it would be fun.  Laughing a little, I placed a quince bough in the spout and had fun painting this. Stanley made a couple of painting strokes, that really made a difference in the painting.

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Keep in mind that I am not a “flower” painter.  Ever since I was in Art School in the ’70s, and the teacher in one of my first-semester art classes said, after I produced a three foot by three foot abstract, that he was surprised, as he always thought I would just be a flower painter, I have kind of steered clear of flowers.  If you look back in your life, I think most of us would be amazed by the power that a small quick comment may have had on our lives. Teachers have more power than we often think.

Feeling good about my little teapot (short and stout) I returned to the “table of treasures”, as I called it with lots and lots of flowers, some fruit, and vegetables and tried to figure out how I could avoid painting flowers.

Ah, the Bok Choy.  One other artist painted it laying on its side, but I thought: “Let the Bok Choy stand tall”. Not sure it came out as tall, but at least it does look like a Bok Choy.

 

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That was the end of the second day and I have to admit I was a little tired. My sweet husband suggested we just go out to dinner.  I thought that was a great idea and had a few glasses of champagne with dinner, came home and had a couple glasses of wine.  I awoke with a not so happy headache but took some ibuprofen and was off to class.  Arriving at class, I realized I was tired and not really “on”.  I discovered that day that how you feel makes a difference to your creativity.  I did two more small paintings, but walked away, not liking either one of them.

One of the women in the class brought in a vase of amazing Camillias, so I thought: ” Humm, they are big, maybe I can paint one.”

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Stanley liked it, but it does not “sing” to me.  I might try more flowers just to see if I can do it more successfully.  The last painting of class should be your best effort, but I find I am usually more tired at the end of the class, so don’t think it is my best.

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I realized as I finished this, that the flower was way to close to the upper left corner.  The nice thing about working on panels is that you can cut them.  So I cropped it in Photoshop and will have my husband cut it down.

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So I will have him chop off the bottom, and I will repaint the bottom and then I think I may actually like it.

It was a very wonderful workshop and I feel lucky I was able to take it with old friends and now some new ones.

 

Another Weekend of Art Class

Old in Art School

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When I saw the title of this book, I was immediately attracted to it. This is the year I turn seventy. At sixty-two I completed my Ph. D. in Business Marketing, not in art, although I did finish my BA in Art in 1971 and my MA in Art (although with an emphasis in interior design) in 1985. I understand going back to school when a little older is all about attitude. I laughed at the beginning of the book, as the author described the other students, the attire, the classrooms and the fear of failure, but as I listened on to the audio-book I liked it less and less.  One of the reviews of the book described how I innately felt perfectly:

“I was excited to dive into this book, hopeful for little nuggets of wisdom for my similar journey and perhaps a laugh or two in self-reflection. Instead, the reader encounters a self-indulgent, needy author who repetitively presents an inventory of her resume ad nauseam. She used this book to disparage other students all while trying to impress the reader by spewing supercilious comments and including very little about the process or art school. This book had so much potential but was so disappointing.” 

It is interesting to think that no matter how successful you were in what you did before, no one in your art classes knows that or cares about that. I had a little of that this weekend when I took a tonal painting class of street scenes.  I love the work of the man that taught the class and I learned quite a bit in the class. Mostly I learned I don’t like doing a tonal painting.  I love painting with color! Color kept creeping into my paintings in the class and I kept getting in “trouble” for adding too much color.    Sometimes in life, it is just as important to know what we don’t like, as much as what we love.

When I sat down to write my blog, I thought I would look at the artwork of the author of the book before I wrote a lot about it. Viewing her artwork, the first thought that crossed my mind was that she wrote this book, not about her real art school experience, but to promote herself and her art. Her background is in writing and history, so she knows how to write about history, but in this book, she makes being older a roadblock, not an advantage. She has gotten quite a bit of attention over the book, and thus her art. What is totally missing in this book, are all the other wonderful artists that started their art life later in life. She is certainly not alone!

Maybe I should write about starting and stopping art in your life. You start as a child and my case went on to study it in college. Then you start a career, get married, have children (oops no time for art), and in my case was widowed at a young age and raised my sons on my own and don’t have much time for art till your children are grown and have lives of their own.

When she started talking about how you have to dress to be a successful artist, I started losing interest.  Moving forward to discuss the philosophical side of the history or artists (in her opinion) I began wondering if I wanted to bother to listen to the rest of the book.

The book made me think about my own tonal experience. You can enjoy viewing art that you do not enjoy attempting. You can be award-winning in other fields and not art, and still enjoy painting. I have had many art shows, but never entered a contest with my art.

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The class was a learning experience. We worked on these small the first afternoon after watching a demo in the morning. The one on the top right was the first one with the second below and the third in ochre tones.

We moved forward painting in a slightly larger format the second day after another morning demo. My green trees are too green for tonal painting, but as I said I like “color”.

Street scene from Terry Miura Class.jpg The last and/or third day we had options of what we could paint.  I chose to paint a facade of a building, as I used to do a lot of rendering in interior design school, and as an interior design college professor.  I am still working on the facade and realized when I stood back and looked at it, I had added a shadow to the awning, and now I had shadows coming from two directions.  I will try to make the correction and add it to the post. The building and the cafe next door need names too!

I heard once, and again in this class: “If the painting is not selling, add a dog.” I think this painting may need a dog-walker with several dogs. I think it is better to laugh at oneself, that try to be pompous about what you cannot do.

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As always, I walked away having learned something new, met new people that love art and enjoyed the camaraderie of painting with new and old friends.

I will continue to listen to the rest of the book and hope it gets better, but reading several reviews I don’t think that will be the case. It makes me want to write a funnier book on a similar topic. One of the other reviewers wrote: “More of a self-congratulate memoir of past achievements than a book of more recent achievements. Disappointing … could have been much more.” 

It could have been written in a much more positive manner and encourage those of us over twenty to try different things.

Old in Art School

Can You Go Back?

The other day, before I left Kitsap Kitchen and Bath, my last official appointment was with a lovely young couple that purchased the home my late husband and I built almost thirty years ago. Here is a drawing of the lovely 5,000 square foot home.  Drawing of Gordone.jpg

I wonder how other people feel when they go into a home that you designed, or built or bought and then sold and moved on.  It was lovely that they were such a nice young couple and loved the house.  It was hard, as over the years, the former owners had made significant changes to the interior and exterior that were very different from my initial vision.  The new owners were trying to repair all the things that were left unattended for several years.  My heart went out to them, as so many things need work.

Thirty years later my taste has certainly changed with color choices and was glad even back then, other than a pick tub & toilet in the master (now yucky) I had stayed with classic and beautiful choices.

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This is the original exterior, but it is now light yellow with black trim, and the arches over the entry and the garage doors are now just a rectangle.  The architect was from California and good friend, but the arches and trim had to be repainted every year, as the V in the middle of the arch, opened the grain of the wood, so water got in the wood.  The lovely arch over the fireplace in the living room is gone and the antique Sheraton fireplace surround has disappeared that was above the master bedroom fireplace.  The trees are grown and beautiful!  There is a lot more landscaping that hides the front of the house a bit.

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This a photo from the living room looking into the dining room.  I had those two Captain’s chairs on the right for several years, but tired of them (still tired of them) and sold them ages ago. The columns are telling of the time it was designed and built, but classic lines are still lovely.  The new owners have had the floor refinished with exception of the entry where the last owner put black marble over the wood.  (yuck)  and the lighter color on the floor is much more up to date. I don’t have any photos of the kitchen, but it was a dream to work in, alone or with a party of people.

I would love to be the one redesigning their bathroom, but they did not contact me personally, so in the proper ethical and business since it is totally up to them.  But it does need to be updated, so I am glad they are taking it on.  I think it would be a very challenging, but overall fun project and would really add to the house.

How many of you have ventured back into a home you loved and what did you think about the changes?  Maybe as a design professional, it is harder for me to accept and love change?  How about you?

Can You Go Back?

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

It’s Sunday night and weekend passed way too quickly.  The backyard had a lot of plants to cut back for winter and chickens are very funny, but very messy.  Time to clean up their mess before the rains come.

The Korean Beef Short Ribs became, as I told my husband, the meat eater: “Meat over Rice” and that was all he ate, as that was all i cooked.  I took some Butternut Squash soup out of the freezer and cut up the rolled pork loin with broccoli rabe adding it to the soup.  Put a little fresh Regianno Parmesano and you have a pretty tasty dinner and not wasted food.

The chickens got the left over Pea Salad and they were happy too.  It is a nice relaxing evening here at “Kingsley Manor”. Off to binge watch Poldark.

Beside dinner, I baked another Paul Hollywood’s Pain de Savoie for my husband’s office pot luck, designed an invitation for my granddaughter’s birthday party, wrote an article for a local magazine and caught up on my online class.  Grandma was pretty busy today.

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

Back to the Studio

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It was a summer that I did not venture into my art studio, and yesterday I realized painting is what makes my heart sing.  That and some great Rhythm and Blues music in the background make for a wonderful day.

Two days ago I picked up a piece from a wonderful Interior Design Studio in Edmonds that sells quite a bit of my work.  The owner took me to house she is redoing and asked if I could do something for the living room to put above the fireplace. The colors were rich grays, taupes, bronze and a little bit of yellow green.  This piece is 30″ x 60″ and painted over a previous piece I had done a long time ago. Purple Abstract 30x48

It was done in a time when everything I did had some purple in it.  In the last couple of years I have finally grown tired of purple. I find painting over a previously painted abstract gives depth and life to a new painting.

In this case, since it was already framed, I just used green guerrilla painters tape to cover the frame, so did not have to remove it and could get right to painting.

Whenever I do a bigger piece, I make it so you can hang it vertically or horizontally. It is one thing I do to make it easier to use in what ever environment you hang the art.  In my own home, I may hang it one way for a while, then change 90 degrees in another place.  That way I don’t grow tired of the piece as quickly.

At the end of the day yesterday I felt this piece was complete and had a great start on a second piece.  I plan to spend a lot more time in my studio in the days to come.  It makes me happy!

Back to the Studio

Commission Artwork

Tara's House

One of friends that sells real estate asked me to do this for home she is selling.  I had such fun doing this today.  It was challenging, as the photo from the MLS was very small, but I think it turned out well.  I used water color pencils to give the orange a little punch.  Let me know if I can do one for you or one of your clients.

www.dianakingsley.net

 

Commission Artwork

Blackberry Pie along with some dang tasty Ribs…

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My husband said he loves Blackberry Pie, so yesterday I tried a sort of new crust and added blackberries to the inside.  I used Vodka in place of half of the water for the pie crust, as it is supposed to make the crust lighter, as it evaporates and your crust will not have a chance of being soggy.

Why this works: We wondered how to make pie dough that is tender, flavorful, and—most important—consistent. Since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much of it makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that baked up tender and flaky and rolled out easily every time, we found a magic ingredient: vodka. Using vodka, which is just 60 percent water, gave us an easy-to-roll crust recipe with less gluten and no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.

FOOL PROOF PIE CRUST

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, (12 1/2 ounces)
  • teaspoon table salt
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • ½ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ cup vodka, cold
  • ¼ cup cold water

Instructions

FOR ONE 9-INCH DOUBLE-CRUST PIE

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don’t have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof liquor. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (1/4 cup must be used to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter).
  1. 1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

    • 2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

      I roll out between two floured pieces of parchment.  This is a very tender crust, so not one for a beginner.

      Blackberry Pie

      Ingredients

      • 4 cups fresh blackberries
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
      • 2 tablespoons milk
      • 1/4 cup white sugar

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
      2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
      3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
      4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

      Using this recipe, the bottom of my pie was a little too soggy for my taste.  I would put a pizza stone in the oven to reflect more heat on the bottom.  Put it on the rack below the pie.

      … And since I believe in eating dessert first here is the rib information.  I made the sauce and cooked it in a slow cooker.  I mentioned this might be great for The Fourth of July when we invite family and friends, and my sweet husband commented, why don’t you make a second one where you just pour in a bottle of BBQ sauce for my sons.  Moments like this are frustrating.

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      Slow-Cooker Barbecued Sticky Ribs

      Why This Recipe Works

      In order to fit our ribs into the slow cooker for our barbecued sticky ribs recipe, we arranged the full racks of ribs standing up around the perimeter and finally spiraling in towards the center of the slow cooker, pouring the sauce over the top. Because we had left space between the ribs, they cooked evenly, and because the sauce was poured on top of the standing ribs, they slow-basted during cooking, absorbing more of the sauce’s flavors.

      • tablespoons paprika
      • tablespoons packed light brown sugar
      • tablespoon salt
      • tablespoon ground black pepper
      • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
      • pounds baby back ribs, or St. Louis-style spareribs (see note)
      • cups barbecue sauce

      Instructions

      SERVES 4 TO 6

      NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Authentic baby back ribs weigh about 1 1/2 pounds per rack, while St. Louis-style spareribs weigh about 3 pounds per rack. (Note that commercially packaged “baby back” ribs are often just mislabeled St. Louis-style spareribs.) Both types of ribs, however, will work well here. You can either make your own barbecue sauce, or use your favorite store-bought brand—we like Bull’s Eye Original
      1. 1. Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl, then rub the mixture evenly over the ribs. Transfer the ribs to the slow cooker and arrange them standing upright with the meaty side against the interior wall of slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender, 4 to 5 hours.

      2. 2. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes, then gently tilt the slow cooker and remove as much fat as possible from the surface using a large spoon. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium sauce-pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until the mixture measures 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes.

      3. 3. Slice the ribs between the bones and toss them with the barbecue sauce. Transfer the ribs to a warmed platter and serve.

      Barbecue Sauce

      From Cook’s Country
      WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

      Ingredients

    We found that simmering the sauce on the stovetop concentrated the flavors and thickened the sauce. A little Worcestershire sauce provided rich, savory flavor and a combination of chili powder, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce provided just enough heat to register, but not so much that it overwhelmed the other flavors.

    MAKES 3 CUPS

    This recipe was developed using relatively mild Frank’s RedHot hot sauce.

    INGREDIENTS

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. 1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

      2. Add ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, and hot sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Blackberry Pie along with some dang tasty Ribs…

Back in the Studio

I took the day to spend in my Art Studio and redid a painting I did last year.  Purple was my favorite color for many years and I always put it in paintings. I took the purple out of this one, replaced it with my new neutral – Gray.  I defined the flowers a little more with oil crayons and feel the result is much more successful.  It really seems to pop!

While I was in the studio, I wanted to paint something new for my entry, as I had repainted the wall and redid the wood.  Originally it was fence wood, unpainted with purple on the wall.  The new look is shown below, so I think my new painting will be perfect. I had one I was going to use that I was showing at Interiors of Edmonds, but when I called to pick it up for a photo shoot, I found out it had been sold.

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So I think this new 30″ x 40″ will work well.

Upside down sunrise

Sometimes knowing you have something coming gets the creativity flowing.  Our beach home is going to be featured in West Sound Home and Garden magazine this summer, so I wanted something fun to be on the entry wall.  By jove, I think I got it.

Back in the Studio

Chicken Strikes Again

Love the concept of one dish dinners, especially when it actually tastes great.  This recipe was in Bon Appetit’s One Dish Dinner book.  It did not take long to prepare, and the combination of fennel and leeks was sweet and wonderful.  A bit of butter never hurt.  My orzo was not tender with the 2.5 cups of chicken stock, so of course I just added more wine.  A win win.

My husband was hungry, so I served him Butternut Squash with a little sour cream, topped with dill from my garden.  (forgot to take a photo)  The recipe is below.

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Thought I wold share a photo from my garden.  Guess cooking and gardening are my favorite things to do when I am not painting or with my beautiful granddaughter.

Chicken Strikes Again

The Inconsistent Chef

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Started the day by making this Flourless Chocolate Cake, which is simple and simply delicious with a little Vanilla Ice Cream.  I collected a list of the ten best Chocolate Cakes from a site, and decided I would try them all.  This one is quite wonderful and SO easy to make.  My kind of cake.  IMG_4986.jpg

As I melted chocolate I decided to try Focaccia Bread from Paul Hollywood’s “How to Bake” cookbook.  It was easy, rose nicely and tasted so yummy.  Will make this again when friends are coming to dinner.

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So dinner came next with two recipes from America’s Test Kitchen, my new favorite cookbook of the moment.  Smothered Pork Chops with Lemon-Caper cauliflower.  Both were quite wonderful and went nicely with the freshly baked Focaccia Bread.

To me, it is the process of cooking and baking that makes it enjoyable.  The bread kneading for ten minutes is very relaxing and almost zen.  Other than I walked out of room for a minute and the first batch of bacon caught on fire and all the fire alarms went off, it was a fairly uneventful day.

I call myself the Inconsistent Chef, because I never know what I might bake or cook when I start.  Sometimes it is using what I have in the freezer or the refrigerator and sometimes I see a recipe and it sings to me:  “Make Me – Make Me”.  Cook what makes you happy and hope that those you share it with enjoy it as much as you enjoying preparing it.

The Inconsistent Chef