Sunday, August 12, 2012

My New Favorite Bread Baking Book

We've had the cook book for months and I just hadn't taken the time to try anything from it. But with my latest bread baking phase, I gave it a go ... and made three types of bread. Thank goodness we have a freezer!
Swedish Limpa Bread (yum!!!)
The premise behind this book is that you spend very little time (no kneading) on making enough dough to last you for fresh bread for the week. You keep the dough in the fridge and then take however much you need, quickly form the loaf, let it rise and then bake it.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread (before baking)
It truly does not take any time at all, except being home while the dough rises and the bread bakes.
Most amazing Rye Bread!
I am totally hooked and Daniel is set with lots of good bread while I visit my family in Germany!
Last week, I also made a delicious pot of soup to go with the rye bread. :) It's Andrew Weil's Brown Rice and Asparagus Soup. (Click here for the recipe.) The recipe calls for the soup to be pureed before you add the asparagus. I opted to leave it as is - I liked the texture without pureeing it.
And with this I leave you for a while. I'll be getting ready for my trip today and tomorrow and am leaving on Tuesday. Tomorrow, we are taking the gray kitty who adopted us to the vet for a once over, after which he gets to come live with us. We are so excited!

I may or may not post while I am away. But no matter what, I'll be thinking of all of you and checking in whenever I can!

In the meantime, I wish you wonderful days filled with good food, friends, perfect health, beauty, art, sunshine and inspiration!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Protected ~ Finished painting

After a few changes, this painting is now finished. It's interesting how when I sit for a while with a painting that's almost finished, suddenly I see what else needs to happen.
It was the same with this one. And now it feels done! And I couldn't be more pleased!!
Acrylic painting on plaster of paris
12 x 24 inch canvas
I'm linking this to the wonderful folks over at Paint Party Friday! Make sure to visit to see some amazing art!!

Happy Friday to you all!!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Totally in love!

I know we artists have a tendency to forever criticize our own work, but not with this one. I cannot believe this came out of my paintbrush!
I'm so in love with this painting that I keep staring at it!
I'm not sure if it's done yet, but it's definitely done enough to let it sit for a bit to see if it needs anything else.
The background is beautifully textured plaster of paris and I think I want that to be a little more visible. But I'm not sure yet.
Protected (in progress)
12 x 24 inch acrylic painting on canvas
I may just leave it as is.

Tomorrow Daniel gets back from his trip out to California where he attended a conference and visited with his sister. It's been very quiet around here and I cannot wait to have him back! We'll get to spend a few days together and then I'm off to Germany. It's a busy summer...

Wishing you a beautiful Thursday! I hope all is well with all of you!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Painting in Progress

For this new work in progress, I am using a different approach. I only roughly outlined the position of the woman on the canvas and then started painting without a sketch. It was fun to see how the face started taking shape.
This is a larger painting with more detail than usual and I'm not sure if I'll get it finished before I leave next week for Germany to visit my family. We'll see.

We've had the most wonderful rainy morning here and I spent it in my studio painting. The sound of the rain on the skylight was my music! 

I hope you are enjoying your Wednesday, rainy or not!

P.S. When I get back from Germany, I'm going to learn how to paint with oil paints. My friend Kelly (click here to see her art) inspired me to give it a try!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Celeste - Finished Painting

I spent a good deal of my day today painting and it felt so good!
Meet Celeste. She really speaks to me. She is so calm.
I'm not sure what she is looking at or studying, but it certainly has captured her attention. Maybe she is at a concert and looking at the program...
I know I've said it before, but painting on a layer of plaster of paris is wonderful. It is so smooth and gives the whole painting such a different texture and finish. I love it!
acrylic painting on plaster of paris
8 x 10 inch canvas baord

Available here in my Etsy shop.

I hope you had a great Tuesday!! I'm off to take a peek at your blogs...


Monday, August 6, 2012

Underpainting and Rocket Launch!

After two days in the kitchen cooking and baking, last night I had the overwhelming desire to paint again. I had the feeling this might happen. Being in the kitchen always sorts everything out for me.
So, this morning I sat down and did this underpainting. I worked for about an hour and it felt like five minutes - that's what I love about painting: getting totally lost in the process!
So far so good. This afternoon I'll start working over her with some color. Oh, and I LOVE painting on the plaster of paris. What a great texture. So smooth. 

Now, something completely different because the Mars Rover Curiosity successfully landed on Mars a few hours ago. 
You can see my dad and me in the crowd of spectators
Daniel, my dad and I were lucky enough to witness the launch of the rocket that would take the rover to Mars on November 26, 2011.
It was one of those bigger than life moments!
And then it took off!
We watched it for a good long while before the first sound waves reached us.
 What a roar! You could feel it!
It was amazing!
 And back then we talked about how long it would take for it to reach Mars.
And now it has landed and is sending the first images back to earth. Incredible!! 

Daniel did a beautiful little watercolor sketch of the launch. Click here and it will take you to his sketch blog. 

Wishing you a Magical Monday!!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back to Center

Thank you all who left comments on my last post with such great suggestions on how I could regain my inspiration. The one I heard most clearly was: don't force it. Just have fun with it all! That's when I realized that I simply don't feel like painting at the moment. I might again this afternoon or tomorrow or in a month, but right now, I don't. 
And then I thought about what always brings me back to center. Always! Even as a teenager. And that is baking. It doesn't really matter what. Baking puts me right back into my happy place.  It's the process that calms me, that orders my thoughts, that allows me to be in the moment.
And nothing more so than bread. Not the quick bread I usually make (see here for recipe), but the slower method.
It's the measuring, mixing, kneading, waiting while it rises, kneading again, forming the loaves, waiting again for another rising, and again while it bakes that is so soothing to me. I can't really describe it. It gives me the feeling that all is well with me and world around me.
The resulting loaves of delicious, fluffy, crunchy bread are just a happy side effect of the process I love so much. The bread I made here uses 7-grain-cereal and is wonderful! Click here for the recipe. It's well worth making!
This morning I had a slice of it toasted with some honey. Heavenly!!

And with that I wish you a most wonderful start to your weekend!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sketch for New Painting

After my last post I did go up to my studio to start on a new painting on the canvas board I prepped with plaster of paris (click here to see). I LOVE the surface after I sanding it for a bit and giving it a layer of gesso.

And I like the sketch just fine and am looking forward to doing the underpainting, but somehow I'm not feeling the inspiration that usually takes a hold of me.

I feel as though I've lost my art mojo... and it's freaking me out a little bit.

So, my fellow creatives, here's my question to you: What do you do to get your inspiration back?


I'm captivated ...

... by our two datura plants at the moment.
When we lived in New Mexico, we had a couple of bushes of the simple white datura in our yard.
They grew wild there and flowered prolifically. Each day, I would cut a flower and bring it inside. They only stayed fresh for a day, but the scent was intoxicating!
This spring, a friend gave us some little datura plants she had grown from seeds last year and now they are blooming.
They are so stunning!
And they smell just as good as the simple ones we had in New Mexico.
And with that I am heading up to my studio to make some art! 

Wishing you a terrific Thursday!!