Sunday, September 30, 2007
The weather couldn't have been more perfect -- low 70s, sunshine (though we so need rain!!), good company, food, and the best of plein air hosts!
I found a shady corner of the home owners who hosted our meeting space -- and was immediately drawn to the stone steps -- and what else? POTS OF GERANIUMS!!! LOL This one home was filled with vignettes of all kinds - and quite a few of us settled right there to paint! And needless to say, I have quite a number of 'sketch photos' to use when life gets too busy to be outdoors during the daylight hours.
Charles came with me as did our friend Don. Don painted one of the churches and after his painting, he and Charles entertained us with their music and singing. FABULOUS!
After the painting hours, our plein air hosts, Nancy and Harley, joined Charles and I as we visited the boutiques, shops and galleries in Hillsborough -- what wonderful finds to see so many of our plein air members with art exhibited throughout the town.
We then ate an early dinner at Saratoga Restaurant -- GLORIOUSLY DELICIOUS FOOD! to celebrate my birthday (today).
I couldn't have asked for a finer, more enjoyable day!!!!!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I painted this without any lines at all -- watercolor to paper -- one of the few I've ever done -- as simple as this form is, eliminating my beloved pencil sure made me think before I added a stroke! I'll have to practice this more often -- !
Fall is my favorite time of year -- and the figs produced by my few bushes are relished by me! Yet this year, despite water rings around each small plant, they've been able to produce only ONE small fig.
There is little rain in sight for the next few weeks and already some of the towns are counting the days remaining for water supplies before they have to ship it in from somewhere else.
We so need a raindance!
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
We arrived at the farm on a balmy evening -- the threatened rains holding off (though we truly need them), the weather pleasant, the sky clear, and the evening light of the fall season giving the farmstead a beautiful rosy glow.
Anne, partner of Dave Artigues in the Elodie Farms enterprise, allowed Charles and I first choice of our table on the porch in celebration of our anniversary. We chose a corner table that overlooked the grazing goats (providers of the delicious cheeses Ann and Dave make and sell and which were incorporated in our dinner).
Before dining, we toured the farm and visited the goats and pigs that seemed ready to pose for us. Old, weathered barns and a most-picturesque farmhouse were begging to be sketched and painted, but, alas, I declined the desire in order to focus on our celebration ...! settling instead for photographs, but vowing to return with our plein air group.
We settled in our seats after walking the farm, eager and ready for the tasty treats we were promised.
"Dinner on the Porch" is a unique venture, especially for the rural community of Bahama, NC. Dave and Anne have invited chefs from the very, very BEST of area restaurants to prepare a multi-course meal in the farmhouse kitchen and serve it to guests of the farm 'al fresco.' (Though I understand the dining moves to the fireplaced farmhouse rooms during the winter.) The atmosphere provided by the farm, the sounds of the night, crickets, frogs, a bat or two keeping mosquitoes at bay, the sounds of the animals as they readied themselves for the night, seemed almost to contrast so WELL with the five-star, culinary masterpieces that were served!
Our chef for THIS evening, Ted Domville of the new soon-to-be-opened restaurant "Six Plates" at Erwin Terrace, Durham, created a most EXQUISITE meal -- in six courses:
Amuse Bouche (fresh hamachi, lotus root, avocado puree, ponzu gelee) -- words fail me to describe the incredible BURSTS of different flavors -- but each, complimented by the glass of wine provided), awakened every tastebud and every feeling of excitement that was promised.
Local Tomato "Tartar" - sketched above, was a combinaton of locally grown red and yellow tomatos, herbed chevre (Ann and Dave's), a taro chip and reduction of Balsamic -- and was incredible!!! The blends of tastes were just PERFECT!
Yin-Yang Scallop - Tom served two of these - the first with szuchuan peppercorn and strawberry tri-pepper - also incredibly good, and both Charles' and my favorite - the scallop with parmesan gai lon risotto and Okinawan purple potato puree. YUM!!!!!!
(I would have LOVED to take more photos of these -- but by then it was dark and the soft lighting didn't do my attempts very well! LOL)
Our next course was the fish. This complex dish caused a bit of delay in the kitchen -- but was worth waiting for - Banana-leaf wrapped NC grouper, green tea soba noodles, soy ginger mushroom broth -- OH MY GOSH!!!!
Elodie Farms whey-fed pork, dragonfruit slaw, pomegranate molasses -- THIS was the epitome of sublime tastes and sent us sailing! OH MY GRACIOUS!!! The dragonfruit slaw, made from the fruit of a, we believe Asian, cactus, was just the perfect complement of the tender, sweet, cut-with-a-fork pork that just was the most SENSATIONAL culinary taste I have ever had!
We ended this supreme evening with a warm chocolate lava cake, molten munster center and green tea whipped cream!! OH MY GRACIOUS!!!!
Tom, Matthew and, forgive me, I can't recall the name woman chef who was part of the team, each in turn explained the dishes, the choice of wine, a bit of the history of the ingredients. The explanations helped us to truly appreciate the complex flavors and the unimaginable search for such rare items as the dragonfruit and the 'slow-food approach' of pairing of these with locally-grown, in-season vegetables and Dave's cheeses.
I simply cannot praise Anne and Dave for their phenomenal venture and the eagerly awaited Six Plates restaurant and Ted Domville, Chef. The farm, the food, the atmosphere, the evening, my dear husband -- all of it -- overwhelmingly superb -- all of it more -- a most humbly appreciated gift. (For more information about Elodie Farms, please see http://www.elodiefarms.com)
(Please see http://www.flickr.com/photos/linfrye for photos of the farm)
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
September means fall to me, and as C and I left for our paint out last weekend, the sun was just reaching trhough the cluster of tall trees behind our home, highlighting the changing colors of the shrubs and a bit of their leaves. I stood still, watching as the fog lifted, the sun rose a bit higher, and one wee spot on the ground turned bright in the sun's rays.
I thought it would be fitting to post this today, our anniversary, reminding me always of the ceremony beneath the tree canopy those many years ago.
Happy Anniversary, dear heart ...may we be blessed with many more!
Ti voglio bene con tutto il cuore.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
EDM - 136 - A Living Thing - Olive Tomatoes
I'm back at work with a truly intense schedule, deadlines, and late nights which will be the situation for the next four weeks.
I've also been focused on finished 'sketch/paintings' so I thought I'd give my ink and wash sketches a bit of attention.
This is my olive tomato plant -- surviving and PRODUCING through drought, a month of temps over 95+F, inconsistent watering, 1/4" of rain in 2 months .... so for the EDM challenge of 'A Living Thing' -- I thought what better living plant hero to sketch than this indominable tomato plant!
With the drought conditions that continue to plague our region over the last few years, this strong survivor will be planted again next year. (Seeds from Johnny Seeds (http://www.johnnyseeds.com/) - Variety - Sweet Olive #2887). And no, I was not paid for this endorsement! LOL I"m just a mighty pleased , if tired, grower!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Fall promises to be an even busier time with plein air trips planned around the state and the weather cools, leaves turn, and we all gather to enjoy this most delightful season!
Our hosts planned something different for this trip as well! We had a wonderful BBQ -- cooked on site!! Charles came with me, brought some of his instruments, and played for us as we worked and ate lunch! Made the entire day festive!!
My afternoon painting didn't go very well -- perhaps I was too sated from the food and fun??? LOL Nontheless, it was a FABULOUS day!!!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I sketched this one attempting for more 'softness/less stiffness' and I've had to continue to add darks in order for it to take any sturdy form. In a sense, I too had to 'age' the wood much as the structure had over the years.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
It's been so busy at work that I haven't had a chance to post these recent photos of Emily and Nick. A couple of weeks ago, we took them to Duke Gardens -- and had a ball running up and down the hills!!
And then I had the utter delight to join Emily at her second ballet lesson.
I simply cannot believe how fast they're growing up!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
My friend Nina's book is about the moon and stars. I did this watercolor for her book, and I have a poem I'll add to it for one of the pages I"ll contribute to her beautiful work.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
So, after everyone had gone to bed at my dd's ... I grabbed my daughter's 'belljar' and sketched it quickly -- sans contact lenses, ample light, and to be honest, enough energy! (This was after the museum!!!! LOL)
I didn't have a chance to paint it until I got home Sunday night ... but I loved the unusual design and bright peacock colors ....
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
We worked on redoing a flower bed, mulching, trimming, removing plant material, running errands, and then spent a fabulous day at the children's museum in Columbia, EdVenture (www.edventure.org)! What a grand time!! From picking soft plush vegetables and fruit from the 'trees' to having children 'shop' with their own grocery carts, place frozen foods, vegetables, fruits, canned goods into the wee baskets, to ringing up sales, to play money, to various 'rooms' from African nations including a 'bridge' complete with rain forest sounds, to a shrimp boat and camping scene with a tent and cooking materials, to a TV station and weather station, a fire truck and pole to slide down , to a construction site with bricks and cement (rubber), and snow plow that moved 'snow' blocks, music room, and the bubble exhibit 'outside' with a fountain, boats to move through mazes, huge bubbles to small bubbles, it was a TIME! And I didn't mention ALL of it!
I sketched this candlestick of my daughter's to represent something of hers and my visit, but also for the amount of activity we put into one, too-short weekend!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
A THANK YOU, and a Passing It Along
I am back from my daughter's and catching up on mail.
I was honored yesterday by one of the fine artists I heartily admire - my dear and generous friend Nel (http://nelseverydaypainting.blogspot.com/). Her work, so expressive, polished, exquisite, inspires me daily ... and so I was doubly honored to receive this award from someone I hold in such high esteem. Please check out her most deserving blog.
Part of this honor, too, is to pass it along to five other 'honorees.'
I have the hardest time choosing, since I truly believe there are far more than five deserving individuals I could/should/would nominate ... so I am hoping that the five I must limit myself to will choose many of those other deserving bloggers, I'd choose if I were able.
I'd like to nominate the following bloggers whom I haven't nominated before:
ENJOY dear ones -- and pass it on!
I'm pretty pleased with these roses ...and wish I could suceed at the 'vignette/softness' yet with sufficient 'darks' more consistently ... perhaps over time as I continue practicing.
I head back to NC in a little while ... it's been a super visit with my dd, lots accomplished! I think we all will need a day of rest after this weekend! LOL
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I thought I'd better get in a bit of practice!
Friday, September 07, 2007
SC is about as hot as Raleigh .. but it's so good to see my dd and grand!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Thank you ever so much, Karen!!!! Please stop by and see her fabulous blog -- her word on kindness could not be more fitting ... and more reflective of the sweet, lovely woman who wrote them.
I'd love to pass this along to so many folks ... and I'm not sure of how many I can do, so here are just a few of the wonderful friends who make life so rich:
There are more!!!!! But I'll stop -- and ask everyone here -- to please pass it on!
Again, thank you ever so much, Karen!
I want to thank my friends for their encouragement during my slump ... I truly appreciate all the kind words!
This is the style I HOPE to be moving toward, the one that has given me such fits this weekend. I'm not quite where I want to be with it ... but I think it's closer to what I've been attempting.
I like this sketch pretty much, a sort of vignette style, sketchy with enough detail to keep my 'need for line' at bay. I'll be working toward something like this ... (I hope!) LOL
I'm heading to SC to see my daughter and granddaughter tonight ... so it'll be a busy weekend and I'll be away from the computer for a while ... I hope to get a bit of painting in, though .... I've got my fingers crossed!
Thank you all again, very very much!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Echinacea and Birdbath
From a photo taken earlier this spring. All these are now dried seedheads and the water in the birdbath dry in an afternoon.
I was trying for a more sketch-erly look -- but I think the sketch was too busy.
Thank you all for your encouragment....!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
It's been a restive weekend with a busy visit with the grands. Spent some time working on watercolors....with results that I'm especially thrilled about.
I feel like I'm in a bit of transition, art-wise. I've moved to using watercolor paper, though I find even that (Arches 140#cp) buckles--but it does take quite a bit of abuse! And so I'm getting used to that.
But more, I have these images in my mind, visions of other artworks I admire that I wish to emulate, but find myself unable to duplicate their techniques or results. Frustrating. I recognize that I've been in this spot before ... many times, actually. And I have to admit, difficult as it is, that there often comes from it a bit of growth, something added to my own work from all the concentration, and 'thinking' and 'searching' and 'figuring out.'
In the meantime, I'll keep up my daily practice and 'try' to keep my frustrations at a minimum while I work thru this period.
And I"ll keep praying for rain!
Monday, September 03, 2007
I tried to do a 'looser/quicker' version of the ducks we fed, wound up getting it a bit too dark, removed some highlights, and fussed a bit less with it.
Going 'simple' is going to take some work! LOL
(Worked on 140#cp Arches, Winsor-Newton paints)
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Here in piedmont NC the summer is drawing to a close. August has set all records for the hottest month -- EVER -- with 30 out of 31 days over 90F, and many of THOSE days, over 100F! And still no rain.
Flowers are scarce these days. The few blooming on my property are covered with insects of all types in search of moisture and sustenance.
It's this type of situation that drives me, and many people, toward the nurseries, also searching for the sustenance and 'food' for the soul ... flowers.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I have to admit that my Raffine sketchbook paper was giving me a fit this week. Perhaps it was my own fatigue or haste to work within very limited time constraints-- but it was frustrating to be sure.