Saturday, January 14, 2017

A couple of works in progress and it's only January!

 Roeliff Jansen Kill
I am almost finished with this 8 x 10 oil.  The lower right corner needs a tiny bit of work, and then I'll stick a fork in it and call it done. I'll post more about this location when I've finished. 
As I've posted before, we like to visit the 1000 Islands on the St. Lawrence River every year. Some of our friends join us.  The last few years, we've had a campsite next to our neighbors from home. The sites at Kring State Park look out on Goose Bay. The little island in the watercolor above has just one house on it! I think it's called Lone Pine. It's meticulously kept. My friend, Judy, takes beautiful wildlife photos. She's been very busy capturing the goings on in the reeds at the coastline. There was a snake spying on the nest of Red Winged Blackbirds. I'm sure he was waiting for his chance to grab a baby. The adult birds were very aggressive and giving him a hard time.
Judy has also spotted the busy river rats or whatever those little weasel like characters are.

I'm thinking the painting is close to finished. I started it in plein air, but have worked on it a little bit at home.  I will crop it and cut a mat since the size is not standard.


Another watercolor from Kring Point in the works. Working from a photo I took on the riverside.  I blocked in the big shapes and local color. Next, I plan to use pastels to adjust all the values and finish it. Not sure if I like it yet. Too early to tell!



This one is an oil on panel.  Quickly blocked in and working from a photo. It's a swimming hole on the Bushkill. Don't want to say much more, it's a surprise. 

2017: working on some new paintings & finishing old ones.

Rokeby Fields
watercolor & pastel
Plein air painted at the Rokeby estate on the Hudson (Astors)

John Deere Green
8 x 10
oil on panel
Plein air at the Herrick Farm on Rt. 212 Woodstock/Saugerties

The Mac
watercolor
Mini class with old friend, Melanie Hall.

These three were done last year. Just now taking photos, still battling the camera. My fault, I need to practice and put forth more effort in the setup.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Strufoli the easy way




Strufoli (Honey Clusters)


Okay, my blog is not about cooking, baking or any food discussions. It's about art.  Well, today I realized making traditional Italian strufoli is an art!
I'm not a master, but I've been making them for at least 40 yrs and have gotten the process down quite well.
The recipe is traditional, no fancy additions. It's a peasant cookie and I see no reason to change it.
EXCEPT for the shape of them! And the method!
Traditionally, the dough is shaped into little balls, fried, coated with honey and then stuck together in a big mound. You break off a chunk to eat. Honey clusters.

Well, the balls have a little chewiness to them. Not crunchy. Everyone in my family prefers them
more crisp.  I don't know if my mom or my Aunt Jean came up with the idea of frying them in strips. That's the way we did it from there on. The result is crisp and light.
My great aunt Pia made them the traditional way, piled high like a tree and sprinkled them with the tiny colored candy nonpareils.

One of my Italian friends also makes strufoli.  She also cuts them in strips instead of balls.  So, I guess her family came to the same decision!  She calls them "squeelies".  I was so puzzled by that name. Never heard it before. I searched all over the internet trying to figure out what that word was in Italian, but no luck.  Yesterday, while I was frying, I heard a distinct squealing sound when the cookie was in the hot oil.  Now I believe they nicknamed them after the sound they make!
Cut, fried and waiting for a honey bath


Back in the 60s, my mom got a copy of this Italian cookbook. Probably bought it in Shop Rite. Hers is ripped up and well used. I found this one on ebay.  It has the recipe and technique. I will add in my changes. It took me three hours start to finish to do 3 batches. Each batch fills a large cookie sheet.

Add caption

Okay, so one batch. 2 cups of flour & 1/2 tsp. salt in my Kitchenaid mixer. Add 3 eggs, one at a time stirring to combine. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  I let my machine knead this with the hook for 5 minutes at least.  It turns out to be a smooth dough that totally cleans the sides of the bowl.  Looks like pasta dough. It's stiff. I put it in a zip lock bag so it doesn't get dried out while I am setting up my machines!
 In the old days, they rolled it out.  Not me!


I have an electric motor that attaches to the hand crank pasta maker I've had for at least 35 yrs.
Pinch off a piece of dough the size of a golf ball.  I feed it through the pasta maker at the #3 setting. After I've done that with the entire ball of dough, I change the machine to #5 and put them through again. #6 is as thin as it goes.  That's TOO thin.
I toss around a little flour on my butcher block surface. The dough isn't sticky.
Still, better to use too much flour than none at all. 


With a pizza wheel, you can cut the long strips into pieces 2-3" long.
They curl and get funky when they hit the hot oil.


I use an old Fry Daddy.  Add several inches of canola oil. Temperature at 365 which is donut frying temp. 
Drain them on paper towel lined cookie sheets

This is when they do the squealing!  Do not walk away! They are done very quickly.  Pretty much when they stop sizzling. I flip them around in the hot oil as they cook.  Use long tongs to take them out. They will NOT be brown.




No, this is not spaghetti sauce! LOL!  It's one cup of honey being warmed. Not sure why it looks orange.
You can cheat and add a little good old fashioned high fructose corn syrup (Karo Syrup) to stretch your honey.
That's ok, you can't tell the difference.
I toss a few of the strips in the warm and thinned honey, take them out and stack on a big platter. It's ok if the strip isn't completely covered in honey. They drip on each other and the honey gets shared amongst them. 


Very sticky strufoli ready to give to my Irish friends!


Saturday, November 26, 2016


So, we had our first ever Artisan and craft sale today at the American Legion Hall on
Mountain Rd. in Shokan.

Considering we didn't do much advertising, it was fairly well attended and we pretty much
filled the space with vendors. I'd say it was 50/50 paintings and sewn items.  And one woodworker,
my brother.

I think any day spent talking with friends, neighbors and new acquaintances is a day well spent.
If I came home with all my paintings, I wouldn't have been upset. But, I did sell six of them!
Four of them went to people I know, and two to new acquaintances.  I'm always happy to meet the buyers in person.

I've been a merchant with Paypal since 2001.  Today was the first time I used the Paypal Here.  It's a mobile swiper that reads credit cards.  Worked like a charm!






Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Weidners' Blue Barn

The Hatchery
5 x 7
oil on panel


Blue Barn
8 x 10
Oil on panel
framed
$95 plus shipping

I just finished a four week plein air class through the Woodstock School of Art. I've been taking this same July workshop for several years.  I've said it before, but I just love my instructor! Kate McGloughlin! She makes it so fun. 
I never would have been painting on these days if it weren't for her and the fact I signed up back in February.  To say those four Thursdays were HOT would be putting in mildly.

I was feeling sick on two of the days following the class. Probably didn't drink enough water. I get so into what I'm painting that I forget! I mean, how old do I have to get before I GET THAT?  If a  migraine wasn't enough to teach me, I don't know what will.

Anyway, the important thing was that I got to paint at two old farms that I've never painted at before. 
This one is from my dear childhood friend's home here in West Shokan. I spent many Saturdays growing up playing here with her.  It is a retired chicken hatchery. The layers were Leghorns. 
  Some of the large coups are gone, but this cute little barn still stands in excellent condition. South Mountain is seen in the distance.  I seem to think her horse may have called it home back in the 60s and 70s, but I can't really remember.  Sheep used to graze these fields and while they are still being hayed, the woods are starting to encroach.  I completed two paintings that day. 

I am so happy her sister, Jen, is taking care of the old Hickory Hill Farm that the Weidner family has owned for generations. The first farm was taken by NYC and sits in and out of the water of the Ashokan Reservoir. They moved their operation up to this location in the early part of the last century.  So much history.




Sunday, July 31, 2016

A plein air shelf







Last night I came across a great blog by Thomas Jefferson Kitts. He generously shared his design and a diagram to make your own. You can buy these for about $35.00 made from plastic, but with an $18.00 shipping fee, I decided to pitch the DIY to my husband.

I told him about it last night about 9PM. Printed out the diagram.
When I got home from Mass this morning, he presented me with my very own shelf! It's absolutely perfect! Made from wood he had in stock.
I will stain and varnish it. 

It will hold my oil palette very nicely with room for clip on palette cups. 

Here it holds my John Pike watercolor palette which was too big to travel with before. 

I have been trying to perfect my plein air set up for some time. My DH gave me a medium French resistance pochade box for Christmas a few years ago and I love it! I reviewed it here on this blog at that time.

I never have enough space to lay down my equipment. I don't want to make it more complicated than it already is. Last year, I saw a clever "store boughten" shelf that attaches to the tripod legs. Yes, my grandmother actually used to say store boughten!


















Monday, May 23, 2016

Old Gatehouse: Mohonk

Old Gatehouse: Mohonk 
10 x 10
Watercolor 
$75. plus shipping

I've joined a plein air group again; this time it's watercolor.  A newish medium for me, but I like it! There's a learning curve, for sure!

Last week we gathered at the old gatehouse that led people up to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz. That was many years ago.  Now, you drive right up to the hotel.

This day was very nice.  A little buggy and lots of people walking on the old road, but neither a distraction.  I spent most of my time trying to sketch the scene out on my paper before starting.  That's so foreign to me. When we oil paint, I just sketch it out in thinned paint. 

The architecture was hard to capture, so I kept it on the vague side. The roof was in the process of being reshingled, so there was black paper on the big roof.  I painted it to match the rest of the tower and I'm sure it's orange again by now! 

I mounted this one on a cradled panel by Ampersand. I used Liquitex Matte Gel to adhere it. I then sprayed it with a couple coats of Grumbacher matte fixative and  I finished it with several layers of Dorland's wax medium to protect it since there's no glass over it.  I saw several artists do this and followed a couple of websites. Check this one out. First time I've done it this way and I'm hoping it holds up!

Currently on display at the Olive Free Library, downstairs. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New Art Show


I've been terribly delinquent about posting this year!  Not that I haven't been painting a lot, 'cause I have.  I think I have a blockage due to my dissatisfaction with the quality of photos I take of my paintings.
I've taken photos outside, for the most part, to get the most accurate color representation.  However, they still don't look like they do in person.  I also have tried setting up a photo shoot area with two clip on lamps holding daylight bulbs, a tripod, a darkened room, but still they come out just so-so.

If I were ever going to get serious about selling art online or entering more selective art shows, then I would have to bite the bullet and have a professional photograph them.  I've only done that once and I have to admit that the results were outstanding!

Speaking of art shows,  a new one is about to start on May 22nd.  It's at the Woodstock Jewish Center. I sold two paintings there in December when they had the holiday show.
The theme of this new show is Summer.  I entered two plein air landscapes and they accepted both.

Not sure if I will attend the opening or not, but I would like to!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Shurter Farm


11 x 14
oil


In 1984, my mom and dad bought what was left of the Shurter Farm. They were living in West Shokan at the time and my mom had two horses, but not a lot of pasture. She really wanted more room for them. 

So, they sold their home and bought an old farm along Samsonville Road.  My father built a log home and big barn which stands to the left of this scene. The old cow barn was in terrible condition and he had to tear it down. He built himself an equipment building on that foundation. That would be the building above on the left.  

After living there for 22 yrs, my dad decided he wanted to downsize. At 79 yrs old!  So, they sold off the fields you see here with the house and built another on the remaining land just down the road. My mom, who is now 83, still has horses so he had to build her another barn. 
 I wasn't crazy about this plan, because it's hardly downsizing!  It's been almost 10 years and now it seems like they've been in the new place a long time. My mother still misses the log home, but the new house is easier to take care of though she has three bedrooms and two baths! 

The horses she had in '84 have passed away, but she has a retired race horse and two miniatures to take care of every day.  Two other minis she left at the farm above, because the ladies that bought the first farm love them and have become very dear friends of our family.  They turned my dad's equip. barn into a rental home.  

About a month or so ago, I was contacted by a very nice couple that recently bought a home in Samsonville NY.  Coincidently, this is the view from their home!  They love it here and asked if I ever do paintings of High Point Mt.  Here is their commissioned painting of High Pt Mt with the Shurter barns and horse pasture! I hope they like it. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

More plein air





Tranquil Woodstock Afternoon
8x10
Oil on panel
$80. framed plus shipping

Hanover Mountain Solitude
8x10
Oil on panel


I REALLY need to perfect the photographing of artwork.  Both of these paintings seem a little out of balance colorwize.  I usually take pictures outside in natural light.  I don't do it in sunshine, rather under the roof of my front porch.  No flash.  

Once I download them to my computer, I open them in a photo editor and try to correct the color to make it appear more like the painting.  Seldom do I get it right!  I know a lot of people use two lights with daylight bulbs angled to shine on the painting and hang the painting on a wall inside.  I need to have my son, who is a professional videographer, help me out with this. Something has to change, because I am not at all happy with the online version of my artwork :(

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On a roll?

Wasn't I pleasantly surprised to find out I'd sold two paintings at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation on Sunday?  That was the day of their open house and a chance to view all the paintings submitted. I haven't had a chance to see them, but I will when I bring two different paintings to be hung.

One was painted en plein air in August when the Sawkill Creek was running very low. The favorite swimming spot is called "Little Deep".  It's located along the Zena Road.

The second painting was done from a photo I took when joy riding through the Drybrook area of Arkville.  The road is called Rider Hollow and you won't find a prettier spot!  I love how the old barn sits so close to the road.  So many barns do.  I suppose when the barn was built, the road was a lot narrower.

So here they are, both in other peoples' homes now.

BTW: if you are in the area and want to see the artwork, the location is:
Woodstock Jewish Congregation
1682 Glasco Turnpike
Woodstock,NY 12498

"Little Deep"
8 x 10
oil on panel
sold

"Rider Hollow"
8 x 10
Oil on panel
sold

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oriole 9, Woodstock NY


8 x 10
oil on panel

Part of my plein air outings have included village scenes in Woodstock.  As the leaves are turning and the air is cooling off, we find really enjoyable moments painting outside.
Last week, it was just my instructor and myself on the Village Green.  When you get there early, like 9AM, you pretty much have this triangle in the middle of the village to yourself.  As it gets closer to 11AM and the shops open, the characters begin to gather!  

I was good until about noon, when a bunch of people  with backpacks and dogs that were growling at each other arrived.  I quickly packed up and called it a day!  
I had gotten close to finishing anyway, except for a few suggestions from Keith in my mind. I decided to finish it up at home. 
I will post his painting as well, you'll see what an amazing painter he is!  

Mine is called Oriole 9.  That's the name of the restaurant with the orange doors located on Tinker St.  The name comes from the old telephone exchange letters that ended sometime in the late 60s, early 70s, I think.  Woodstock was "oriole 9" which is the full name of the exchange that began OL9-xxxx.  Today, the letters are gone and their telephone numbers begin with 679.
In Olive, we were "Oliver 7", or OL7-xxxx. Today we are 657. I think Phoenicia was "Overland 8".  Kingston had a couple, one was "Federal 8".  If we called within our exchange, we didn't dial the first three numbers. Phoenicia and Woodstock were long distance for us to call, so we didn't spend much time on the phone with our friends.  
Boy, has time changed and I'm dating myself :).


Yes, this is Keith's painting. Awesome, isn't it?  I probably should know better than to post it on the same page as mine, LOL!  


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sorella Boutique, Woodstock NY


8" x 10"
Oil on panel

*I have no idea what I did to my format in the following post. Please excuse! LOL!


My two adorable nieces opened this boutique about seven years ago.  Called "Sorella", it means sisters in Italian.
They both love fashion!  Anna has had a long career in retail and Regina has a fashion degree from  Newbury College in Boston. This little shop is so cute!  Nestled in the shadow of the cafe next door, it is located on one side of the Village Green.
While Regina is mom to a 16 yr old and twins that are 12, Anna never had any children.  That is, until now!  She is thrilled to be welcoming a baby boy in November.  I don't think she'd be mad if I told you how old she is.  40.   She looks 10 years younger than that and is in excellent health.  She's had a perfect pregnancy and it proves that it's never too late!  Well, of course, that's a stupid statement, but 40 is not too late for lots of women!   Anna has been mom to many dogs.  She and her husband, Luke, are very active finding homes for unwanted shelter dogs, primarily pit bulls.

Back to the painting:  The girls just closed this shop on Monday.  With the impending birth, Anna felt she wanted to stay home with her baby for as long as possible.  They aren't finished with great clothing sales, however!  

From their Facebook page that featured Regina painting walls: 

We are no longer located in woodstock. We are starting up our online business that will be a mix of "used not abused" , vintage & new merchandise . As you see here Regina is at it already! Our Sorella room will be finished in no time. Our plan is to work from home with seasonal pop up parties at local businesses. We already have a few people interested in hosting our first ones. We look forward to the freedom we will have & hope to see you all along the way. Most of you know my first born is expected in 4.5 weeks. Once I'm settled into my new life, we will be at it again.. This is not an end! It's a beautiful beginning.. Love to all of you!



I was on the Village Green a few weeks ago with my plein air class and chose to do a painting of their store.  Architecture isn't my strong suit, but I'm happy with it.  I can't wait to give it to the girls!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Plein Air duo


The calendar says that the summer is winding down, but the thermometer doesn't agree!  We're having temps in the high 80s and still using our pool.  The best part of extended summer, however, is the extra time it gives me to paint outdoors.  

I've had a great summer of painting!  The month of July was spent taking a plein air class with 
the same group of ladies I've been with for the last three summers. It's Kate McGloughlin's "Simplifying the landscape" class.  I will post some painting from that soon, I promise!

No sooner did that class end than a brand new class started in Woodstock.  This one is with a fabulous local artist I've admired for awhile.  I signed up immediately when I saw it would be on 
Thursday mornings.  The artist is Keith Gunderson. When he holds a brush it looks like he's conducting a symphony!

Below are two recent paintings from that class.  The top one is the small falls located on the Tannery Brook in the village of Woodstock. 8 x 10 oil on panel. I don't know if I've finished it or not, but I think it is!  Sometimes I have to look at them for awhile before deciding that. 



 The second one, below, is a glimpse into life on the reservoir on Zena Road.  There's a sweet little
pump house tucked into the woods and the reservoir is home to a couple of Blue Herons.  We were lucky to watch one from a distance.  They look so prehistoric when flying overhead.
This one is also 8 x 10, oil on a canvas panel.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer of painting

I haven't posted in a long time. That doesn't mean I haven't been painting, though.  I am having a great summer with lots of activities and visitors.

The best parts, however, are the classes I've been taking at the Woodstock School of Art.  First, a five week long plein air with my favorite teacher, Kate McGloughlin.  We visited some amazing places I wouldn't have access to ordinarily.  

The month of August I've been studying with Keith Gunderson.  I can't describe what an incredible artist he is.  He makes it look easy composing a landscape outdoors and bringing it to life with just a few strokes. It looks like he's conducting an orchestra!  

He has also taken us to sites I've never painted at, all in the Woodstock area.  Next week is the last class and I know I am going to be sad it's ending so soon.  I really hope I'll be able to take classes with him again in the future.

So, I don't have any photos to share because I am in Wiscasset Maine as I write this and don't have photos of finished pieces with me.   I will post lots of them when I get home.

 I hope to get out there and paint some of this special Maine coast scenery.  This is one of my happy places.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Coffee Filter Easter Wreath

I'm trying to get into the Easter spirit even though we still have snow on the ground and it's 43 degrees outside.  I made a coffee filter wreath over the winter using a piece of pipe insulation and a few dozen white coffee filters.  Wish I could say I thought of that great idea, but I didn't. I saw it while browsing Pinterest one night.
I did, however, customize it and I'm happy that I can keep it hanging on a mirror all year with different ribbon, silk flowers and other doodads.
My fav clip art site is The Graphics Fairy.  She posts adorable vintage postcards for free! And tons of other ephemera images. I've done lots of fabric transfers using them.
 I downloaded the ones I wanted with Easter themes and printed them on regular printer paper. I brushed a couple coats of Liquitex Matte Gel on both sides. Let them dry and then I cut them out. The gel gives them flexible bodies! I simply attached them with paper clips 'cause that's what I had on hand and I like the utilitarian look of that.
Can't wait to show it to my sis and my nieces!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Causeway Beach

So, here we are in Ft Pierce, FL.  Of all the places we've been in Florida, this is our favorite spot. Specifically, along the inlet from the ocean to the Indian River.
I was here a time or two back in the 60's when I was a kid. We would be on our way to visit my relatives in So. Florida. Traveling with another family who were dear friends, we'd stay one night with their grandparents on the Indian River. Happy times!
We like it here for various reasons. Along A1A, it is relatively quiet. There is a certain feel of "Old Florida".  The US Navy Seals trained here during WW2, and there's lots of history regarding that time.
The Atlantic is so beautiful here! Very blue and rugged. Pelicans everywhere! We can ride our bikes to places and never get in the car for days. Really good local places to eat, often with live music.
The beaches are plentiful and free. Most are not dog friendly, but they are fairly liberal with the rules and I always take my toy poodle, Ginger, with me in her backpack.
The water on the inlet is calm so I prefer that beach. I managed to do a quick 5 x7 plein air painting while sitting in the blazing sun on the Causeway Beach. There were a lot of snowbirds out there that day, but I chose to leave people out of this one. I felt I had to edit a lot out in order to simplify the scene. I considered this a warm up sketch and hope to crank out a couple more before we head north next week.
I must stop being so particular where I set up, what I'm wearing, what the wind conditions are, how bright it is and what palette to use! Getting started is half the battle!
SOLD

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Golden Pastures

8 x 10
Oil on panel
Sold

Yesterday, Kate McGloughlin, from the Woodstock School of Art, sent emails around asking for artwork for the Ronald McDonald house in Albany. They need quite a number of landscapes and they asked for pastoral scenes and other traditional subjects.  I'm hoping they will like this Hudson River School style painting I did recently. 
It's loosely a scene from across the river looking back at the Catskills.  Please don't go looking for the exact location! Not unless you want to poke around inside my head, LOL!

I dearly love the Ronald McDonald house!  Eight years ago, my tiny granddaughter spent the first four months of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit at Albany Med.  The Ronald McDonald house is nearby and they also have a center right at the hospital.  My son and daughter in law are fortunate enough to live in the Capital district, so they didn't need to stay at Ronald's house.  However, we all reaped the benefits of the center at the hospital. They provided sofas and places to relax, playthings for kids and spots to use your computer. There was a kitchen and often times pizza and other food was either donated or brought in to share among the families. I can't say enough good things about the Ronald McDonald House. 

Small Show at Hurley Ridge


Yeah, well, I can see that a ruler would have come in handy!  My friend, Lois, helped me hang a few of my paintings at Hurley Ridge Market, just outside Woodstock, the other day. If it hadn't been so cold and we weren't in front of a door, we probably could have done a better job!
My husband never "eyeballs" something. He would have had his tape measure out, making me crazy with his preciseness!  The rail the paintings hang from has a bow in it, so that was part of the problem. All in all, I was happy with how we did it. No easy task with people walking past that we both knew and wanted to chat with.  Actually, I think the movement is growing on me! It flows!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Buttermilk Falls, The Peekamoose


I'm happy to report that this painting of the Buttermilk Falls has sold.  
I have always loved this waterfall.  In the summer the water roars over the cliff, but this time of year it is little more than a trickle. I chose to paint it at low water, putting more importance to the rock formations than the water.  
It's located on what they used to call "The Gulf Road".  Unpaved and scary until not so many years ago. Now so many people pass through that it's like a super highway! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CRISP

The Catskill Center is having an art exhibit at their location in Arkville. Called "Hemlocks: The backbone of the Catskills". It's an attempt to help bring awareness to a serious problem facing the Catskills, invasive species. To learn more about this problem, click CRISP.

I already blogged that they accepted my painting for the exhibit. Here's a photo on their website showing my painting hanging next to a description. I'm confused about the opening reception. It said it was Thursday November 11. Well, November 11 was a Tuesday! And I didn't know about it so I didn't attend either Tuesday or Thursday!

The show will hang until April 24, 2015.




Another current exhibit is the annual students' exhibit at the Woodstock School of Art.  I was in this last year.  This time I was able to submit two paintings, because I took two different plein air classes.
Here's a photo of me with mine and Carol LaMonda with hers.  She wound up selling hers shortly afterwards!  My friend, Lois Osptapczuk, also has a painting in the show, but was unable to attend the opening. It runs until Dec. 20.