Tuesday, November 30, 2010


For quite a few weeks I have been working on knitting this vest for myself (of course). I designed it myself, and looking at it you can tell how ambitious I was in the beginning. Starting at the bottom, I had big ideas of complex, challenging patterns. As time went on I just wanted to get it done. The patterns got less and less complicated, and in the end I didn't even want to knit anymore. I crocheted the edging just to give myself a break. The thing was really a make up as you go project. I had to adjust and adjust as I went, but I like how it turned out and it fits me. What else could I ask of any project?
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Frenzy of Painting

This is all my work over the last couple of days, trying out my new sort of monoprints but not monoprints. They are all small, around 3x5 or 7x6...whatever. Why I don't make these things standard sizes I'll never know. They would be easy to frame, and it really doesn't matter what size they are. Anyway, I pretty much covered the bases with subject matter, and with the last one, the nude, I tried incorporating color. Actually, to me there is nothing quite as nice as black and white. I'm a person who is in love with values. I'll need to increase the size now that I have the technique down so that I can be more complex. Finishing something in an hour or so doesn't really seem like much of an accomplishment.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Version

It occurred to me that I could use oil paint instead of watercolor on the Yupo paper and get darker values. I rolled the paper up and did this like a monoprint, which is just what it looks like. It's not the image I had in mind, but I couldn't find what I was looking for (naturally) and came across this. I did a very small etching of this in school, of which I am very proud, and I like this bigger version too. Continuing in my self-pitying vein, it's from a photo taken of me and my mother when I was 18 months old. I called it "Do Not Leave Child Unattended."
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Pies

Armed with the experience of the lemon pie, I tackled mince pie for Thanksgiving. David made mincemeat using the green tomatoes left over from the garden. I made the pies separately just in case something went wrong with one of them, but both came out fine. I pinched a piece of crust off the edge of the less pretty one (on the right) to make sure it was up to standard, and declared the project a success. Just as the timer went off for the second pie, the phone rang. It was David saying that they had a holiday emergency.......their dryer had quit, leaving the linen tablecloth and napkins still wet. Now, moments later, they are swirling around in the heat of my dryer. What fun, and what a relief after recent events, to put everything else in the background. For one day at least, the worse that can happen is a wet tablecloth. We are ready, willing, and grateful to throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the celebration of a day, so I saw on TV the other night, that never really existed. How uniquely human...........we create a cerebral diversion for our cerebral troubles and step outside of the rest of the animal world for a moment.

Or at least we think we do. Dylan chasing his toys belies the fact that humans alone do things simply for the fun of it......

Speaking of animals, the chickens, who normally streak out the door the minute I open it and head for the far side of their pen to look for crumbs, noticed through the window as I approached that I was carrying a bag. When I opened the door, they surrounded me. Lilly, the brains of the flock, jumped up to investigate the bag while the others waited inches away for me to toss their Thanksgiving treats on the ground. Apples and cornbread......a chicken feast. Mine awaits down the street.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Diversion

Lemon Meringue Pie. I haven't made this for years, but David and Thom took me up on my offer to do it for one of our meals together. First, I couldn't fine my pie plates. I have used a cast iron pan in the past, so I substituted that. I had recently burned two different pans of muffins, so I was obsessed with the progress of the crust in the oven. I rescued it in time, though it still was done several minutes before it should have been. The oven is too hot, yet I can't figure out how to change that or accurately re-adjust the time. The filling was easy enough, though complicated and time-consuming. The meringue seemed to take forever. My mixer is to slow as my oven is to hot. Vigilence barely kept the meringue form burning, and voila!.....a masterpiece.

If only the taste had lived up to its beauty. I found it too sweet with a somewhat less than flaky crust. When I used to bake all the time, the results seemed much better. Making this pie would have been something I could do effortlessly. Of course I turned out three meals a day, 365 days a year, for many, many years. Perfecting recipes was my passion. I remember making batch after batch of doughnuts until I had the temperature perfect and the thickness of the dough just right. I cooked fudge constantly for two weeks trying to learn the precise moment to pour it into the pan after beating it "until it lost its gloss." Pork Chops were still juicy, roast beef was perfectly pink in the middle. Spaghetti (the word pasta became popular later) was al dente (also a recent word) and the homemade sauce had just the right spices. Bread was tall with a lovely light brown crust. My spanakopeta was legendary, as was my baklava. Arroz con Cerdo, empanadas, boef bourgignon, quiche, veal birds, ginger beef, lemongrass chicken soup, pad tai......all daily fare at our house. My three and five year old kids ate as easily with chopsticks as they did with forks and spoons.

Well, those days are gone, and with them my skill and desire to be a gourmet chef. Let me say, however, that ready-made meals in cardboard boxes and grocery store pastry are still far from acceptable. That leaves me with my diet of microwave popcorn and Klondike Bars.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Now Let's Belabor the Point

If one is good, may as well over do it. This is from a photo of Phil, me and the kids when we lived in Newburgh (1974-1978!). I have used the same photograph many times in various pieces and it never fails to come through. The irony just reaches out and slaps you in the face if you know the story. I had fun with it, but how long will this continue to entertain me? Certainly I'll have to ad something to the technique to make it interesting.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Self Portrait with New Hat

Here's an experiment with watercolor and ink on Yupo paper. After bombing at the last show at Lisa's gallery, I decided I may as well stop trying to compete with with so many other landscape painters and just forget about trying to please the buying public. How long will it last? There's no way of knowing. Sales are the measuring stick of success, and at one time I did fairly well at that. Now I don't. So I returned to my favorite subject, myself. It's the long-incubated child of the portrait I did years ago of David and Thom with Duncan.

I'm quite happy with it, and it has taken up my attention to a small degree, relegating my practical problems to a simmering cauldron in the background.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Take Two

This is actually a batter picture of the painting....the color is more true to the real thing......
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Long Time No See

This is a little 5x7 acrylic done from a picture in the newspaper. It's the first painting I've done in awhile and I guess it suits my mood. Things have not been going well for me and I've been spending all my time worrying. My ex-husband has decided to try and have our divorce settlement altered, which would take away my entire income. I have tried to get legal help, but without money there's not much I can do. Free legal services do not involve themselves in family law. I have taken matters into my own hands and written to his lawyer. Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter.

I am completely amazed that anyone would take someone's entire income away, let alone the person I married. We were very compatible in many ways and had a nice life. We have two children together. I have (had) a great degree of fondness for him despite everything that drove us apart. I am shocked that he would even consider putting me in the position I would be in if I had no income.

Well, it turned out that I never really knew my husband even when we were married, though I thought I did. This is just one more surprise, one more facet of his personality that I didn't realize was there.

Meanwhile, I have learned that I will get almost no fuel assistance this winter. Also, my car is out of commission and I am therefore unable to go to the shelter (or anywhere else) to work with the horses.

This is my sob story. Ordinarily I wouldn't let Emma rant like this on her blog, but I couldn't seem to stop her.
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