Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the last rose of summer

Outside the building where my dentist's office is. I couldn't resist taking this picture of September roses yesterday. Back home again, I worked all afternoon but am not sure what I accomplished. Today - in fact, in about two minutes, I am out the door to my Studio Six meeting and have a load of stuff to bring, so I guess the last couple of weeks haven't been a total waste of time. It has cooled down suddenly and the bit of autumn is in the air. No roses out my back door. Instead, the first tinge of color in my woods. I have mixed feelings because we really didn't have a summer here this year. Off to my crit group - I will report back later!

Monday, September 28, 2009

sweet lemon & black olive wafers

These were so good that I made them again and they're almost gone. Time to post the recipe for these unusual and delicious cookies. They were actually better the second time because the olives were in larger pieces and there was enough lemon zest - and less sugar coating on the cookies. They take no time flat and have zero cholesterol because they are made with olive oil -- how great is that??! The recipe was in the Star Ledger (NJ's largest newspaper) and is from "The New Portuguese Table," by David Leite. 1-1/2 c flour 1/2 mild oil-cured black olives, pitted & coarsely chopped (I used kalamatas) 1/4 c. sugar, plus more for coating 1/4 tsp baking powder 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon pinch of kosher salt 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil 1 large egg, beaten 1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and set heat to 375 degrees F. 2. Stir together flour, olives, sugar, baking powder, zest,cinnamon, & salt in a medium bowl. 3. Whisk together the oil and egg, pour into dry ingredients and mix with hands until dough no longer looks dry and holds together when squeezed, 1-2 minutes. 4. Fill small bowl with sugar. Pinch off about 1 rounded teaspoon dough, roll into ball about 1", roll it in sugar. Place on parchment,put another piece on top and with rolling pin, roll into a circle about 3" and as thin as possible. The edges will be ragged. You should get about 12 cookies on sheet. Lift off top parchment, move parchment with cookies onto cookie sheet and bake till edged with brown and pebbled on top, about 10-12 min. Repeat w/ remaining dough.(see picture at top, this is how they look when they are done). Once cooled, cookies will keep crisp in airtight container for several days. In my house, they don't last for that long! Makes about 30 cookies. Great with a glass of red wine or cup of tea or coffee. P.S. I made them in the food processor the first time but they were better now, when I mixed them by hand and the olives didn't get macerated. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I worked at home all week, which I always find isolated and depressing. But I am stitching and finishing quilts and can't really do that in my studio because my Janome is here. I've been up till the wee hours of the morning every night - gotta work while you're in the mood, right??! This will be another busy week - and a short one because today was holiday for us. We went to Hilary's to break the fast and I baked an apple bread to take (because I was out of bananas) and it was another easy, good recipe. Tomorrow, the dentist for a crown. Wednesday, Studio Six crit group meeting; Thursday night my other art crit group meets here, and then the week is over.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

a sewing day

A person who drinks a pot of coffee at night cannot expect to feel sleepy at 1:30 a.m. Right? But it's wearing off. Since early this morning I've been stitching; the piece on the left (a detail) was the easier of the two, believe it or not. Needs a facing but is otherwise done and ready to be sent off to wherever I am sending it. I think I still have 2 or 3 more pieces to finish this weekend. The piece I spent most of the day on was the one am not happy with it because it is lopsided. Oh, well, people can tilt their heads when they look at it. There are worse things in life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

the museum project

Several months ago, the Newark Museum celebrated its 100th anniversary. Someone had the brilliant idea that they should commemorate it with 100 squares of cloth strung together in a quilt-like hanging. The museum dedicated one day to the squares, inviting artists and people from the community to come to the museum and print a canvas square. Judy Langille somehow ended up sort of in charge and of course, the locals from the crit group were there to participate. We were there again today, laying out 100 squares and trying to make sense of them so they would be aesthetically pleasing. There was a lot of kids' art, which did not make it easy to intergrate with the less raucous pieces. Here's our first pass on the floor this morning. Argh.
Here is Lisa, fastening one row together this afternoon
And Rachel, contemplating.Here are some of the actual artists' pieces that I liked.
The project not finished but I can't go the next time they are working on it. Tomorrow, more working at home. I have given up trying to quilt late at night so I have my work cut out for me in the next few days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

a quick post

Oh how cute. Too cute for me, but it will have to do. It will be a journal-sized quilt I have to send off to market from fabric I test-printed with a new acrylic paint. If I can figure out how to make it bigger, I will. I've got some other fabric printed with the same paint that I like better and have spent the evening auditioning and trying to figure out how I will use it. I think I'll keep it simple. Spent the afternoon at "the office" (aka the studio)sandwiching a piece between backing and batting and ironing it down. It's not a big piece but it is the only table I have that has enough room for me to deal with putting everything together.This is another piece of fabric I had to print tonight and it looks better i person than in this picture but I'm too lazy to reshoot.Tomorrow, early app't and then off to the Newark Museum to put the 100 squares together. I'll explain tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Art worth seeing

The Guggenheim in NY has never been my favorite museum but the New York Times review of the Kandinsky exhibit there now which makes me want to get on the next bus into the city! If you can't get there or don't have time to read Roberta Smith's entire review, at least check out the slide show here. Smith almost sounds as though she is speaking directly to us (as artists) and understands how exciting and motivating it is for our own creative process when we've seen good art. So, I'm off to create! Enjoy your day -- mine is just getting started.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

grab it while you can

That's what I said about this perfect Sept weather...and what a glorious weekend it has been! It is almost making up for the rainy, depressing summer weather we had. And we grabbed, wishing we could bottle it. food Yesterday, in Brooklyn, Jess, Tommy and I walked up to the green market at Grand Army Plaza. It was late afternoon and they were closing, but we managed to snag some beautiful NJ raspberries and blackberries - both of which are so far superior to the ones trucked-in (or worse) from who-knows-where, that it is like eating a different species. Even the eggplants were gorgeous. For dinner tonight, I cut one of those violet ones in half lengthwise, rubbed a little olive oil on it and grilled it. I scooped out the flesh, which is sweeter than that of the ordinary ones on the right, and served it cooled with yogurt mixed with garlic, lemon juice, and cumin seeds. I admit I am an eggplant junkie. There is no way you could possibly prepare it that I would not love.My last purchase was some goat's milk feta from an artisinal cheese maker and it has such a lovely flavor that it made my omelet sing this morning! Tra la. architecture Across Grand Army Plaza from the farmer's market is the main Brooklyn Public Library - a thing of beauty that has just been restored outside and renovated inside. Built during the depression, it opened on February 1, 1941. There are 60 branches in Brooklyn. " The library's notable architecture was created to resemble an open book, with the spine on Grand Army Plaza and the building's two wings opening like pages onto Eastern Parkway and Flatbush Avenue."As we walked back to the apartment, I spied a building which looked like a school.In fact, it had been one and it was turned into co-ops about 20 years ago. According to Jessica, they are apparently gorgeous inside and all different sizes and layouts. What an elegant repurposing! a walk in the park Today was a perfect day for it, and even though I had bills to pay and work to do -- couldn't resist. Here are some pix I didn't get to take two weeks ago because my batteries died while we were walking around the lake. The boathouse, where you can still rent paddleboats (when I was a child they were green wooden rowboats). This tree was lush at the bottom and bare at the top. Very strange. There were a couple of trees like this.
This gnarly one has been mostly cut down but makes a wonderful climbing tree for kids.
At one point, I looked down and saw our shadows on the path. We are distorted. Marty on the left and me on the right holding the camera up with my left hand-- taking this picture. My grandparents loved this park and we often brought them here; I remember walking over this bridge with them and every time I do, I see them in my mind's eye.
an almost finished piece I spent Friday stitching this and all I have to do is decide whether I should face it or leave it raw edged all the way around -- or just face the wonky sides... I have to say I love this piece - it makes me happy just to look at it. No name, but I suppose that will come to me at some point.
I have the luxury of no early appointments tomorrow, so I shall now get to work on something else for the rest of the evening. And maybe have a glass of red wine and some of these lemon, black olive, and olive oil wafers I made the other night. Marty said they were strange but it didn't stop him from eating them. And I really like them - they are so crisp and crunchy. The recipe was in our local NJ paper and I figured it would be perfect for my new low-cholesterol way of eating. (Notice I did not say low calorie.)Next time I will use more lemon zest and more olives and less sugar. But that's me! They might be great with ginger, too - so I will have to experiment. I use the same "what if?" with food as with art: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But the fun is in the discovery process.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a perfect September day or two

Last night, dinner at Hilary's to usher in the New Year. My camera was acting up but here are a few shots.
Below, Jake, who is in kindergarten, showing off his two loose teeth. Hil had given him an apple to expedite the process but I don't think he got to it last night. In any case, it seemed preferable to the doorknob routine.
Everything was too good and I ate back two of the five pounds I'd lost. I won't even contemplate what tonight's fab dinner out with Jess and Tommy added! Since Jessica isn't traveling any more than absolutely necessary, she and Tommy weren't at Hilary's last night. So Marty and I took the PATH and the subway to Brooklyn to see them today. I really didn't want to drive and was later happy that we hadn't because Jessica told us it was the San Gennaro Festival and we would have been stuck on Canal St. for hours. We walked from the PATH to Union Square. Didn't see the $5 shoes but found these. No, he wasn't selling balloons -- just decorating his bike! Union Sq. Park was mobbed so we took the Q train and headed to Bklyn.More tomorrow. It has been a long day. Lovely and pleasant, but long.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

working at home

Since I am quilting a few pieces, I need to work at home for the rest of the week. Done with Urban Storefront and ready to go on to the next (nameless) one if I can decide what color thread to use. That's tomorrow's task...along with waiting for the garage door people to show up. All of our remotes stopped working, which means it is probably nothing minor. Oh, joy. On another note - I got an e-mail today that bowled me over. Do you remember this painted quilt by Sherry Shine I posted recently? Sherry took my Thermofax workshop a couple of weeks ago and she told me yesterday that while she did not use the Thermofax screens in a new piece of work, she wanted me to know that she was influenced by the workshop to experiment and to work more abstractly. Today, she sent me a photo of her new piece, made after the workshop, that is a complete departure from everything she has ever done. It is abstract -- uses the fabric beautifully -- and leaves the back story and interpretation to the viewer. She said I could share this piece with you -- I am thrilled that something that day triggered a new direction for her work (but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it was - LOL). Thanks, Sherry. As usual, past midnight. Where has the day gone? Where do they all go?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

another art opening

What could be better than two art openings in three days?? Today's exhibit was Judy Langille's solo show at the Interchurch Gallery on Riverside Drive on the upper west side of Manhattan, near Columbia University. Here she is with the piece she said it was ok to shoot. Interestingly, she had it as a horizontal and the curator preferred it as a vertical. It looks great this way. It is a beautiful show of her work done in the last 6 or 7 years -- and you can really see the progression over time. It was great to see so many pieces together; we (the four of us from our crit group who were there) are so used to seeing the work one or two at a time that 21 at once was a treat. Here is a picture I took of (l-r) Rachel, Aleeda, Sherry, and Joan. I drove in and Rachel and Sherry came with me. Joan is a mixed media artist who is a student of Judy's. And my friend Aleeda took the train in and came home in the car with us. We had so much fun talking in the car that even the NJ traffic didn't faze us! As we lef the building where the exhibit was, I grabbed my camera and took two quick shots. This building, across the street, is part of Barnard and looks like classrooms. We didn't get close enough to this building two blocks north to see what it was, but it looks like the iconic Columbia building in the midst of restoration. We headed for Martha (the lower deck of the George Washington Bridge) and were home by 7:00, having missed rush hour, thank goodness. Now - time to make coffee and work as late as I can tonight. Too much to do!