Thursday, August 30, 2007

the poet

the poet. oilbar and pencil on canvas. 30x40". 2007.

Isn't it amazing what a bit of raw umber will do? final photo. I like to let them dry on the wall - that way, I can finally put the easel away and reclaim some floor space.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

an afternoon

Okay, I had some black/blue/white background laid in - and brief pencil outlines - but at 2:30 today I started in on this. About 5 or 6 hours later, done. Nice little digression from the big piece I'm working on. I made it from a still taken from a production (8 Life Lessons from Mort and Mindy) that a friend of mine directed this spring in a new play festival. It had some positively beautiful staging elements, including this scene at the end - where Mindy and Death are both dead in a white pool of salt, with a deep blue light surrounding them. My friend had asked me if I would consider painting a scene from her play as she had so many really poignant shots, and I really liked this one - but I didn't tell her anything about it. Instead, I managed to get HER to run the errand to get the board (tee hee) that I worked on, then worked in secret. I demanded she come over and play games tonight and wasn't she surprised to learn we'd really invited her so that I could give it to her? I nailed a hanger on the back of the board, so it's all set.
"Mort and Mindy" (for lack of a better title), Oilbar, pencil, and acrylic on unfinished board, 12X15 (I think? I forgot to check.)


some things are coming together around here. And I say, it's about time! This is - obviously - the finished coat that I've been working on. It took me a while to finish as I was nervous about doing the buttonholes, nervous about cutting into it to shorten the sleeves, take up the hem, tame the collar. I'm happy to report that I'm completely satisfied with the end product. I opted to skip pockets, but we'll see if I stick with that. I have about a half yard of this wool/cashmere coating left, so I could definitely add some if I decide that's necessary, but for now I'm of the mind that they would just really interrupt the lines.

here's a close-up of those buttons. I did splurge a bit on the buttons, as I've come to realize that quality trims and details really add a lot to a garment. Plus, with the gift of these three yards of coating, I wasn't spending much overall on what turned out to be a really nice item. Thanks to my brother - the first person in my family to take my fabric request on my birthday wishlist seriously. Thanks, David!!
Almost done with that painting that's been driving me crazy. This week. I keep saying that, I know, but this time I really believe it. This week. Summer's rolling to a close soon - I'm meeting the chair next week to talk about my diagnostic exams and continued thesis prep while he's in Europe for fall quarter, and buying the book on play analysis that I want to read before I TA a class on it this fall, etc - and it's nice to see more of my personal projects come together with it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

as summer wanes, a summer treat

Not that summer really ever wanes in Santa Barbara, but I did awake this morning to a remarkably darker bedroom (this is a good thing. Normally, the blinding light and heat of the summer sun wakes me unpleasantly). It would seem the sun's southward movement has earned us some respite: it has to rise over a taller bit of the hills that flank this narrow valley before breaking into our morning routine, which means we're getting less of that intense white light (and really, 7am is too early for that!) and more lovely sunrise colours. I love waking at sunrise. I also love it when this doesn't necessitate getting up too early. =)

In other news, I FINALLY tried out my first summer pudding. Isn't it gorgeous? Oh, and so delicious. We ate a quarter of it last night, and that was with restraint. This dessert captured my imagination in middle school when I saw a recipe in a friend's mother's magazine of Victorian living (yes, I've always been a bit attracted to fussiness). For a kid with allergies to eggs, dairy, and fat, summer pudding offers a solution to the cravings of the sweet tooth (if you don't serve it with whipped cream, of course): it is, essentially, 8 cups of barely cooked berries (just five minutes with some sugar and the juice and zest of one lemon, to get the juices of the berries going) which are layered with bread in bowl or pan, weighted, and refrigerated for 8 hours. That's really it. I could eat this all day. In fact, in the heat of high summer, I often survive on berries and water-rich vegetables during the daylight hours, as it seems to be the easiest thing on my poor stomach.

Next time, I think I'll reduce the 3/4 c. of sugar to 1/2 or even 3/8. Not that I don't love the flavour - it is, spot on, perfect and completely addictive - but I think I would feel less guilty about eating it all day long if it was a bit less sweet. I also think this would be a fantastic birthday cake for a child's party. Fewer refined sugars, and plenty sweet and fresh. I can't wait to have a slice later today.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

before I go

heading out on vacation early tomorrow morning (we're leaving at 6 or 7am-ish?), but my recent silence hasn't been due to forgetfulness! I've been busy - but mostly with schoolwork reading. Before I go, however, I have a few pretty moments from late to share - and a work in progress. But not that painting, it's driving me nuts.

The Zaca fire is raging to the north, threatening homes and landmarks like Cold Spring Tavern. Some days, it snows ash and the light turns orange and the very air smells like burning. This was one of those days.

the strange sleeping habits of the Cassidy. =) He spent a morning balancing a stiff pillow on the narrow edge. We're still not sure how he did this, but I dashed for the camera ... and it fell about a minute later.

a healthy garden has insects, right? A big ol cricket or katydid or something showed up one day on the lemon verbena. He was so neat I had to stop my yoga practice and snap a shot.

my healthy garden has also attracted little frogs! I first saw this brown-spotty guy hanging out on my jasmine a week or ten days ago. This morning, I found a little green one and a brown-spotted one on the leaves of a neighbouring sage plant. This soil used to be rock hard and completely bone-dry. These days, it's mulched, composted, watered, healthy, and apparently, attracting friends. hurray!

and finally, I haven't just been working on my thesis reading. I found a use at long last for the 3 yards of cashmere-wool coating that my brother David gave me last year for my birthday. This - yes, this - is the work in progress: I still need a few more buttons, and to do some hem work and add pockets. But really, that's not too much. Thanks to the cover of Anthropologie's August catalogue for the inspiration!
well, I still have packing and cleaning to do, and maybe even some furniture moving, cos we're doing a major room swap, and I wanted to get one more piece of the puzzle in place before we leave. We'll be heading up the coast to Ashland for three days of food and plays with my family, and then another trip down the coast. I'm going to see Big Sur and the Redwoods for the first time in my life! Hurray! =) Though we are seriously having trouble with the prospect of leaving the kitten for five days. *sigh* poor thing. We are sure going to miss her.
well, all for now. Safe travels if you - like me - are on the road next week! cheers!