Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Plein Air - Farmland at Vick Louisiana

Plein Air Painting at Vick, Louisiana

Plein Air painting in oil done October 2017 - Vick, Louisiana

 This is what my family calls, the Wiley Field, in Vick behind my great grandmother's home.   It was farmed in soybeans this year.  And I went out on a recent Sunday morning in October after the harvest and painted this plein air oil.

I toned my gesso board first with an orange tone that became the background of the tilled soil.

I tried to portray the variegation in the distant tree line and the elegant drape of the tree hanging into the composition that was close to me.


Click here to view the auction for this painting on Daily Paintworks.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Painting in Oil but Loving Watercolors

Hwy 107  Oil on canvas 20" by 20"
I was fortunate enough to receive an honorable mention at a local art show for the oil painting above, for which I was given a gift certificate to Dick Blick art supplies.

Though I've been painting in oil lately - I am compelled to use my gift certificate to purchase Daniel Smith watercolors.  I've been enjoying painting smalls and little experiments in watercolor immensely since the workshop I did with Randy Meador last Fall.

Starlight Baptist Church- oil on canvas 12" by 12"

This smaller oil painting is of a curve that I pass daily on my way to work in a small town rural community in Louisiana.  I enjoyed experimenting with layering this layers of oil paint diluted with Gamsol and linseed oil to get the shadows and shading in the trees.

Starlight Baptist Church curve is a recognizable place for those travelling down Hickory Hill road in Avoyelles Parish (aka the AP or simply the Parish).

I am especially fond of our Louisiana state highway signs.  I like the boot shape of the state and the colors that get reflected in the white of the state shape.  My favorite is to find an old sign that resides under a tree and has mildew on the white area bring a fun array of colors to the sign.

Vick Lane Turn Sign - oil on canvas 24" by 24"
Road signs damaged by farm equipment or other traffic are also attractive as a painting subject.  This turn sign painting at right is from an unpaved lane in Vick, LA where school buses and farm equipment pass often.

I enjoyed the challenge of showing the bends and tears in this sign.

Though road signs are a favorite feature of my road scape paintings, I'm also attracted to painting water towers in landscapes as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Watercolor Workshop with Randy Meador

I recently went to a watercolor workshop in Saint Jo, Texas.  Though I usually paint with acrylic paints, I was persuaded to attend this workshop because it boasted to be beneficial to painters of all media and highly entertaining as well. 


So off I went in late October to North Texas-

Watercolorist, Randy Meador, taught this non-traditional watercolor workshop for 22 attendees at Donna Howell-Sickles church studio in Saint Jo.  
He's a consummate cowboy artist as you can see by his Western attire.

But his pioneering attitude towards his art is authentic and endearing.  Though he asserts he taught himself watercolor through books, he practiced and practiced until he was able to reproduce and achieve his desired effect.

His easy demeanor, affable nature and his natural "I know I'm easy on the eyes" charm, make this workshop a winner no matter what kind of artist you are!

Randy Meador

In medicine we have PEARLS - the nuggets of "can't forget wisdom"

 

Here's Randy's watercolor pearls:

  • let the pigments float and "do their thing" in the water - this gives a distinctly non-painterly technique.  (We are water coloring - NOT painting.)
      • NO WHITE paint!  
        • * if you need a white area - don't watercolor on it and let the paper show through OR watch Randy take out his enormous Bowie knife and scrape off a highlight on an earring or an eye!
  • start with your lightest areas or "rooms" on your painting or sketch
  • creating these "rooms" on my sketch was quite helpful to give an area to let the watercolor happen
  • mix "buckets" of paint on your pallet before beginning your work - these buckets are within your pallet and should have perhaps two colors - that you are allowing to blend at their free will
  • use a mop approach with a large soft brush
  • work top down and do not go back into your watercolor area with your brush/mop
  • leaving one layer of watercolor allows the luminosity of the pigments to shine
  • he makes his pictures pop with a contrasting intense background of ivory black and prussian blue - warning: this inky background requires a lot of pigment! (Read lots of $)
  • "watercoloring" is accomplished when we walk away, fold our arms and let our paint dry before returning to the paint - so Randy likes to have several paintings going at once.
  • don't be afraid to RUIN your painting!  That's right - mess it up, ruin it - right at the start.  This takes the pressure off of trying to perfect something - because you CAN'T CONTROL WATERCOLOR - this isn't painting.  Let it go, let it be watercolor.
Randy's watercolor pallette

Randy's unique approach to watercolor is... 

 

Brave and forthright but mysterious at the same time.  

No two sketches, paintings or watercolors are identical - each has their own energy because he is free to let the watercolor do the work.  No painting here.  This is about a controlled relinquishment of design and painting, which is probably the toughest part of this workshop for many.

The impish grin

 

His work has a compelling vibrancy and light that is unmistakably his own.  Look at his work and you will see it.  Clearly after listening to him, I saw that this was achieved with much study, practice and hard work on his part.  (Afterall, that is usually how one attains greatness.)  

 

But I'm always in search of some shortcuts to fabulousness - so I went to this workshop.

 

It was a success for me - because I had no bad habits to lose (in watercolor).  No techniques or skills to depart from.  I felt free to try his suggested technique and be ok - if I did nothing more than make a mess on some fairly costly watercolor paper (which I did).  And now I will practice mixing colors, and making washes and reserving highlights at home in my Camp Effie Art Studio.

 

Best of all - I left with that "I must go home and make this happen" feeling.

 

 

1- Beginning - Randy does light room first
2 - Next - he adds a darker room
3 - Inky contrast added to make it pop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other fabulous bonuses:

Seeing Donna Howell-Sickles, her gallery, her studio again!  She is such a pulled together lady and an incredible artist - visiting her studio is an inspiring privilege.

Donna and me
Wine at Arche Vineyard
New friends




Low carb cheeseboard at Arche Vineyard
Longhorn in progress






Workshop participants hard at work

Watercolor Workshop at Davis & Blevins Gallery with Randy Meador

I recently went to a watercolor workshop in Saint Jo, Texas.  Though I usually paint with acrylic paints, I was persuaded to attend this workshop because it boasted to be beneficial to painters of all media and highly entertaining as well. 

So off I went in late October to North Texas-

Watercolorist, Randy Meador, taught this non-traditional watercolor workshop for 22 attendees at Donna Howell-Sickles church studio in Saint Jo.  
He's a consummate cowboy artist as you can see by his Western attire.

But his pioneering attitude towards his art is authentic and endearing.  Though he asserts he taught himself watercolor through books, he practiced and practiced until he was able to reproduce and achieve his desired effect.

His easy demeanor, affable nature and his natural "I know I'm easy on the eyes" charm, make this workshop a winner no matter what kind of artist you are!

Randy Meador

In medicine we have PEARLS - the nuggets of "can't forget wisdom"

 

Here's Randy's watercolor pearls:

  • let the pigments float and "do their thing" in the water - this gives a distinctly non-painterly technique.
      • NO WHITE paint!  
        • * if you need a white area - don't watercolor on it and let the paper show through OR watch Randy take out his enormous Bowie knife and scrape off a highlight on an earring or an eye!
  • start with your lightest areas or "rooms" on your painting or sketch
  • creating these "rooms" on my sketch was quite helpful to give an area to let the watercolor happen (stand with folded arms)
  • mix "buckets" of paint on your pallet before beginning your work - these buckets are within your pallet and should have perhaps two colors - that you are allowing to blend at their free will
  • use a mop approach with a large soft brush
  • work top down and do not go back into your watercolor area with your brush/mop
  • leaving one layer of watercolor allows the luminosity of the pigments to shine
  • he makes his pictures pop with a contrasting intense background of ivory black and Prussian blue - warning: this inky background requires a lot of pigment!
  • "watercoloring" is accomplished when we walk away, fold our arms and let our paint dry before returning to the paint - so Randy likes to have several paintings going at once.
  • don't be afraid to RUIN your painting!  That's right - mess it up, ruin it - right at the start.  This takes the pressure off of trying to perfect something - because you CAN'T CONTROL WATERCOLOR - this isn't painting.  Let it go, let it be watercolor.
Randy's watercolor pallette

Randy's unique approach to watercolor is... 

 

Brave and forthright but mysterious at the same time.  

No two sketches, paintings or watercolors are identical - each has their own energy because he is free to let the watercolor do the work.  No painting here.  This is about a controlled relinquishment of design and painting, which is probably the toughest part of this workshop for many.

The impish grin

 

His work has a compelling vibrancy and light that is unmistakably his own.  Look at his work and you will see it.  Clearly after listening to him, I saw that this was achieved with much study, practice and hard work on his part.  (Afterall, that is usually how one attains greatness.)  

 

But I'm always in search of some shortcuts to fabulousness - so I went to this workshop.

 

It was a success for me - because I had no bad habits to lose (in watercolor).  No techniques or skills to depart from.  I felt free to try his suggested technique and be ok - if I did nothing more than make a mess on some fairly costly watercolor paper (which I did).  And now I will practice mixing colors, and making washes and reserving highlights at home in my Camp Effie Art Studio.

 

Best of all - I left with that "I must go home and make this happen" feeling.

 

 

1- Beginning - Randy does light room first
2 - Next - he adds a darker room
3 - Inky contrast added to make it pop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other fabulous bonuses:

Seeing Donna Howell-Sickles, her gallery, her studio again!  She is such a pulled together lady and an incredible artist - visiting her studio is an inspiring privilege.

Donna and me
Wine at Arche Vineyard
New friends




Low carb cheeseboard at Arche Vineyard
Longhorn in progress






Workshop participants hard at work

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Camp Effie Art Studio

Young Nutmeg



Everything Bagel on red - acrylic


 

Goat selfies

Okay, let's get it out in the open - I love goats.  

They are expressive, intelligent pets and provide us hours of entertainment with their antics.

We take lots of pictures of our goats - as many of you may take pictures of your dog, cat or grandchild.

My goats got a selfie stick!!!!

Goat selfies happened!

Yellow goat - acrylic

Whitey goat on blue - acylic

And I started painting goat selfies recently and it turned into an obsession with those goofy faces, innocent smiles and horizontal eyes. 

Follow me and my goats on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/buffchic/ 

 

Buttercup

I love pictures of goats and enjoy hearing about goats who are loved and pampered.  Please feel free to share your goat pictures.

Whitey Goat reaching for a tree - acrylic



Monday, October 17, 2016

Angola Prison Rodeo

50th anniversary Angola Prison Rodeo

My visit to the 18,000 acre prison farm and the spectacle of the Angola Prison Rodeo billed as the "wildest show in the South" where inmates get airborne.


The oldest operating prison rodeo in America runs every Sunday in October and one Sunday in April and features the Angola Rough Riders, corny rodeo clown jokes and the raw energy of bull riders, trick riders, inmate pinball and chariot racing.

This is classic showmanship, raw theater in a unique art form.  But politically correct it is NOT and many of those rodeo clown jokes are not respectful to women!  So BEWARE!

Angola Prison Rodeo and inmates competing in bull dogging, wild cow milking, bust out and bareback riding.  The rodeo wraps up with their version of "guts & glory" where inmates struggle to grab a red chip from the forehead of a Brahmin bull to earn themselves a $500 prize.  The day we went - two inmates shared the final prize after a group of ten inmates tackled the bull and held him down while they grabbed the "chip" proving rodeo is a team event.

The Angola Rough Riders.

Rodeo wrangler prepares to rope a steer

   The history here is deep and sometimes dark - this recent article references the watch tower at Angola at the new African American museum.

Though we did not get to visit the Angola museum this time we hope to in the future.

Event:  Wild Horse Race
My husband getting his hog fix.
Did I mention the food?!  Inmate groups sell all manner of fair type food to raise money for their organizations - prices are reasonable and lines are short.

There's cracklins, boudin, barbecued shrimp, sweet tea and ice cream.  And if that's not enough for you, and it wasn't for my husband, try the TRIPLE HOG SANDWICH featuring ham, barbeque pulled pork, bacon and grilled onions on an onion roll.  You only live once!

We enjoyed the (free) ferry ride across the Mississippi river in our car - neat experience the movement of the river in such a quiet format and seeing what prison employees experience daily as they commute to work from the north side of the penitentiary.

View from the ferry boat ride across Mississippi River
 There's also plants for sale here- yes, plants grown at the prison's greenhouse - a big selection, too!

Many come for the arts and crafts. (A $10 ticket if you are not attending the rodeo.) Paintings, leather belts, etched wood, wood crafts, and inmate crafted furniture are popular choices.  You will see many families arriving in their pick up trucks pulling trailers who are clearly ready to shop!

Angola Prison Rodeo LSU fan selfie.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Low Carb Manti Turkish Meat Dumplings in Tomato Butter Sauce

Low Carb Manti with Yogurt Sauce and Tomato Butter Sauce

I found this recipe for Turkish Manti on the Food & Wine site and decided to try converting it to a low carb meal.  It worked!

We found it so delicious even my son, who is not on low carb diet, found this keto converted meal delectable.

This savory meat dish has just the right balance of acid and fat from the tomato and yogurt.  I used ground beef for the meat filling (and meatballs) but I'm sure ground lamb or ground pork would be tasty as well.

It is a multi step recipe - but quite doable - and well worth the effort!

Admittedly this is a stock photo- we ate ours before taking pics
Make the dough first, then the meat filling and the two sauces.

Dough 

1 cup plus almond flour, plus more for dusting
2 tbsp coconut flour 
1 egg 
5 tblsp water or as much as needed to make dough form into a ball
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 

Combine all the dough ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.  It will form a moist dough.  Form it into a ball with your hands.  Traditional recipes with regular flour have you kneading it on a floured board- but I found this was unnecessary with the almond flour.  Let the ball of dough rest in the bowl where you prepare the meat filling.

Meat Mixture

1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, grated
3 tblsp minced parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients for the meat mixture in a bowl and mix well.  Mixture will be stiff- best to finish the mixing process with your hands.

Yogurt Sauce

1 c. Greek yogurt 
(keep in mind that any yogurt can be made into "greek style" by simply straining it and letting some of the water drain out.) note: I used Bulgarian yogurt because it is lower carbs- plus I just really like it.
1-2 cloves of finely grated garlic (depending on your taste for garlic choose 1 or 2)
Kosher salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to plate.

Tomato Butter Sauce

4 tblsp unsalted butter
2 tblsp tomato sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
Dried mint and Aleppo pepper, for garnish *note:

*note:  I did not have dried mint and Aleppo pepper on hand. I substituted tarragon and ancho chili powder - putting just a light dusting across each bowl as I served it.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in tomato sauce 
and paprika and keep warm.

Preparing the dumpling dough and meat filling:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, pat out the dough to roughly1/16 inch thick. (You will probably not get this soft low carb dough to go that thin - but do the best you can.) Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. 
Spoon 
1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square. To form the manti, fold the dough over the filling to form a triangle; press the edges together to seal. Transfer the manti to a slightly greased baking sheet.

Bake the manti dumplings on baking sheet in 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.  Yes, the meat cooks inside the dumplings!

note:  Traditional recipes boil the manti - but I found that my almond flour dough disintegrated in the boiling water.  So I worked out a wonderful compromise.  I baked the manti then made the remaining meat mixture -because I had extra- into small meatballs (1 scant tblsp each) and boiled them in salted boiling water.  I served these meatballs alongside the manti - and they were terrific.  

Boil meatballs in salted water as above- they will rise to the top of the boiling water when done - about 5-8 minutes depending on size.

Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and serve in a shallow bowl with the baked manti, spoon on the yogurt sauce and swirl in the warm tomato butter sauce and garnish with a sprinkle of tarragon and chili powder or dried mint and Aleppo pepper if you have access to it.