Friday, June 29, 2012

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION

If my years in medicine has taught me anything, it is the value of moderation in all things…well, almost all things – it might be difficult to moderate an orgasm.  So if this photo of our new centerpiece seems excessive, let me point out that in these 17 bags of pasta, only 2 are of the same type.  Exercising great restraint, I ordered only one bag of each of the other 16

types.  Now THAT, my friends, is moderation!






Included in this titillating tower of pasta are:

Fiesta Fettuccine
Garlic Parsley Fettuccine
Basil Fettuccine
Red Chile Pepper Fettuccine
Three Peppercorn Fettuccine
Wild Mushroom Fettuccine
Lemon Chive Fettuccine
Farm & Field Fettuccine
Land & Sea Fettuccine
Straw & Hay Fettuccine
Golden Egg Pappardelle
Garlic Herb Pappardelle
Spinach Pappardelle
Spicy Sesame Linguine
Egg Linguine
Spinach Linguine


REACHING BACK


The first sweet corn of the season arrived in our CSA box yesterday, and with the lump crab meat sitting in our fridge, I knew exactly what I was going to do.  This was a dinner I first posted on July 19 of last year.  

PASTA-CRAB-CUCUMBER SALAD

This was going to be the night!  Tonight I would prepare the crab sauce that has been running around in my head for days…the sauce I thought I would prepare last week only to discover I didn’t have the crabmeat I thought I had.  But it was not to be; I came home from the farmer’s market with our box of veggies and discovered 6 ears of sweet corn, and with 4 already in the fridge, I knew I had to use them.  The result was a pasta/crab salad fortified with cucumber and served on a bed of lettuce with corn on the side.



INGREDIENTS:

Elbow pasta
Fresh crabmeat
Cucumber, peeled and diced
Celery
Mayonnaise
Lemon juice
Fresh chopped basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley

PROCESS:

Cook the pasta, drain and rinse with cold water, mix in just enough olive oil to keep them from sticking together, and chill.

In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and part of the herbs and cucumbers.  In a larger bowl add the mayonnaise mixture and the crabmeat, plus the pasta, and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a bed of lettuce with the corn on the side and tomato for color.

COMMENTS:

Patience advised me to use more crabmeat…but she is from Maryland and there is never enough crabmeat for her.

A great meal for a hot summer day.




Friday, June 22, 2012

6-21…Fusilli with mushrooms zucchini, and green beans


Our CSA friends provided us with fresh green beans (as well as an ample supply of zucchini) today.  Yesterday I purchased some good-looking white mushrooms from the Mid Town Market, and the idea of pasta with the beans and mushrooms with lemon and mint seasoning came quickly.  



INGREDIENTS:

Fusilli pasta
Green beans cut into one-inch pieces
Mushrooms, sliced
Zucchini, sliced crosswise
Green onions
Fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Garlic and shallots
Red pepper flakes
Grape tomatoes cut in half
Dry white wine

PROCESS:

Saut√© the garlic and onion in olive oil until soft, then add the vegetables, mint leaves, and red pepper flakes, cover, and cook over low to moderate heat.  After 5 minutes add splash of wine and lemon juice.

Just before the pasta is done add the tomatoes to the pan.  Add the pasta, mix well, and serve with grated cheese of your choice. 

COMMENTS:

A quick and easy dish using seasonal vegetables.  Almost any combination of veggies can be used.  The tomatoes add a bit of color to an otherwise bland looking dish.  The mint and lemon juice provide an interesting flavor to some very familiar ingredients.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I just completed the second canvas of this diptych; each one measures 16x40".  Anyone have eight feet of wall or hall that needs some artwork?

untitled I...acrylic...16x40"

untitled II...acrylic...16x40"

I'm planning on several more pieces in this series of large landscapes, looking to vary the theme a bit...some ideas but nothing definite yet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

GALLERY – STUDIO NEWSLETTER


For the past two years I have been sending a brief e-newsletter every 2-3 weeks to friends and patrons of my work.  It is personal and private, and no third parties are involved, so email addresses are never shared or compromised.  Here is my most recent letter in which I reviewed their goals.

Dear friends,
I sent my first e-newsletter in the fall of 2009.  They were sent weekly to promote a series of small, affordable paintings for holiday shopping, with no intent to continue them beyond the New Year…so much for intentions.
I would like to say that the response to the letters was so incredible that popular demand would not allow me to stop them.  I would like to say that, but that would be stretching the truth a wee bit.  I LIKE to write, and that, plus a few very positive comments and no negative ones, was enough to keep me going.  In this 64th letter (no significance to the number) I thought it would be appropriate to look at how my goals for these letters have evolved.
1. To be entertaining and to make reading the letter an enjoyable exercise.
2. To be informative about the process and motivation of my art as well as plans and upcoming events.
3. To exhibit, promote, and sell new artwork.
4. To be as BRIEF as possible.  I don’t know about you, but my attention span is disappearing faster then the hair on my head.
5. I may, from time to time, veer off into non-art matters…such as…oh…. PASTA?
I welcome your comments and feedback and will gladly answer questions or discuss issues you may have regarding my art. 

If you would like to receive these newsletters please email me at wfrenzulli@mac.com.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From the studio...

I'm still working on a series of paintings for the show this October, all sharing the same general theme...expansive rural landscapes.  The challenge for me is to avoid doing the same painting over and over.  One way to avoid this is to create different moods by using a variety of palettes; another way is too work on different shapes and sizes of canvas.

The most recent painting is in the familiar horizontal format.  My initial plan was for this to be the first of a diptych, but I am currently having second thoughts on this.  At the moment the canvas is sitting on the easel with the first stages of the background completed.  I can't go any further until I make a decision.

Here is the finished painting, untitled as of now, as it evolved:



Untitled acrylic...16x40"

Friday, June 15, 2012

LEFT ALONE

Here is the latest (fourth) in the series of landscapes intended for the October show in McKinney, Texas.

I have not abandoned my familiar approach; I'm still fascinated with the big skies and focusing attention on on subject alone on the horizon.

Left Alone...acrylic on canvas...30x40"

Left Alone...detail

Thursday, June 14, 2012

6-14…Aglio Olio crudo…plus


Fresh baby Arugula in the fridge.  I had some with my eggs this morning and with fresh slices of tomato for lunch.  This evening I thought, what the hell, let’s go for the hat trick today.  The result is Aglio Olio crudo with arugula and mushrooms.



INGREDIENTS:

Spaghetti
Baby arugula, coarsely chopped
White mushrooms
Olive oil
Garlic, finely chopped
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Grated Gran Padana cheese
Dry basil and oregano

PROCESS:

While waiting for the water to boil sauté the mushrooms in olive oil with the dry herbs then set aside

Place the cooked pasta in a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil, and mix in the remaining ingredients.  Add some pasta water as needed.  Serve with the grated cheese.

COMMENTS:

The only thing keeping this from a ten rating is that I was a little heavy handed with the garlic.  But otherwise this would be a 10 plus!



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SERENDIPITY


About a month ago I received a totally unexpected invitation to an art group on facebook.  I was surprised and pleased with the invitation.

About a week ago one of the members submitted a video on John Baldessari, an artist with whom I was marginally familiar.  In one brief segment of the video he is seen (or someone’s hand is seen) writing repeatedly – like a schoolboy doing a disciplinary task – I will not make boring art.  Over and over again – I will not make boring art.  That phrase reached in and grabbed hold of me, firmly, and would not let go.

As a self-taught artist with limited skills my self- confidence always teeters on the brink, and Baldessari’s admonition to himself nearly pushed me over.  Coming at a time when I was seriously questioning my work, all I could think about was the question, is my art boring?  Have I fallen into a comfortable and familiar place, where there is little impetus to push the boundaries of my work?  Are my paintings old and tired?

After several days of wrestling with this self-doubt I found the answers to be quite simple…yes, and no.  Yes, some of my work is tired and boring, but no, some of it is inspired and interesting.  Sometimes I push the boundaries and sometimes I fall back into my comfort zone.  I don’t think it is possible to work any other way, and the critical point is to recognize when the work is boring, and when it is not.  The goal, of course, is to spend more time in the not boring mode.

I am in the process of creating a series of paintings for an exhibition later this year and this recent “encounter” has suddenly infused the task with some excitement and anticipation…the work will definitely not be boring.

 Summer trees...acrylic...12x48
Autumn trees...acrylic...12x48
 

What is boring art?  I’ll try to give my answer to that question in my next post.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

From Hot to Cold

 After the last fiery sky I needed to get somewhere cooler so I dialed up a winter farm scape.   Here it is in stages; as usual, I started with the sky and then decided on the subject matter for the foreground.







Winter farm...acrylic...24x36"
                                                                               








Monday, June 4, 2012

How long did it take to do that?

Every artist has heard this question, repeatedly.  The painting I'm posting today is a good example of why that questions is meaningless.

                                       

The first thing I did was paint the sky as it is here, and  paint the foreground a very deep purple.  I did not know where I was going with this, so I spent the next week looking at it in the studio.  I eventually decided on the background trees and painted them in place.  Once again, days went by with me just looking, before deciding on the color and mood of the foreground, as it is now.  What to do next?  After over a week of bouncing back and forth between a solitary bare tree and no solitary bare tree, I made the choice.

 


And I had this to look at for several more days before deciding I was not happy with what I saw.
The tree was lacking, and the foreground and treeline on the right was too static.  The solution was several glazes of "sky color" on the treeline and the adjacent foreground, plus some adjustment in the color of the single tree.

The completed painting as of this morning.

Roiled Sky, acrylic on canvas...24x48"

The actual painting time was just a fraction of the total time it took to complete this pieca.