Monday, February 27, 2012

First attempt at oil painting

This past Saturday night, my friend Amelia and I took an oil painting class. It was an absolute beginners and neither one of us had a clue as what to expect.

We had a really nice teacher and this was her first time to teach to adults. She is an art teacher for either middle school or high school, I can't remember. There were about 8 of us in this tiny space and sitting at card tables, 4 to a table. It was tight. So tight in fact that I was afraid to scoot my chair back for fear of knocking over things behind me.

So she taught us just a few very basics, handed out canvases, pencils and directed us towards a still life she had set up. It was so close no one really could see it and there was no room to get up and get closer to draw it. Luckily, she handed out pictures she had taken of it. Unfortunately, they were taken from a still life that she had practiced setting up in her home... haha it was kinda dark. But it worked.

This is what I was able to accomplish in the short 2 hours that it lasted. I sat so close to my canvas and held up my picture so close to it that I was unable to even see what I was drawing at the bottom of the canvas. My foreshortening is all wrong. Had I been able to stand up and away from my drawing I think it would have turned out better.

Oh well, I'm pretty happy with it. It was great fun and took the mystery out of oils for me. Who knew how easy it was?! Not me. I've been scared of them for ever. Not any more! I plan to paint more on this and hopefully I can correct the little sugar bowl and its wonky distortion. I'm up for any critques or advice =)

I am just about sick to death of Roses for the Dead. I haven't even really worked on it for a while, but now I'm all fired up for the oils but need to finish this to get it out of the way So it hopefully will be finished very soon if I can make myself do do it. I'm sure I can, I get into it once I get started. I'm anxious for it to be done. It's one of the largest pieces I've done. I'm ready to start going big!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's FAT Tuesday! Also Art Exhibit pictures

The art exhibit came and went in a flash. I didn't actually make it to the show until Saturday, it had started on Friday, and I should've went sooner. They had one of my paintings upside down! Jeesh. I can't believe they couldn't figure it out since I signed the back and put an address sticker on the bottom and I wouldn't sign it upside down! Oh well. 

Above is Asher with his Self Portrait. If you've read my blog much, you know he is a real pistol and these pictures of him show a little of that. So dramatic, I would swear I have a teenage girl... haha I kept trying to take a decent picture and he kept posing. Again with the dramatics. I finally gave up and just took what he gave me. This is truly him, so I think it's better than a fake reserved photo. Cause if there is one thing Asher is not, that would be reserved. I guess the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree is all I can say.

Here's the other painting of Asher's called "Caterpillar on Table" which you've already seen. The one he got the 2nd place red ribbon on. Shown with him doing different "tricks" for poses. haha

Next, we've got mine. Ugh... nothing like seeing yourself in a photo to make you put away the Girl Scout cookies your happily munching on faster than the speed of light.

There is something to be said about getting a good angle. And this ain't it.
Asher and myself with "Sinister Feline", the one they had upside down
Below is the "My Three Sons", by this time Asher was tired of posing and just wanted to leave.

Asher wasn't quite as proud as I was of his paintings. In fact, I was more excited about the show than he was but of course he doesn't quite understand what it's all about.

I didn't sell my paintings but it was still fun. 4 items sold in the show and one of them was a little purse in the shape of an owl face. Jewelry also sold (2 different jewelry artists) and then an oil painting of a lighthouse with a religious theme.

This was really my first exhibit. While I've done art shows before, it was a manned booth that I attended and was showing and trying to sell my art for either a day or perhaps a weekend. I think in the future, I will work a little larger and I will definitely take any opportunity to show my work. I'm ready to get more serious with my art and getting it seen in exhibits sound like a good way to keep me creating more things on a regular basis. To stay motivated.

I'm not sure if motivated is the right term, because I get great satisfaction in creating art and I cannot imagine me not doing it because I simply need to create, just... just because I am and because I exist and because I breathe. I think most artists are that way. Even if we were the only ones to ever see our own art we would still create it, right? I would and have up until I started blogging. 

How do you stay "motivated" for lack of a better word? 

On another note... Happy "Mardi Gras Day"! I know my post isn't about Mardi Gras, but I'd love to be down in New Orleans (with someone who knew their way around!) celebrating with all the fun and action.

I cannot believe that the television networks and movie channels are not playing one of my most favorite scary movies today, "Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh". It has a Mardi Gras theme through out. If you haven't seen it, run and go get it! It is fabulous!!


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Friday, February 17, 2012

Braggin' Time

I've got to brag about Asher's painting that got 2nd place in the School ARt Show for the Kindergarten class unbeknownst to me. I just happened to be walking in the school to use the restroom and saw it on the wall!

This is also one of the paintings that I put in the art exhibit with mine this weekend. The other is a self portrait that I will share later.

So I had to get a 3x5 card ready with his name, name of the piece and media and I asked him what he called this painting and he said with a very serious tone "Caterpillar on Table". Makes sense to me :) Be still my heart... the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree ;)  sniff sniff...

Here's all I've done on Roses for the Dead... not too much but it's coming along.

Have a great weekend!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day suckers.

So St. Valentine's Day isn't anywhere near a favorite holiday for me, but I do have this really cute guy in my life... we'll call him "Cupid" and he is making my Valentine's Days better each year. I love you my little "Cupid"!

Hope your Valentine's Day has been better than mine.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Italian Beef sandwiches

I made Italian Beef sandwiches with this new recipe last week and had to share it with you all because it was so yummy and fairly easy.

I got the recipe from my friend Amelia but cooked it a little different. She used her crock pot and I used my pressure cooker. Super fast that way. Otherwise they tasted the same. So if you have the time use your crock pot and if you're always planning what to eat like 2 seconds before you jump right in like me, then the pressure cooker will save you. My time management skills are lacking.

Ingredients are simple:
3 pounds of rump beef roast
2 packets of dry Italian Dressing mix
8 oz jar of peperoncini's including juice
1 can beef broth
onions (optional)
olive oil (optional)
buns, I like hoagie buns

Trim all the visible fat off roast because once it's in there, it's stayin'. This next part is optional. Brown the meat in a little bit of olive oil and onions. Then I added the can of broth, the peperoncini's, and the 2 packets of dry Italian dressing mix. Stir it around a little to mix up the dry stuff and put your lid on either the crock pot or presser cooker.

The crock pot would take about 8 hours on low or 4 on high until the beef is done and tender. My method of using the pressure cooker took me only 35 minutes once I brought it to full pressure (which was only a few minutes) at 15 pounds of pressure. Cool off using the natural method which means you just take it off the heat and let it cool and the pressure escapes. Easy peasy.

Always remember to open the lid away from your face unless you want to melt your eyelashes together, not that I would know... ahem.

I pull out the meat that is still intact in the hunks I had cut it in and then I pull the beef apart with two forks. The meat is so tender, it's very easy and you don't need a knife. Then add the shredded beef back into the juices and stir it up. I didn't even need to thicken it. You could if you wanted, I guess.

I toasted my bread under the broiler with butter and provolone. Just pile up the meat on the bread and enjoy! This is a sloppy meal, but sooooo yummy.  You can adjust the heat with less peperoncini's or could use banana peppers instead. I would call this a medium heat only because my husband thought it was. My heat indicators must be burnt cause I would label it more mild to medium.

I got about 8 good size sandwiches with the 3 pounds of meat. I'll make a bigger batch next time. I got a good deal for the meat at $2.39 per pound, so this is a pretty economical recipe, too. I hope you give it a try. Oh and try not to melt your eyelashes, they take a really long time to grow back in. Just sayin'.

Ooo... on another note, the art show I'm in is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'm pretty syked. I'm putting in 2 original pieces (the limit) and they are both for sale. I'm using "Sinister Feline" and "My Three Suns". I have since framed them but haven't taken a picture yet. Wish me luck!

Sinister Feline

My Three Suns

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Roses for the Dead continued

Slowly but surely, I continue to work on my "Roses for the Dead" pastel painting. The work actually goes fast, but I've been doing busy work like painting frames and other things instead of working on this.

My local Blick Art Materials had some wing ding yesterday and was giving out pull tab cards with discounts on them. I pulled a 20% off which is good considering I didn't have a coupon to be begin with but the lady in front of me picked out a card that was a $100 gift card! Dang! Oh well, good for her.

I'm hooking up with Paint Party Friday Woo Hoo! Go and see all the inspiration and talent there if you get a chance.

For those of you that read my post from last Friday, I have an update on my mammogram that I had to have "further evaluation" on. I got great news yesterday. I had my mammogram redone yesterday and everything is fine. No cancer! I am so relieved. The doctor was pointing at these little lines that crossed over in my x-rays that he was showing me but it all looked the same to me. Good thing that's not my job! Anyway, thanks for all the nice things you all said and well wishes and prayers. I love our support group here in blogland.

Oh, also some of you may know about Google getting rid of friend connect (a way to follow blogs). I found through Inspiration Avenue an alternative by the same smart guy that brought us Mr. Linky. It's free, you should check it out and if you do it, I'd love it if you followed me through there, too! See my upper right hand corner for a link.

Have a great weekend friends :)

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happiness in the mailbox

I opened up my mailbox last night to find a happy little envelope with stickers and hearts and stamps and was so excited to discover that it held goodies inside! 

In this world of automation, there is nothing like getting a hand written letter in the mailbox. And not that fakey hand written look either. Nope, this is the real thing. Just look what I got! My sweet friend Lisa over at Priti Studio must've felt sorry for me because I've been so pitiful lately, haha. Naww... she was just being her sweet giving self. 

Isn't it a beautiful little set? I call it a set because she sent along one of her cards, I think it was a moo card, isn't that what their called? It's beautiful and a tiny piece of art! Now to the gorgeous pendant... I think I even made a little peep sound when I looked at the pendant and saw the word artist on there. I always feel kinda strange referring to myself as artist, but wearing it is a different story. I will proudly wear this beautiful piece of art by my friend Lisa. It makes me so happy. I love Frida and Lisa paints her beautifully. 

If you haven't visited Lisa in a while you should go peek in. She just finished a spectacular commissioned piece of The Last Supper

Thank you, thank you Lisa... you've made my difficult week suck a little less.

p.s. is this font size crazy big?

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Pass the wine please

I'm working on a pastel painting at the moment, it's still of course a work in progress. "Roses for the Dead". You may remember seeing the drawing from some post from who knows when. I fall in love with pastels every time I use them. I don't know why I stop and go to other things. Paints for some reason just beckon me with their come hither texture and fabulous colors not to mention I find such delight in just admiring my palette. There's just something so romantic about holding a brush in your hand. Okay, I'm a little crazy.

But what  a fickle medium it is, I have these marvelous paintings in my mind and for some reason the end result gets hacked by either the paints, the brushes or technique. It can't possibly be me, right? haha Do you ever feel like you have no control over what you're doing?

Well I got the girls squished this week, Tuesday to be precise and then just yesterday I got the dreaded letter in the mail saying I have to go back in for "an ultra sound and further evaluation". Great. Just what I need, a week of worry and fret. I can't get back in until next Thursday. Pass the wine bottle please. I think I'll just stay drunk until then.

The chirpy girl on the other end of the phone was all "now this is all routine, it doesn't mean anything" Well if it doesn't mean anything then why the hell do I have to go back?!! I knew that technician was too good to be true. She didn't hurt me at all. She should've flattened those puppies out. At least now the pain would be gone and maybe now I would not be worried.

Ah so maybe I'm got a self portrait here...  just kidding. Other than that, I have tinnitus now in my left ear from probably coughing my head off and I just got back from having my eyes dilated. So I can't see a damn thing. If there's typo's I'm sorry but it's the doctors fault. I was sure I had macular degeneration. So far their just floaters, probably from coughing hard for so long. But I'm supposed to be looking for a black curtain, a sign of a  torn retina. Wonderful.

Let's see, is there anything else I can complain about? Not at this moment. Check back later though ;)

Happy Paint Party Friday! (I'm back!)

P.S. I've a quick question for everyone. Are the words too small and hard to read for you? It seems small to me, but I'd like your opinions.

UPDATE: I have an update on my mammogram that I had to have "further evaluation" on. I got great news yesterday (Thurs. 2/9/12). I had my mammogram redone yesterday and everything is fine. No cancer! I am so relieved. The doctor was pointing at these little lines that crossed over in my x-rays that he was showing me but it all looked the same to me. Good thing that's not my job! Anyway, thanks for all the nice things you all said and well wishes and prayers. I love our support group here in blogland.

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