Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Musings - Autumn has arrived

Autumn has arrived with the switch to daylight savings time.  The days are golden and tepid, the nights inky and chilly. In anticipation of the coming holidays I have built up a generous head of steam for all the projects that come with the annual celebrations of autumn and winter.  

It has been a long time since I submerged myself into holiday inspired projects.  In fact, tit has been 10 years or more since I bought a pumpkin and carved it.  Yes, very sad indeed. My little effort was fun even if the result was not particularly the best carving to behold.  I am proud of the fact that I plunged in and did it.  So many childhood memories were flooding the kitchen as cider warmed on the stove, I watched a rerun of a favorite PBS mystery and carved away.  I had fun with it, and I plan to try again in the following year. 

My plan was to carve it so that the semi-transparent skin glowed from within when lighted from the inside.  I was somewhat successful.  The outcome from the experience was I relearned the process.  I know what tools I need to get to a better job next time.  I also figured out that to get more delicate carvings I may have to take away the flesh from in the inside first, then carve the skin.  Because I didn't have the 'pumpkin' carving tools available on the market I used linoleum block cutters.  Thus with the limited blades that I had, the process was labor intensive and not very flexible.  Nonetheless, I had a fabulous time and this process rekindled my enjoyment of preparing for All Hallows Eve.

Recently, I have been watching crows and ravens in all their antics in flight and cawing from various points of view.  I am fascinated by these intelligent birds. They are feathered thrill seekers with an abundance of curiosity and mischief.  I am often sketching them and decided to attempt a pastel drawing with a background of glazing.  Here is the result:

I loosely sketched in the figure with hard pastels, built up the body and texture after spraying with workable fixative.  Then I applied a glazing using Ivory, burnt sienna and mustard yellow around the figure - again, not trying to be perfect.  I think I captured the quick and spirited curiosity that is always in their eyes.  What do you think?

Autumn, after a hot summer, gets me in the mood for cooking more.  Salads are the meal du jour during the summer so I don't have to heat up the house with the oven or the stove top.  During the fall the energy and spark to cook returns.  I recently put together a small dinner for my parents which entailed: Baked grits, lemon lavender chicken and a pear salad.  
Boil grits per instructions on the box.  Mix grits with, salt/pepper to taste and sprinkle in your favorite herbs,  1 egg, milk (enough to make it into thick batter. Grease a ceramic pan, pour in and cook till the point of knife comes up clean and slightly brown on top.  350 degrees F works.

I used a recipe in The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo.  Mainly its marinating your chicken in honey, lavender and lemon.  Yummy!
A simple green salad with sliced pears, gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries and sliced green onions. I used a balsamic vinegar dressing.

Crafts, art and food are what this season is about for me.  As I develop this blog I hope to feature regular posts on food that is healthy, easy to prepare and also appealing for the season.  Additionally, my plan is to regular post on my different craft projects as well as my journey in art.  Are the two separate?  Art and Crafting?  Yes and no - at least to me they are realms that blend and blur into each other.  However, for the purpose of this blog I will separate them.  Crafts will focus on D.I.Y. projects that are seasonally inspired and also helpful for just creating a useful things.  A journey in Art will be sharing my exploration into artistic techniques for producing works of art that interpret my view of the natural world.

Again, welcome to Serenplicity Studios.  I didn't get this off the ground by October 1st but here it is November and I am launching this special haven of creativity that I hope you will bookmark and return to as often as you can.  Please join me!

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