Monday, April 30, 2012

Changing direction

I've been invited to have a solo show at the Laura Moore Fine Arts Studio in McKinney Texas this fall.  Texas being...well, you know...Texas, it is time to begin thinking large, and not small.  I hope to have six to ten new paintings completed for the show by the end of the summer, and to get started, the following 24x36" canvas is on the easel.

Work in progress...1
Work in progress...2

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

4-25...Farfalle w broccoli and scallops in wine,lemon, butter sauce


Farfalle pasta
Broccoli florets
Sea scallops
Olive oil
Garlic and shallots
Dry white wine
Fresh dill4-25…Farfalle with broccoli and sea scallops in a light cream, butter, lemon, and wine sauce.

Whipping cream
Fresh lemon juice


Sauté the garlic and shallots in olive oil with red pepper flakes until soft.  Add the broccoli, scallops, butter, and dill, and cook uncovered over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding the wine (1/4 cup) and lemon juice.  Continue cooking un-covered until the wine cooks off.  Add the cream and butter and stir frequently.


When the pasta is ready add it to the pan, mix well – as opposed to mixing not well – and serve.


This was wonderful…I’m such a good cook…tra lala lala…and the humility gods will strike me down tomorrow.  Seriously, this was good.  The tricky thing is timing the sauce so it doesn’t sit around to long waiting for the pasta.

This and That

In case you missed the announcement, the entire Barns & Farms show can now be seen on my website.

 The year of pasta is almost over, although I haven't been posting as many meals since there have been more repeat dishes.  The idea of putting it all together in a book form is still bouncing around in my head; I've already done an abbreviated version to get a feel for the project.  Still undecided is the issue of ingredient amounts as well as other specific prep and cooking instructions.  I've been telling myself the reason I have not done this is because it is the way my mother cooked, but I'm not so sure that there is an element of laziness in my reasoning.

It is official, I will be having a solo show of works on canvas in McKinney Texas this fall, which means it is time to move from small to large.  The gallery has already selected 6 paintings, including 3 of my larger pieces (48x60").  I have about 3-4 months to complete at least 6 more canvases.  This will be a departure from the recent small drawings and paintings, which I intend to continue doing.

The Old house...acrylic on canvas...24x48".  Recently re-worked foreground.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marking my time with markers

In the course of the normal ebb and flow of life in the studio, I find my ambition, enthusiasm, and focus are at one of their periodic low points, not unusual after completing a recent large project.  Fortunately I can usually find things to do to prevent complete boredom, desk work, cleaning, organizing files, and other busy work.  Much to my delight I can add small scale drawing to that list.  Working with pencils, pen and ink, and markers requires no prep time, does not require a major time commitment, and provides instant gratification and satisfaction. 

the Yeiser...16x12
  Mother D's...10x5

Plant world...6x8

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4-22…pasta with sun dried tomato pesto and arugula

Tonight I will depart from my usual routine and provide some measurements for the ingredients used.  I think I can do that without inhibiting the “creative flow”.

 A few months ago I picked up an envelope of dried chopped tomatoes, thinking one day I would try them in place of my usual sun dried tomatoes in oil.  Well tonight is the night.


Al Dente brand Fiesta fettucine
Dried chopped tomatoes – 3 oz.
Fresh oregano, chopped  - 1 tablespoon
Juice from ½ lemon
Red Pepper flakes, about ¼ tablespoon
Olive oil – ¼ to 1/3 cup
Garlic  - 1 medium clove


Rehydrate the tomatoes by placing them in a bowl, covering them with boiling water, and letting them sit for 2-3 minutes.  Drain them and place in a blender or food processer.  Add the oregano, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes plus the olive oil and pulse to a creamy consistency.

Mix the pesto and the arugula into the pasta, adding about 1/3 cup of pasta water if necessary, drizzle with olive oil and serve.  Salt and pepper to taste.


This dish could have been a ten, but because I put too much pesto on the pasta, the flavor was a bit overwhelming.  Use the pesto sparingly and you will end up with a ten.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Three years ago I completed this 20x30 canvas, painting over a previous "failed" painting.  It has been on and off the walls of the gallery and studio since then, gathering minimum attention.

 It wasn't until 3 or 4 weeks ago that I realized what a compositional blunder I created...four almost equal horizontal bands across the canvas.  I don't understand why it took me so long to see this.  In order to create something more interesting to the eye I've broken the horizontals with one dominant vertical, and will look at it for awhile to determine if it needs even more.  I'm thinking it needs something more in the lower right foreground.

Friday, April 20, 2012

4-19…Farfalle with shrimp, asparagus, and ramps

Several days ago I did not know what a ramp was, and tonight I’m cooking with them.

(From Wikipedia…·  Allium tricoccum, also called ramp, a species of edible wild onion or leek native to eastern North America)

Lisa, last night’s dinner guest, supplied the ramps and I decided to try them out with shrimp and asparagus in a very light, creamy, lemon-butter sauce.  I added a bit of sundried tomatoes for a little color and added flavor.


Farfalle pasta
Ramps, cut crosswise
Sun dried cherry tomatoes in oil
Olive oil
Fresh Dill
Fresh lemon juice
Heavy whipping cream


Cook the ramps in olive oil until soft, and then add the asparagus, dill, and tomatoes.  Cook for about 7-10 minutes then add the shrimp, butter, and dill.  When the shrimp is almost cooked through add the cream and stir frequently.

Add the pasta to the pan, mix well, and enjoy.


What a great meal, and without any garlic or onions!  The ramps bring a flavor that combines both ingredients, but with a taste of its own.

Sadly, they cannot be found in our local markets; these came from Louisville.

Back to work

After a brief stint of inactivity I'm beginning to resume work in the studio and the kitchen.  Patience ha been out of town all week and I've been living with 5 dog and little, if any, ambition.  But that seems to be out of my system and some enthusiasm for whatever lies ahead has re-appeared.  As proof I offer the following two drawings, and can report a third is in progress.

 shops on Via Garibaldi in Parma, Italy...pen, ink, markers...5x7...

Light House Landing...pencil...5x7

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Politicians and talking heads would stop talking about big government and smaller government and begin talking about good, effective government.

If only they would stop screaming about over regulation and capitalistic greed and talk about appropriate regulations that protected the health and interests of the American people without crippling the enterprising spirit.

If only reasonable people would come together and agree on an an interpretation of the second amendment that made sense in the year 2012, without limiting reasonable access to firearms.

If only we could understand and accept the fact that there are very few issues that need be either this or that, and that there is always a place for compromise.

If only our “leaders” (and I use this term generously) would act with as much concern for our country as they do for their respective parties, and self-interest.

If only everyone could see that their way and their views are not the only way and the only views on just about everything and anything.

OK…I’ve vented.

Friday, April 13, 2012

4-13…Fettuccine with Chicken and diced tomatoes

Every once in awhile I hit one out of the park…and did so tonight with this simple but scrumptious dish.

Breaking from my usual routine I used Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes (available at Krogers).


Al Dente Fiesta fettucine
Diced Tomatoes
Organic boneless chicken thighs
Olive oil
Garlic and onion
Penzy’s pasta seasoning
Sweet Vermouth…always adds a special touch to the sauce
Grated Grana Padano cheese


Brown the chicken, remove and set aside.  Cook the garlic and onion in olive oil until soft, then add the tomatoes and seasoning and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the chicken to the pan along with the sweet vermouth. Cover and simmer for 30 – 60 minutes.  Add the cooked pasta, mix well, and enjoy with grated cheese.


The pasta gods smiled on me tonight because this was heavenly and all the credit belongs to the ingredients.

Being in between

is how I feel right now, a familiar place that appears after the completion of every sustained effort.  In this case, the Barns and Farms show which has been front and center in my life for the past three or four months.  The let down is a natural phenomenon, one I've experienced time and time again; it will soon pass and I'll be on to the next project.

In the meantime, it is always possible to find things to do in the studio...clean, write, draw, read, and of course, nap, nothing major, just simple, but rewarding work that keeps me from feeling totally useless.

This may be an appropriate time to visit an excerpt from Have I Told You Today That I Love You.


There is at least a little wisdom in the cliché, “Go with the flow”.  The human psyche is subject to the same cyclic or periodic variations that are so evident in the world around us; we all experience the ups and downs in our emotional life with varying regularity, sometimes predictable and some times not.  By learning to listen to yourself you can begin to recognize similar patterns as they effect all aspects of your emotional or spiritual life...enthusiasm, sadness, the availability of creative energy, ambition, imagination, etc.  Knowing this, it is possible to avoid wasting a great deal of time and energy trying to work against the tide, waiting instead for a more receptive time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

4-12…Spaghetti with Swiss Chard pesto

Once again we have Kristi and Mark to thank for our dinner.  They were kind enough to share some of their fine Swiss Chard with me, and tonight it will become a pesto for our pasta.  Adding to the newness of tonight’s dish will be a brand of imported pasta I found at Tuesday Morning.  (A fun place to shop – there is always something new, and often exotic.).  It is a semolina pasta imported from the southern Italian region of Calabria.


Swiss Chard
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Parmigiano cheese


Rinse and coarsely chop the chard and cook for about 10 minutes in boiling water.  Drain and allow it to cool before adding it to the food processor along with the cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil.  Blend to creamy consistency and add salt and pepper to taste.

(I used a basic basil pesto recipe as a guide; it calls for 2 cups of basil leaves, ½ cup of oil, ¼ cup of cheese, and 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.)


I do believe I like the chard pesto better than the basil.  The best word to describe the flavor of this dish is “pleasant”.  It invites you to have more.

Coming up next…Kale pesto

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4-11…Pappardelle with chicken, shrimp, and asparagus

It has been over a week since my last pasta post.  We haven’t stopped eating pasta; I’ve been cooking dishes that have previously been posted and did not want to repeat myself.

Our local Kroger store has been carrying organic, boneless chicken thighs and I thought I would try them with asparagus and shrimp.


Al Dente pappardelle (large flat noodles)
Organic boneless chicken thighs
Asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
Fresh lemon juice
Garlic and shallots
Dry dill
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
White wine
Olive oil


Brown the chicken, remove and set aside.  De-glaze the pan, saving the residual with the chicken.

In olive oil, cook the garlic and shallots until soft before adding the chicken and  wine.  Cook covered for about 1- minutes then add the asparagus and seasoning and continue cooking.  Add the shrimp, butter, and lemon juice while the pasta is cooking.

Add the pasta to the pan, mix well, and sprinkle with some of the parsley.


 Tastes great, easy to do, and many potential variations are possible. A few quartered cherry tomatoes would add a nice touch of color to the dish.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Barns & Farms now online

In response to a number of requests...honest...I really did receive them...I have placed the entire Barns and Farms show on my websiteHere you can see all of the work remaining after the opening reception two nights ago.