Monday, April 13, 2015

Chocolaty chocolate tart







How have never mentioned this utterly divine and wickedly chocolate glazed chocolate tart before? (The recipe comes from Bon Appetite magazine.) See those three layers? It's a trio of buttery chocolate, topped with whipped chocolate mousse, cloaked with chocolate ganache. That's three kinds of chocolate experiences on one tart! It's rich, and I've made it at least a dozen times and always get rave reviews. I don't change a thing on the BA recipe and like to serve it with slightly sweetened freshly whipped cream and raaaahhhhspbreeess. And if you have some fresh, edible pansies, even better.



INGREDIENTS for crust:
9 (5- by 2 1/4-inch) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (1 cup)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugarFor filling:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon saltFor glaze:
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon warm water

Equipment:
a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep)


PREPARATION
Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes


Make filling:
Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.


Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.



Make glaze:
Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.


Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour... if you can!

NOTE: This tarts keeps well for several days—just make sure to glaze it while it's still warm.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Color inspiration—a melange of blues



This magnificent melange of blues is a sky detail from Vincent Van Gogh's View of the Roofs of Paris. It's so modern—and crazy to believe that it was painting in 1886. The colors, texture and overall intensity are very inspiring.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Pink + green!


I think Lilly Pulitzer would have approved of the pink and green combo of these spring colored crostini. The bread slices (sliced bagels, in this case), were browned in olive oil in a saucepan, then topped with 2 separate dips. The pink crostini on the left is mix of a beet and goat cheese that was garnished with a tiny cube of beet, and the green crostini on the right is a mix of peas, ricotta and Parmesan cheese that was garnished with whole peas and pea shoots. Easy peasy!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Color Inspiration— WM's Tapestry




Easter greetings! I adore the muted colors of William Morris's The Forest tapestry (most likely faded from it's original glorious colors). This handsome hare was featured on The Forest Tapestry—designed by William Morris in 1887 at Merton Abbey—and woven by Morris & Co.'s three most excellent senior weavers. The tapestry depicts scrolling acanthus leaves, a lion, peacock, hare and fox, all frolicking among wild flowers. Shown below is the entire tapestry.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Russian red eggs


These richly colored eggs have a story behind them. Growing up in Beverly our Russian neighbor, Manishka Kotsovolos (married to a Greek man), would celebrate Russian Orthodox Easter every year  after our regular Easter. When we would arrive at her festive and aromatic home to celebrate the Russian Pascha—the Greek word for Easter—Manya would greet us with a hearty "Christos Anesti!" (Christ is risen!), and the feasting and celebrations would begin.

At the Pascha, the grown-ups would drink and laugh and talk with wonderful passion, and the kids would indulge in the many exotic Russian-Polish-Greek sweet treats that Manya had baked. And there, on the table, was always a giant bowl of these glorious ruby colored eggs that we—both children and adults—would play "Egg Wars" with. Two people, each holding an egg, smash the pointed or round ends of their two eggs together. The owner of the eggs that does not crack is the winner who goes on to the next round, and so on, until there is just one winner. Read more about Greek Egg Fighting here. Needless to say, there was a lot of egg salad the following week. Our family has since adopted this tradition for own own Easter celebrations.

So why do the Russian Orthodox dye their eggs red? Red symbolizes many things, but in this instance the Red is meant to represent the color of life and victory, and blood of Christ. Coloring Easter egg originated with the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ. Read more about the history of Russian red eggs here.

Yummy red!

Here's how to make these crimson, blood red eggs: Dyed in onion skins and red food coloring, these eggs come out vibrant red every time. You may have to scrub your pots and pans a bit when the dying is complete.  After your eggs have come out of their red bath and are dry, lightly oil them with mineral or olive oil to give them a brilliant, luminous shine. Have fun!




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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Girl on Rocks


Girl on Rocks  9 x 12  Circa 1977 

For Throwback Thursday... here is a painting I made when I was just a wee lass of only 16!  For anyone who is curious, that's... cough, cough... around 37 years ago. I  knew that I was going to be an artist since around age 3, which explains why I was always pretty obsessive about my Crayola Crayons and construction paperIn Jr. high and high school I took drawing and painting classes at Montserrat College of Art and at The Sisters of Notre Dame in Ipswich. This painting proudly hangs on a wall in my mother's bedroom, and is definitely, absolutely not for sale. Ever.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Color Inspiration—Swiss chard



Swiss Chard is easy to grow and great in the garden for eating of course, but it also looks impressive en mass as a bold and colorful garden design element. Try planting some in your flower bed. Here they look nice and springy!

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Speckled lilliputian wonders


Behold these speckled lilliputian wonders! True—they aren't plovers' eggs, but aren't these little quail eggs darling? My local Market Basket carries them. I love the varying dotted egg exterior, and how the inside of the shell is lined with that robin's eggs blue color. Quail eggs always remind me of that great scene in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited when Sebastian Flyte treats Charles Ryder and other schoolmates to a feast that included champagne and plovers' eggs—an opulent and rare delicacy—at his room in Oxford.



"The first this year," they said. 
"Where do you get them?"

"Mummy sends them from Brideshead. 
They always lay early for her." 
When the eggs were done and we 
were eating lobster Newburg, 
the last guest arrived.

+ + +

"I’ve just counted them,” he said. 
“There were five each and two over,
 so I’m having the two. I’m 
unaccountably hungry to-day."


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Darn good maple syrup


Thank you Kim Bartlett, for your delicious maple syrup! We anointed our buttery orange French toast with your humble tree sap, which you have alchemistically boiled down to a sweet and luscious golden syrup. It really is darn good!



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Big, fluffy clouds


Fluffy clouds over Fox Creek,  18 x 18 

I am delighted to have sold this painting this week to a wonderful couple from Wayland, MA. I was joking with the buyer—a very talented abstract artist—that perhaps she should paint the wall it will hang on a turquoise color to bring out the bits of turquoise in the painting. This piece is also filled with bronzes and dusty French blues, and has thick impasto texture. I hope the new owners never tire of gazing at those big, fluffy clouds.

SOLD!
Private collection, Wayland, MA

Detail

Friday, March 20, 2015

First day of spring!



Woot Woot…  Happy spring!

Officially, the Vernal Equinox
happens at 6:45 PM today.

We made it through one hell-of-a
record breaking snowy winter, so I hope
 you have a bottle of prosecco chilling!
Be there. Aloha!

Please visit her Mousehouses blog 
to see more of Maggie Rudy's fine work.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Farewell fiery path painting


Fiery Path, Halibut Point, 30 x 30 

I said goodbye to this piece today, which I painted of Halibut Point State Park in nearby Rockport, MA. The big draw there is always the massive old granite quarries and the rocky shoreline, but some of the pathways—like this one—are also quite beguiling and mysterious. This painting is now in the hip urban home of a Swedish fiber artist in Arlington, MA. I loved meeting the new owner, and I hope this painting gives her and her family years of pleasure.

SOLD!
Private collection, Arlington, MA

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hummingbirds + Flowers


Passion flowers and Hummingbirds  

These botanical paintings of hummingbirds and orchid and passion flowers illustrated by Martin Johnson Heade have me swooning on this cold winter day. What lovely and inspiration! Click here to see his complete works.


Orchids & Hummingbirds in a Brazilian Jungle


Red Passion Flowers and & Hummingbirds 1 & 2




Orchids And Hummingbird




White Brazilian Orchid



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A color plate illustration from 
(1899), showing a variety of hummingbirds.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Color inspiration—Caravaggio's lips




Carravaggio used these lovely 
blush pink and peachy colors so well.
Looks like a Revlon lipstick ad, but really, I'm
just dreaming of those first blooms of spring.

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Renaissance Gold


Renaissance Gold  16 x 16

Here is another painting in my salt marsh series. I made a smaller color study of this scene back in June at Fox Creek in Ipswich, when the world was bursting with sunshine warm breezes—a far cry from the wintry white landscape I see out my window today. I have made this larger version changing the colors slightly with warmer peach and pink colors.



This little gem radiates with the warmth of a 
summer morning on the Ipswich, Ma. marshes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Gloaming


The Gloaming  20 x 16 

Last June I made a small little color study (see below) of this lovely scene at Fox Creek in Ipswich, and I finally got around to making a larger painting of it.  I am inexplicably drawn to these salt marshes, and keep going back to paint them. They woo me. So I have been working on a series of works exploring the moods and colors of the Marsh. This painting is called the gloamingthose magical twilight and dusk hours.




Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring flowers for you


I'm just a little bit in love with Lulie Wallace's colorful, bounty of floral yumminess. She makes these simple floral vases burst with color, energy and happiness. At this point—at the tail end of a wicked New England winter—we're all craving color, or at least something growing and green. It's coming soon! Today is the first day of meteorological spring, so keep the faith people… spring is right around the corner, and with it will come real flowers.



Friday, February 27, 2015

Color inspiration— reflecting on white


Click to see larger image

I am fascinated by a trend on the web today, in which the mass population appears to have polarizing views about the colors in a certain dress. The dress aside, white is one of those tricky colors, and simply put, is the reflection of the colors around it, and actually a mixture ALL the colors of the rainbow.

White reflects all 
the colors of the visible 
light spectrum to the eyes.

The left photo was taken on a cloudy day, so the white colors and shadows look gray. We all know how white (ish) snow can look on a bright, sunny day, but yet, look at those gorgeous shades of grayish blue!

The middle photo was taken in a room with orange walls, and sunset, hence the darker beige hues. (You'll just have to trust me that the curtain and sculpture is actually white.) On a bright day this scene looks much whiter, and yet, look at those gorgeous shades of pinkish beige!

The right photo was taken after a snowstorm, in the shade, so the shadows looked very blue. Again, we all know how white (ish)  snow looks on a sunny day, but yet, look at those shades of blue!

Click on the red color inspiration label below to see more colors!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The year of the sheep


Happy Chinese New Year! Today starts the year of the sheep, and so in honor of that I am sharing this amazing and adorable sheep created by my talented friend Juliana Boyd. She creates pieces like this using textiles and (appropriately) spun wool! See more of her spun wool magic her on her website, Growler and Reynard.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The snack shack


Don't forget to feed our furry and feathered friends during this snowy winter! I have a little copper roofed feeder on a backyard table that I have somehow managed to keep clear of snow during our New England snow blitz. Above and behind what you see is about 4 feet of snow! Twice a day I put out some sunflower seeds, corn kernels, peanuts and suet, and the critters really appreciate it during harsh winters. This little bunny comes by the snack shack often, day or night... hopping down his little bunny trail… leaving his adorable little bunny tracks in the snow. Sigh—makes me smile.


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Monday, February 16, 2015

Shifting tides and crusted snow


Winter Afternoon  11 x 14 

Late in the afternoon—the day after a blizzard—I snapped some inspiration photos at Fox Creek in Ipswich. The creek was alive that day, with shifting tides and crusted snow shards. That was a few weeks back and several punishing snow storms ago. We've had a cold snap of many, many days that have dipped below zero degrees and although I've painted en plein air in 32° temps (see here), that's about as cold as I'll go outside with my paints. So this painting was done back in the studio! What can I say… I just see the world in colors. See the progression of the painting below.

 












Here's how this painting would look framed.