Wednesday, October 4, 2023

On the Move Again

    It was a surprise to find Joe and I have moved 12 times and this is #13. Thirteen is the family lucky number. Downsizing is a challenge but the sons are happy to see us off to Brookhaven@Lexington. We are hustling like young marrieds planning a first home. But what will I do with all my big paintings that I could never part with. I await your solutions! Especially the last floor to ceiling one!

One of the exciting finds in sorting papers, was written by whom I do not know. I scribbled it in longhand and then typed it for legibilty. I thought it so articulate and nice as a review and hoped someone could identify the writer:

“ Having just written on Post-Modern art, it’s gratifying to be hit with a web page so emphatically displaying it. Linda is very much AWARE of past art and artists but is never bound by them. She celebrates them wo worshiping them either in terms of style or content. In fact, it would appear that in many cases, she, herself, IS the content. Her work has the added appeal that it is sharp wo ever being harsh. It is strong, wo being exploitive, and it is striking wo doting on past definitions of beauty. And her sense of humor is rich wo being cute or even funny. One might call it an acute sense of the absurd. I guess I’d have to say it is okay. No, seriously, I was quite impressed.”  []

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Walking the Dog (not as in YoYo-ing)

    Although I am quite proud of my 1950 Duncan YoYo award where one requirement was "walking the dog," I am grateful, throughout the years, for having a dog to walk.You meet your neighbors in the blocks surrounding your home. Sometimes the dogs more than the owners. You watch the children grow up. People gather around when your house burns to offer keys to their homes. You get together for holidays and weekend celebrations. How does it get any better? 

     Surprises happen. Yesterday a new 6-year-old neighbor who earlier had asked Joe about Harry the dog: "from Harry Potter? Harry the Dirty Dog? " was sketching Harry in her sketchbook. Joe asked if she would like to walk the dog to our house to see Linda's paintings. Her 10-year-old brother and mother followed. Joe roused me to meet them. After observing my Medusa self portrait,  the 10-year-old boy discussed his interest in Greek and Roman mythology. The young lady was proud her brother could take 84 to the 4th power in his head. The six-year-old looking at a painting where I had included Cezanne, thought he looked more like Claude."Claude who?"we asked. "Claude Monet!" she replied. We were staggered. There was talk of Kandinsky and other artists from these youth's conversation. Full names of artists. Then they volunteered to play the piano, some long, complicated classical pieces from memory. No shyness or braggadocio, but a sharing of gifts. Then the young lady wanted to see my sketchbook. She looked at almost 80 pages, one after another, not skipping any and mentioned her favorites. The rest of the time she was sketching. I saw her from afar, today, sketchbook still in hand. I like how she focused on Harry's hair, whiskers and tail. The brother was engaging also, noting details in books, talking more about artists. The two children were planning a secret dessert for the family dinner.

     What blessings to their family and to our neighborhood. I love surprises and gifts. Walking is good.

sketches at Panera and in the studio about current events

her favorite among the 80

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Little English tea sandwiches, heaven or h....otherwise!

       Alice Walker said, "Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors."  Of course one expects sandwiches for a picnic. I preferred my tea at the Hyde Park Hotel where Joe and I stayed to look for a home for our three-year sojourn in England. The restaurant looks out on Hyde Park where troops on horses pass by. The hotel now has a new name, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. The chocolates, scones and clotted cream were my interest in the 80s,  but now I am fascinated by the little tea sandwiches. I never made them, but I always wanted to.  I was gifted a tea service which I only look at. So when Katie said she would like to have a tea for our quilt group reunion, I naively said I would make the finger sandwiches. I had NO idea about  the effort, but I would do it again. Joe, my sous chef, would decline. I also baked and took along little white buttermilk cookies.

       There are many instructions for English tea sandwiches on the Internet, but I knew I needed to find very thin slices of bread. Pepperidge Farm and others supply, but some people make their own bread to slice or go to a bakery that cuts thin. There are instructions on how to keep the bread fresh since you are advised to put the sandwiches together at the last minute. Rules are made to be broken. I will write minimally the most important of what I remember:

       Buy dark and light bread, maybe pumpernickel and potato bread (or just white). Although tempted otherwise, make only two recipes, initially. Plan to spread the inside of the sandwiches with soft butter (not melted) mixed w fresh chopped chives or other herbs. Chives are a rarity I grow and they return regularly. Butter keeps the bread from getting soggy, but possibly the cream cheese concoctions in your different recipes do the same.

        I found recipes for watercress egg salad, cucumber dill, and smoked salmon sandwiches online. You will want to wade through your Google finds for the most appealing. I used a lot of cream cheese and lemon zest, dill and mayo. You will need more cream cheese than you think. Plan to be generous. Only after the sandwiches are spread and closed do you saw or cut off the crusts of the breads. You can get three tea sandwiches out of each big sandwich. You will need to wipe your knife constantly, so prepare to be neat. For variety you can cut out circle sandwiches with a cookie cutter.  The greatest planning goes into deciding on the best recipes.

          I put my sandwiches together the day of, but we enjoyed the leftover sandwiches for three days thereafter.  Of course we wrapped carefully, including a paper towel inside the wrapped sandwiches. Give it a try,  while I will hope to have my first "tea party" sometime soon. "Tea is a hug in a cup" (Elite Daily).  "Where there is tea, there is hope."

Friday, March 31, 2023

DIY as a beginner in flower arranging: Flexibility

     There is a comfortable Do-It-Yourself level for most adventures. Joe and I were in charge of flower arrangements for the altar at church this Sunday. Having grown up in the Dustbowl, I know not flowers. But in a painting, one often chooses two colors opposite in the color wheel; and I thought that would work with flower design. I knew to cut off dead ends from stems and whatever would be under the water line in a vase. We headed to Trader Joe's where I have watched people choose a variety of greens and the prettiest blossoms delivered each week. Only after choosing, buying and creating our arrangements did I think to Google "flower arranging for beginners!"

       Joe and I chose a pair of the church's bronze vessels to flank the cross. But only now am I finding one is to create a base with greenery. People enjoy odd numbers in designing, but this can vary. Sources suggest you think of balance, harmony, and emphasis. Google says to add to the base, focal flowers and filler flowers.  I didn't follow any order or design, but worked from the back forward.  Online you can even find numbers of particular flowers that should be in a particular size in arrangements. Ignorance is bliss. Arrangements may grow to several shapes, so dive in to discover your style.

        Last spring, we chose the colors of the Ukranian flag. This year, I wanted to copy Carol's irises which were in season. The store presented the most intoxicating white roses. The bouquets would be up against a flat background. We naturally had to design to fit our limitations; for instance, the back side of the arrangement is not visible. Mostly, I loved the thistles the color purple of the irises and greenery suggested by strangers in the store. I had wanted tulips, but the roses were compelling. I stuck in old tulips back home. Always be able to turn on a dime and don't be afraid of the dark. "Miracles are for beginners." (C.S. Lewis)

Friday, February 17, 2023

Tennyson: "So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be."

      Wanting  to learn something new daily (theme of this year), I find I am lucky to produce ANY thing. On Valentine's Day, for the first time, I PURCHASED rather than created cards for the grandchildren. I was inspired to do something because I ran across an elementary school "Special Delivery Love Truck" son Jim made that had heart shaped wheels carrying stuffed red lips (think Claes Oldenburg) with a tag to pull to show teeth. Caught up in the spirit, I stepped into one store to find cards and simple little gifts to wrap to drop off for the youngsters.Since poetry happens in February, I added rhymes for each grandchild. When delivering, I spied on a shelf a small round canvas in a Valentine box. I must have painted the lovebirds before or at the time Bill and Beth married in 2000. She is sweet to save.

       Grand Erika was born on Valentine's day and likes historical fiction. I had just discovered Marie Benedict's books on interesting women that are a pleasure to read. My favorite Book Bub introduced me to Carnegie's Wife;  and I had read her The Personal Librarian about J.P Morgan's helper. Joe and I piled  four paperbacks by this author to wrap:  The Other Einstein (Relativity), The Only Woman in the Room (Wifi),  Her Hidden Genius (DNA), and Carnegie's Maid. Some of these are in the stack on my table I have attacked. I am enjoying reading again, however distracted coming out of the pandemic with always too much to do.

       Next I was tempted by a Great Courses ad with seriously reduced prices. Three just arrived: Social Media 101, The Everyday Gourmet:The Joy of Medterranean Cooking and Writing Creative Nonfiction on DVD's that I can watch on my big computer. Joe says the noise won't bother him since I am always making noise in our shared study. 

Note: Unfortunately we did not know that cadmium had been found in dark chocolate and included a bar in the grand's Valentines!



Thursday, December 22, 2022

Starting over and learning new tricks

      Good advice for keeping the brain healthy is to learn something new daily. At my art show back in the mid-nineties, when son Jim bought a painting (Vanity in Aspic) to encourage my getting into computers, I had zero interest.  Thanks to him, I bought a Mac computer and Adobe Photoshop among many other software. I took off two years to teach myself to use a computer and worked through a thick book Adobe sent along with their software. I didn't learn everything. Just what I wanted to know. Through the years I found the easier and less expensive Photoshop Elements and Comic Life were enough, all I needed. Trouble is, they take time to learn. Plus, inspired by a friend, I also want to practice piano more and color!  This requires maturity!

     In the last two weeks, I have been trying to master the updated Adobe Photoshop Elements/Premiere.  I need to view all the many free tutorials online, ask questions to go beyond my present success, which is little. But my blog is overdue and I am determined to post. There must be some value in my fun so far. I like some of my photos and got off a Christmas card. See below. "Fortune befriends the bold." (Emily Dickinson)

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Boring is in the eye of the beholder

       At birthdays and Christmas time, the fun is in making, choosing and buying gifts for others rather than handing over money or getting something for ourselves. In fact, recent research shows we have more happiness giving than receiving: The Joy of Giving Lasts Longer Than the Joy of Getting – Association for Psychological Science – APS. On a smaller scale, I like to personalize gifts by making them, even though I am sure others might prefer to receive something more professional, just as the children want money.

       Although I have been to the easel and sketchbook, I haven't followed through big time in paint and pencil. But a couple of weeks ago, near Halloween, I wanted to take some wine to people who had us to a meal to check out a retirement village. Joe found a seasonal wine and I grabbed some Halloween fabric to make a wine bottle cover. I am a fanatic to use a carrier for wine when it is a hostess gift or otherwise. I found several different patterns online and created bags quickly  There are all sorts of styles, so Google wine bag tutorials to find a style for your scraps. Don't expect to excite someone. The fun is in the making and giving.…  Also "measure twice, cut once" so your pumpkins won't be upside down.