Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2-29...Leap year pasta

If tonight's dinner tastes as good as it smells while in progress...we will be in piggy heaven.


Al Dente fettucinne
Baby broccoli
Chicken breasts
Sundried cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Roasted brussels sprouts (leftover from a previous feast)
Garlic and shallots
Olive oil
Dry basil and oregano
Sweet Vermouth (I love cooking with this)


Brown the chicken, remove, cut into bite size pieces and set aside.  In olive oil saute the garlic, shallots, and celery until soft, then add the chicken, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, brussels sprouts,  and wine  and simmer covered over low -medium heat.


Add the pasta to the pan and mix well.  Serve with grated parmigiano or romano cheese and enjoy.


If I wasn't such a humble guy I would brag.  But of course I cannot do that.  It would be out of character for me to say...this was so ________ good!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A new painting

For the past several months I've been preparing for my upcoming show...Just Barns & Farms.  Most of the work is small, and in a variety of mediums, predominately watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, and mixed.  However I've completed two acrylics on canvas; the first was posted several days ago.  Here is the most recent.

Winter's coming...acrylic...12x24

I have enjoyed working again with the acrylics after several months of watercolor, pastel, and ink.  I intend to keep working in all mediums and sizes in the months ahead.  I hate being predictable!

Friday, February 24, 2012


I forgot it last night, but not tonight.   Looking for a flavor with a bite I decided to try combining arugula and kalamata olives with my favorite dish, Aglio Olio crudo.  For the pasta I selected the Al Dente brand garlic and parsley fettuccine.


Olive oil
Fresh parsley finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Arugula, coarsely chopped
Pitted kalamata olives coarsely chopped


While the pasta is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and mix in the remaining ingredients.  Add some pasta water as needed to keep things from getting to "dry".


WOW!!!   Ok, I'm calmed down.  This was really good...a new twist to an old favorite.  And I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating.  If you like pasta you have to try the Al Dente brand; you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2-22...pasta with tomato sauce with sausage and arugula

Tonight I'll prepare a quick version of "Sunday gravy" using Italian sausage made by a local Chicago Italian market (thanks to Amy and Bob).   The process is the same one used for the Sunday gravy, only the cooking time is greatly reduced, resulting in a looser sauce.


Al Dente pasta
Italian sausage
San Marzano peeled whole tomatoe
Olive oil
Garlic and onion
Dry basil and oregano
Red wine
Red pepper flakes


Brown the sausage, remove, and deglaze the pan with the wine.  In olive oil with the red pepper flakes cook the garlic and onion until transparent, then add the tomatoes, spices, and sausage and cook under cover over low heat for at least 20-30 minutes (long enough to cook the sausage).

Just before the pasta is ready remove the sausage.  Place pasta in large serving bowl, add the sauce and the arugula, mix well, and serve.


The key to the success of this meal?   Forgetting the arugula!!  About half way through the dinner I remembered the arugula.  Fortunately it did not make any difference...this was scrumptious!


 It begins with a small color sketch to work out the composition and values

 The next step...With the buildings blocked out, the sky and background is rendered and an under- painting for the foreground is completed.

This is followed by the completion of the buildings, working out the shadows, and rendering the foreground.



The last stage...architectural details and warm glazes on the buildings and foreground.

Must be summer...acrylic...16x40"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2-21...spinach fettuccine w mushrooms, baby broccoli, and chicken

This was one of those "cook what's in the fridge" dinners.


Baby broccoli
Portabello mushrooms
Chicken breast
Olive oil
Garlic and onion
Dry white win
Lemon juice
Dry basil, oregano,


Brown the chicken and remove.  Saute the garlic, onion, and celery until soft, then add the mushrooms and cook for about 5- 10 minutes before adding the broccoli.  Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pan, along with the seasoning and several splashes of wine.  About 4-5 minutess before the pasta is ready add some lemon juice and several slices of small fresh tomatoes (more for coloring than anything else).


This made good use of the ingredients on hand.  Bacon would have added another dimension, but the chicken breast was thawed and had to be used.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2-18...Angel hair past with Tuna and sun dried cherry tomatoes

This is an easy "go to" recipe that I've posted at least once before.  Tonight I'll be using a new brand of tuna as well as the sun dried cherry tomatoes I recently purchased online.   The pasta is an Italian import I picked up from Tuesday Mornings, along with the tuna.  This is quickly becoming a favorite place to shop.  Their gourmet food section is quite small, but contains some amazing stuff.  The only problem is, if you find something you like it may only be available for a very limited time, and may never show up again on their shelves.


Olive oil
Tuna in oil
Sun dried cherry tomatoes coarsely chopped
Fresh parsley
Dry basil, oregano, and dill
Lemon juice


Saute the garlic celery, and shallot in the olive oil until soft.  Add the tomatoes and spices and simmer over low heat for several minutes.

Add the pasta to the pan and mix well, before adding the tuna and lemon juice.  Mix again, adding some pasta water if needed and sprinkle with the parsley before serving.


Ten plus!! 

B & W and color all over

 Smedley-Yeiser house...markers, ink, pastel...8x10"

 Lowertown boatyard...markers...6x9

Coast guards...pencil...8x10

Friday, February 17, 2012

2-17...Fettuccine florentine

The evening had an unremarkable beginning; I began prepping for dinner while Patience attended a civic/dog related meeting.  It was not very long before she called to say it was a dinner meeting, and I would be on my own.  So, at six o'clock I called Keyth and Elaine to see if they had dinner plans (that is what I love about Lowertown), and to my delight they accepted my invitation to share the pasta dinner I was preparing.  But the real treat was the salmon that Keyth had on the grill; it was a perfect match to the pasta, and the result was a delightful dinner with 2 great people.


Al Dente spinach fettuccine
Peeled, whole, San Marzano tomatoes
Olive oil
Garlic, onion
Red pepper flakes
Penzy Italian seasoning (Basil, oreganor)
Baby spinach
Sweet vermouth


Cook the garlic and onion in the olive oil until soft, then add the tomatoes and seasoning plus a splash of wine an simmer.

While the pasta is cooking add the spinach to the pan.  Then add the pasta and mix well.


I very comforting dish, made even better with Keyth's salmon as a side.

Love that Al Dente pasta.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


When working small, it is easy to get hooked on pastel, especially the pastel pencil.  For the past two days I've been working on a portfolio of barn paintings.  The following were all done with pastel pencils and the images measure 6x9".

 S. E. PA barn...pastel
 New England barn...pastel
 New Holland PA...pastel
Gray stone and board...pastel

Monday, February 13, 2012

2-13...Salmon - asparagus cream sauce

We ate very well tonight...Fusilli in a creamy salmon - asparagus sauce.   It has been a while since I've prepared this, but it was worth the wait.


Olive oil
Garlic, shallots
Lemon juice
Dry whit wine
Heavy whipping cream
Dry dill, basil, and oregano
Fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped


Cook the garlic and shallots in olive oil until soft.  Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to the pan, along with the seasoning/herbs and cook for several minutes.  Then add the wine and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the salmon, butter, and lemon juice and continue cooking over low heat.  About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready add the cream and stir frequently.

Toss the sauce into the pasta, mix well, and enjoy.


This tasted especially good to Patience and me tonight, perhaps because we haven't had it for a while.  Or, perhaps because it was prepared with extra amounts of love, after all, tomorrow is Valentines Day and I'm "warming up".

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Anyone who has visited my gallery and studio knows that I tend to hold on to things.  Among the "stuff" in my studio are countless pieces of old clay mono types, prints that never quite made the grade, but for reasons unknown seemed worth keeping.  In the past few months my decision to keep them has been soundly justified; by using them as support for a variety of media I've been able to create some interesting paintings.  Some of the following enhanced clay prints have appeared in previous posts, but I thought it would be fun to show a sampling of the various pieces at one time.

 Purple Sky...oil pastel on cmt...5x3"

 Moon lit Barn...soft pastel on cmt...11x14'

 White barn...soft pastel and oil pastel on cmt...8x8"

Autumn Barn...markers and ink on cmt...5x5"

 On the hill...pastel on cmt...7x5"

These, and others, will be part of my Barns & Farms show at Gallery 5 this spring.

Friday, February 10, 2012

All about barns and farms...

At least for now.  For the past few months I have immersed myself in the world of barns and farms, preparing for an exhibit of paintings and drawings early this spring.  Unlike my previous shows, the work will reflect a variety of mediums, either alone or mixed, which has made for fun working.

 Almost gone...watercolor...8x10"


 Waiting...mixed media (acrylic, wc, pastel, ink)...11x14

On the hill...pastel on clay mono type...14x7

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2-9...Fettuccine with baby brocolli, shrimp, and artichoke hearts

Patience and I have never been fond of whole wheat pasta until we tried the Al dente brand,  (no...I have no financial interest in the company) so tonight I thought their fettuccine would go well with the dish I had in mind.


Baby brocolli
Small shrimp
Artichoke hearts
Garlic and onion
Olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
Dry white wine
Dry dill, basil, and oregano
Red pepper flakes


Cook the garlic, onion, and celery in the olive oil along with red pepper flakes.  Then add the artichoke heart, brocolli, and wine and continue cooking over low heat.  Since I used frozen, cooked shrimp I added them about 5 minutes before I anticipated the pasta being done, along with the juice of a half a lemon.

Toss in the cooked pasta, mix well and drizzle with olive oil before serving.  Grated romano or parmigiano cheese  is suggested.


I gave this an 8.  It was good, but not special and did not leave me wanting more.  I think I used too many ingredients and should have limited it to the brocolli and shrimp.  Whatever the needs more work.  The best part of the meal was the pasta.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Tonight's dish was inspired by a recipe I saw in La Cuccina Italiana for a tomato pesto sauce using sun dried tomatoes and fresh grape tomatoes.  Last week in the gourmet section of Tuesday Mornings
( there are some interesting finds in their small section, including some great imported olive oils.)  I picked up a jar of imported organic cherry tomatoes in water which I decided to use with the imported sun dried cherry tomatoes I bought online.


Cherry tomaoes in water
Sun dried cherry tomatoes in oil
Olive oil
Garlic, onion
Bacon, chopped
Sweet vermouth
Dry basil, oregano, red pepper flakes


Cook the bacon, remove, and drain off bacon fat.  In olive oil cook the garlic and onion with red pepper flakes until soft.  Add the tomatoes and smash them with wooden spoon.  Add the the seasoning and wine and simmer until all the liquid is gone.  Place the tomatoes in a blender, along with the sun dried tomatoes and blend to a creamy consistency.  Return the sauce to the pan and keep warm while the pasta is cooking.

Place pasta in serving bowl, mix in the sauce, sprinkle with the bacon bits and enjoy!


I like this a lot.  I was in the mood for a tomato sauce, but wanted something a little different...and this fit the bill.  I am very quickly becoming a fan of Tuesday Mornings...whoda thought!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just the pencil

 I am enjoying working on these small pencil drawings.  They require constant attention to values, and composition is always important, but especially when working with a vignette format.  I use a range of graphite from 6B to 6H (B= darkness, and H= lightness).  I also work with four carbon pencils, 6B, 4B, 2B, and B.  They leave a darker marker than their graphite cousins.

 Pump house...pencil...8x10"

Small shed and Barn...pencil (graphite and carbon)...8x10"

I'm not sure that using both graphite and carbon on the same drawing is a good idea.  I need more experience to work this out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2-6...Fettuccine with endive and ground pork

I bought a bunch of endive several days ago thinking I would make wedding soup, but subsequently lost interest.  However the endive is sitting there, looking at me every time I open the refrigerator, and I'm sure if it could talk it would be saying..."hey, it's cold in here, what in the hell are you waiting for?"

So, tonight the endive gets cooked.  The question is...if not soup or beans and greens, how?  After checking the freezer and realizing I had two packages of ground pork, I found tonight's dinner.


Fettuccine (al dente brand "straw and hay", a combination of egg and spinach fettuccine)
Ground pork
Celery, chopped
Carrots, chopped
Olive oil
Sweet vermouth
Garlic, onion
Lemon juice
Penzy's Italtian seasoning, or dry basil, oregano, and thyme
Red pepper flakes


Brown the pork and remove.  Cook the garlic, onion, carrots and celery in olive oil with the red pepper flakes and seasoning until soft.  Add the pork and juice from a half of lemon, wait for about 5 minutes and add the wine and simmer.

Blanch the endive in the pasta water for about 3-4 minutes and add to the pan.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan, mix well, and drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Waiting for the pasta...


This dish merits a 3D!  Delightful, delectable, and delicious.  There is a lot of room for varying the ingredients and spices, but the basic combination of the pork, and endive, with a touch of sweet vermouth is essential.  All that is lacking is a good name for the dish.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


My head remains in the past this morning, looking back and thinking about some of the commissioned work I've done.

Wilmington News journal
Tower Hill School   Wilmington

Delancy Place...Philadelphia
The Wilmington New journal, located in downtown Wilmington, wanted a commemorative painting - print of their building as they were preparing to move to a new facility out of city limits.  The front of their building a plain (boring) square 5 story building with absolutely nothing of visual interest.  The back of the buildings was just the opposite...cluttered and busy and visually interesting.  Of course that is what I painted, and of course that is not what they wanted.  However, they agreed to pay me for it and asked me to paint the front, which I did.  They were happy and I was happy (they paid me for the second painting also.)

Tower Hill School was commissioned in the late 1980s, one of several schools and campuses I had the pleasure of painting.  I think this was the best of the lot.  Dr. Oz, the TV celebrity doc, went to Tower Hill.  His father, also Dr. Oz was a colleague of mine during my years of practice in Wilmington.

Delancy Place is a commission I received after we moved to Paducah.  I was familiar with the street from my time in Philadelphia and was delighted to take this on.  It was one of my more ambitious and difficult commissions and I grossly undercharged the client...but it was worth it.  The final piece was about 18 x60 inches.  Check out the last house on the anomaly on this street.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I enjoy doing commissioned work in spite of the stress that is usually involved.  Creating the work is usually not the problem; worrying about the client's reaction to the piece is what unsettles me, even when I am personally satisfied with the results.  It was that way with my first commission over 30 years ago, as well as with my most recent one last year, and I don't expect it will ever be any different.

I've created artwork for individuals, private and public institutions, corporations, and universities.  The subjects have all been architectural in nature, schools, homes, shops, and a variety of public buildings.  Two of the more unusual requests were a barber shop and a salvage yard.  I have a record of the barber shop but sadly, not the junk yard.

Crowes Seafood...watercolor...circa 1981

Washington Street Barbers...watercolor...circa 1979

Hercules Towers...watercolor...circa 1983

Hercules was my first corporate commission, and the biggest in my new career as an artist.  Others would soon follow, including the opportunity to create a poster for Wilmingon Library's bicentennial celebrations.