Friday, April 20, 2012

Underpainting and Recipe

This morning I worked on an underpainting (using only burnt sienna and titanium white) to work out the values in this painting and I couldn't be more pleased. I love when these portraits take shape and suddenly convey real emotion and spirit.
It still is a mystery to me how that happens - for me that's the magical moment of each portrait. I keep staring at her, getting to know her and figuring out her story. Later this afternoon, I'll start working over the underpainting with color. Can't wait! 
And, as promised the recipe. It's quick and easy and delicious!

Sauteed Salmon with Orange & Asparagus
from Gatherings & Celebrations
by Burt Wolf

Makes 4 servings

12 medium asparagus spears (I never count them but I'm sure I always use more)
2 navel oranges or 1 navel orange and 1/2 fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Four (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons black or green olive puree (optional) (I've never used that)
1 tablespoon fresh chives, for garnish

  • trim the asparagus spears and cut them into 3- to 4-inch lengths (I always leave them whole)
  • peel one orange so that it's free of all the white pith. Slice the orange into thin sections and set aside. Juice the second orange or use 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice.
  • when ready to serve, bring small pot of water to a boil with a pinch of the salt. Boil the asparagus for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but not limp. Or you can steam the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • heat a large non-stick skillet. Season the fish with half the salt and pepper. Add half the butter to the pan and saute the salmon, skin side up first, over high heat until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fillets. Remove them to a warm spot while you make the sauce. 
  • to make the sauce, pour orange juice into the skillet, bring to a boil and reduce until slightly syrupy. Turn off the heat, whisk in the remaining butter, and season with the rest of the salt and pepper. Add the reserved orange slices to the sauce to warm through.
  • to present the dish, fan the asparagus tips on a warmed platter or on 4 individual plates and place the cooked salmon in the center. Garnish the salmon with a small dollop of olive puree (if using) and the orange slices, and spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle with chives and serve.


  1. Liebe Silke,

    einfach köstlich.

    Sonnige Grüße


  2. Beautiful painting! :)

  3. That is beautiful for an underpainting. I like it like that. I really don't think it needs more. It's just beautiful. Your recipe sounds great and we are eating pretty much Talapia, salmon, and chicken these days. Looks great. Thanks for sharing. You are really getting very good at your painting skills. Have a great weekend.

  4. Wow, das Bild ist wieder ganz hervorragend.

    LG Biggi

  5. I'm not sure which impresses me more your art or that beautiful looking recipe. Love asparagus and salmon. I am going to give your portrait painting a try. I am just scared to try and that is no way to be. Gonna jump in there.

  6. Loving your beautiful under painting. I so agree with Gloria its wonderful as it is. Annette x

  7. Twelve spears of asparagus serving four? Now, 12 per person is more realistic :-) During the asparagus season over here, most people I know buy one pound of asparagus for two!
    The painting has its very own, unique appeal even without colour. A bit like an old sepia photograph, you wouldn't want that in colour, either.

  8. Thanks for the recipe, Silke.

    I agree with the comments about Helen (?) looking
    good as she is but every time I've thought that in the past the girl has turned out even better in colour.

  9. Silke, I can't imagine adding more to this painting: I think it is incredible as is!

    The soft burnt colors bring up deep emotion for me