Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New mandalas
It's been a while since I posted paintings, so here are two new ones and a few shots from my work area.
Finish #2

And I learned my camera had a setting to take a negative picture.

Drawing inks

Fountain pen inks
Finish #1

Something bad happened here, and this
bottle turned to gel.

An in-progress shot of that first one.

Getting a little closer. These normally take about three
watercolor sessions after the ink has dried.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lace works

I've been working on a new concept, inspired some diagrams of needlelace found in antique books. It appeared that various elements are used to fill a square, and the squares are arranged in pretty patterns. You know how much I love squares, patterns, and symmetry,

The diagrams look along the lines of this:

My first drawing was done in pen and ink, making a mandala of sorts. I used some blocks from the diagrams and invented some of my own.

The next experimental step was to add some color and a few more elements that deviated from a strict grid. I started by painting a grid of squares and triangles in different colors, then I drew some design lines on top. The background square were done in Turner Acryl Gouache, so they have a matte finish, but unlike regular gouache, I can paint more on top of them without rewetting and disturbing the base layer.

I used darker iridescent colors to fill in some of the design areas. 
And more:
The last step (and the scariest, since there is no going back once started) was to paint on fine black lines everywhere. I think it came out pretty cool looking, although it is tough to capture the colors and the pearlescence in a photo. I have no idea how to finish it. It's on 12 x 16" canvas, and the design goes all the way out to the edge, so I think I'll have to mount it onto a box frame... so I can hang it on the wall space I don't have. :-P
Let the experiments continue!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fit for a King

Every parent at some time has gotten the 7pm comment, "Oh yeah, Mom - I need to bring a X for my Y class tomorrow," where X represents some random baked good and Y represents some school subject where caloric extra credit is encouraged or a holiday party is scheduled. My challenge: King Cake to accompany my son's presentation in his Spanish class.

As I perused recipes online, I inquired of him why they were celebrating Mardi Gras in January (it's March 4th this year.)  It was convenient he had prepared the presentation already that explained Spanish speaking countries celebrated Día de los reyes magos by eating rosca de reyes on January 6th. I had no idea but am always looking for a good excuse to eat cake! This is actually more of a bread, traditionally in an oval shape and decorated with raisins and other dried fruit.
rosca de reyes

The recipes turned out to be similar enough to my familiar yeasted braided Christmas bread (Tassajara Bread Book) that my Mum had taught me to make when I was hardly big enough to knead dough. She and I both still make it most Christmases. I just made it one layer tall, oval, and added a glaze. His class gets the colorful one in the back.  It's a day late, but I don't think it will dampen their little sugar-craving appetites.

Due to envisioned liability scenarios, we opted to leave out the little baby-shaped trinket that is traditionally baked in the cake. Also for want of owning an appropriate bakeable plastic baby.  I do now, however, have the strong urge to dig up a copy and reread Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major. If you've read it, you know why.

So I learned a bit of history and tradition, I learned that starting at 7pm is way too late to begin baking yeasted breads, and I learned that blue sugar crystals + pink sugar crystals do not remotely look like purple sugar crystals. But I'll be ready with purple for next January 6th.