Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chef Syed

When he's not cookin' glass, he's cookin' up a Malaysian feast for friends and neighbors.

Lots of prep work for Malaysian cuisine and LOTS of garlic!

Syed likes to use the stone mortar and pestle we brought home from Malaysia many years ago.  Couldn't find one then - now they are easy to find in any large asian market.

The menu for this evening was Fruit Rojak, Stuffed Tofu, and Cucur Udang (shrimp fitters Malay style) for appetizers, followed by Beef Randang and Chicken Korma accompanied by Pineapple Acar, rice of course and a stir fried green been dish made with surprise spices and egg!  Desert was simple but mouth watering fresh mango. This link will get you to some more pics on our FB Page.  "Like" us when you get there, and Thanks!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Extraordinary Beauty

I am sitting here, virtually speechless after having watched this video of Gregory Colbert, photographer and, I would say, poet, philosopher, sage, dreamer, visionary.  I was mesmerized and I invite you to watch too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Follow my Blog

I just added this gadget to the right so you can follow my Blog.  I'd love to have you comment on these thoughts and ramblings, and to know I am reaching you out there in the ethers!  Thanks!

The painting process

People are always asking where I get my ideas.  When they are asking about the paintings, the answer is that the "idea" evolves out of the process of painting.  Because I always begin with laying down texture and color, I clear my head of specific imagery and just follow what the textural forms offer up.  Sometimes this is a quick give, and sometimes I feel like I was in second grade and the school trickster offers me something but when I reach for it, he yanks it back with a big guffaw.  Then, it's patience and persistence because the painting never works for me if I try to force it.  Case in point:  a week ago, I began a large canvas to see how I felt about painting directly on unstretched canvas instead of masonite, my usual substrate.  I always work flat, so no problem, I thought, laying the 45" x 72" out on my work table.  Gessoed it a few times - didn't want the canvas to buckle - and then got out my palette knives and texture paste, a little pigment, and got to work.  First day or two, things seemed to be going ok.  Second day, third day, heading downhill slowly.  First it was too much texture, then it was not enough.  Color was working ok - nothing exciting.  Fourth day I thought I saw something.....hmmmm....think I'll go with that...Birds of Paradise by a wall.  I like deep greens and maybe the Birds showed up because I'm getting ready to go to Malaysia....sure, let's go with this.

Mistake.  Got the Birds in there and hated them.  Nothing was right - composition was boring, color was harsh, texture didn't make sense.....damn!  Where did that thing go that I thought I saw?  Out the back door, no question.  Time for the sander.  After losing most of the Birds I let it sit overnight, toying with the idea of cutting the canvas in half.  But, once I looked at small parts, I had some really nice things happening - here's some pics...

Once I changed the shapes of the texture I could see round leaves.  Hints of the Birds bright orange peeked through, despite the gesso, so I grabbed them.

Nasturtiums Gone Wild is finished.  I varnished it tonight.

Just goes to show you, life can be easier if you learn to go with the flow.  Forcing things never works in the end.

I'm off to the kitchen - we have just picked sweet corn and more peaches from the Farmer's Market today!

Add caption
Little pieces of Nasturtiums Gone Wild....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Syed's Casino Installation at last!

It's such a delightful metamorphosis of sorts, to watch delicately cut shards of glass in multiple layered stacks go into the kiln, come out 24 hours later having become a tile of dynamic color.  Then to see the panels grow, adding 4 tiles vertically, seams nearly invisible, into a single panel of glass is watching a veritable garden grow.  It's all beautiful, but when the work is finally installed in the setting of huge marble slabs, for which it was designed, and then finally, finally lit ... well, it's all very satisfying for the artist.

Syed, the most modest person I know, simply nods his head and shoots the photos.  Job well done.

So I will say it for him...REALLY great job, Syed.  REALLY great.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Three Big Perks of Heat

I would post a pic but I ate them too fast - The Three Big Perks of Heat are.....(drumroll)...Sweet Corn (before the 4th of July, local, and sweet as honey; Heirloom Tomatoes (off the vine from a farm about 12 minutes away - warm, just firm enough to slice, plenty juicy enough to dribble down your chin); and Sweet Cukes (meat so white it looks like snow and skin tender with no bitterness)!

There you have it!  THAT's what hot summer sun is all about!  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Passing time and other slow moving vehicles

Tiny beads of sweat perch on my upper lip and hover at my hairline.  My eyelids are heavy with moist weight; back, sticky against desk chair and no matter how still I sit, only my fingers moving as I type, heat rises in slow waves from my entire body.  And.  The air is on.  I hear you wondering why I don't just turn the air up (or is it down?)?  That would be 1) cost, and 2) noise.  Our romantic, idyllic loft is an industrial space of tile and steel - no where to hide ducting carrying the arctic breeze and thus no damping of the 747 compressor and blower.  A small thing in the winter, barely am I able to recollect the annoying assault on my ears in July.

Barely the beginning of summer in the south, and my summer in the south will be exaggerated by three weeks in Malaysia in July/Aug.  More water.  Water to drink.  Water to swim in.  Or just float in.  More water as quarts of it are shedded from every pore.  What in the world is this Germanic Yankee doing living and traveling in the tropical wonders?

Have you ever leafed through travel mags, lusting after luscious fruits and deep shade of jungle canopy?  Ha!  It all looks so lazy, so sweetly redolent with gardenia and salt water -  Well. Yes. Untroubled.  And also unproductive.  Life in the hammock (substitute pool, swing, couch, boat to fit your lazy summer days) - life in the hammock, and I use "hammock" metaphorically here since we don't own a hammock either here or in Malaysia - life in the hammock is drugily (I know, I know - it's not a word) addictive.  The heat, tempered by the slight breeze as one foot pushes just enough to keep the swinging motion going, and the smells (fill in gardenias, mangoes, tropical vegetation, or, ripe peaches, hamburgers on the grill, salt water on the skin, roses heavily ripe with scent...) is a plot to sabotage every creative thought one ever had or ever will have again.  Creatively, I shift off to a less sweaty position and wonder if the watermelon is cold yet.

Hope you're having a lazy summer afternoon, untroubled, in a naturally induced druggy summer sleep.  A mere ten degree drop will revive us all and then the paints will fly!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Set up...

Always on the lookout for good back exercises while watching the weather reports for thunderstorms and tornados, or listening for that funny noise under the hood of the van...oh! the life of the vagabond gypsy artists in the summer!  This is Syed unloading at Hilton Head a couple of weekends ago - gotta hurry, other artists waiting to pull in!  Makes setting up for the Celebration look pretty good!

This is a small piece (12"x12"), one of 5 that could be hung in a series or singly - Dunes.  Crossing the bridge to Hilton Head, the marsh grasses appear and disappear with the tides.  Morning and evening light paints them rosy or apricot, sometimes pale yellow.  White clouds billow in bright blue and lilac skies.  The views are soulful and full of resting places.  The traffic is hideous.  The good with the bad.  Balance, and all that.