Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! 
Peace and joy to all of our hearts, no matter what we celebrate! 


Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Couple of Bigger Pieces

With all the small pieces I have painted this year, I have missed working on more of the larger canvases. I have a stack of blank ones just waiting for my paint brush and can't wait to get going.

These here are a couple of larger paintings I recently completed. Both of them have already found new homes. Yeah!!
I loved painting the elephant - they always turn out rather playful for me. Incidentally, I sold my other big elephant painting just a couple of weeks ago as well. Must be the season for ellies!

The beautiful dog below belongs to our nephew and his wife. So much fun to paint! I love the colors. Actually both of those paintings use more muted colors than is "normal" for me.

Painting Sasha, the dog, has gotten me a few commissions, two of which I finished this week. I'll share them soon! Both were fun, fun, fun to do!
Last, but certainly not least, do you remember this koala painting from earlier this year? Well, it has now been published by Thames & Hudson Australia in a beautiful little book featuring 60 works by artists from around the world. Part of the proceeds benefit the Australian Koala Foundation.
Considering that eight years ago I had never done any art at all, this is almost unbelievable to me. It just goes to show that it's never too late to start something new! And how very important it can be to listen to that inner voice when it suggests you try something you never thought you could do!

Eight years ago, I would have assured you that I had no talent for painting at all! None! And now I get to have this life of color and paint. I am beyond grateful that I didn't ignore the nudge!

How are you faring this week? So close to Christmas (if you celebrate)? Do you enjoy the spirit of the season or do you feel pulled in a million different directions?

No matter what, I send you love and joy and peace!

P.S. I'm linking again to Paint Party Friday, where I hope to visit more frequently this week! It is such a source of inspiration!! Go visit! 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Little Art and Some Thoughts

Dear friends, I hope you have been well! I haven't posted in a while, which means I have a good bit of art to show you. So much, in fact, that I'm dividing it into a few posts. 

This morning I was thinking about my blog and how I have gotten away from it. It made me feel a little wistful. You know I like change. I like how life progresses, how I change (otherwise I would have never started painting), how nothing ever stays the same, how there are seasons for everything.
And at the same time, there are some things I used to love to do that don't come easily anymore, friends we used to hang out with a lot who now live far away from us,  places we used to live and love, which we now don't get back to much anymore, places we used to travel to a lot, which we now don't anymore. It fills me with a bittersweet melancholy.

And there's my blog, which I used to love. I looked forward to posting every day, to connecting every day and to discover new things for all of my readers. Everything that delighted me, I'd think: "Oh, I have to share that on my blog." Where has that excitement gone?

There was a period of great loss in my small blogging world. Two of my earliest and dear, dear blogging friends passed away and it took the levity and fun out of blogging for me. And I think I've never quite gotten it back after that. Maybe it's time!

As I write this, I realize it's the birthday today of one of those two dear friends and I believe she is giving me a nudge! I need to blog again! I need to connect again!
I miss it. I miss being in touch with you all. I am very active on Facebook, which is really fun in its own way, but it's not the same. I don't really share my thoughts on Facebook. Mostly photos and definitely my art. Still, I love how I can be connected to family and old and new friends in such an easy way. It's also how I sell most of my art and I am very grateful for that. But it's not the same as sharing my life and my thoughts on my blog.
Ok, that decided it. It's time! I have changed and I need to write about it.

I miss you all! And I love you!

P.S. Linking to the always inspiring Paint Party Friday! I'm so grateful for their unfailing weekly inspiration! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Yarn Along - More Socks

I've not been knitting as much as I'd like, but I did manage to finish the socks I had previously shown you. They turned beautifully. I really liked the KnitPicks hand painted sock yarn. And the name of the colorway, "Wicked Witch" was very appropriate for the season, dont' you think?
I've started another pair of socks (I'm destashing all of my horded sock yarn) with Rowan fine art hand painted sock yarn in various shades of blue. Very pretty!
Now for the "what am I reading" part of Ginny's Yarn Along, I'm still on the Skandinavian mystery kick. Daniel had read a few books by Håkan Nesser and really liked them, so I'm on the first one in the Inspector Van Veeteren series. So far it's really good! 

If you are a knitter and/or a reader, head on over to Ginny's blog for some great inspiration!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Color Studies

I was so happy to be on a roll again with blogging and then Hurrican Matthew happened. Days of watching where it was going and how strong it was getting. Days of wondering if we were going to have to evacuate or if we could stay.
Days of making our house storm ready, preparing for long stretches without power and possible evacuation. Making hotel reservations inland, thinking about everything we needed for us, four cats and Winslow for a few days, and making sure we had all important papers with us. The rest of our "stuff" suddenly didn't seem all that important anymore. We did what we could to make sure it would be safe.
First there the probability we'd have to evacuate, then a polite urging from city officials, (which is when we left) and finally mandatory evacuation. We were safe in a hotel room with all of our critters. They all got along great. Everyone was calm and content. Even when we lost power at our hotel (this was a large storm), we were all still quite happy. And also a little nervous about what we might come home to.
We listened to the local news on our weather radio and it sounded like the storm had been very strong with a lot of destruction. When the evacuation order was lifted, we came home to our house and property perfectly intact. No damage! We were so grateful! It's sad to see how many hundreds of old trees fell in this storm. And it's beautiful to see how everyone came together to help each other out.
We finally got power back and then (much later) our internet and for us life is back to normal, which is certainly not the case for so many others. Again, I'm so grateful!

One thing I did notice though - my art has changed. I started painting in watercolor with a very limited palette (three colors only) and I love it! It's a new challenge and a completely different process for me.

And that's the thing I love about life: nothing ever stays the same!

Linking to the ever fabulous and inspiring Paint Party Friday.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Chocolate Truffles

I'm always looking for handmade gifts that are easy, special and good for all kinds of occasions. Recently, I discovered chocolate truffles. I used to make them for gifts quite a bit many, many years ago, but then I forgot about them. Although I'm not sure how I could. They are so delicious!
So when Daniel recently mentioned them as a possible gift to take to a birthday dinner, I thought it was a great idea! Since then, I've tried three different recipes with varying results:

1. The first I tried was by Ree Drummond. They were easy to roll into little balls, but I found that using sweetened condensed milk instead of cream made them very sweet. Too sweet for my taste. I also didn't dip them in chocolate, but dusted them with cocoa powder.

2. Then I tried one I found on the Bon Appetit website. They were quite good, but for some reason they stayed rather soft. Maybe because it used 9 oz of chocolate to 1 1/4 cup cream.

3. Today, I made a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. So far, I like this one best. It uses 12 oz of chocolate to 1 cup of cream, which makes for a very nice texture. I mixed dark chocolate with a little bit of semi-sweet and dusted them with Trader Joe's drinking cocoa powder. Good choice! And a perfect gift!!
No matter what recipe you use, always go for really good quality chocolate. Plus, you can add all kinds of flavorings to the ganache and also vary the toppings. The websites all have great ideas. I happen to like the traditional truffle best!

Here's to chocolate! And to you...


Friday, September 30, 2016

Playing with Color

When I say I just play with color, that is true and it's also in a way much more. The whole purpose of me painting the way I do is to develop my intuition, which I am finding is actually quite strong and accurate - now that I no longer ignore it.
When I went to school as a kid, everything was all about doing things "right."  I found the same thing when I was taking "serious" art classes. I had a hard time being creative and allowing my imagination to guide me when I was concerned about doing it correctly.
That's why I started playing with color and shapes before I even think about painting an animal. There is no way to get these wrong, at least in the beginning layers.
So when I start a painting, I am very tuned in to how I feel and the energy of the day (sounds weird, but that's what happens). And then I feel drawn to certain colors and color combinations.
I don't question it, I just take the colors and start. The first layer will lead to the next one and so on. And at some point I either see an animal in the shapes or an animal pops into my head and that's the one I go with. No questions asked. I assume my intuition is working correctly.
This is actually a watercolor card I painted for a friend who lost her sweet dog. 
Everything in the universe is vibration, including color. I have tried to have a more monochrome palette or to use black and white and one additional color, but that's just not me. At least at this point in my life.
I seem to be made of bright colors and when I paint with them they feel right to me every time!
At the moment I'm drawn very much to accents of neon pink, as you can see in the first four paintings I'm showing you today.
Every painting doesn't just carry the vibration and energies of the colors, but also all of the love and good wishes I pour into it while painting. I hope you can feel it, too!!

Some of these small paintings have already found their forever homes, but a few are still available at my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

I'm linking this to the wonderful Paint Party Friday group. If you want to be inspired, head on over for some fantastic art!!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Recipe: Pretzel Buns

As soon as the latest issue of LandLust Magazine hits the shelves in Germany, my dad sends me a copy here to the US. I love this magazine - reading it and looking at the pictures is like a mini escape to Germany. 
So, when this latest issue had recipes for pretzels and pretzel buns, I knew I had to try making them immediately. As long as I can remember, I have loved pretzels. Growing up in Germany, they were a regular part of my life. And while we can find them here now once in a while, they aren't quite the same.
 So, by popular request on Facebook, I translated the recipe and adapted it to American ingredients.

Pretzel Buns
(makes about 16 buns)


500g All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
40g softened butter

For the brine:
50g baking soda

Possible toppings:
coarse salt,
seeds (sesame, poppy, pumpkin, sunflower),
or a little grated cheese

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 320ml lukewarm water.
2. Using the dough hook on the mixer, work the flour, salt and softened butter into the yeast water. Knead the soft dough for at least five minutes (I had to add a little more flour to keep the dough from sticking).
3. Form the dough into a ball, put into a large bowl, cover and allow to rise for either 2 hours at room temperature or over night in the refrigerator. (I allowed it to rise over night and made the buns for breakfast.)
4. After the dough has risen, divide it into 16 equal parts, form each one of them into a small ball, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 465 degrees F (240 C).
5. Meanwhile bring 1.5 liters of water to a simmer. Add the baking soda carefully as it will foam quite a bit initially.
6. Add three or four of the dough buns at a time to the simmering water for about 45 seconds, turning them once.
7. Remove from the water, allow excess water to drip off and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (I used a Silpat baking mat, which worked great.) With a sharp knife, cut a cross into the top of each bun and sprinkle with your topping of choice. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until nicely browned and your kitchen smells like a German bakery.
9. Try not to devour all of them. By yourself. In one sitting.

Enjoy!! Easy and delicious! And if you make the dough the night before, you can have fresh buns for breakfast. Also, they freeze really well.

A note: This recipe is easiest if you have an electronic kitchen scale that also measures in grams. For the liquids, 1 ml is equal to 1 gram, so you can weigh them on the scale as well.

Tomorrow, I'll have a bunch of art for you! In the meantime, have a beautiful Thursday!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Something New

For a very long time I have wanted to participate in Ginny's Wednesday Yarn Along where everyone shares what they are knitting and reading at the time.

For some reason I've been putting it off. My blog used to be about everything creative I was doing, which included knitting, sewing, crocheting, cooking or baking. Or travel. Or what I was reading. Or whatever else delighted me.

Lately it has become pretty much only about my art and while there is nothing wrong with that, I miss documenting all the other parts of my creative life. So, here's some knitting for you. I have had this beautiful sock yarn in my stash for a few years and it just begged to be turned into socks. The Pattern is the Misti Alpaca Sock Family, which is a basic sock and quite simple to follow.
The yarn is so soft and a joy to knit with. And those colors! They remind me of the colors I use in a lot of my paintings. This is going to be a pair for Daniel for when it finally cools down. Right now, it still feels like a hot and humid summer, but I have high hopes for some fall temperatures in October.
And what am I reading? I'm on the fifth of the Harry Hole series, an excellent Norwegian crime series. Because we first discovered them on a trip to Germany, we are reading the entire series in German. I find that during the long and hot southern summers, I read a lot of books that take place in Scandinavia, the British Isles or Iceland. It allows me to cool down ... at least in my mind.
Tomorrow, I'll be back with a recipe for pretzel buns (Laugenbrötchen) and on Friday I'll have some art to show you!

Have a beautiful Wednesday and I hope you'll enjoy whatever it is you have planned.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Charcoal Love

Dear friends, I know I've been quiet as of late. I've been busy enjoying the rest of the summer with Daniel before he starts teaching again. And...I've discovered a new love: charcoal!
Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile know that I've always had a fascination with portraits and it seems I'm getting back to that (while still doing my colorful animal paintings).
I've had such a yearning for working with charcoal in a style that's been in my head and is finally finding expression.
Here are four larger charcoal drawings I did in their various stages of development. Enjoy!

Even though this isn't painting in the strict sense of the word, I am still linking to Paint Party Friday, a wonderful place to gather creative inspiration of any kind!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!