Saturday, November 28, 2009

Night on Bald Mountain

Or, er, possibly: 'Night on Drab Mountain'. Easel shavings and miscellaneous powders from the Save Jar on dark gray Pastelmat.

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice is the English name of a poem by Goethe (Goethe? who knew?), Der Zauberlehrling, written in 1797. The poem is a ballad in fourteen stanzas. The poem begins as an old sorcerer departs his workshop, leaving his apprentice with chores to perform."

Listen to The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the "symphonic poem" written by Paul Dukas in 1897. He had an excellent moustache, was a pal of Debussy's, and generally made his living as a music critic. He did little composing, with one immortal exception: listen to it here.

<------- Bonus Word of the Day: kthxbai Excellent! Make it your own. Useful in a plethora of situations and on a myriad of occasions. My guess is that this particular spelling variation is the southern-accented pronunciation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The 37 Express

The streets were nearly empty at 5:30 yesterday evening. My Fellow Commuters? Already commuted outta here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Five of the Most Regrettable Non-Recyclables*

1. Wire hangers from the drycleaners (arrggh)
2. Small appliances (hairdryers, cordless phones, coffee grinders, electric toothbrushes)
3. Ziploc bags (and twist ties)
4. Packing popcorn and bubble wrap
5. Unopened untouched packages of slimy romaine lettuce
(*at least I don't recycle these: ignorance! + sloth!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Work-In-Progress Castle Corner

Final (stop, already! sheesh) version on the left. (Ref pic at bottom.) From our class session today. This is a corner of the hopelessly Victorian Arts & Industries Building adjacent to the Smithsonian Castle. There are lovely pockets of very formal garden around the building, in nooks and crannies. We spent the last hour or so of our class out there, painting.

Lesson: never hand a little redneck kid a stick of pastel and show him what you're 'coloring'. He will slap a mark down across your tree area as fast as you can say 'Richard Petty Rocks'.  'Scuse me, uh, ma'm? Kin ya tell me where that thar Space Museum iz?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Irene Autumn

Out my windah. Which was wide open all day: high 72°F and sunny, sunny, sunny. Lazy Sunday afternoon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Aamsskáápipikani Pond

This is about 7" x 11" on 300lb. Fabriano Artistico 'rough' watercolor paper with a brawny deckle edge. It's got some fiber paste on it and then some Colourfix primer. I did an underpainting with gouache. The rest is about 90% pans and 10% softies.

I like the creamy water in the foreground. I don't know why.

This pic is 'after' an old 'photogravure' from the Edward S. Curtis image collection at the Library of Congress. The photo is described as "Two tepees reflected in water of pond, with four Piegan Indians seated in front of one tepee." The LC record doesn't say when or where it was taken, but the Piegan Indians are a part of the Blackfeet Nation, whose reservation is in northwestern Montana, just east of the glorious Glacier National Park.

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868 - 1952) was a photographer in Ye Olde West, concentrating on American Indians. And was quite jaunty himself, as you can clearly see.  He is renown for his photos but also criticized for manipulating images to remove all traces of 'civilization' (see: the 'Noble Savage' concept) and for paying his subjects to pose in carefully controlled vignettes, in "inaccurate dress and costumes" and partaking in "simulated ceremonies". Still and all, he WAS mighty gosh-durn slap-mah-thigh cute.


15Nov09 ADDENDUM: Enjoyed the Kevin Locke Ensemble's 'The Drum is the Thunder, the Flute is the Wind' music, dance, and narrative presentation at the National Museum of the American Indian yesterday afternoon. The leader of the troupe's tribal affiliation and the origin of the story told in the first part of the program are both northern Plains Indian, so a nice segue from my (or to my) 'Aamsskáápipikani Pond' sketch. As well as a possible re-re-re-re-screening of the fan-fav Dances with Wolves . . . hmm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chorizo Floor Show

I don't ever boast about my culinary prowess, mainly because I have none. None. As in zippa. But this big pot of beans turned out really remarkably tasty. And I will happily eat it three (at least) times a day for the whole weekend. All the seasoning you need for this is already in the Chorizo.

16oz. bag of dry Goya Navy Beans
14.5oz. can of Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes Diced with Garlic
2 Tbs. bacon fat*
medium onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced in a press
2 Chorizo sausages from Wagshal's
6 to 7 cups of chicken stock (use stock, not "broth")
1 cup of organic baby carrots (could be more)
sour cream

1. Melt the bacon fat in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic. Remove and put into the slow cooker pot.
2. Take the casing off the Chorizo sausages and sauté them, breaking them up as you go into small nodules. (Might need more bacon fat here. Don't be shy.)
3. Remove the sausage and put it in the pot. (Include all the skillet scrapings. Loosen them with a wisk and some stock if necessary.)
4. Rinse the dry Navy beans for a moment in a collander and then put them in the pot.
5. Add the diced tomato, the carrots, and the stock. Stir.

6. Cook forever. (I cooked mine for about 9 hours on "Low".) Serve with a generous glob of sour cream on top (also nice with grated sharp cheddar on top instead of the sour cream), with side salad, toasted multi-grain bread and butter, and a muga beer.


*bacon fat: If you don't routinely save (snug in the refrig) the drippings from cooking bacon, are you nuts?, don't despair. For this recipe, sauté (yeah = fry) some bacon slices in the skillet, enough to get about 2 Tbs of liquid, maybe four slices. Or so. Remove the bacon slices to drain, keeping all the drippings and scrapings in the skillet. Then go on to sauté the onions, etc. Don't waste the cooked bacon. Chop it up and add it to the cook pot.

[20Dec09] ADDENDUM: You can also use andouille sausage. Since it's smoked, you can't get it out of the casing. So you have to dice it up small well before you saute it. (N.B.: "Andouille is an in French, designating a ridiculous or incompetent person, or a rascal; this may be linked to the old British slang “silly sausage”, which describes a person as stupid, foolish or naive."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All Hail Macaronicus

Word of the Day: macaronic. From New Latin, 1517 coinage, macaronicus, from Italian (Neapolitan dialect) maccarone (“‘coarse dumpling’”). Text spoken or written using a mixture of languages, sometimes including bilingual puns. (Greek is "Ouk élabon polin, alla gar elpis éphè kaka." = French is "Où qu'est la bonne Pauline? A la gare elle pisse et fait caca." Haha.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Exaggerate from life?

. . . when painting from life I suggest you search out exaggerations of color to make the transitions you need. . .
I am not sure what this means, exactly, but I AM sure that there's wisdom in it somewhere. More here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dandy? Dunno. Morandi? Dunno.

This is shown cropped to about 7" x 9". Done on pastelmat paper that I demolished with layers of fiber paste and Colourfix primer. I used about 90% panpastels. (Like the green hay bale on the right, eh? Woop woop)

It's 'after' Giorgio Morandi, an artist who is so serene and pristine and quiescent that one falls asleep contemplating his work.

But hey, maybe it's just moi (moi - it's all about moi). As usual.

At left is a composite of some of his still life pieces, for which he is 'famous'. Yaaaawn. Oh. Sorry.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Turn with the Urn

This is part of my homework for next weekend's pastels class at the Smithsonian. This is a sketch using "line technique". Again, I am not all together sure that this is what Professor Gobar meant by that assignment, but I had a good time.

This is about 12"x9" on Pastelmat paper but with the urn and the pieces of fruit built up with a layer of clear Colourfix primer on top of the gouache underpainting. The color work is about 50% Polychromos sticks, very hard and very precise. Then about 45% PanPastels. The last 5% is some gimmicky silver and gold Polychromos sticks and some even more gimmicky iridescent 'White Pearl' Schmincke very soft stick. But what the heck, eh? It's a metal urn for heavens sake!

This is the first time I have ever attempted such a reflective surface (this is my favorite pewter urn vase) and am not sure I succeeded at all. Plus the lemon looks a bit blocky. C'est la 'nature morte'. N'est pas?

ADDENDUM [7Nov09]: Professor Gobar suggested this crop. So much for the urn and all that. . . heh heh.