Back in the Saddle

  • Making Books Again

    I had a renewed interest at the end of last year to make some books again. It started with a carousel book that I exhibited at the Bennington Museum, and then I got some momentum going in the month of December with a very loooong accordion that I used for a monthly challenge, with prompts related to the Advent. I'm working almost daily on collages which makes me so happy. I forgot how much I enjoy piecing together little bits of things that make a cohesive whole. 

  • Artist Book at Bennington Museum

    I made a new artist book for a show at the Bennington Museum. It's a carousel book, inspired by poems by Robert Frost. Here's the cover, which is all done in colored pencil. It felt really good to make a "real" piece of art for a "real" show! It's for sale as a part of the museum's gala event fundraiser. It can also be viewed in the galleries for the entire month of December. Let me know what you think if you see it!

  • More Food and Drawing

    For some time, I've been meaning to submit recipes to the They Draw and Cook website. I finally got two finished for a recent food geometry challenge. I submitted the recipe above, along with another. It was a really fun project for me. Especially challenging was getting the piece in the correct format and size (my Photoshop skills are still lacking), and doing some digital touch up work to make them look their best. I was ultimately happy with how they turned out, and proud of myself for getting it done!

  • Food + Drawing

    I don't know why it took me so long to start drawing food. I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to combine my two interests somehow. In the last eight months, I've done lots of food drawings, beginning back in October with my Inktober recipes. I wanted to illustrate for someone other than myself, so I reached out to friends who have a coffee business. I'm working on a series of illustrations for different methods of brewing coffee. It's so much fun for me, and I find it satisfying to be working for "clients" other than myself.  

  • Chickens

    These chickens were modeled on my own chickens, Duck and Cluck. I took an online class from Anita Lehman through Carla Sonheim's website that was a very thoughtful look at composition. Sometimes it's nice to get back to basics and see how structure influences outcome. And, on a side note, it's been nice to have fresh eggs to eat and use in baked goods!

  • A New (Old) Way of Working

    I don't know why it took so long for me to go back to making collage and mixed media pieces. Maybe I didn't think they were "serious" enough, or I forgot how much fun it was for me to work this way, or maybe I just forgot how to do it. Recently, I found some fruit that I painted simply on canvas paper. I took out cheap, thin acrylics, poured green and yellow on top, and pushed the paint around the paper. After it dried, I tore out the fruit and saved them for a collage. That's where my playing around with fruit bowls began the other day. For a slight change of pace, I took a yellow piece of painted paper and turned it into a French press. I've mainly been using really smushy media, like a soft pencil, conte crayons, and Faber Castell gelatos. These collaged pieces really feel like me, and I'm loving all the color!

  • New Things!

    I'm test driving some new products at the market this Saturday. It's so much fun to play with color and shape on functional bags and totes. I like the simplicity of playing with fabric, paint, and potatoes. Yes, potatoes! That's what I used to make my stamps......and, they're compostable!

  • Stretching

    I decided to challenge myself with an online course, Explore Florals, taught by Victoria Johnson. It was three weeks of design briefs, each focusing on a different way to think about florals, with an accompanying palette. It was harder than I thought to get out of my own way of doing things and try something new. Just like life, I suppose.

  • Creative Thinking


    I am so thrilled to have my very first drawn illustration in the current issue of UPPERCASE Magazine! 

    I drew this on Thanksgiving, 2017. We decided to stay home and celebrate, just the three of us. I wanted my daughter to feel like that even though we weren't going anywhere, it was going to be a special day. So, I let her pick the drinks!

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Back in the Saddle

[caption id="attachment_703" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="My mental vacation"][/caption]

I inadvertently took a little vacation from here over the last couple of weeks, while August was flying past and I stood in a daze and watched. Really, I've been hard at work on several projects, including the ongoing farmers' market experiment, occasional catering work, and a couple of articles! The article work includes some super secret recipe development....hopefully more about this in future posts when I can share it with you. All I can say is that there are lots of cheesecakes floating around the house over the past week!

I've had two highly successful farmers' markets since I've returned from vacation; successful means that I don't have to eat the remaining inventory Saturday night. I've managed to sell and trade most everything that I've brought with me. And the jams are popular, which means I need to find more fruit, pronto! I did a very small batch of apricot jam today, loosely following master preserver June Taylor here, and I jammed the rest of the black currants, which had been languishing in the freezer since mid-July. I've had such good Santa Rosa plums this year that I really want to do some plum jam, and maybe some peach....and maybe more strawberry with balsamic and pink peppercorns? We actually have a pick your own strawberry patch up here that does ever bearing berries, so the sign is up that they're ready again.

I've been having lots of thoughts about aroma and food, probably stemming from the highly aromatic oolongs that I've gotten my hands on from Rishi and In Pursuit of Tea. They are so fragrant without any flavorings added that they're like natural perfume. And speaking of natural perfume, I recently discovered Aftelier Perfumes. Mandy Aftel crafts her fragrances with only high-quality, natural essences, and they're truly exquisite. I haven't worn perfume in years (between the wine tasting and baking, strong scents aren't allowed), but I got a tiny sample of her Shiso scent to try. It smells like a geisha sipping tea outside by a stream, and it's subtle enough to wear on an everyday basis. I can also create my very own Earl Grey blend with the bergamot essence that I bought...I know, I'm a total food geek!

Now that I'm back, I promise to stay in touch since summer is winding down. Make sure to visit!