In Toscana

 

 

I’ve been remiss in posting paintings. Some of that is due to my slowness. Some of it is due to the paintings’ purposes (commissions, private collections, etc.). Until the paintings have fulfilled their destinies, I’m not posting them. So there.

 

Anyhoo! This one did take a long time, and I even sneak-peeked bits and bobs. When it was finished, I then had to let it cure before sealing it. As it’s massive and holds multiple layers of paint, it took its sweet time drying. That’s paint for you.

 

This work was based on a couple of photo references, all in Tuscany. I’d wanted to do a Tuscan landscape for a while, and I had this gi-normous canvas. Put them together and you get In Toscana.

 

For the record, this painting taught me a lot. About shadows, light. About clouds. About depth, lines. About many things, and I hope I’m being honest when I say I actually learned from this painting. Each time I pass by In Toscana, I am transported to Italy. If only for a moment.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 8

 

 

Hole-y Doughnuts, Week 8′s challenge was mighty tasty!

 

The photo above shows an authentic and delicious Cuban Sandwich from Paseo’s in Seattle, WA. One often encounters a line out the door, with folks hankering for this, their most popular sandwich. And the worst part? They do run out! Not only that, but the joint shuts down for a month or so in the winter. (So if you’re planning to visit, call ahead.)

 

As Mister and I don’t live in Seattle, we only get to nosh on this most divine sammie once in a great while. And nosh we do, friends! The sandwich is so flippin’ good, I’ve actually had dreams about it. I kid you not.

 

Anyhoo, I recently came across a recipe for a Paseo-like sandwich on the “Use Real Butter” blog. I asked Mister if he was game to try and create that edible work of art and it was all I could do to hold him back. (It’s that good, y’all.) We worked out some angles and gathered the necessary ingredients and bam! We hit the ground running.

 

Here’s what I can tell you about the “Use Real Butter” recipe: it’s a great starting point. And for some, it may be more than enough. For Mister and me, however, we needed to tweak a few things. Namely, we used 1.5 T. sweet pickle relish (instead of dill); we used Cuban bread from an actual Cuban bakery; we buttered the cut sides of the bread and pan-toasted before schmearing with the mayo mixture, then broiling until bubbly; we reduced the cooking liquid until thick and divine, then drizzled that over the pork itself; we crisped the drizzled pork in a skillet before putting it on the bread. Those were our changes, and we were quite happy with them. Stuffed and happy!

 

Wow! What an awesome creation! We’re so glad to have stumbled upon the “Use Real Butter” recipe, and thrilled to have this in our files. And though it’s a grand facsimile, it isn’t the real thing. You can bet your sweet ass we’ll be hitting Paseo the next time we find ourselves in Seattle. But for now, our version will have to do. Mightily…

 

Until We Meet Again

 

 

Another Olympics Games, closed. I relished these winter sports, as I do every 4 years. Not only do I admire watching the athletes display their skills (skills they’ve honed for-practically-ever), I also love-love-love the sportsmanship. For though examples of bad sports may be found, those tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule. And that just makes me bubble! I love the way teammates cheer each other on. I love the way medalists congratulate one another, no matter which countries are represented. I love the stories. I love the heart. I love Bob “Pink-Eye” Costas.

 

The Olympics remind me just how small the world can be. And just how large. They remind me to appreciate the talents of others. And they remind me to work toward my own.

 

I’m sad the Olympics are over, but also ready to get back to bid-ness. Maybe the charge I feel from the Games will stick with me a while. And if it doesn’t, I’m not worried. The 2014 Paralympics Games open on March 7th. Bring on the inspiration!

Harold Ramis – Rest In Peace

 

 

 

I had a crush on him. I did. It started with “Stripes.” He was cute, sure. But what I liked about him was the brain. No matter how dorky his character may have been, that brain was still bubbling underneath all the camouflage.

 

Harold Ramis was, for me, the ideal package. He was a writer, an actor, and his comic delivery packed a punch. If ever there was a career worthy of emulation, I would point to his (though he may have disagreed). He was just so danged good at all of it!

 

And I trusted him. Don’t ask why, as I can’t explain. I only know that he was one of only a few actors I would like to know.

 

Would like to have known. Past tense. I can hardly believe it. I can’t imagine the hole his passing has left for his family. I suppose I can’t claim his death will leave a hole in my life, as I have all his amazing work – still – to entertain and enlighten me. As to what might have been, that’s too vast an imponderable. No need to try.

 

This week will find me pulling out more Harold Ramis movies than I can count. And I only have to go as far as my DVD shelf. That’s just how much I loved the man’s work. To think – he was a part of the majority of my favorite movies. I am in awe. Like I said – he was the ideal package.

 

For now, I have to go cry over that brain. I will miss it terribly.

To Paint or Not To Paint

 

 

I’ve been thinking about doing a few flower paintings. I say I’m thinking about it, as I’m still not sure.

 

 

I’m not a flower-painting kind of gal. Buildings, yes. The occasional abstract, sure. But flowers? I don’t know. Not sure about how I feel on this one.

 

 

There’s nothing wrong with flowers, mind you. In fact, I see other painters working on flowers at the studio all the danged time. And their works are lovely. (By the way, Mister is quite keen on the above photo. Anyone remembering the “Everybody Loves Ray” episode where Marie sculpted a female body part? Yeah, I thought so.)

 

 

I snapped these pics, with the intent of  choosing a few for subject photos. As I can’t seem to make up my own mind on this one, let me ask you: any suggestions as to which (if any) of these might turn into a good painting? None? All? Thanks for the help. Apparently I need it…

 

Rock Camp Dates Announced!

 

 

I realize not all of you are in the L.A. area. Heck, some of you aren’t even in America. And some of you aren’t of the lady variety either. So this post may not be at all relevant to you…

 

Rock Camp dates have been announced! Ladies Rock Camp dates and enrollment info can be found here. This powerful weekend provides the opportunity for adult ladies to get their inner rock star on, all while providing scholarship money for a girl to attend summer camp.

 

Rock Camp dates for girls can be found here. This amazing week is designed to empower girls through music. Those of you who know me are more than aware of my commitment to this non-profit and all it does for girls. I am so blessed to have been a part of it the last 4 summers and I’m already excited about this year! If you have a young girl in your life (between the ages of 8 and 17), please look into this. I have witnessed amazing growth in Rock Camp attendees. Honestly, I don’t have enough superlatives to fully express my love for this non-profit. It is more amazing than I can say. You just have to trust me on this.

 

And please, please, please pass this on to anyone you know in the L.A. area who might be interested. Grown women, little girls – share, share, share! You’ll be making someone very happy. And you’ll be producing good karma, to boot. Woo-hoo!

Bees! The Incredible Shrinking Hive

 

 

The bee dude tried to tell me, but I still had doubts. He said winter would lead to shrinking of the hive. What winter? We haven’t had one, so how could the hive possibly shrink?

 

I went to check on the bees recently and sure enough – the hive is shrinking. It’s crazy! And beautiful. And nature. On this one, I am merely an observer. I do believe there’s a whole lot of philosophy to be found in that hive, but I won’t bore you with my processing of that.

 

The bee dude also told me the hive will replenish itself as spring rolls into summer. We’ll see.

Tell Me A Story

 

 

I just finished a book. It was given to me years ago, and only recently found while unpacking a box. I admit, I never thought it would be my kind of book. There’s a dog on the cover, for cry-eye! I love dogs and all, but I just don’t see myself as the kind of gal who gravitates to books with dogs on their covers. Does that make sense?

 

Anyhoo, I decided to give this book a chance and cracked its spine.

 

Why do we like books? What is it about a story that draws us in, causing us to lean forward in our seats and to hold our breaths? A good book can stop the ticking hands of a clock, and before we know it we’ve engrossed ourselves in a book for hours on end. I suppose a good movie is just the same. But what is it that digs into our attention in the first place?

 

I’ve read that in many cultures, women are the keepers of stories. They are charged with holding on to the tales and fables that make up a people’s history. (In other cultures, men protect the same.) As this responsibility of story-keeping has lasted through millennia, it is clearly important and worthy of safe-guarding. This says to me that our regard for and attraction to stories have always been a part of us. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Our desires and hopes for more in life? Our longing? Our sense of thrill at being frightened? The joy of laughter? The catharsis of crying?

 

I swear, I should probably not wonder at all why I love a good story. I should just keep seeking them out. Reading when I can. Watching good movies. Telling others about a good story when I cross its path and asking them to do the same. Have to try to remember that.

 

For now, I have to admit – I ended up falling for a book with a dog on the cover. I ended up respecting and admiring the dog. In fact, the dog ended up inspiring me to be a better person. I could cry right now, just thinking about the final pages. Instead, I think I’ll dry my tears and drop this book off in my neighborhood little free library box. Maybe someone else is ready to conquer her aversion to books with dogs on their covers. Lucky, lucky them.

Food

 

 

I know I haven’t posted about food for – gulp – ages. This is because I’ve not been making the same thing twice for – gulp – ages. And in order to blog about a dish, one has to make it several times in order to get it right. (Well, I say one when really what I mean is me.)

 

I don’t know what’s happened to me. It would seem I’ve gotten the variety bug wedged in my ear and haven’t yet removed it. Mister doesn’t know what’s coming when we sit down to a meal. And when he does like something – enough to want to have it again some time – he has to savor it in that moment because I (in my present mental state) won’t be coming back to it. Maybe ever.

 

I say that maybe ever part because I just don’t know. I’ve never been this way about food before, so I don’t know if it’s permanent or not. I mean, I’ve always been open to trying new dishes, but I’ve also relied on a few favorites to round out the week. That was my routine for years. Years, I say!

 

Maybe this has been some sort of creative burst, expressing itself through food. Maybe not. If I do come back around again on some of the successful dishes, I’ll be sure to share. Promise.

 

In the meantime, here’s to food variety. Nothing boring about that.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 7

 

 

This past weekend found Mister and me writing another song. This one was a downer, and that happens. Same as the last one – we’ve no recording of it. That means you don’t get to hear it. That may be a blessing in disguise, friends, since it is (as I said) a downer.

 

But never fear! I have an update for you from the previous weekend. For even though week 5 served as a catch-up period, that Mister was hard at work finishing a photo project we’ve been working on: Bathroom Signs!

 

Have you ever noticed how some establishments have the most interesting bathroom signs? We’ve noticed, and for some time now we’ve been taking photos of those signs. Most are gender specific, but the above sign was thrown in as a representation of the places having only the one loo. I think Mister did a swell job.

 

If you’re wondering why the heck we need photos of bathroom signs in the first place, well I’ll tell ya. We’re going to use them as art in one of our bathrooms. I’m pretty danged excited about that, too, as they’re beautiful photos.

 

Fun project, actually. Unique art, to boot. It just goes to show – art can be found just about any place you look.