This fall I took part in Connie Solera's 30-day "Painting the Feminine" course. It was an amazing experience. Not only did it open up an immense amount of freedom in my painting, I was able to connect with a very creative and passionate group of artists worldwide who were part of the course. Every day, Connie and the other women inspired me and their support and insights were tremendously valuable. I can't wait till the next Painting the Feminine course starts!
Here's a link to the Student Show.
This Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a little time to do something special for my family, so I decided to create some watercolor place cards for our dinner table. I had an assortment of gourds on display on my window ledge and on my front porch, so I used them as inspiration.
I used 3" x 5" watercolor postcards that I picked up at Hobby Lobby. I painted the gourds on the lower half of the card. When they were dry, I folded them in half and then added
each person's name. On the inside of each card, I jotted the date and wrote a little note about what I was thankful for about that person.
After our Thanksgiving prayer and toast, we went around the table and everyone read their note. It was a simple, but very special moment. After the meal was done, everyone had a little something to remember the day and how blessed I feel to have them in my life.
This past month I took part in an amazing creative journey called "Painting the Feminine". It was a 30-day online course by Connie Solera of Dirty Footprints Studio. Throughout this course, Connie helped the group to bring various aspects of the feminine into our painting practice. One of the most valuable parts of the experience was that were able to connect with the work of other artists through a private Facebook community. The work that they shared and the honesty with which they expressed their thoughts and emotions throughout the journey was inspiring.
I was particularly inspired by the work of Patricia Mosca. Her images really touched my soul. In fact, I made one of her images the screen saver on my phone.
With the encouragement of the group, Patricia compiled a book of her artwork, along with beautiful narratives for each image. Patricia's book is available for sale on Blurb. I encourage everyone to take a look at it and see if it touches your heart as much as it did mine.
Labor Day weekend is a time of creative celebration in Milwaukee's Third Ward. This former warehouse district has become a vibrant area filled with shops, restaurants and the arts. I haven't really taken the time to explore this area, so when I heard about the Third Ward Art Festival I definitely wanted to check it out.
The event did not disappoint. The area was filled with booth after booth of fabulous artists displaying their work. I was truly amazed at the quality and breadth of the artwork on display. The sound of acoustic musicians drifted through the air as people browsed and explored. Both kids and adults got a chance to express their own creativity with painting and coloring stations. And when hunger hit, there was plenty to choose from at the food trucks, surrounding restaurants and the Milwaukee Public Market.
I will definitely be back again next year!
Hands down, my favorite two months of the year are September and October. I call this time "Septober". From the warm days and cool nights to the beautiful fall leaves, I love everything about this time. This year, I've made a promise to myself to savor every one of the 61 days of Septober.
Over the years, I've experienced a lot of different Independence Day celebrations, from small town gatherings in the northwoods of Wisconsin with cake walks and bobber races to the all-out gala of the fireworks on the promenade with the Boston Pops. From large to small, in every one of these celebrations the best part is seeing people coming together to celebrate their American pride.
This year, my sister and her family invited me to join them for their town's July 4th Parade. The celebration in Delavan, Wisconsin was filled with delightful small town charm.. Flags and flowers decorated each streetlamp along the brick-paved downtown street. Children dressed in red, white and blue filled bags with candy as it was tossed from floats. Fire engines, classic cars, tractors and floats were followed by parades, horses, bikes and bands.
One of the most touching moments came when members of the town's Hispanic community marched jubilantly down the street. Their pride in being part of this country radiated from every one of them. As the came to the center of town, they released the red, white and balloons they were carrying into the sky. If was a fitting tribute to their soaring spirits.
The entire afternoon reminded me how blessed I am...to be part of this great country and to have a wonderful family to spend special moments with.
Tonight's venture into making something healthy and delicious from what I've got in the freezer and refrigerator led me to a pairing of pork chops and peaches. I marinated the pork chops to keep them nice and juicy. Then I sautéed them with some chopped peaches, red peppers, and onions. A splash of white wine in the pan brought everything together. I served it all on abed of rice. Delicious!
2 large or 4 small pork chops
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper
2 peaches, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
Marinate the pork chops for a few hours in the soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and sauté them in a large pan. When they're just browned on each side, add the peaches, pepper and onion to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan and let everything simmer until the sauce starts to thicken a bit and the peppers and onions are tender. Serve over rice.
When my neighbor shared some fresh asparagus with me the other day, I wanted to make a batch of the asparagus soup that I had loved when I was in high school. It was an old Diet Workshop recipe that called for canned asparagus, but I figured fresh asparagus would make it even better. When I dug up the recipe, I saw that it was made with chicken bouillon and dried onion flakes and thought it would be better if I freshened them up as well. And while I was at it, there were some carrots in my veggie bin that needed to be used up too.
I gave the 'remix' recipe a spin tonight, and it was simple, fresh and delicious. I added a bit of sour cream and croutons as an extra touch. I think this new version will replace the old one in my recipe box, but I can definitely say I enjoyed them both.
14.5 oz. can of asparagus or 1 lb. of fresh asparagus trimmed
14.5 oz. can of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup diced onions
1 - 2 carrots finely diced
1 tbsp. butter
If using fresh asparagus, simmer the spears for 3 minutes in boiling water, drain, then put into a blender. If using canned asparagus, just pour the asparagus and liquid into the blender. Add the chicken broth to the blender and puree the mixture. Then pour it into a large saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the soup to a simmer.
Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the carrots and onion till tender. Add them into the soup and allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with croutons and a splash of sour cream. Makes two nice size servings.
Last weekend I had such a great creative adventure! I took part in Alisa Burke's "Petals and Paint Retreat" at her studio in Seaside, OR. From beginning to end, it was a beautifully crafted experience. Alisa was truly a gracious hostess and filled the event with her own special touches.
As I stepped into her adorable cottage workshop, the scent of flowers was a delicious hello. There was a lush bouquet of flowers in the back of the room and mason jars with smaller nosegays at each person's station.
Also at each station was a basket filled with supplies, plus an abundance of extra goodies including one of Alisa's original watercolors, an art journal with a hand-painted cover, and postcards and a pencil pouch featuring her designs. Even the lunch bags each day were decorated with clothes pins adorned with one of her flowers.
I was particularly impressed with the way Alisa taught the class. The demonstrations and exercises flowed breezily from one into the other, leaving no one feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. We started with watercolors, progressing from simple color exercises to painting floral bouquets.
The second day, we moved into acrylics and got even more adventurous with our techniques. We worked the paint with our fingertips, then finished them with brushstrokes and ink highlights. One of the most amazing things was seeing how everyone's personal styles emerged on our final canvas paintings.