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.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weathering the storm(s)

Seven feet of snow out back and 0°? 
We are weathering this storm with Bloody Marys. 
What a winter! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My funny Valentine


This irresistibly charming work was created
by felted wool artist Maggie Rudy.
Please visit her Mousehouses blog 
to see more of her fine work.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A winter's tale


With around seventy-five inches of snow that has fallen here on Boston's North Shore in just 17 days (with more in the way), I feel as though I have stepped right into this Bergdorf Goodman window display in New York City. The 2011 theme was inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns' musical suite The Carnival of the Animals, and the polar bear, Arctic fox, mountain goat, Japanese snow monkey and snowy owl all look quite at home together.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Color inspiration—gilded bliss

In my eye, these five seemingly disparate art works are connected by one sure thing … color! Just look at the glorious golden glow of these widely varied paintings and sculpture. Clockwise from top left are: J.M.W. Turner's Sunrise with Sea MonsterThe Winged Victory of Samothrace, from the Musée du Louvre, Catherine Kiernan's abstract piece titled Refractionsand Jamie Wyeth's ShortyIt's all visual harmony and gilded bliss.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Oeufs en cocotte

On luxuriously languid Sunday mornings we like to break out of the usual Monday through Friday breakfast routine with a different sort of egg experience. This morning we tried traditional French oeufs en cocotte, or coddled eggs. You have to admit, it sounds sexier in French though, Oui, mon cheri?!

We used the Barefoot Contessa's herbed baked egg recipe, but next time we'll try Martha Stewart's Oeufs en cocotte recipe which includes rich and creamy crème fraîche—and her recipe is baked, not broiled, which might result in more even cooking. Our eggs were trés bon, and we had them with buttery toasted ciabatta, carrot-orange juice, and—of course—café au lait. We felt so "Barefoot in Paris"… for around 20 minutes anyhow!

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) T

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Flaming red

The flaming red feathers of male cardinals look so pretty in the snow! I notice them fluttering about all day long, but most especially in the late afternoons when the guys and their gals come out for their dinner. They are very polite, and let each other go one at a time to the feeding table while the others wait patiently in nearby trees for their turn (see below). This fellah above was perched on a branch of my hemlock tree. Mating season starts around March, and I am looking forward to hearing their sweet calls.

There are SIX cardinals in this photo…
5 males and one female. 
Do you see them all?

I painted this cardinal—Big Red—a few years ago.

30" x 48" and available for sale

this photo by Gloria Wilson

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wild about Wilde, #8

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. 
—Oscar Wilde 

+ + +  

This is another in my series of Oscar Wilde witticisms. In my humble opinion, O.W. was one of the cleverest men in literature. Loved him! Click on the red Wild about Wilde label below to read more Wilde witticisms.

Monday, February 2, 2015

French onion soup—ooey + gooey

Once a winter—always when there is snow on the ground and preferably when it's actually snowing—we like to make a lovely French Onion soup. To us, this is the epitome of slow food—nourishment that's complex, and the process of creating it is just as nurturing as the pleasure of eating it. Dan usually uses Thomas Keller's French Onion soup  recipe, but has also used Julia Child's French Onion soup recipe. This time—to try something completely new—he used the New York Times French Onion soup recipe which was very delicious with the addition of some ruby port. 

This is a messy soup—the messier the better. I always make sure some of the cheese (that's piled onto crisp croutons in the soup) overhangs naughtily over the edge of the bowl before broiling (oops, spilled some cheese, ha ha). The ooey-gooey cheese is great of course, but so are those crispy cheese bits that become welded onto the sides of the scorching hot bowls. Whatever recipe you decide to use, don't forget a green salad and a rich red wine to go with this.

I love when Dan makes this soup—it's an afternoon affair. First, he slices mass amounts of onions, and sautées them in butter for hours, eventually turning them into gorgeous, bronzed and sweet caramelized slivers of yum. He adds a sprigs of thyme, a splash of this and that, and other odds, and he finally adds the beef stock. Important note!… The backbone of this marvelous rustic soup is my homemade beef stock recipe. Do not even think about using canned beef stock for this onion soup recipe, your slowly caramelized onions deserve it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Big sky

Big sky Over Hog Island  10 x 10  

I couldn't think of a more relaxing way to unwind from a stressful week than to paint "happy clouds." One sniff of oil paints and turpentine and I instantly fall into a sort of zen mode and all is well again. Well, that and a glass of wine. I didn't have time to commit to a larger painting, but wanted to play with paints. This cloud study is of Hog Island in Ipswich Mass, where the trees sprawls out over the serene salt marsh. Below is how it looks framed, against a teal colored wall.