Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chez Blonder

© Ellen Blonder
Inspired by old European liquor posters, I thought I'd play with creating a painting for my kitchen. This layout was as far as I ever got, but it seemed an appropriate item to post before my trip to China. See you here on my return.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drawing Group Yesterday

© Ellen Blonder
My drawing group met yesterday, after over a month's hiatus. Here's a fifteen-minute sketch of the other four members: April, Barbara (twice), Abby, Georgia, Abby again. Places visited by group members since our last meeting include New York, London, Italy and Budapest; planned trips in the near future include Savannah, Peru and China. Hardest thing to do while we model for one another: not talking, especially after a long break. Yesterday's great music discovery while sketching: soundtrack from Tout les Matins du Monde.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Surinam Cherry-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
Just had time to lay down some preliminary color for the cherries and start adding leaf detail.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surinam Cherry-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
I like the idea of painting this on a mid-tone neutral background; eventual highlights will have more of a chance to "pop." Meanwhile, I've been learning a few interesting facts about this plant. It's also called a Brazilian cherry or Pitanga, the fruit is rich in vitamin C, and the leaves, when stepped on, release an oil that repels flies. The seeds from the fruits contribute to a resinous flavor, so they should be removed. If the fruit is then put in a bowl with sugar, they become mild and sweet, and can be used in recipes calling for other types of berries. To read more than you'll ever need to know, check out this link.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Surinam Cherry-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
When we were in Kauai two winters ago, I bought a bag of Surinam cherries at the farmers' market. The glisten like carved jewels, with their fluted shape, but had a somewhat disappointing, slightly bitter tang, more watery than the unrelated cherry most of us know.
A couple of days ago, I was at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, and stumbled across a Surinam cherry tree. They're as intriguing as I remembered. Far too humid in the glassed-in conservatory for me to stay long, I at least photographed the tree. I've sketched out a fruiting branch on a 9 x 9-inch board, to be painted in acylics.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Banded Cow Sketch

© Ellen Blonder
The banded cow that I photographed last week is actually a bit sleeker than in this sketch. The herd looked startling; in place of black and white patches, each member of the herd sported a wide white band between black front and hind quarters. I'm considering making a painting based on the photos I took.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

There but for...

I'm researching for a trip to China, and came across this site with the caption:
Art colleges entrance exam in Shangdong Province. The 8,000 candidates for art schools are gathered at a 20,000 square-meter size conference center to participate in the exam in Jinan-capital city of Shandong. (Feb. 5, 2009)

From other photos on the site, you can see that all of them are sketching a portrait--with mixed results. I've wondered how different it would have been to pursue art in China, and here was a stark example. I wonder what percentage made it; the site didn't explain.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Tulips-Final

© Ellen Blonder
Blending green and orange convincingly was as difficult as I feared. This took longer than painting both of the other tulips together. Below are all three tulips in the series.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Tulips-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
The red tulip is done, but the peachy one still needs a fair amount of work--blending, highlighting and shading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Red Tulip-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
This is one of the two tulips I'm working on, to go with the first 5 x 7-inch yellow tulip (see posts below). I'm still tweaking shadows and highlights and smoothing out color transitions.
This is my 100th post, by the way. Nothing like trying to keep up a blog to keep one painting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Birthday Treats

Foodie break. Yesterday was a big birthday for my husband Nick, so I was in the kitchen rather than the studio. The farmers' market is bursting with fall vegetables, and we came home with kabocha squash (tip from a farmer: the dark green ones are sweetest), zucchini, red onion, Japanese eggplant and pimiento peppers.

I made an oil-based crust with finely chopped almonds in place of some of the flour.I sauteed the onion, but coated chunks of the other veggies in olive oil, sprinkled them with a bit of gray salt and oregano, roasted them separately, then tossed them together when cool with the kernels from an ear of sweet yellow corn. The crust dough is rolled out directly on a silicone sheet, veggies are mounded in the center, the edges of the dough brought up around the sides, and the whole tart slid onto a baking sheet. Because the vegetables are already cooked, about 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven is all that's needed to brown the crust.

I served it with a sauce from Veganomicon, meant to imitate a cheese sauce. While it didn't, it made the tart reminiscent of a good pot pie. The green on top is shredded basil and parsley.

We finished with a semolina-almond meal cake brushed with orange juice and cloaked in Valrhona chocolate.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Tulips-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I liked the results of the tulip study enough to want to paint two more on the same 5 x 7-inch size boards. The one on the left will eventually have a lot of green in its petals, and the one on the right will become mostly warm red with deep yellow edges.