In Progress. Like the drips? I succeeded in pushing the face at the top way into the background, but I don't like that big area of brick-red - needs some work.
I really love the face. I love, love, love the part-canvas and part-paper texture thing going on. And that you can still see the pencil guide lines. And those red lips! I just don't want to touch those lips - I'm leaving them as-is.
Happy, happy. These are my pieces to Lesson 1 of Julie Prichard's Layer Love class. See badge on my sidebar. Learning lots. This is a different way of working than I'm used to.
Place vodka, fresh lemon juice and Ginger Simple Syrup into shaker. Shake, taste, adjust amounts if necessary.
In case you didn't know, Simple Syrup is made by putting equal amounts sugar and water into a saucepan, bringing to a boil just to dissolve the sugar. You can add fresh sliced Ginger, Mint Leaves or other stuff to make flavored Simple Syrup. MMMM Mint...Mint Juleps...sorry, getting distracted...
ON TO CHILI: We tried a version of the Red Chili at Slim's Chili Shack, as seen on Guy Fieri's Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. We already tried the Green Chili, but we like the Red better. However, we still used the same process to make a blender sauce. See previous Chili blog post here.
Here's our new Red Chili. We didn't even want cheese or sour cream on it! It was that good!
Based on Slim’s Last Chance Red Chili, Seattle, WA
STEP 1: OVEN ROAST VEGETABLES
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place in roasting pan lined w/foil:
1 onion, quartered
About 3 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
1 Bell Pepper, whole (Green, Red, Yellow or Orange - your choice)
Green Chilis, whole: Anaheim, Poblano, Jalapeno, etc. About 3-6 peppers.
Toss with Olive Oil, salt, pepper and roast in oven 45 mins to an hour – check at 30 mins.
When done (nice and browned), cool a bit, remove stems, seeds and membrane from all peppers. Then place all vegetables – including any juices at the bottom - in blender and blend into a sauce. If needed, add some vegetable broth.
STEP 2: DRY SPICES
In a ramekin, mix the following:
1 Tbsp Northwoods Seasoning
½ tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Garlic Powder
In a separate ramekin, mix the following:
1 tsp Chili 3000
2 tsp Cumin
1 ½ Tbsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
2 tsp Mexican Oregano or other Italian Seasonings (Bouquet Garni)
STEP 3: COOK GROUND BEAST
2 lb. ground beast (we use 90/10)
Dash Kosher Salt
Brown ground beast in cooking pot with just salt. Drain off any excess liquid (tilt pan and use paper towel and tongs). Add beef seasoning above. Let simmer for 5-6 minutes. Then add chili seasoning and let simmer 5-6 minutes. Then add blended sauce and let simmer 5-6 minutes. Layering of flavors.
Either spoonful tomato paste or 8 oz. tomato sauce (or both)
Also canned tomatoes if you like (we like Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes)
2 to 3 Cups vegetable broth (adding more if needed) – it should be a bit soupy since it will reduce as it simmers
Creativity is an unstructured pursuit. I am at my most creative when brainstorming, the ultimate unplanned activity - ideas and images flow, to be accepted, discarded, changed, developed. I wish I could always be in this state when making art, but I'm not. The pressure to produce a finished piece brings out my organized side, approaching it like a problem to be solved.
I have two sides to myself. There is my creative, artistic side. And my orderly, organized side. This is the side that enables me to work at office jobs. I'm very good at that sort of thing, even though I hate it, because I'd rather be an artist. But when I am being an artist, my organized side tends to interfere.
Steve tells me I need to keep the Secretary away from the Artist. I'd like to shoot the Secretary, but then how would we pay the rent?
I like to put things in order and sort my stuff. I'm not a neat freak - things do get messy and I have piles of stuff everywhere, until I reach a point where I need to put it back in order, sort, toss, file. Organize. This is why I'm so good at moving from state to state.
However, on the artistic side, this gets me stuck. I feel like I have to know exactly what I'm going to do before I proceed. I am hesitant. Afraid to mess it up. I keep experimenting on scraps, testing to see what works and what doesn't, instead of just doing it.
This is why I've been staring at a couple of paintings for weeks. Hesitation (seize). What should I do? When I go to the canvas, what do I do? I want to know what to do.
A few years ago I purchased the PBS Art:21 DVDs. Season 2 has a segment on Elizabeth Murray. She describes painting as making something happen with a fluid material that is constantly somewhat out of control. She compared it to safecracking - hearing the cylinders drop; painting and painting and painting until the right thing happens. She said her fantasy was that she'd get to a certain point and she'd know what she wanted to say, she'd be on a straight and narrow road and never swerve and just do her work. But she realized that's not the way it is at all - you get off the path, get back on, trip along, stumble and get back on again. She said, "I don't think that process ever ends." (Source:http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/murray/index.html)
I've been searching for something I was never going to find, like setting out to find the horizon. I keep thinking that when I go to the canvas, I need to know exactly what I'm going to do, and if I don't, it causes me anxiety. According to Elizabeth Murray, that's how it is. And maybe how it should be? A little out of control. In the video of Murray painting, she lets drips occur. She steps back and looks at her work, and decides to change things. It's a process. She starts with a drawing, but she doesn't obligate herself to reproduce that drawing. She allowed each piece to change, to grow, to evolve.
Suzi Blu teaches us this in her online classes (see Badge on my sidebar). She knows all about allowing pieces to change, to grow, to evolve. She encourages her students to play. Not mindlessly - she stresses that we should apply materials mindfully, but we should also allow accidents to happen. She often jokes as she dribbles something right over the face, "Oh, she's ruined...no, she's not." She decides either to fix it or leave it, depending on whether she likes it or not. She stresses that the drips, accidents, the unexpected surprises make the piece interesting. She has a general plan and established methods of working, but she allows things to happen along the way.
I need to just start working and see what happens, no matter how uncomfortable that is for me. And realize that the uncertainty is part of being an artist. If I don't take the journey, there can be no discovery. I can't be afraid to mess it up. After all, anything can be fixed with gesso or Titan Buff.
Last July, while in Georgia, my brother took us all out to dinner at a seafood place in Athens. I had a vodka drink with Cucumber Vodka and Ginger Simple Syrup. It was really good.
So, we got home and I investigated online. You can buy Cucumber Vodka. You can also make it yourself: infuse vodka with cucumber.
Since I recently acquired some free vodka, I decided to infuse it with cucumber and finally try this cocktail myself. I used half an English cucumber to about a cup and a half of vodka (guessing - I didn't measure, but you can see the photo from the previous post of the vodka infusing in the fridge).
And Ginger Simple Syrup is easy - fresh ginger, equal amounts sugar and water, bring to boil to dissolve sugar, chill.
So, last night I mixed them up in a shaker. Result: eh.
Cocktail on left. Straight cucumber vodka on right.
So, at first the cucumber vodka was very nice, smooth, and tasted very much like cucumber. And the mixed cocktail was good.
But after awhile the very strong cucumber flavor started to taste like a salad. I think if I purchased a pre-made cucumber vodka, the flavor would be more subtle. And I didn't even use that much cucumber! So, now I've tried it and gotten it out of my system.
We made some barbecue pork roast, with cole slaw. Neely BBQ sauce recipe, of course.
Oven roasted pecans: amazing!
I wanted some nuts for snacking, and I always dig out the three pecans they give you in the Planters Deluxe Nuts, so at Whole Paycheck, I looked over their pecans. $5.49 for half a pound, or $5.99 for a pound of their 365 brand - huh, I guess I'll get a whole pound. I decided to roast them a bit in the oven. Just tossed them into the pan, with a little Canola oil, 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then put Season Salt on them. Wow, are they good. Even after dinner, the pecans are so sweet they are almost like dessert, even with Season Salt!
Steve wanted to have this for dinner. It's based on a Martha Stewart recipe: Chorizo, Zucchini, Garbanzo Beans. We usually have it over rice.
But I suggested corn tortillas. I had stopped at Whole Paycheck after work to get Garbanzo Beans, so I picked some up.
When Steve went shopping earlier in the day, he got V8, Frank's and Lord Wooster. What do you do with all this?
Bloody Marys, of course!
Steve likes them more than I do. Still, it was good. My bartender book says 1 part vodka to 2 parts tomato juice, but we went with 1 part to 4: 2 Tablespoons vodka to 1/2 cup V8. Splash Lord Wooster, splash Frank's, dash salt. No pepper since our fine pepper grinder broke and we still haven't replaced it. We only have a coarse grind.