Friday, January 28, 2011

Snowed in? Free visit to the MOMA today.

Snowy days in Manhattan are a good reason for going out -- subways are running and lots of other people stay home so there aren't many people around.  So my friend and I went to the MOMA to visit with the Abstract Expressionists. Fun!!

I brought some home for you...
Here are a few of the most well-known.  
How many can you recognize? (answers at bottom)

(that lady isn't me - I included her so you'd have perspective on the size of this beast)

huge canvas

Encaustic, oil and collage on fabric mounted on plywood

This is around 7 feet tall and 7 feet wide


I'm sure you know the "splatter paint" artist is Jackson Pollock.

Mark Rothko is the artist associated with those block-type color washes.

Campbells soup cans?  Andy Warhol, of course. (And I know, these aren't all abstract exp.)

The American Flag - Jasper Johns

And the tall dancing people is The Jungle by Wilfredo Lam

The very last beauty is the subway wall.  I took that photo on my way home.

Here is a watercolor I sketched from a simple figure by Paul Klee: The Angler. His was an oil transfer drawing, watercolor and ink.  Mine is watercolor and ink.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What do you love?

Lizzi at Sweet Life with Lizzi blogged about what she loves.  She said she loves the sky and the sight of planes passing overhead.  That reminded me of happy days when I was a little girl, laying in the back yard and listening to the sputtering sound of bi-plane engines passing low overhead, long before jets began to fly so high you couldn't hear them anymore.

I like being woken up by my dog licking my face, or when my cat sits in my lap for more than a minute, and most of all when both my kids hug me at once and we form one big, tight circle of love.

I like when my husband squeezes my leg during the part of a movie he finds especially touching.

I like when I dream of childhood places or people and it seems so real that I get to almost be there for one more day.

I like when I'm surrounded by family and friends and know there is no place on Earth I'd rather be in that moment.

What do you love?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Recipe for Gastronomical Happiness

Gaston Beef Stew

We've been loving this in my family for years. The recipe used to be in the Joy of Cooking but isn't in the newer editions. So this recipe is from my cooking files, slightly modified by my years of experience with it.  My daughter calls it Braveheart Stew because the broth is so thick it needs to be sopped up with bread -- very medieval.  The cloves add a mysterious spiciness, and adding the veggies in later on assures they are tender but not the soggy mess often found in traditional beef stew. Enjoy!

Cut 2 lbs boneless stewing beef into pieces. Dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and brown in 2 Tbs olive oil in a large pot.
Remove meat and set aside. To that empty pot, add:
         3 cloves chopped garlic
         1 large chopped onion
         2 cups beef broth
         1 cup tomato sauce
         A bouquet garni made from:
         12 peppercorns
         5 whole cloves
         2 bay leaves
Add the meat back in and stir. Simmer, covered, 2 to 3 hours or until meat can be easily pierced with a fork.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add:
         1/c cup dry white wine
         6 medium-sized quartered potatoes
         6 quartered carrots
         6 ribs celery, quartered
In the last few minutes, stir in chopped parsley. Taste and add salt as needed (You will almost always need salt, so be sure to taste for it.)  You may need to add additional liquid as the stew cooks.  If you do, add a beef bouillon along with each cup of water you add.
If you plan to serve this the next day, the vegetables will soak up quite a bit of the liquid, so make sure it's brothy before saving.  Serve with bread and salad.  

The cheesecloth bouquet garni

There it goes into the soup

The veggies and meat are in

Don't forget to taste for seasoning.

 Kris loved the stew. He curled up for a nap afterwards.

Big brother and little sister have been testing
this recipe for 25 years.
And they keep approving it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe for art fun

Mix together:

Several Good friends
Yummy food
Much Interesting conversation
One NYC Art Gallery
Plenty of Time
cappuccino, coffee and tea
scoops of ice cream

Last week was a fun outing for me with my Journal Study Group friends and a couple of guests.  First we had lunch at the Landmarc at the Time Warner Building. Vivian (Swift) brought lots of beautiful pages from her newest "Damn France Book" for us to look at.  (We oohed and aahed, as they were absolutely stunning and she is a very, very talented artist.)  I took heart when she said that her early art wasn't so terrific but she just kept at it.  That is something I can do, I thought. I'm very good at keeping at it.  There is hope for me! (I'm nothing if not persistent.)  Then Gwen Diehn (author of The Decorated Page and The Decorated Journal, among other things, as if you didn't know) showed us her latest butter box journal. I ask you - who would think of such a thing? And I can hear your answer. So don't say it. She's brilliant and sweet and am I gushing? I suppose so. He husband Phil joined her for the day and he is as wonderful as Gwen. Imagine a husband who would hang out with 7 women all day, chatting with me about education and poetry?  Indeed.

Benedicte, Pat, moi, Shirley, Vivian, our own Melanie Testa (also a book in progress, and Gwen Diehn

After lunch we walked across the street to the Museum of Art and Design to view the Global Africa Project. Lots of fine lines to sketch and interesting ideas to learn about.

Those who follow my 365 Project may have seen a couple of these photos before.

Scarab beetles


  We found the fluidity of these dresses fascinating.

 Gwen and Vivian ponder life...                            

 There is an Artist in Residence program at the museum. This artist was explaining his self-expression  through his work with porcelain pottery.

It was a wonderful day, and we ended it with a visit to the cafe on the top floor, with scoops of ice cream for everyone except Phil Diehn. It's easy to infer why he was the thinnest among us.