Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hello (and goodbye) from my workspace.

I've chosen for two years now to embrace a life of slight instability and lots of nomadic roaming. Often that means little or no time for creating art and living out of a backpack or tent. For the most part I've been ok with this and I try to photograph the things that inspire me and ignore the fact that I'm not really being productive or creating anything. But every now and then I go back to what is no longer mine and heave a big mental sigh. Because I used to have a whole room dedicated to creating... and now I've shoved everything into my childhood bedroom and there it sits, unused and unloved. Whenever I visit my parents I go upstairs and run my hands over keepsakes and struggle not to bring yet another item back with me to cram into a very small living space. I silently say goodbye to the objects and stacks of books and art supplies and vow to try and create more in the limited little space that I have carved out up in New Hampshire. Here is a few peeks at my former studio space. Some of these things have migrated with me, some have been left behind.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do you know what today is?

A good smoothie day. I'm back in Massachusetts for a bit and I've spent today working on a future project (you'll hear more soon, I promise!) and picking through my very messy storage for art supplies. Maybe tomorrow's post will be about my workspace... if I can manage to clean up at all.
Smoothie is vanilla pear cardamom cinnamon... in case you were wondering!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Foraged: Partridge Berry

Partridge berry (Mitchella repens) is also known as squaw berry, two-eyed berry, twin berry, and  running fox. It is a woodland plant found throughout eastern North America. This is an easily identifiable plant due the fact that it creates two flowers for every berry; the ovaries of the flowers fuse, creating two spots on each berry. Guidebooks seem to be fond of describing its habit of laying "prostrate on the forest floor". File this one under edible but not ideal; you can eat the berries, but they are mealy and bland. Apparently you can make jam with the berries as well as tea from the leaves and berries. (Having tasted the berries, I would not vouch for the jam.) Supposedly Native Americans used the plant during the final weeks of pregnancy to ease childbirth and English colonists made a tea that was used as an aid in childbirth and to relieve menstrual cramps. Partridge, grouse, turkeys and other game birds eat the berries, as do skunks, white-footed mice and foxes. (You can file this under "useless information I will never need" if you want... but I like knowing this stuff. And maybe some day I'll make that jam just for the hell of it, even though I know it will probably taste awful.) It is an evergreen plant that is a non-climbing vine and can be propagated via cuttings and best of all... I hear it does great in terrariums. (I kind of let this poor little guy wilt a little... he spent the night tucked away in my sketchbook.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving recipe

I'm actually not celebrating Thanksgiving this year... at least, not in the traditional sense with family. Instead, I'll be working. But the nice thing about this job is that when I'm not hiking or doing less interesting things I have lots and lots of time to bake. This is one of my favorites; it's a really flexible recipe with lots of room for creativity in ingredients and not being exact with amounts (which is how I like to bake). And, it looks incredible but is oh so forgiving in terms of making a crust (you don't even have to make one!) and laying out the fruit. Although I'm sure most of you have already finished your baking ahead of time, if you're last-minute like me, this is what you should make! It's rich, buttery, and really lets the flavors of the fruit shine. When I make it with just apples, it's like a pared-down essence of apple pie that, in my eyes, is even better than apple pie. Yes. I said it. Enjoy!

 Cranberry Apple Pear Rustic Tart with Cranberry Glaze 
Adapted from Orangette

Healthy alternate version coming soon... but I could not resist sharing my favorite comfort food!

Hello, snow.

Over 6 inches already and it's still coming down. I could go out for a snowy hike or be productive and create some surface patterns... but instead I think I'm going enjoy my made from scratch hot cocoa and bake a tart or two. If I don't lose internet (which we tend to do when it snows heavily) I'll post a recipe later.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On sanity, blog stalking, and keeping the woodland love alive.

Every now and then a certain specific aspect of my job makes me relinquish my already tenuous grasp on mental equilibrium; that moment when I say goodbye to the lovely, peaceful solitude that I have had for days on end and am overrun by a small horde of screaming children and well-meaning but inept adults (an occupational hazard of caretaking). And so to retain sanity I (try to) think happy thoughts, read blogs that make me happy, and keep my headphones close at hand. Occasionally when the situation is particularly dire I'll engross myself in a single blog and just obsessively read page after page. And so allow me to share several pictures that made me very happy, all from the same blog that I may or may not have obsessively stalked for hours on end the past few days. HOURS. Anyway. As a dyed-in-the-wool tree-hugging dirty hippie, it's always nice to see this aspect of myself reflected much more prettily in art. Am I kind of over all things woodland being a design/art trend? Clearly, not yet. And should you check out I'm Revolting? Obviously, yes.

 All images found via I'm Revolting. Also, I think I saw the work by the artist second from the bottom at some museum in Brooklyn last fall. A vague statement that really does nothing to enhance this post. I haven't had any caffeine yet.  Update: now that I've had enough coffee to clear my mind and google a CV: I saw David Benjamin Sherry's work at PS1/MOMA in Long Island City, on a rainy day that I remember fondly because it involved rain, good coffee, a Russian bathhouse and art. Artists from top to bottom are as follows: Tim Pugh Amira Fritz Nami Yamamoto David Benjamin Sherry Ella Sverdlov.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I made these.

I can't say that this idea completely came to successful fruition... but I do like them. Maple leaves and acrylic. Maybe some day this will evolve into a series.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Magic in the air.

I love those times when the sky itself seems dense with mystery and intangible yet magical possibilities. Something about these drawings by Il Lee says the same thing to me. All of these were done with ballpoint pen (...Ballpoint! How cool is that?!).

Artwork by Il Lee - first seen here (on one of my favorite blogs for inspiration).

Monday, November 14, 2011

In denial.

So frankly, fall has come and gone. Balmy warm weather and a perpetual commute from northern New England to southern New England helped lull me into a false sense of never-ending fall for all of October. Alas, multiple snowfalls and frost on the ground has shocked me back to reality. The trees are bare and the mountains have ice and snow capping them. And yet I refuse to let go of fall... I can still buy cider! And make pumpkin pies! And go hiking without traction only to find myself stranded on a 45 degree slope covered in ice above treeline! Oh, denial. It can get you into trouble, sometimes. I do believe that at the start of fall I was full of plans and ambition, dreaming big dreams for this blog. Now that winter is slowly sneaking in and bitter winds are causing me to spend more time curled up by fires and less time being a vagabond perhaps these plans will actually become a reality. So let's abandon the summer recap by the wayside and let it slowly fade away among the dead brush and empty milkweed pods... but let's also hold tight to the last remnants of fall for a few more weeks. It is, after all, my favorite season.