Thursday, August 28, 2014


In between my art and horses, and goats, and garden, I try to make time to cook something decent.   I used to like those canned or boxed 'foods', but eww, not anymore.   I've spoiled myself with the good stuff! 

Take bread.   Staff of Life and all that.   The stuff in the store is both dreadful expensive and yet, not very good.   The store brand cheaper stuff is just nasty, fluff, and sticks to my front teeth.  The other, I still can't read most of what's in it, and why does it last sooo long?   I find food that doesn't spoil, well, odd. 

So several years ago I started buying those frozen loaves.  ok, not great, but better.   I swore I can't make bread!   Then I was encouraged to do so by a few of my friends.  Lo and behold!  I created BREAD!   oh boy!   Now I make all sorts of bread, and most recently found flatbread.   I am lovin the flatbread!   It has no yeast either, I think I like that.  Takes all of *maybe* half hour to make 12 pieces.  Great for sandwiches, and....PIZZAS!
This my friends, is no ordinary pizza.   I have goats, remember?   I make cheese.  Gooey, stringy mozzarella.   so this, is a goat cheese, hamburger (ranch raised) and fresh garden tomato, pizza.    I did buy the 'shrooms.   But, its pretty satisfying to make something like this, from scratch, and is was tasty!!   In case you'd like to try flatbread, here's the recipe.   Its so incredibly simple!! 
3cups flour (I use unbleached, unbromated or white whole wheat, or combo of)
2tsp salt
2stp baking powder
1 pinch baking soda
3T. shortening (I use only my own rendered lard for anything calling for shortening)
mix all this with a fork, then add...
1c. water.    mix with the fork, might need to add a touch more water, til its not dry but not sticky.   knead a short time, roll into a loose roll shape, cut into 10-12 pieces.
(*note...recipe said 4 pieces, but that would make these things soo heavy and thick.   I find 10-12 pieces yields large enough breads without being overly thick.)

roll out onto cutting board with flour, into a circle or I do ovals.   I roll very thin!   pierce with fork and plop down onto a hot pan on the stove.  no oil needed.   it will begin to bubble a bit, turn and brown each side.   (I roll my next one while its cooking).    place it aside when done, til all the dough is used.  I kinda place them around the cutting board, then when done, they're pretty much cool and put them into a baggie. 

At first, they seem too dry/crispy.   they will soften up.   these things are great for just as a sandwich bread, eating fresh out of the pan and hot, and for pizzas!   This would've been a bread I would've liked to make back when I couldn't, anyone truly can make this.    In the store, a package of 6 flatbreads is $3.   I would guess maybe $1 for a dozen, and without the icky stuff added.    enjoy!  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Days are getting shorter

Here's where I went riding the other day.  Lovely little spot, isn't it?
It was so pretty and peaceful.   I loved how the shadow areas were so blue!   I decided to snap a shot of it and paint it in studio.   I used a piece of Uart paper, 500g.   I used a nice warm red-brown under painting as I was planning for those cooler blues on top, and thought the warm under cool would pop.   The rusty tones also helped out with all those greens, which can be problematic in summer.

As for the composition, I had to be sure the road didn't fling the viewer out, so I made the grasses a bit taller at the upper right to keep the eye in the painting, going back to the treeline and the larger, main tree.   This is a little painting, only 8x10, I often find those a lot of fun as I can do them in one go, and not lose my excitement.    

I am experimenting with leaving a bit of the surfaces a tad 'unfinished', and I'm liking that.   I like the sketchy feeling of that.   I dont' want my work to look 'like a photo'.  (especially one of my photos! ekk!)   And I also then can allow some of my under painting work to show, which is nice contrasting against the more finished areas. 

This little gem is not yet framed, but is offered for sale at $100.   Framing available however, should you want to bring her home ready to hang!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rena's Ready!

This mare is a real lovely lady from Minnesota.  Her name is Rena and her owner is Deb, and they do long distance riding.   Deb sent me photos to work from and with those and her input, I created this portrait.   Its 16x20 on dark brown sanded paper. 

Here's the block in---The outline is there, the highlights are there, and a hint of the background.   Just to mention, this is the second time I started this.  The first start was all wrong.  and I just couldn't ignore it and move on, it had to get fixed.   So I washed it down with mineral spirits, creating part of the dark background Deb had asked for.   then re-sketched Rena and this time, it was right. 

here's a close up of her lovely deep eyes.   IRL (in real life) the eye is much more dark, guess I'll never make a good photographer!   
 The finished Rena, and will be on her way to Deb very soon! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

lots to tell

summer seems pretty busy for everyone and I'm no exception--but today I will play a bit of catch-up with my blog.

In late July, I taught a 3day workshop in a lovely lodge near Platte, SD, sponsored by the Stagecoach Gallery, where I show my work.   I had 4 students, who did fabulously.   The first day we talked about materials and mark-making.   The second day was about value mostly.  The third was working on a painting idea, then some plein air.    photo by Mary Hunt, Stagecoach owner.   My youngest student was Torri, and the furthest-away was Vernita, from Texas!   A couple students had a very limited number of pastels, but look at what can still be done, nice showing of work here!

Then a couple weeks passed with me doing the stuff I left aside to prepare for the workshop.....until the DeSmet plein air paint out!   How I LOVE paint outs.

DeSmet is where the Laura Ingalls pageant is held and there is an area set up just like it would've been in her day, lots to paint!    We had most of the weekend as rainy, grey days, which isn't something I usually paint.  I did very much enjoy that tho., was different and somewhat a challenge instead of the typical sunny 'pretty' day, the grey days have their own serene beauty.   And, I'd much prefer grey to heat, any time!

I could easily paint there for a month.   I hope to return next year, as I feel I haven't even begun to paint the possibilities available there.  And, the Harvey Dunn Society was sooo accommodating to the 50 or so artists, making us meals, handing out water and fruit, a big thanks to them!!

Here I am starting a 10x10 on Uart paper, of a distance farm.   sadly, I didn't photograph it when I was done, and it sold at the wet-paint sale at the end of the weekend, which is good, but when will I ever remember to get those photos??!
this last photo is of inside the schoolhouse, it was misty/sprinkling so I went inside the building instead.   This was done on Uart, with some alcohol underpainting.   This was one of my favorites of the weekend.   My other and very favorite sold, again, without a photo of it.

School has started back up, where Daughter is a senior.  oh my.   How did this happen?   But it leaves my days a bit more open to my own devices, and I've been working steady on some commissions, of horses!   I think this is just awesome, painting people's beloved horses.   And riding my own, weather permitting.   I can ride in rain, but not heat.  blah!

I am making sure to set a goal for the week or day, or even monthly.   Otherwise, nothing gets done.  I find lists to be my best helper in that dept.   If its not on the list, its pretty certain NOT to get done.   I am happy to report today's list has been filled, with the completion of this blog post.   Sometimes an entry gets booted to the next day or further, but I feel best when I can cross each thing off.  Yea!   Makes me feel useful.