Nov 222009
 

I’ve been snowed under with my other job lately, so I haven’t blogged in a while. However, I have been gathering the photographic references for the Circe painting I want to do. It’s been a difficult summer weather-wise, hard to get together with my models in the right lighting conditions. Now it’s late autumn. The sun is low in the southern sky, whereas the photographs I took of the pig, Elroy, were taken at the height of the summer when the sun was many more degrees towards the zenith. Either I put the project off for another season or I use my imagination to harmonize the lighting.

The painting above is a revision of the one I originally blogged on May 21. I was never happy with the whipped cream, which melted and lost its contours too quickly for me to paint accurately. I tried several times. So, because the painted garnish was so thick, I ground it down with a cuttlebone, procured from PetSmart, repainted the top of the pie and drizzled chocolate over it instead. The plate and the doily are unchanged.

Here’s a poem by A.E. Housman from A Shropshire Lad. It seems fitting for a November day.

XXXII

From far, from eve and morning

And yon twelve-winded sky,

The stuff of life to knit me

Blew hither: here am I.

Now — for a breath I tarry

Nor yet disperse apart —

Take my hand quick and tell me,

What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer;

How shall I help you, say;

Ere to the wind’s twelve quarters

I take my endless way.

Chocolate Macaroon Pie, Oil on canvas panel, 5×7, $110.00 USD

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 Posted by at 9:01 pm
Jul 042009
 

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I really can’t come up with a Rilke poem about cheesecake, no surprise. I actually googled “cheesecake poetry,” and discovered I didn’t want to go there either. Really, dessert poetry is hard to find….so there is a need out there! (for all you nascent poets…)

As I said, this was a commission and I enjoyed painting it. I want that plate!

In praise of painting food, here is one by Ogden Nash:

The Clean Plater

Some singers sing of ladies’ eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And course ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Food,
Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food.

Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
But there’s nothing the matter with butter,
And nothing the matter with jam,
And the warmest greetings I utter
To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they’re food,
All food,
And I think very fondly of food.
Through I’m broody at times
When bothered by rhymes,
I brood
On food.

Some painters paint the sapphire sea,
And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play,
But most, the female form.
“Twas trite in that primeval dawn
When painting got its start.
That a lady with her garments on
Is Life, but is she Art?
By undraped nymphs
I am not wooed;
I’d rather painters painted food.
FoodJust food,
Just any old kind of food.
Go purloin a sirloin, my pet,
If you’d win a devotion incredible;
And asparagus tips vinaigrette,
Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple,
A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple,
As long as it’s something to eat.
If it’s food,
It’s food;
Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
On food.

Ogden Nash

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jul 022009
 

This Orpheus Paining is much larger than the other, 36×36. The Cheesecake painting is a commission. I’m allowing it to dry because I need to drizzle some strawberry sauce onto it and paint that, but I thought I’d blog the underpainting anyway.

A few blogs ago I mentioned my Circe painting and the pigs I had found to be Odysseus’ unfortunate companions. Well, I’ve been past their paddock 4 times and never again found them outside again. Did I mention that they were an hour’s drive from here? I’ve even tried calling “Suey!” to no avail. Perhaps they aren’t even there anymore. I could of course stop by the house again and ask, but no one would be home until evening and by that time it would be too late in the day for photography because I wanted bright sunlight. So, I’m on the search for more accessable pigs and have located another. This one lives in the country around Mineral Point, so it should be easier to get to.

An exciting opportunity has come up. The State Representative for our district, Steve Hilgenberg, is going to be hanging the artwork of artists from his district in his office in Madison. My time slot is January 20 to February 24, 2010. It will be another opportunity to get my paintings out in the public eye.

I’m also trying to arrange to go to an Equine Painting Workshop with a wonderful Equine Artist, Lynn Maderich, scheduled in Minneapolis at the Atelier Lack in Minneapolis. (The thing needing to be arranged is free lodging at the homes of friends and relatives. More on that later.)

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 Posted by at 3:40 pm
Sep 102008
 

I don’t even know what this cake is properly called, but it comes from the Rolling Pin Bakery at 2935 S. Fish Hatchery Road in Madison, WI. My friend, Josephine, and I just call it the Russian Bakery. If you’re anywhere near, drive over and get some. It tastes even better than I can make it look. While you’re there, you can take a look at some of my paintings. After September 17, I will have artwork on display there.

Here is a poem I like very well, though I hadn’t read it before five minutes ago:

Exhilaration is Within —
There can no Outer wine
So royally intoxicate
As that diviner brand

The Soul achieves, Herself,
To drink, or set away
For Visitor or Sacrament —
‘Tis not of holiday.

To stimulate a Man
Who hath the ample Rhine
Within his closet, best you can
Exhale in offering.

— Emily Dickinson

Pink Cake, 6×6, oil on canvas, Sold

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 Posted by at 3:57 pm
Aug 232008
 

First I’ll tell you about the Torte: This Oh So Feminine Confection is made of “layers of Scandinavian sponge cake, filled with the finest rasberry jam and gourmet pastry creme.” Then it is “wrapped with real almond marzipan and garnished with a marzipan rose.” It is absolutely gorgeous. I may have to paint it again.

I found it on a trip to northern Minnesota last weekend with my friend, Andrea. We were taking an unintentional detour, a typical mishap when I’m driving. In the midst of Starbuck’s withdrawal, we ran across the Taste of Scandinavia Bakery, chock full of the most glorious desserts. What a find! I so wish that it wasn’t five hours away! (For those within range, we found it on Hwy 96 between 35E and 35 W north of the Twin Cities.)

On a more meditative subject, I’ve been enjoying Patricia Hampl’s memoir on perception, art and life as conveyed in European paintings of the Odalisque (harem woman) in her little book, Blue Arabesque. She describes so well the feeling about time we have as innocents and how we inevitably take a stunned look backward at how overscheduling has changed and narrowed our faculties:

“But just when did time, that diaphanous material, fray into rush? The way I imagined it, woolly minutes had once streamed across an eternity of spun-silk nanoseconds, piling up into hours that wove themselves into the voluminous yard goods of days that, in turn, got stitched into weeks and months. Wasn’t that how it once was — the heavily embroidered yesteryears folded away in the scented armoires of the seasons and consigned to the vast linen closet of the ages where the first tensile thread of our story on the planet emerged from the bobbin of history? But just when in all this warping and woofing — or maybe how — did time cease to be a treasure and turn, instead, into the fret of the drive time commute?
…Anyway, gone: the long looking of slow days, the world ordered inwardly by seeing, the act of unbroken private attention that was an expression of integrity, clasping imagination, making sense, making “vision.” What happened to this heritage of perception? When did our autobahn existence subvert the inner rhythm beating along the pulse and risk the loss of sensation? When did we forfeit leisure? Even our food is fast.”

So true.

Princess Torte, oil on canvas, 5×7, $110.00 USD

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 Posted by at 5:47 pm
Aug 072008
 

There may be a poem about cheesecake somewhere, but unfortunately (….or perhaps fortunately!) I don’t know one. So, lacking a poem that relates to my painting, I have every excuse to post one by Shakes- peare. (Did you know that Peter O’Toole knows every one of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by heart? Why don’t I have a brain like that?)

LVI

Sweet love, renew they force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but today by feeding is allay’d,
Tomorrow sharpen’d in his former might.
So, love, be thou; although today thou fill
Thy hungry eyes, even till they wink with fulness,
Tomorrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dulness.
Let this sad int’rim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;
Or call it winter, which being full of care,
Makes summer’s welcome thrice more wish’d, more rare.

Turtle Cheesecake, 6×8, Oil on Canvas Board, Sold

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 Posted by at 11:10 pm
Jul 282008
 

I finished this painting Saturday instead of last week due to some medical proce- dures I had to have done during my chief painting days. I’m painting from life, so I need natural daylight and can’t work in the evening.
This is one of my favorite plates and the rose petals come from my new Falstaff English Rose, right outside my studio door. How I do love china pieces and white linen for breakfast! They remind me of scenes from All Creatures Great and Small, the television series, where James, Siegfried and Tristan are clinking their tea-cups in their saucers, carving up a piece of good Yorkshire bacon and stuffing crumpets in their mouths before heading out into the brisk air (and a displaced calf bed), and Mrs. Hall bustling around making tart observations.

Cheese Danish and Rose Petals, Oil on Canvas,8×10, Sold

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 Posted by at 7:20 am