Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Art of Paul Baliker

When my mother and father died, we had memorial services, their bodies were cremated, their ashes were scattered in places where they enjoyed spending time. Those were their wishes, but there were no headstones, no markers, no cemetery records, nothing to commemorate their lives. To honor them and recognize the contributions they made to their community, my siblings and I decided to fund a piece of public art in the city of Ormond Beach, Florida, my parents home for many years.
We met with city officials and engaged a local artist, Paul Baliker. The city agreed to do all the preparatory work, and we agreed to commission and pay the sculptor. Paul’s design is for a leaping tarpon that springs from a pond on a popular riverfront park. A fountain will be installed to give the illusion of movement of the tarpon.

First the city drained the pond

draining the pond

Then they began the concrete and plumbing work

plumbing and plinth

Here’s an overview of the setting for the tarpon

overview of plumbing work

The city will continue concrete and plumbing work this week and on February 3rd, a crane and the tarpon arrive. The artist will supervise the installation of the sculpture and fountain. There is a wedding in the park on Saturday, and the city plans to have the sculpture and fountain fully operative and all landscaping completed by then. My two sisters and brother and our spouses will celebrate our parents’ lives this weekend.

I’ll post some more pictures later in the week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ephemera and Closet Cleaning

Every January I do a bit of clearing out. Thrift store, Friends of Library sale, consignments shops and the curb are where items go that I no longer need. This year I opened a trunk that has been stored in the attic or garage for at least 40 years.
Here’s a sample of what I found
philly ticket A Beatles Concert ticket stub from their Philadelphia concert in 1966 (yes, I was there)

75 of so Beatles trading cards like this gem from 1964
buzz cut number 102
Fan magazines galore
eight magazines
And a program from an Independence Day address by President Kennedy that I attended in 1962.
gov conf program inside
and a menu from the same day
independence menu 1962
This year I have a new outlet…Ebay!
I suppose the Beatles items are copy write protected, but feel free to use the others in your artwork.
I’ve got a lot more clearing out to do, so I won’t be doing much artwork until I make my valentines.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge Entry

Here it is, my sketchbook challenge entry for January. I drew the camellia with a #2 pencil, then colored it with CARAN d’ACHE Neocolor II watercolors. They are a lot of fun to work with. You color your picture, much like you would color in a coloring book, then take a wet paintbrush and paint the crayon marks. They blend and take a look much like watercolors.


The theme for the January sketchbook challenge is “Highly Prized”. I don’t have the skills to draw those people in my life who are highly prized, so I picked a flower that was highly prized by my late father. Camellias are blooming in Florida now, I need to plan another trip to Leu Gardens in Winter Park.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wizardly Cookery

Today I had the fun of spending time cooking with my friend Franky. She and I share a love of all things Harry Potter, so we had to try some recipes from her new Harry Potter cookbook.
She selected Pumpkin Juice, a favorite with the Hogwarts crowd and Knickerbocker Glory, a treat enjoyed by Dudley Dursley.
The pumpkin juice was a blend of three fruit juices mixed with baked pumpkin strained through a sieve…juice part was easy, but scooping the baked squash (we couldn't find pumpkin)  and sieving it required some persistence.
  cooked pumpkin
straining the pumpkin juice 
My friend Joanna joined us for part of the fun
We put the pumpkin juice in the refrigerator and took a break for lunch. Then we tackled the custard for the Knickerbocker Glory.
It was a basic custard recipe but required some kitchen skills like separating eggs (Franky’s way is easier than mine) cooking sugar, cornstarch and milk and adding the hot milk mix slowly to the beaten eggs. I had forgotten that the term for this is tempering.
While the custard chilled, we watched some football with Tom, (Franky’s team won, not Tom’s).
Then Franky prepared the whipped cream with my new Christmas present, a stick blender with a whisk attachment.
Next step: assembly. Ice cream in the bottom of the glass, followed by strawberries, jello custard, nuts, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Can’t say I ever had jello and chocolate sauce in the same recipe.
adding the custard
glorious knickerbockers franky and susan
We set the table, used crystal for the pumpkin juice and enjoyed our afternoon snack.
It was delicious
finishing up tom and franky
and clean up was easy

Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!

When I put this combination of beets, and carrots in the pot today, I couldn’t help but sing the Mock Turtle's song.
beet soup
Beautiful Soup, so rich and red,
Served tonight with crusty bread!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
Apologies to the Mock Turtle and Lewis Carroll for adaptations.
It’s a dose of anti-oxidants, perfect for a winter evening, Beet, Carrot and Ginger Soup. After it simmered for a couple of hours, I whirred it with my new immersion blender. Yum!
beet soup served

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who says you can’t give a woman an appliance?

My new immersion blender is awesome! I made two soups this afternoon, and in a wink they were beautifully blended with very little extra clean-up. Move over Cuisinart, you have competition.

immersion blender
My husband is definitely not in the doghouse for giving me an appliance, as is the man pictured in this promotional for jewelry sales.

January Sketches

I’m being brave here in posting some very rudimentery drawings. But the sketchbook challenge is fun.  These are two quick sketches I did this week. The first one was a copy of a graphic that was in my newspaper, the second one was of some red threads I put on a table in my studio. When I finished the drawing, there was so much white space, I started drawing lines of stitches. I did the first one in a number 2 pencil. I did the second one in pencil, then colored it with red colored pencils.

home remedy

red thread

I'm warming up for the January challenge sketch. The theme is "Highly Prized."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Do you know about Dover free images?

Every Friday the good people at Dover Publications send me the sampler for the week, showcasing their publications. I almost always get something fun from the sampler. Here’s an image I downloaded last week.
scarecrow and tin man
To quote a recent email, “There's a wealth of free samples from new titles to explore this week, giving crafters, designers, literature lovers, history buffs, and colorists hours of fun-filled activities. You can enjoy clip art of Japanese women and Wizard of Oz characters, excerpts from books about the Roaring 20s and slang, sample pages from four new coloring books, and more. “