Saturday, April 19, 2014

Plein Air Painting

 “Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.” ~ John Olsen

We are all about the manias here at Casa Del Aguas. It's good to try new things.  Sometimes we get sucked in before we know it.



My plein air painting mania started a week ago when I went to Michael's with my mom. I picked up a box of oil paints. It was only five bucks. I wondered what it would be like to be one of those artists that goes out to beautiful places and paints nature. Outside. In the Big, Blue Room.

It's been a long time since I've worked with oils and painting outside seemed like a challenge. Somehow the box found its way into the cart, as well as a pack of cheap canvases. Ten canvases, that's a lot of little paintings.


My friend Bob had mentioned at our last studio group meeting that he had a portable easel that he didn't use anymore. (He prefers to draw with a board on his lap) He sold me this gorgeous beechwood easel for $35. It collapses into a compact suitcase. The brass knobs are very steampunk and I had to practice setting it up and taking it down for an hour before I was comfortable with it.



It was great fun outfitting the easel with paper towels, paints, some brushes and a pair of scissors. The inside is like a Japanese bento box, with nice, little compartments to keep everything tidy. I dug out my old brush wash container and filled it with turpentine. My palettes were all gunky so I used a paper plate instead.

After procrastinating for a whole morning, I finally got out the door. What if it didn't turn out? What if the painting was awful? What if the colors didn't go right? What if a million things? My adventure didn't start out well. The park where I'd planned to go was packed. Some big event was going on and every parking place was taken. I drove around for a half an hour before driving to another mesa.

Once I finally got set up the time flew by.



There are a few bits that need tweaking but all in all I'm not disappointed with it. I need to work on a lot of techniques, composition, foreground, middle and distance. Still, it was a delight to try something new and I can't wait to get out and try again.

Wishing you a happy Easter and a beautiful Spring,

Marilyn.

--

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The World is Full of Beautiful Things

The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

~ Robert Lewis Stevenson


Last night at midnight there was a full lunar eclipse so we sat outside and watched it change color....




 The Crimson Moon...


There's an app for everything. The Wonderhub was able to find the names of constellations with his iPad. It even showed space satellites skittering by like waterbugs.





Around midnight, a possum took a stroll through the garden. Possums usually look like they are bothered by their bad teeth, all grumpy, on the edge of a hissy fit. This guy was kind of derpy, walking around jaunty like, as if the world was his snack bar on a fine evening. I imagine that he was humming this song to himself.

 


The world is filled with beautiful things, don't you think?   Like The Tiny Overlord thinking about this paper bird I'm working on...






And Cheddar Cheese Puffs... 


What's beautiful in your world?


Do tell,

Marilyn.




--

The world abounds with many delights
Magical sights, fanciful flights
And those who dream on beautiful nights
Dream of beautiful things

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Cats





The Cats
by Ann Iverson

To find such glory in a dehydrated pea
on the tile between the stove and fridge.

To toss the needs of others aside
when you simply aren't in the mood for affection.

To find yourselves so irresistible.

And always in a small spot of sun,
you sprawl and spread out the pleasure of yourselves

never fretting, never wanting to go back
to erase your few decisions.

To find yourself so remarkable
all the day long.

"The Cats" by Ann Iverson from Come Now to the Window. © Laurel Poetry Collective, 2003.

Monday, March 31, 2014

In My Kitchen.

My lovely friend Celia writes the most delicious blog on the planet... Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

http://figjamandlimecordial.com/

One of the things that she posts about is the delights in her bountiful Australian kitchen. She links to other blogs around the globe so I thought I'd share of few picts of what's cooking here at Casa Del Aguas.




A nice batch of bread dough turned into a baguette and some rolls.




 We had some friends over for dinner last Saturday and started off with a cheese board made by the hub. The pale yellow cheese is one of my favorites, "Red Dragon", made mustard seeds it has a kick.
He made the cutting board from a piece of walnut. It's just the right size for passing around.

The hub made parmesan polenta hearts. 


Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.   ~ Julia Childs

 I made a spicy tomato sauce to go with the polenta.


 
Oranges, dates and spicy sugared almonds on a romaine salad in an avocado oil/champagne dressing. 



 Almond sponge cake got a whipped cream and fresh strawberry filling with Nuetella.



The hub also made these steak rollups stuffed with carrots, spring onions and zucchini.


Last night I made Moosewood vegetarian chile, coconut cream corn, chicken strips, also lemon yogurt muffins. The muffin recipe came from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, another Moosewood cookbook that I hadn't looked at in a long time. It was like seeing an old friend.


What's in your kitchen? Do you have a favorite cookbook? Do dish!

Marilyn (aka Maz in Australian) :-)

--

"It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about - enjoying things." ~ Julia Childs


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Almond Pear Cake

I tried a new cake recipe this morning, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Almond Pear cake.


Homemade apple pie has always been my dessert of choice but this sponge cake is honestly a little slice of heaven. You can watch the video on how to make it here...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL06frx38bU

I whizzed up the batter in the food processor instead of using the beater, which worked out just fine.




Happy Weekend,

Marilyn.

--

"Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights." ~ Julia Child.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pencils

For some reason I was going to write this epic blog post this morning, telling you about everything that is going on in my life. I was going to tell you about my adventures taking care of my mom who has short term memory loss, my frustrations with drawing and trying to get things to look like the way I see them in my head, writing stories, getting rain after a year long drought, working on books for months and years and finally finishing some of them, but not all...

But I have a cold, and feel deflated, like an old inner tube.

So instead I tell you about how how every morning  I sharpen a handful of pencils and place them on the left side of the desk and by midnight they are all dull and in a row on the right side of the desk waiting to be sharpened again.










--


“It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.” ~ George Eliot

 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Day of Art at Rogers Gardens

Is there any better way to spend a Saturday than sitting at Roger's Gardens painting watercolors and hanging out with friends? I'd be hard pressed to think of a nicer one.



I got all my art supplies ready the night before. The bottles are liquid watercolor which makes for brilliant colors.  Brushes? Check. Pencils? Check. All set to go.

 The artists were asked to bring a finished painting to sell. This says "The morning pouring everywhere, it's golden glory in the air. ~ Longfellow" 


 My talented friend, Linda Ruddy, was there painting in oils. She brought hot tea and china cups, very elegant. We took over the gazebo for our paint station. 

The gazebo was originally from Main Street, Disneyland. We were grateful for the shade.


My awesome mother-in-law, who's a master gardener stopped by and we grabbed some lunch.  You know you're in California when you can get a tofu taco from a food truck.

Me demonstrating how mastic works, just paint on the mastic which a gum rubber then paint watercolor over it. when everything is dry you can rub the mastic off giving you a nifty batik look. This picture was taken by the talented photographer, Teresa Carlisle, who stopped by to say hi.



 Rogers Gardens has lots of beautiful potted plants for sale. 



 Some flowers from a hanging basket.



 Linda Ruddy's very fine oil painting. I love the soft colors in this. We talked a lot about the comforting power of art and loving what we love, be it dolls, toys or flowers.





Succulents.

 I started out the day painting with timid colors, but as the day went on I tried pushing the saturation and trying new things.  Whenever a kid would stop by to see what we were doing I offered to let them make their own painting. I was impressed by how fearless little artists are. Our conversations usually went something like this...

Me: "Are you an artist?"
Kid: "Yes, I am."
Me: "Would you like to paint a painting?"
Kid: "Yes, I would. It's what I'm bestest at. I'm really good at art."

Then the kid would take a brush and dive in. I was impressed with their creativity and self confidence. After that I tried to be braver and not worry so much about perfection.




A quick flower study.

There were dozens of artists painting all over the gardens. It was fun to walk around and see what everyone was drawing. So many different styles and mediums! 

 My friends, Karyn and Eden stopped by. Eden and I did mastic paintings.



At the end of the day, after eight hours of painting, I packed up my things and headed home, tired and happy.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, Karyn and Eden, Mandl and John, Margaret and Ronn, Theresa and Larry.  You made a lovely day into a completely perfect day.

And a big thank you to Theresa Marino and all the kind people at Rogers Gardens for making the Day of Art happen. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Marilyn.


--

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." ~ Pablo Picasso