Friday, May 13, 2011

Can't see the forest for the trees...

I get the most comments on posts that show my painting process... probably because it is so shocking to see the differences in my paintings as they progress. Yes, I always start with a crazy color like pink, orange or even highlighter yellow. Why, you ask? Because it makes the layers glow once I'm finished! In grad school I learned the name for this technique-- "imprimatura." Apparently I'm not the only artist who likes to start out this way, but I may be one of just a few who start out this loudly.

Here's the progression of my latest painting. I have a couple more on the easels upstairs and I'm really truly honestly THRILLED to be painting again after such a long semester of education classes. It's not that they weren't great-- they were great-- I just do really well when I have cycles of change in my year. Onward to the painting cycle as I gear up for my solo exhibition at Castalia in Chapel Hill this August.

I call this one "Can't see the Forest from the Trees." It's funny, because life and painting are so similar in that way. I get caught up in the minutia of brushstrokes or in the daily tedium of chores and errands. It's trite but true that sometimes we have to step back to admire the larger picture. On a silly note, I often get caught up in the abstract details found in nature. I'm not sure what it is, but I LOVE those little interstitial spaces, or negative spaces created where the sky meets the branches of the trees. I think I could paint this forever... or at least enough to get a good series out of it. It's abstract yet representational, and for now it has my attention!

Can't see the Forest for the Trees, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, available in August

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother's Day Luncheon

I had my Mom and Grandma Nina over for a ladies' luncheon early this spring. The bulbs were blooming, my table-runner was finished, and I even had enough time to make some chocolate angel-food cake in my heart pan (yes it was back during spring break!). We had chicken salad and chocolate strawberry short cake. I couldn't have asked for a better Saturday. In case you need some ideas for mother's day celebrations, here are the pictures and the recipes.

Above: Chocolate Angel Food Cake: Martha Stewart's version (what did you expect?!)
* I used cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate chips like she called for.

Below: Curried Chicken Salad Recipe (adapted from Southern Living)
Boneless skinless chicken breasts boiled and torn into bite-size pieces (I used 3 breasts of chicken for 3 people)
1 package neufchatel cheese (a lighter version of cream cheese with more protein too!)
3 green onions, diced
2-3 Tablespoons mayo
1 Tablespoon curry powder
red grapes to taste
1 stick celery diced
salt/ pepper to taste

Mix the cheese, mayo, and curry powder. Toss chicken, celery and green onions and mix with curry mixture. Add grapes last so they don't break apart. Serve on a leaf of lettuce or on toasted English muffins. Yummmm..... I added deviled eggs to the menu for the finishing touch (And so I could use my pretty deviled egg plate that my grandma gave me last year for my birthday!) This chicken salad is easily made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.

A happy memory! (And pretty too... spring is my favorite!)