Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oil Painting Class with Dianne Panarelli Miller

This is my 3rd oil painting class as a student at the Plymouth Center for the Arts in Plymouth, MA, where I am also a volunteer. Our class meets on Friday mornings and Dianne is an excellent teacher. She's passionate about painting and has been honing her craft with 3 paintings a day for 30 years! You can find out more and see her work on her web site here or her blog.
I am really enjoying painting again after so many years and oil painting is a wonderful medium, creamy and luscious. I'm using the water based oils, so there's no turpentine or toxic fumes.
We paint still lives or go outside, if it ever stops raining or being cold :-), and the Alla Prima, all in one sitting, style of painting ensures we don't get too bogged down on one piece.

A beautiful finished painting brought in by Christine, painted during our first class 3 weeks ago and worked on at home from a photograph.

Dianne Panarelli Miller, our teacher.

Dianne doing a demo of this week's subject. She spends about an hour showing us techniques, then we paint for 2 hours and try and get what she's shown us. She's very patient with us, as we  need to hear the same instruction more than once, Ok, many many times to keep us on track.

Dianne's finished piece in an hour! She's good!

After we've been at it for while...

Sharon's angle of her still life.

Deborah worked on the same one as I did. Dianne sets up two still lives so we have more room and choices.

Painting takes lots of focus, the time just zips by.

Dianne showing Christine some pointers. Christine is squinting, a technique we use to see the values and get rid of the distractions. Really helps.

My view of the still life, and the photo I took so I could go home and finish my painting. I found it helpful to unsaturate the color in photo editing so I could see the values clearer, same effect as squinting but longer lasting :-)

Starting out on my painting...

The finished product, although I am never truly finished. I can always find something that I want to change, but at some point I need to decide it's finished and move on to another one. I have much to learn and each piece teaches me something new.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wildlife and Pancakes

I am in Manomet, Plymouth, MA watching the birds and animals do their Spring thing. Unfortunately, Spring has been rather cool and windy, Ian, who's working and living at his job at MBO (Manomet Bird Observatory) says the nets have been closed more than usual due to bad weather. The animals don't seem to mind and I love trying to get good photos of them.

Mourning Doves having a party at our birdbath with an always present squirrel in the background.

Imagine eating upside down.

Gold Finch.

House Finch and Gold Finch, both very common at our feeders.

A lovely type of Rudbeckia I picked up in Virginia about 6 years ago.

This muskrat lives by our dock and has been coming on land more frequently to gather grass.

Not really 'wildlife'.  A relaxed Milo giving himself a bath on Ian's shoulders.

The other side of our pond looking toward our cottage in the trees. Ian likes this sandbar for shore birds.

Ian at Manomet Point looking for birds.

There are now 5 cygnets, 2 are on the mother's back.

Poison Ivy alert. This has grown to hedge proportions over at Manomet Point.

The goose family is thriving.

Banana Walnut Pancakes.
Easy, vegan and good for you:-)

2 or 3 ripe bananas mashed
3 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar (or white if you don't have brown)
Mix all of these together in a bowl.
2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, or any other flour
2 teaspoons baking powder* 
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Stir then add
1/2 cup of walnuts, toasted optional to bring out their flavor
2 cups of liquid: I use half Almond milk and half orange juice

When mixed together pour by large mixing size spoonfuls onto an oiled skillet or griddle, wait for tiny bubbles to form, flip, cook and eat with Agave Nectar poured on top.  The most challenging part of making pancakes is keeping the heat just right for your pan, medium to low is about right.

*To check your baking powder for freshness combine 1 teaspoon of baking powder with 3 tablespoons of hot water. If it bubbles, it's fresh. If not, it's time to buy a new can.

My favorite Almond milk.

I also use this flour when I'm out of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

Waiting for the tiny bubbles.

Also delicious with all fruit jam.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spring in New Hampshire.

I was in Walpole, NH for several days this past week visiting friends from my college days in Marietta, Ohio. Ting and I were roommates our freshman and sophomore years and Ting met her husband Ric on my birthday way back then. We've been friends ever since, some thirty odd years. I always enjoy my visits to their warm and comfortable home in beautiful New Hampshire. Walpole is a quaint historical town located about 20 minutes north of Keene on the Connecticut river and has a population of 3600.

Johnny Jump Ups come up every year in Ting's garden, and I now have some transplanted into my garden.

Ben, their rugged cat, climbs up and down from the second floor balcony.

Ting's garden, one small part of a very large, well tended vegetable garden.

The deck Ric is building.

Too many beds to count, and the bounty is plentiful.

 A Grey Fox has recently been making an appearance in the yard.

Ting and I treat ourselves to a pedicure in Keene!

The finished product, now all we need is warm weather to show off our pretty toes.

Avocado Maki for lunch, delicious.

Hydrangea at a nursery, we went to several looking for lettuce seedlings.

A typical transaction at a nursery, Ting paying for her goods.

Harrows, across the river in Vermont.

We take a nice long walk on the roads by Ting's house, no traffic and lovely everywhere you look.

Tractor carrying hay just mowed from Ting and Ric's yard.

Ye olde New England Colonial home.

The abundant lilacs in Walpole inspired Louisa May Alcott to write Under the Lilacs in 1878.

Domesticated Chinese geese, not native to this hemisphere. (This information is from Ian, my son, the birder.)
They sure were cute strutting around someone's yard.

Beautiful rolling hills, Walpole is primarily an agricultural town.

The famous Knitters come knit and have a good time on Tuesdays at Ting's.

Ellen crocheting a baby hat...

All done!

 Me in the dorm room Ting and I shared in 1972 at Marietta College, Ohio.

Ting and a friend at the time, Robin, same room 1972.