Friday, January 23, 2009

This Describes It

OK, so now I've managed to have an asthma attack; my first one ever, and it has not been any fun at all. After about 12 hours of coughing and really sensing that I could not get a good breath, I had my hubby take me to the E-room. They told me I had bronchitis and that since I have asthma, it couldn't be distinguished from an asthma attack, so for about the next three hours in the early morning today, I was stuck, x-rayed, wired for EKG and hooked up to a breathing machine. I much prefer sleeping!

So I looked around my files for a painting that describes the ucky feeling. I came up with this one, whose real title is Brain On Martinis. Of course, had it been martinis, it would have been more fun, and it wouldn't have lasted so long or worn me out to this extent. This painting is acrylic on a CT-scan of some disgusting body part or other. I have no respect for the films, especially not tonight. OK, and now photos aren't loading, and this post needs the visual. OK, I got it to load.

Anybody else have experience with this asthma thing, and how do you know when you need help? Because 12 hours is probably way too long to wait, I think.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Results: Two Days Well Spent

This was my painting that I produced on day one of Mark Polomchak's Bradenton workshop. These colors are difficult to adjust from the painting to the photograph and then to the screen, but probably as close as I can get them. As I said in the previous post, I was amazed at how well all of the paintings turned out - a tribute to the instructor's tried and true techniques, clear instructions and so forth.

This was my painting which was done on the second day. I had really messed up the sky, trying to be cute with clouds and blurring the horizon, but a little scrubbing and airbrushing made it turn out looking amazing, thanks to Mark. I was coming down with a cold, and on my own probably would have abandoned painting for the day, just chalking it up to one of those days that painting doesn't go too well. I am glad I was at the workshop and ended up sticking with it.

These are workshop paintings, and neither will be for sale. I think I'll keep 'em.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mark Polomchak Workshop In Bradenton

Today was the first day of an art workshop I'm attending which is being given by Mark Polomchak, an affable instructor from Crown Point, Indiana, with a lively teaching style who paints a variety of subjects from Amish scenes to animals. I got the impression that Mark's art would have wide appeal to all sorts of different people.

Many times in workshops I have had the feeling that though an instructor is intensely competent, and I have learned something I felt was significant, the fact is that artists are the main group who admire the techniques. How many people who are not artists are impressed by really cool negative painting?

Admittedly, negative painting is extremely important to the development of an artist, and being able to do it competently is no small fete. However, the average person on the street has probably no idea what it meant by negative painting, no more than the average bird knows what a nanosecond is.

I was also impressed by his teaching skills, which were evidenced by what seemed to be all-around, pretty decent paintings by everyone in the workshop. That tells me first of all that Mark's teaching techniques were most effective, and he kept the attention of all participants. In addition, even those who claimed to be beginning painters came up with quite nice results and didn't leave the session frustrated as so often happens.

Also, I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Since it is dark now, and my photography at night is not the greatest, I will post my painting from today another time.

See Mark Polomchak's website to view his work and for more information.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fruit of the Gods

What's Up In The Kitchen? What A Fine Fruit, in the spotlight for tonight, is a watercolor honoring the Bosc variety of pear. The Bosc is known for its long neck and brownish skin color.

Called by Homer, the ancient Greek poet who wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey, "the fruit of the gods," the pear has a lot to live up to. In the United States, second in popularity only to the apple, pears are actually related to them genetically. Most pears are grown in Washington and Oregon where the mild, moist climate promotes optimum growth.

Pears are said to be a healthy choice, being free from fat, cholesterol and sodium. What makes them soften, however is the gift of sugar created from starches as it ripens. It provides the sweet nectar advertised by Homer who was thought to be blind, and therefore who must have been oblivious to the characteristics of over-ripened feminine pulchritude when exposed to a diet of such sugars. Pears, on the other hand provide a wonderful amount of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. Such is life; balance the benefits against the disadvantages. Enjoy pears! You can especially appreciate this one because its inedible and therefore calorie-free eye candy.

This little pear has been captured and held by a digitally created boundary of burnt sienna which enhances its quinacridone base color. I painted this while I was gallery sitting at the Artists' Guild Gallery this fall on one of the quiet days that season provides. The original painting is a 9 x 12 inch watercolor on Arches Hot Press Watercolor paper. Prints will be for sale here in my Etsy shop, and pears can be found in your local supermarket.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A New Spin On Margarita

What's Up In The Kitchen? This week I've found a new toy while editing A New Spin On Margarita. Not that the toy hasn't been available to me ever since I've had the Corel Paint Shop software, but I just found it, and I've been having fun trying out the "picture frames" on my new series of paintings which for the most part have a white background. This very lacy one reminds me of a valentine. I had to try it out in six or eight colors before deciding on this one. What's cool is I can print it out this way (on the right) or I can print it out without any background at all.
There are other options available also, including a small band of color, which I like the best of all. Aren't new discoveries wonderful?

Check out A New Spin On Margarita in my Etsy Shop to see this one. Then, come on back!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pizza For Pam

What's Up In The Kitchen today? Well, it's Pizza for Pam! Who doesn't love pizza? It's a cinch that Pam loves pizza. Sometimes I wish I had a dress shaped like this. Why? Because Mary loves pizza too. Too much that is.

More about pizza. The first pizza I ever remember was the pizza that was served in my junior high school, and I thought it was terrible. We never had pizza at home, because my dad hated anything that had onions, cheese or garlic as an ingredient. Meat, potatoes and vegetables were the fare in the home I grew up in. Consequently, we never had pizza at home until I purchased a Chef Boyardee pizza mix to try. That was pretty awful too. At this point I could NOT figure out why my friends liked the stuff so much. I didn't find out about pizza at all until I was living away from home at college, and then I found I loved the stuff. A whole new world of culinary experiences was opened up for me. Now I know the pizza in junior high was pretty awful. Ditto Chef.

Some of the world's best pizza places are dumpy little places. Our current favorite pizza comes from one of these. It's possible to eat the pizza there, but a much better idea is to go and get it, and bring it home. We have another favorite restaurant where they have live Blues bands outside on weekends, and that's pretty fun, and the pizza's real good too. Yeah, outside in Florida, even in the wintertime!

Pam is going to come to my Etsy shop in the form of prints, hot off my Epson printer. The first one will be listed tonight. Then you can link to Pizza For Pam right here.

According to the Epson web site, "fade-resistant DURABrite Ultra Inks are light resistant and fade resistant up to 100 years. Light-resistance rating based on accelerated testing of prints on Epson special media, displayed indoors, under glass. Actual print stability will vary according to image, display conditions, light intensity, paper, humidity and atmospheric conditions. Ratings based on ink only; some papers may discolor over time. Epson does not guarantee the longevity of prints. For maximum print life, display all prints under glass or lamination or properly store them."

I never considered that the ink would last longer than the paper it was printed on. That's something I can just picture: images and letters hanging around after the paper disintegrated. Well, I know that's not what they mean, but the vision is fun to imagine.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Wine

What's Up In The Kitchen? New Wine is my painting for today and joins the series. There are no "kitchen peeps" in this painting. Anyway I had been wondering how long wine needs to age before it is drinkable. (This painting sold in February).

So I was exploring the net and found Wine Spectator's top wine for 2008 was a 2005 wine from Chile.

Casa Lapostolle
Clos Apalta Colchagua Valley 2005
96 points / $75
5,987 cases made

In fact the majority of the top ten were bottled in 2005. Numbers 9 and 10, however were a 2007 vintage.

Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love 2007
95 points / $90
2,596 cases made

Zinfandel Sonoma County 2007
93 points / $24
68,000 cases made

If you want to see the whole Top 100 list of wines for 2008, here is the link for Wine Spectator's list in a PDF :

Undoubtedly the most famous quotation mentioning new wine is in the Bible in passages where Jesus is questioned about fasting by the disciples of John the Baptist. In Matthew 9:17, "Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

The practical application is that wine was stored in the skins of animals in those days. When new wine is put into a wineskin it stretches out, once. If new wine is put into an old wineskin that has already been stretched out, and the fermenting causes bubbles that need to expand, the wineskin would rupture and the wine would pour out. So new wine needed to be put into a new skin, and neither the wine or wineskin would not be harmed in the process.

This is one of the parables of Jesus, using a practical illustration to get across His point. My (while others may agree or disagree, keep in mind it is just mine) simple interpretion could be that Jesus, is telling the followers of John that He is the new wineskin, their legalistic beliefs are impossible to live up to, and now that He has come they need to put their trust (wine) in Him, and not depend on what works they do themselves (old wineskin) to earn salvation.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What's Up In The Kitchen?

I'm back after taking a holiday break, and I have a new series I've started called What's Up In The Kitchen?. These are kitchen peeps who live in vegetables, fruits, glassware and who knows where else they'll turn up. On the left is Girl Caught Hiding In The Celery. I guess there must be kind of a little miniature celery forest out there in the celery fields, and before they come to the kitchen the little peeps must be out there playing hide and go seek.

I have no idea where the motivation for this series came from, but right now I'm finding the kitchen peeps rather fun to paint. You can just never be sure what's going on in the artist brain, but it's for sure different than what's up with the brain of an average Joe.

My dear hubby reads the newspaper every day. Once upon a time I read the newspaper too - the front page section, the weather, the section with ''Dear Abby" in it, the sports section and sometimes the classifieds. Now I find no time to read the newspaper. I have Etsy to play with, and kitchen peeps to paint, and lots of other art-related activities to attend to. I'm not that one-dimensional, but reading the newspaper just doesn't come to the top of the list very often.

The peeps on the right side are called Carrot Dancer Understudies. I was thinking about calling them Carrot Dancers Waiting For Their Wings, as kind of a play on words for "waiting in the wings", but I decided that understudies conveyed the idea, without making them wingless. After all carrots aren't lacking appendages of any kind, are they?

In any event, I've just started the series, but I can tell you that some of the paintings have peeps and some don't, but they all have to do with nefarious and not so nefarious kitchen activity. Stay tuned.

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