Preparing for Inspired Results

I LOVE to escape into creativity!  it’s why I named my studio “artescape ” Lol. Escape…  Lately… Not a, chance!  I’m sitting at my studio this morning, oh so briefly, wondering when in the world I’m going to spend 3, 4 hours… the whole day, making art! Everything (nothing fun) lately has prevented that from occurring. Sometime or another, life is overwhelming, everything sort of stinks…  Reflecting back to the 80’s of my young adulthood… it’s like Roseanne Roseannadanna says: “like I always say, it’s always something, if it’s not one thing it’s another “.

I’ve decided to embrace preparing for those glorious opportunities to be free,  to be creative! So I’ve been painting papers, again. It’s amazing how much painted paper one needs to create a large mixed media piece, like a cow or a goat or a sea turtle. A lot! So when I don’t have time to fully escape, I enjoy playing around with my art stuff. Paint, rollers, stencils and paper, along with a fairly clean table (sometimes the floor) and I’m happy.  It’s wonderful to turn on some music and just start painting with nothing particular in mind.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m messy… so every so often, when I’m spending too much time looking for the one thing I need but can’t find,  I stop what I’m doing and organize to some degree. This is another way of preparing for future creative opportunities. I find that “thing” that I saved or a scrap of something I painted a while back, and ooooh, it leads to spotting another bit of something that is so perfectly paired with the first thing and so it goes. I start little piles of gathered items and eventually, they will be used together to create a piece of art, like the 2 square pieces in the photo below. (Works in progress) Just imagining the possibilities… I feel better already. Preparing can be creative and often times more enjoyable than finishing a piece of art. Soon, very soon, you’ll find me at my studio :)

 

Color of Spring

Over the past year or so, I’ve done quite a few artworks depicting the night… I do LOVE the moon, moonlight and animals that come out at night. The newest pieces I have started have a much brighter daytime palette. It’s nice to get back to some lovely blues, greens, pinks and yellows. I make art that makes me happy… that’s really important to me. These are playful and fun, and explore the amazing imagination of our Creator! I’m thankful to have the opportunity creatively share my vision of the world we live in. There is magic to be seen… everywhere.

While I’m trying to wait patiently to welcome an actual goat to my family… I decided to paint/collage one — not that I’m planning to get a cow too, but she needed a friend. Next…a flock of chickens. I’m working on some sketches :)

 

 

If all goes well… Sophie and Pinky will make their debut at the Melbourne Art Festival (Booth A 185) April 27th and 28th.  (18″ x 24″ mixed media on cradled board. )

Bon Appetit

I can’t believe it’s been soooo long since I last posted. So much art… and life,  has happened in the last year. I’m going to try and fill in a lot of blanks, but for now, I ‘m getting ready for the Melbourne Art Festival next weekend and recently finished 3 new pieces for “Bon Appetit”, a show at Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, here in Melbourne, Fl.

These pieces are a combination of acrylic paint and collage. The multi artist show, Bon Appetit, celebrates food… mostly nice looking (pretty) food. I had a lot of fun with these and think they would make a nice addition to any kitchen or dining area :)

The show at the gallery ends next Saturday (4/27/2019)… so I will bring them to the Melbourne Art Festival to add to my tent, on Sunday.

Prints and greeting cards are available. Here

 

No Tangerines Here

My friend Marti gave me a treasure for my birthday years ago — a Meyer Lemon tree. I have had years and years of successful crops of lemons! My husband Jay wishes so much that it was a tangerine tree…

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Renee’s lovey lemon tree

Meyer lemon trees are scraggly. They don’t grow in a regular fashion but prefer to spread out. You can even espalier them to the side of a house or trellis. I tell Jay it’s a great attribute of the Meyer Lemon tree. Our tree is growing sort of sideways right now, reaching for full sun; it annoys Jay. When I told him this morning that I had harvested some beautiful lemons and preserved them in jars with salt and spices… his response: “imagine if that was a tangerine tree and your out working in the yard, sweating and you walk over a pick a nice juicy tangerine.” Me: ” But lemons are so beneficial! ”

Over the last 4 or 5 years my annual crop is around 70 large Meyer lemons. Not the little tiny California grown Meyer lemons either, but big Florida, size of a grapefruit, lemons. I’ve canned jars and jars of lemon marmalade, cherry lemon marmalade, lemon fig marmalade, lemon honey jelly and preserved jars and jars of  lemons.

Preserved lemons are made with lots of salt and I like to add the suggested spices; cinnamon, cloves, coriander and peppercorns. You wash your lemons very well since what you will eventually be using is the peel. Use sea salt or good canning salt and layer the lemon sections, spices and salt in canning jars; squeezing the juice from the sections into the jar as you go. Once your jars are filled, you put lids on, not too tightly, and set them in a dark place (my pantry) to start the fermenting process. Every day or two open the lid to release built up gasses and gently shake them up to re-distribute the salt. After a week or two the fermenting process has created a funky, lovely, exciting aroma :) Now you can stick the jar in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation. The great thing is… you can keep your preserved lemons for a year or more in the fridge and use when wanted.

I use them for seafood soups and stews, my version of Moroccan chicken with lemons and olives, seafood marinades, vinaigrette… etc.  To use the lemon you remove the sections from the jar and rinse well to wash away the salt. You also remove the pulp and discard, leaving the soft aged peel to chop, mince, dice — whatever you like.

Another great benefit of having a Meyer Lemon tree… their lovely purplish blooms have one of the best fragrances and your whole yard will smell heavenly. Bon Appetit and happy gardening!

lemon bloom

Titanic failure… or success

Whew… 7 courses, 10 guests, so many hours… I must say it went off better than I anticipated. Most importantly, I think everyone had a wonderful and memorable evening. After a very tough 2014, I realized it is “later than you think” and I’m trying to realize each day’s blessings and create memories with family and friends. A fine example… my friend (lizard friend) Eddie IV, one day you are king of the flower pot… catching moths and bugs every night by the breakfast nook window and growing back your tail…that some awful dog named Beau removed, and the next day your friends (me) are lamenting your demise due to the attack by the aforementioned BAD DOG… Beau. Eddie loved life!  Anyway… creating events and enjoying each day is so very important!

Back to the dinner

The Menu

First Course
Oysters a la Russe • canapes a’l’amiral

Second Course
Consomme Olga

Third Course
poached salmon with mousseline sauce

Fourth Course
filet mignon lili • potatoes anna • pea puree

Fifth Course
punch romaine

Sixth Course
asparagus salad with Dijon vinaigrette

Seventh Course
ice cream • chocolate dipped éclairs

My favorite course was the cold poached salmon with mousseline sauce. I usually eat my salmon hot off the grill or out of the oven. Poaching it in a court bouillon (lightly flavored white wine and vegetable stock) kept the delicate flavor and texture of the salmon. I used a Scottish Salmon from Norway as opposed to Alaskan Salmon. It was beautiful…as you will see. The mousseline sauce is a hollandaise with whipping cream added before serving. Another favorite course was the asparagus salad, also served cold with a vinagrette. I kept this course in the meal because my husband Jay loves asparagus. It was served after the beef filet. Blanching the asparagus and then chilling it kept all the great flavor.

I owe much of the success of this event to my son Jay. He worked alongside me all day on Saturday as my sous chef. I always tease him when he is in the kitchen, about how long it takes him to do tasks. He is a perfectionist and thinks recipes should be followed exactly… I don’t. He peeled vegetables, piped the pastry cream into the eclairs, researched the proper table setting and folded napkins, all in a short span of time!  He also helped me plate each course throughout the evening… and because he is so intrigued by facts and history, he now knows much more about the Titanic and the food on the Titanic than I do.

My husband Jay did a little research about the champagne served on the Titanic and we toasted the evening with  Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Champagne. Each of our couples brought a wine pairing for their assigned course and really outdid themselves. We sampled some wonderful wines that enhanced the meal.

It was definitely a night to remember! If you are considering serving the Titanic dinner… remember to enjoy all the preparations and focus the memories you are creating. Bon Appetit!

p.s. take lots of pictures… my biggest regret is forgetting to take pictures of each course. Next time :) To answer my own question, I would definitely say the evening was a success.

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A Meal of Titanic Proportions

On Saturday, April 18th… 103 years and 1 day after the RMS Titanic tragically sank after colliding with an iceberg on her maiden voyage destined for New York City, I am cooking a 7 course menu from the last meal served in the 1st Class Dining Room, for 10 people. This will be the inaugural meal for the new Sanderling Drive Dinner Party Group. On many, many occasions my husband Jay has requested this meal… My usual response is, “are you crazy”, “it would be too much work”, “NO”. When one of my neighbors mentioned starting this plan to share hosting a dinner with some of our neighbors, the Titanic meal came to mind and I offered to be the first hostess. So…today is Thursday, yesterday I cooked my beef stock for 7 hours and today I will be making the court bouillon to poach the salmon in along with a long list of other tasks to accomplish today. I LOVE cooking! This will be a daunting challenge for even a seasoned chef. It will not be a perfect meal because there are always things to improve on. I have scaled back the menu from 10 courses to 7…since I don’t have a sous chef and I would like to enjoy dining with my guests. Each couple attending is bring a wine to pair with their assigned course and a champagne toast will kick off the evening. If you would like to take on this task, no fear… there are lots of places to look online for assistance! The recipes are available along with suggestions on how to break down all the tasks into an organized, hopefully efficient plan. I’m depending heavily on this. You can look at http://downtonabbeycooks.com/2012/04/05/game-plan-for-hosting-a-1st-class-titanic-tribute-dinner/ , and I am also relying on a great blog: http://www.thedragonskitchen.com/2012/04/complete-first-class-titanic-menu.html and… I did get a used copy of “Last Dinner on the Titanic” it is a great resource for all things Titanic. It even has that timetable I mentioned, and most likely I am behind schedule. We will have period music playing and even though my home most definitely not super fancy… I am polishing my silverware and have put all 4 leaves into my dining table. We mailed out the boarding passes to our guests and cleaned some thing that only usually get attention during the holiday :).  I am hoping that after Saturday evening the only mention by my husband about the Titanic Last Dinner will be, “that was great”. One  good thing… I can finally use the lovely chef’s toque that my friend Suzanne bought me for Christmas!

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     more pictures and updates to follow.

It’s Just Like Riding A Bike

It’s great…wonderful and exciting to be back at the studio. I have finally moved all the art materials that my family brought home for me when I was laid up with my broken leg, back down to my studio. I am also managing to make it down there regularly and get busy working… I know it’s art and I love making art and it may not seem like “work”… but while I could happily paint, collage, collect stuff, read… dream 24-7,  to make it each day’s priority is work. Planning around other commitments, responsibilities and chores, takes lots of creative strategizing :) My 2015 goal is to be super creative and productive.
I am trying my best to “go with the flow” and find that I’m happiest with the pieces where I trust my instincts and enjoy the process of art-making. Several of the pieces “on the table”, or easel, depending on the size of the piece, are moving toward completion and I’m hoping to have them at my next show in a few weeks.

This week I realized I was running low on the painted papers I collage with… so, I took a day and painted paper. It’s a part of my process that I LOVE. A large artwork that is primarily collage, requires a lot of paper inspiration. One portion of a painted paper can also lead to a brand new artwork…

Here are some of this week’s work:

The Big Easy

French quarter

Heading home from another great trip to NOLA. I have seen several signs around town that say: “New Orleans, is the most foreign city in the United States”. I haven’t been to all the cities in the US, but New Orleans is definitely different in an amazing way; the food alone is worth the trip. Food, “flavor”, art, history, architecture, and wonderful hospitality. New Orleans is like a touch of Paris with a 1 1/2 hour flight. We had great food… I think I said that… lunch at Commander’s Palace is a must-do, oysters, oysters, oysters everywhere you go. We had an oyster Rockefeller po-boy at Tableau that was amazing. Our best dinner was at Restaurant August… really amazing.

We started with their potato crisp and P&J oysters appetizer; lightly dusted with cornmeal and Parmesan and served with their house pickled vegetables. The entrees were gulf snapper in court bouillon and breaded “trout Pontchartrain” shrimp, blue crab, and wild mushrooms. We booked an early afternoon flight home to take advantage of one more meal of oysters… char-grilled oysters and an oyster po-boy at the ACME Oyster House; I don’t think you can beat the ACME for oysters! We will be back next year, trying new places and re-visiting our favorites.
Thanks New Orleans for always delivering a great time!

See Turtle Swim

photo_1 (4)This turtle has been so much fun to work on… incorporating lots of design elements by applying paint using some of my favorite stencils. Most of my turtle paintings push the color and design aspects just beyond what you see in nature. This piece will be featured at the Ponce Inlet, Florida Marine Science Center’s Turtle Day coming up in April.