The Computer Science department at my school didn't really lend
itself to study abroad programs, so I looked to the Fine Art department
to get my fill. As a non-Arts-major, my choices were more limited (for example, I wasn't eligible for a full semester in Venice, as spectacular as that would have been), but my timing
was good and I got a spot in the first run of a landscape painting class
in oils outside of Florence instead.
In the summer of 2006 I spent six weeks in the
Tuscan country side. Talk about awesome! I had painted
before, but only with acrylics and never painting landscapes so it was a beautiful learning experience all around. I don't have photos of all the work, but to the left you can see it all lined up together, and above you can get a glimpse of one of the views. The place is freaking gorgeous.
Fast forward a few years and you'll find me with little experience past that first crash course. I've started a few paintings over the years but I don't really know what to do with them, or how to complete them. Books from the library only go so far and have shown me that I don't know a thing about technique.
So, in attempt to get back in the saddle, I took an oil painting class with Q. The class we took was a beginners class which was good for learning the basics, but not very interesting in terms of the things we painted. Then again, nothing really holds up to the Tuscan countryside. We started with styrofoam balls and graduated to random stuff around the studio. It's not much to look at, but this blog is here to document my work and projects, so here it is in all its glory :)
First we painted styrofoam balls and blocks in black and white:
Later we painted random objects in color:
And last, we painted things around the studio. I chose a bust that was sitting by a window:
There were also a few quicker exercises between these. Here are a few of them:
Nils and I watched Season 6 of Top Chef and yes, I'll admit it, we enjoyed it. Since it's the only season of the show we've seen, I was pretty surprised to see the Top
Chef Tour pulled up to our local grocery store with Ash and
Eli in tow. We were curious to see what the "tour" was offering and signed up for one of the day's cooking sessions.
Eli made some strawberry gazpacho that was pretty tasty. They garnished it with some strawberries and edible flowers to make it "chef-y," (their word, not mine) but admitted that you could probably put flowers on nicely plated V8 for a similar effect. They didn't make the corn salsa, but it sounds pretty good so I've copied both recipes below.
Nils and I went up to say 'hello' to them afterward and were given some head-shots. I don't know what to do with them, but they did leave me with a mystery. Internet, I need your help.
What the hell does Ash's message say?
Flux... yeowz.. what now?
Anyway, here's the recipe: Jamie’s Strawberry Gazpacho and Corn Salsa Recipe Courtesy of Jamie Lauren
Strawberry Gazpacho: 1 pint strawberries, quartered and washed 1 clove garlic 1/2 English cucumber, peeled Salt to taste 1 T sugar 2 cups pure olive oil
Place all ingredients in blender, except oil. Add oil in a steady stream until emulsified.
Corn Salsa: 1 ear corn, cut off cob 1/2 red onion, minced 1/2 red bell pepper, diced 1/4 jalapeno, seeded and minced 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced 2 T lemon olive oil Salt to taste Combine all and adjust seasoning
Presentation: Fill bowl with Strawberry Gazpacho. Float Corn Salsa on top, and garnish with a basil leaf and drizzle of lemon oil. Enjoy!
Here's a song I first heard in a college Spanish class:
I have no less than three posts lined up and ready to go... except they're missing pictures. Late days at work have left me with little motivation, so posts will have to wait for the weekend. Next week will be better. There will be more time to spend in the sun (which finally showed up!) and make pretty, summery things.
In lieu of my own posts, I'll send you over to one of my favorite
blog writers, Not Martha. You should know
her by now :) Today I came across her pretty paper lanterns. I haven't made any (yet), but they're so bright and cheerful in the sun that I'll forgive them for being mediocre lanterns at night. They require using store bought lanterns underneath the tissue paper. A tutorial can be found here.
Finally. Progress. After searching for the perfect closure for my costume jacket for weeks, I finally found it in the form of white, heavy duty hook and eye tape. I found similar tape in black some weeks before, but the black didn't gel with the brown lace so I put it aside for a future project. Of course, there are many other beautiful closures, buttons and clasps that I could have used that would have been really cool, but white hook and eye tape accomplishes some important things:
It can be dyed to be the right color.
It adds some shiny, metal "steampunkiness" to an otherwise Victorian costume.
It doesn't require hand sewing dozens of individual button pieces to the jacket front.
It's cheap (or should have been if I hadn't paid an equal amount for shipping).
A bucket, some gloves, some salt, some dye, some stuff to dye, and some patience
Tape in hand, I bought a packet of brown fabric dye.
Dying fabric a single color is an uncomplicated process as long as you
have the right tools and follow the directions on the dye packaging. A word of caution! My water got a little hot and my hook and eye tape shrunk a fair amount! Luckily, I cut the piece with some room to spare and it wound up exactly the size I needed, but I would have been pretty sad had I used my dye and time on a length I couldn't use.
I got different intensities of brown with different materials. The lace was the richest, the hook and eye tape was less shiny but still vivid, and the elastic barely took to it at all. I found myself tempted to dunk random objects into the leftover dye, but science will have to wait. No one really needs brown socks anyway.
Colors when wet. They dried a fair amount lighter.