Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"We do not remember days,
we remember moments."
-- Cesare Pavese

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fast and Fabulous Dinner

I put this in the slow cooker early yesterday morning and when I walked in the door from work at 5:30 the smell was to-die-for. I just microwaved white rice and dinner was ready in 20 minutes. Delicious!
Slow Cooked Pork with Salsa, Cilantro & Lime  
1 jar salsa (16 oz.)
1 package dry taco seasoning mix or 2 T. homemade mix
½ red onion, diced
1 lime, juiced
3 T.  chopped fresh cilantro
1 ½ cups frozen corn
2 to 3 lb. boneless pork loin roast, sliced into 5 to 6 pieces about 1" thick
Rub pork pieces with taco seasoning. Place the salsa, remaining taco seasoning, and onion into a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Add the pork and stir to coat with the salsa mixture. Cover the cooker, set to High, and cook until the pork is very tender, about 4 hours. If desired, set cooker to Low and cook 6 to 8 hours. Stir in lime juice, cilantro and corn during last hour. Shred pork with 2 forks and serve over white rice. Serves:  6
Note:  The pork broke apart easily with a spoon, no need to shred. You can also use 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of pork.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Work In Progress

Here's the progression of my final assignment for Wyanne's Paint Free Class (named #8 in my 50 Painting Practice Series). I was starting to become way too attached to this concept and became afraid to do anything for fear I would ruin it. So I just stood there, staring at it, not knowing what to do next. I knew it wasn't finished and thought it was looking a little boring. I want my paintings to be interesting, and this just isn't.
So I got brave and just started making marks.

Again, I stood there gazing and staring, baffled at what to do next. I spent more time just standing there than painting.  I decided to just do something, whether it's right or wrong. So I took away the abstractness (which I love) and made it cute (which I'm not so fond of)! Unsure if I ruined it, decided to put it away and come back another day when I'm less judgemental about it and see the possibilities.
So I moved on to #4. The first layer of this collage was a piece I started last spring in Paul Gardner's Mixed Media Workshop. Didn't really like it (big surprise huh?) and it just sat there waiting for me to be brave and just do something with it. So a few weeks ago I painted some designs over the first layer. Being my critical self, didn't like it, so there it sat a while longer.

 So I messed around with it a little more.

Added some statements.

Then added some really watered down paint with drips and swirls to the top. This is on watercolor paper that doesn't lay very flat anymore because of all the collage materials in it, so the watery paint pooled in certain areas where it looks muddy. The brighter circles are where I applied masking fluid and have now removed it. So there's my under painting.

Yesterday I started to play with it adding some trees, flowery pods and color. I'd like it to have a landscapey feeling, but not in the traditional sense. I want it to be more fun and interesting and not really make sense. That's hard for the left brain person I truly am!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Why can't I get anything finished?
Why do I jump from technique to technique before giving them a chance?
Why can't I just enjoy the process and not be in a hurry?
Why do I think I need to sell a painting before I call myself an artist?
Why can't I like what I paint?
Why can't I paint in a style that I like?
Why does every one's art look better to me than my own?
Why, Why, Why?
While looking through some "draft" posts I had written a while back, I came across this one that caught my attention. I was clearly feeling frustrated with the whole painting process and doubting why I even paint at all. With my never-ending focus on the end result, I second guess every mark and judge the painting before it's finished. With those habits working against me, how do I even stand a chance? So needless-to-say, I too often quit and start something new, creating this cycle of never finishing anything.

That's why I am totally committing myself to the painting process through practice, practice, practice. I need to embrace the process regardless of the final product whether it's good or bad. I do hate the thought of posting a "bad" painting on my blog, but this IS my journey. It wouldn't be real if I only posted the good stuff, now would it?

I think it comes down to fear. Fear of looking amateurish. Fear of looking like a beginner. I want to be a seasoned artist, but I'm not. This is who I am, a student struggling to find her way. Counting the days until Flora's Bloom True E-course for more guidance on the process.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bloom True E-Course

This is one of my experiments in Flora's style of painting.

I LOVE Flora Bowley's work and have been trying to attend one of her workshops for a few years now. Since I can't seem to make that happen, I just signed up for her brand new e-course "Bloom True." I'm soooo excited...can hardly wait! She also has a book coming out in May...so looking forward to that too!

This course is another step in my quest to focus on the process not the product. Just finishing up my last painting for Wyanne's "Paint Free" e-course. I made the mistake of envisioning the final painting and now it's not unfolding as I envisioned...but I'm going with it and seeing where it ends up. So far I'm liking it!

It's funny, I read an article in CPS Jan/Feb 2012 by Tiffany Teske "The lessons I learned by making art," and she described me perfectly. One of her lessons was to let go of perfection because it's impossible to accomplish. In her teaching experience, students who are perfectionist (that's me) often give up before they have put in enough time and practice to improve. The happy painters are the ones who embrace their mistakes as learning experiences and make a lot of art.

I'm slowly shifting to a non-perfectionist way of thinking and developing an attitude of discovery. It's a very hard shift to paint with an attitude of "freeness" and "fearlessness" but I'm committed to it. So in between working on paintings for Flora's class, I'm going to continue my 50 Painting Series. I have about 7 pieces started so far.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What I Want for 2012

Practice Painting #1
First, without sounding too negative, I want to state what I DON'T want for 2012. I don't want a bunch of expectations of myself that, when not met, leave me feeling like a failure, a loser, a procrastinator, or just plain pathetic.

What I DO want for 2012 is simple...to learn to paint for the process alone, to have fun, to paint what I want, not what will sell, to develop my style through my mistakes, not my masterpieces.  In this post, I asked myself "Why can't I just paint 50 paintings of nothing and not care? I'm not getting ANYTHING done anyway...what harm could it do?"  So now I'm taking the steps to embrace the process simply for the process and starting my 50 Practice Painting Series. I remember reading something from Claudine Hellmuth quite a while ago where she mentioned after about her 50th painting she started to see her style emerge.

So here I go, painting for the sake of painting, to see what unfolds when I'm consumed by the process instead of focused on the product. To see what discoveries I make along the way, hoping to turn frustration into fun! Painting #1 above started as a blind squiggle drawing as suggested in Wyanne's e-course "Paint Free."  These faceless beauties are what emerged from my squiggles. I think they're kinda cute in their own unique way!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Pizza Mac Recipe

Another Recipe for You!

I talk a lot about the cookbook I made, "Home Cooked Goodness - A Collection of Over 140 Family Favorite Beef, Pork and Poultry Recipes." I created it as a Holiday gifts in 2010 and only printed about 50 copies. The plan at the time was to self-publish it and market it myself, but the effort required to do that just seems so overwhelming. So I figured I would turn it into an ebook and offer it as a download. So the next step was to buy Adobe Distiller to create the interactive PDF file, which is still on my list of things to do. But in the meantime, everytime I create a recipe that didn't make it into the printed version of the cookbook, I offer it on  my blog. So here's the latest and greatest. Enjoy!

Pizza Mac
16 oz. elbow macaroni
1 lb. ground beef
½ onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
garlic cloves, minced
1 jar pizza sauce (15 oz.)
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 pkg. pepperoni, sliced (3.5 oz)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the ground beef, onion, garlic cloves, salt and pepper over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in pizza sauce, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and pepperoni. Add half the cooked macaroni and gently stir; add more macaroni as desired. Serve and top with mozzarella cheese. Serves 6