Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Challenges are good! Matching eyeballs.

Several months ago, Michaels Craft Store featured a paper tape by Jane Davenport, where the whole roll of tape features
eyes.  I thought it would be fun to challenge my nephew, Ren, who just graduated from High School, to start with the same eye and then we would complete them with our own imaginations.  Below is paper tape roll and my notebook as it appeared in the beginning of the challenge.

Here is my favorite completed drawing, that I call "Robotica".  My nephew, Ren, likes science fiction stuff, so I was trying to think of mechanical images as I did this.  I used my wire drawing skills to get the unusual line work.  It was so fun to do!  The right eye is the paper tape eye.
6" x 6" wire drawing

Below is Ren's drawing, that started with the same paper tape eye.  He got an art scholarship for college. He is so gifted.  From the time he was 2 years old, he has always sketched almost every day!  I'm a very proud aunt!   Isn't his drawing fantastic?  Doing these will build your imagination and might even lead to a painting. Really fun to do!
Drawing by Ren Nisley

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Before and After! Makeovers are good sometimes!

"Proud in Pink"
 Image:  29"x 21"  Framed:  38" x 30"
Acrylic Painting on Paper        $2000
The painting on the left was painted at the Joyce Ells Paint-in last Fall. I knew that it wasn't done, but decided to set it aside till I knew how to solve it. First of all, paintings at Paint-in's often have problems because you are among 30 other artists with lots of interruptions and gabbing during your creative process. I'm not complaining cuz I love Paint-ins. I am there to reconnect with my art buddies rather than having the goal of creating masterpieces. Anyway, I have had this landscape in my mind for at least 5 years with a dusty pink barn and Holstein cows leading up to the barn. I finally decided to paint that image. But then I lost my nerve to add the cows. No worries, cuz at least I had the pink house and barn. Someone came by and remarked how awful the colors were!😳 Pretty gutsy of her, don't you think? Well, that made me even more determined than ever that the pink barn STAYS!
So, this week, I needed a painting for a national competition and decided that it was time for me to finally do a makeover on this painting.
Things I wanted to change:
1. I didn't like the brown colors.
2.  I felt that the light pathway lacked interest.
3. The painting lacked the "wow" factor, so I decided to add bright colors.
4.  The center of interest needed to be made more clear.

So, I worked out a color triad that went with pink. Yes, the pink has to stay!  I used cobalt blue, Quinacridone magenta, and hansa yellow medium.  I also added a tiny bit of raw umber and Bahama Blue.  I got out my chalk and made a better pathway of light.  Then I wiped out the new pathway, using rubbing alcohol.  If you know me at all, you know that I love the color, red.  I knew that if I showcased the building by red, that I would be a happy camper!  I instantly felt better after the red was added.  I think this is a good lesson for all of us.  Some of my BEST paintings are the ones that I struggle with.  They appear deeper, if I can only make it past the ugly teenage stage!  Now, I love the new colors and I like the new design too.  Fingers crossed that it will get accepted into the show that I entered.  Time will tell..... But the most important critique of your paintings is always YOU, and if you are pleased with the outcome, nothing else matters!  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Landscape Wire drawing

So, my latest craze is wire drawings. I love drawing birds or other animals, and now have added abstracts to the list. One thing that has been hard for me till now, is drawing landscapes using my wire drawing skills. I'm encouraged by this outcome. I'm hoping to do an acrylic Gustav Klimt beginning and bring this landscape study to life. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Best soup EVER!!!

"Tortilla Soup"
Tonight, my husband, Dick, and I made homemade soup together. Part of our new lifestyle after Dick retired, is cooking together. Secretly, I'm hoping that he will like it so much that he will take over the cooking chore. 😀  Anyway, I found this recipe in a People Magazine and it's one of the best soups I've ever had. Here's the recipe: Enjoy!!!

Tortilla Soup
From Karen Knutson
(serves 8)

2 ½ lbs. chicken breasts
4 dried ancho chiles OR 4 dried pasilla chiles
4 cup chicken broth (2 cans)
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tsp. Kosher salt, or to taste
¾ large white onion, diced
1 large bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Tortilla strips (you can buy these at Byerly’s near the fresh soup deli)
Fresh spinach
About 3 or 4 avacados (pitted, peeled and diced)
About 1 cup feta cheese
8-10 fresh mushrooms, sliced in large slices or ¼ cubes

In a large stockpot, bring chicken and broth to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, place chiles in another medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.  Then, Drain the chile.  Let cool slightly and then, remove the seeds, stems, and veins.  Cut into strips and set aside.
 With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from pot and, after it cools, cut into cubes (if you plan to freeze this, make the cubes large, if not, make them about 1” cubes).  Set aside the stockpot of broth.
Place the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth, adding ½ cup of the reserved broth if the mixture is too thick.
Stir the chile puree and half of the cilantro into the broth.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add salt if needed.  Stir in the chicken and the remaining cilantro.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms the last 5 minutes.  Add remaining cilantro just before serving.

In bowls, place about 4 or 5 spinach leaves in the bottom of the bowl.  Then add soup, and top with avocado, about 1 T. feta cheese, and the tortilla strips.  Serve immediately.  

**This recipe is a revised version, From Eva Longoria (of Desperate Housewives)  from People magazine.


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