Sketching Facebook Photos-Stalking in a Good Way

I must have a stalker’s heart. My Facebook friends post photos which only tempt me to see more. More of that road trip. More of that family (oh, look! they have twins too!) More of that building project. More of those crazy pets. Some of those images reached out and grabbed me by the leg. Well, sort of. They spoke to me in one way or another. Usually it is the lighting in a photo that catches my eye. If it makes me catch my breath, it goes in the file. I’m not going to tell you what images are there, but judging by the contents, I’m eclectic.

This is the first one. My friend, Heather, feeds all sorts of birds. I’m jealous that she has Stellar Jays. She is only a hundred miles and a mountain range away, but those jays don’t live near us.

Stellar Jay Watercolor

Stellar Jay Watercolor

She feeds them from her hand and captured that expression with her camera. How could I not paint this handsome dude? I’m a sucker for electric blue eyebrows.

The next painting is on my painting table. I’m going to send a photo of the painted image to the “owner” and wait for a response. This one has to look just right or it is all wrong. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

Stay tuned…

Painting Kids and Cars

Elijah

It is always an honor to paint a person. There is the responsibility to “get” the expression and put the eyes and ears in the right places, but there is a level of tender intimacy found when I look so long and carefully at just that nose, that ear, that personality. It isn’t the same as painting, say…cars!

Arizona Cars

These cars are all in Arizona. People drive golf carts around, too. I wasn’t sure what to put in the bottom middle spot. It would have been difficult to draw a small car across the gutter of the page. My friend, Elinor, suggested an Arizona license plate. Pretty cool idea, isn’t it? The page needed some text, so I added words from an old Country Western song. I sang it for my husband and he laughed.

Arizona Sketches

We flew from cold and dark Alaska to sunny Arizona earlier this month. I sketched in the sun every day. A friend I met on Facebook, Stacy Egan, invited me to join her sketching group in Tucson. What an enjoyable and friendly group! We met at the train station and roasted in the sun to sketch this cool, old train.

Tucson Train

I realized as I photographed these following images that there is a thread here. They are all passages: a door, a window, a gate. Last weekend my mother went through a passage from life to death. She had been at the doorway for so long, slipping away from us in bits as Alzheimer’s slowly took her from us. I believe with all my heart that she is with God now and that she was so very glad to go from here to be with Him. From this life to eternity.  During this Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for having had a wonderful mother.

Tucson Red Door web Tucson Blue Window Brick Doorway web

Esperanza Villa web

The Art of Peach Pie

Although I usually post about sketching and art related items, this one might be a stretch and I’m probably breaking some “Rules for the Blogger” because this one is really more about food than art.  Rules haven’t slowed me down yet and my desire to share something delicious with you overrides rules. The recipe follows…

Peach Crustade

Peach Crustade

Although the title of this post is “The Art of Peach Pie”, this is a recipe for a crustade, which is a fancy name for pie without the pie pan. Peaches are at the end of their season, but try it with apples or pears mixed with cranberries,  or use blueberries or blackberries. Once I cleaned out the fridge of wizened fruit with this recipe.

6 cups fresh peaches, pitted, and sliced (I left the skins on for added color)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, instant tapioca or tapioca flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

In large bowl, mix peaches, sugar and cinnamon. Allow to sit for about 20-30 minutes. While it sits, mix the crust. This recipe for crust comes from Natalie, who is a dear lady in South Africa. She used this recipe to make marvelous little meat pies.

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup cold butter, diced into small cubes

Pinch salt

Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor, and pulse while adding just enough cold water to make it form a soft dough. You may also use a fork and knife. Reserve about 1/2 cup dough. Roll the rest onto a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, using flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rough 14 inch circle. It went over the edges of the foil for me. I rolled mine out on the counter, then transferred it to the baking sheet.

Using a straining spoon, scoop peaches, without juice, onto the middle of the crust. Push them out to about 2 inches from the edge. Fold crust over peaches, allowing it to gather roughly. Add tapioca or flour and lemon juice to peach juice using a whisk and pour into saucepan. Heat gently over low heat and stir constantly until it just begins to thicken. Don’t even think about letting it boil! If it gets too thick you will have a glob. Add butter and stir. Pour over peaches in crust.

Roll remaining crust on lightly floured board to a little more than 1/8″. Using a round cookie cutter, cut circles. Some of these will be peaches and others leaves. For the peaches, use the cookie cutter to make a classic peach dent by lifting it and making a dent with the rim of the cutter off-center in the circle. Make leaves with more circles by cutting them twice with the cookie cutter. Think Venn Diagram and you can make leaves. Place on filling.

Brush crust with milk and sprinkle generously with turbinado or raw sugar.

Bake @ 375 for 50 minutes to an hour, until crust is golden and peaches are bubbly. I’m not going to tell you how many this serves because if you really like it, you might want a really big piece. Or you might have teenagers in the house…Best served warm.

Recipe adapted from this website:

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/11/5488744/recipeold-fashioned-peach-pie.html

Sketching a Lake Before Freeze-up

The lakes in interior Alaska have begun to freeze and the swans are getting ready to take the last flight out before their feet freeze in the ice. I stopped at Eureka Summit and sketched part of the Chugach Range. I could have used two more pieces of paper in this panorama to sketch what I was looking at through the windshield. Snow hasn’t fallen on lower elevations. The colors are from dry grasses and leaves.

Eureka Summit- Mile 130 Glennallen Highway, Alaska

Eureka Summit Mile 130 Glennallen Highway, Alaska

I’m going to post sketches available for sale on this blog and they can be purchased using PayPal. Message me if you are interested. The price will be in the title or it will be marked sold.

On Saturday I took four children to a birthday party fifty miles from our house. After I dropped them off, I escaped to a quiet lake nearby and sketched this view. A gentle breeze was blowing and birds were flitting about in the trees. It was marvelous.

Lake at Mile 143, 7" x 9" $50.00

Lake at Mile 143, 7″ x 9″watercolor/pen $50.00 (postage paid)