Thursday, March 24, 2011

An illustrated treat

I just came across this amazing site "They draw and cook".  It is chock full of recipes illustrated by artists from around the world.  I'm sharing a few of their illustrated recipes, but you really must check the site out for yourself.  Perhaps you'll be inspired to illustrate one of your own favorite recipes.

Classic Cupcakes by Adam James Turnbull
Tomato-Paprika Soup with Basil Mousse and Olive Oil by Caro Turlings
Every day they post a collection of six new recipes.  You can even submit your own illustrated recipe.  Not sure what to have for dinner - visit here for a few inspiring ideas.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Exercise new ideas

 Shaking it up

This weekend the weather was springtime beautiful and a long walk on the boardwalk was just the ticket for shaking up thoughts of springtime production.  I have found that exercise stimulates my brain and it is often during these bouts of activity that I develop new ideas.  Now I just need to figure out how my new assistant can join me on outdoor excursions for note taking purposes. 

After my walk I was in production mode and created a few new original paintings on tiny, 2.5 x 3.5 inch,  canvas boards.  These are ACEO's ~ Art Cards, Editions & Originals ~ which for some are cool and inexpensive ways to form a collection of art.

With a little help from my assistant I was able to get the canvas cut to art card size and finish a few new paintings.  The surf theme images still fresh in my mind from my walk along the beach.

Of course, now a days I have to work a little bit faster as Kitty's focus on protects tends to be intense but fleeting.  Fortunately she has taught me that you must take time out of your busy work schedule for a little bit of play and exercise.

I am happy with the way these little beach paintings turned out.  In fact, I look forward to another week of spring like weather and thought provoking walks along the beach.  I encourage you to do the same.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Lookbook

Take a peek inside PoppyTalk's March Marketplace Look Book.  Click on the image to view it in full screen.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My first published article

My first published article just so happens to be in a Wine Magazine!  Go figure ~ but don't ponder this thought for too long, trust me, I didn't.  It's in there, on page 12, amidst other great articles on Virginia Wineries, weekend get-away spots, and delicious recipes.  My full write up originally appeared  here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Cupcake

Happy 18th birthday to our beautiful little cupcake.  Wishing you another bright, colorful year full of friendship, love and wonderful surprises.

twistedhart, bluemoonstudios, lilyorkiefrufru, ohsewsweetcreations
Shimrita, Mycreationcorner, babycakesanddecor, maryhadalittleparty
posterpop, heyyoyo, paperpolaroid, dotsdiner
Fuzzymug, shortysgourmettreats, silverspoonscraps, roseandsentiments


Friday, March 11, 2011

Artist to do list

Now that kitty is starting to feel her way around the studio, I felt comfortable leaving her with a to-do list while I ran errands.  My daughter's 18th birthday is tomorrow, and I still have presents to buy, a cake to make and decorations to hang.  I don't know what I would do without my assistant.  She sure has made my job load much lighter.


It is of utmost importance to have an assistant who can read and thus be able to follow written instructions.  How fortunate for me that Kitty is a well read employee. This ability became apparent as she followed the to-do list, step by step.

As she gathered together supplies needed for our springtime ornaments I noticed her her propensity for play.  The selection of a bisque ornament was executed with much sport and joy on Kitty's part.

An artists paint brush is one of their most important tools, so they must be chosen with attention to the correct brush size and shape.  Fortunately, with her eye for detail, kitty was able to pick out the perfect assortment.  


The new spring line for our shop include  home and garden ornaments with animal designs and bright pops of color.  It is quite obvious on which ornament my assistant chose to draw!  I suppose it is something of a self portrait!

Feather your nest.
This cheerful chick measures 3.5 inches round and was hand drawn, hand painted with non-toxic, lead-free glazes, outlined and fired in my kiln.  It can be arranged in a basket or hung from an ornament stand inside your home or outside in your garden for a burst of springtime color.  It is available here
Little Kitten Ornament
Kitty is proud of her first contribution to the shop and thinks she looks adorable surrounded by all that bubblegum pink glaze.  If you are interested in purchasing her signature piece, you can check it out here

With her to-do list complete and in need of some rejuvenation, kitty took a little cat nap and caught up on her favorite T.V. show - Animal Planet.

Student Spotlight - Women who Art

Time to catch up, once again, on my student spotlights.  The artist highlighted this week, Michelle Caplan, has completed two stunning paintings, both very different from one another, yet rendered in the same lovely romantic style of the impressionists. 

For her first painting Michelle chose to recreate a gorgeous image of a silver urn with deep red flowers set against emerald green leaves. Her choice of color and her painting technique gave the work a feel of an old master painting. 

Michelle painted the background with lighter values of green and gold, and the table on which the urn sits with a deeper intensity of red.  A golden orb and large green leaves were added to the table to complete the dynamic scene.

She added tints of white to the urn, orbs and leaves to capture the reflective quality of light.  Deeper shades of color were juxtaposed next to the highlighted areas to create a wonderful sense of depth.  Michelle stated that the painting sits in her garage (can you believe it?!) thus, I don't think she yet realizes what talent she possesses.  I say get a frame and hang that baby up - it really is an exquisite piece!!

The image for Michelle's next painting came from a photograph taken while on vacation. Moving away from her still life painting, and on to a dreamy figure scene.  The image of a goat herder and his goats walking along a sunlit dirt road was portrayed in her marvelous impressionistic way. 

Michelle used shades and tints of green, orange and violet in a triadic color scheme to add a sense of elegance and tranquility to the landscape setting.  The highlighted areas flowing across the canvas help create a nice sense of sunlight and shadow.

Michelle and her finished painting.  It is apparent that she has a wonderful way of capturing light and it's reflective qualities in a style reminiscent of the Impressionists.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another day in the Studio

Today started bright and early as Kitty and I had a list of projects to finish before we were scheduled to help a friend pick out tile for her new home addition.  With the first day of Spring less than 2 weeks away, we are busy preparing a new line of springtime Easter and garden ornaments.  The first of which was taken out of the kiln this morning.

The decoration is topped with color coordinated ribbon, so Kitty took it upon herself to choose the perfect shade of aquamarine.  Her eye for color is impeccable as her selection was spot on.

There were a few moments when she was a little distracted - you know cats and ribbon - not the best combination when there is work to be done!  Yet, once re-focused, she was right back on track helping to tie the ribbon and pick out locations for the photo shoot.

 Kitty thought the garden would be a great site for photographing our Springtime bunny rabbit ornament.  I have to admit, if you can overlook the paw prints left on the picture, this location was a keen choice for showcasing the decoration.

For a few moments Kitty was distracted by a squirrel, so I was able to get a quick picture of the ornament back without any paw prints.

She's now requesting a springtime ornament with her image, so I guess that will be on our "to do" list for tomorrow.  Stay tuned if you're interested in decorations hand drawn and painted with help from artistic kitty.

I don't mean to boast, but I do think I have the cutest studio assistant.  I hope she decides the benefits of the job and creative responsibilities are worth her staying!     **     If you'd like more information on our Bunny Rabbit Ornament you can check it out HERE    We also enjoy creating custom pieces so don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your ideas.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Artist assistant in training

This whole idea of an artists assistant is very new to me.  Never having had one before I wasn't quite sure what to expect when presented with this little surprise, but I'm slowly warming up to the idea of sharing my workload.  As with any relationship, I suppose it will take a bit of time to discover and get used to each others unique skills and work habits.


This morning we had a long discussion on office etiquette.  After listening intently, kitty was determined to prove her positive value in the studio.  Stepping around the paint palette, she carefully checked over my brush selection and determined them suitable to the task at hand.

With her meticulous eye for detail, she critiqued my work.  Attention was paid to my bright color palette and division of the beach babes which had been hand painted on canvas and cut into thirds for a wood block triptych.

Not yet knowing the seasons, she checked my calendar and noted that the first day of Spring is on March 20th, less than 2 weeks away.  With everyone's thoughts turning to warmer days and Spring break, we decided now was the perfect time to introduce my "Girls by the Shore" triptych.


Girls by the shore is an original canvas beach painting adhered to 3 natural wood blocks.  A 7 x 7.5 x 1.5 inch sculptural triptych meant for arranging on a table or shelf.  These three girls would look awesome in any beach home or vacation house.

The back and sides of each block have been painted with 3 coats of black chalkboard paint ~ great for adding personal notes or messages ~ they were given a final sanding to add a well worn vintage look.  Available now in my shop


With our morning work finished, and in need of a bit of refueling,  we decided it was time for a coffee break.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A little surprise

My daughters boyfriend gave her an early birthday surprise with this adorable little kitten.  My husband and I were stunned when we received the new kitty disclosure via a texted cell phone image of my daughter, with a great big smile, holding the kitten and with the message...Look what R. gave me!

What a thoughtful gift considering the fact that our soon to be eighteen year old daughter is a senior in high school who still lives at home and is set to head off to college in the fall ~ and I'm quite sure college freshmen are not allowed to bring pets into their dorms.

Once seeing the kitten and our daughters hopeful, can we please keep her face, I think my husband and I might be wearing down our initial resistance.  In addition, since my both my daughter and husband head off to school and work in the morning, and I work out of the house;  I can see myself becoming rather attached to this cuddly little kitty.

Plus the fact that for the past year I've been telling my husband I need a secretary to help me with all the little details of running a small business.  Although a kitten wasn't what I was originally looking for, I suppose she'll work out quite nicely.   I now look forward to sharing my workload with her and will keep you updated on our daily business progress.
Happy Early Birthday Cupcake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Third Annual Oyster Fest

"A mug of beer at Mike Anderson's" Painting by Mark Adams
This past Saturday proved perfect for our third annual Oyster Fest ~ with temperatures ranging in the low 60's, 350 oysters from the Eastern Shore, Beach Bully BBQ and a diverse crowd of friends and family.  Not to be left out, it seems our sweet pup sent a little invitation of her own as a multitude of neighborhood dogs joined the outdoor activities and quickly gobbled up whatever morsels fell on the grass, were held in the unwary hand of a child, or were perfectly placed at nose level on the table.


The oyster bar was kept busy throughout the day with shucking, cooking, and preparation of the oysters for eating and drinking.

Spicy Oyster Shooter

The oyster cocktail, a popular West Coast treat, originated in a San Francisco restaurant around 1860 by a miner back from the gold fields. The miner was loaded down with gold nuggets bigger than ballpark peanuts. Being hungry, the miner asked one of the the restaurant's waiters to bring him a plate of California raw oysters with some ketchup, horseradish, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a whiskey cocktail. After drinking the whiskey, he put the oysters into the goblet, adding salt and pepper, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and ketchup.  The restaurant keeper looked on with interest. "What sort of mess do you call that, partner?" he asked. The miner responded, "That is what I call an oyster cocktail."

Knowing the history, an oyster roast would not be complete without oyster shooters.  Therefore, the men busied themselves preparing the oysters and concocting the drinks.  Our recipe came from Pearlz Oyster Bar in Charleston, S.C.  - Absolut Peppar, oysters, spicy cocktail sauce and a slice of lemon.

The glasses were raised in a toast to good friends, good weather and the coming of spring.  Then drunk as a shot, the oyster slides down your throat, as you try not to chew and enjoy the heat

The crowd was a diverse gathering of all ages.  Our friends brought their children and grandchildren - the babies were well behaved, enjoying their first ever oyster roast.
Grandparents, cousins and friends caught up with each other while our pup wondered if anyone would throw her the ball.
Neighbors shared stories while moms questioned their children and friends home on their college spring break
This annual event gets better each year as families continue to grow and colleges continue to schedule their spring breaks around our little festival.


And to top it all off...I sold one of my paintings - Duck's Cottage - right off the walls of my house.  A perfect way to end the day!  Thank you Carter!!