Sunday, June 22, 2014

Small Cardinal Painting - Final

© Ellen Blonder
Done. I hope the fallen leaf gives a sense of scale to this little bird.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Small Cardinal Painting - 4

© Ellen Blonder
I spent yesterday and today adding leaf colors and details, and starting the dried grass at the cardinal's feet. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Small Cardinal Painting - 3

 © Ellen Blonder
 © Ellen Blonder
It's time to give the cardinal an environment. I worked it out on tissue paper, then transferred the results roughly onto the canvas through graphite paper.

I'm planning to add lighter dead grass in layers over the dark ground, and some delicate weeds I've been wanting to paint. I found the leaves in the background at the McBryde Garden in Kauai. They seem to be a kind of philodendron. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Small Cardinal Painting - 2

© Ellen Blonder
Oops, I realized the head on the cardinal was too small for the body. Now it feels more in correct proportions. I'm starting to think about what to put around it, rough as it still is.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Small Cardinal Painting - 1

© Ellen Blonder
This is the beginning of a small canvas, 8 x 10 inches, for a small bird, a Brazilian cardinal that came for a visit in Kauai. It looked at me warily as I took a few photos for reference, and my favorites were the head-on poses.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Apricot Galette

It's apricot season! Just picked these the evening before last, and they were begging to be baked into a galette, easier than I pie. 


The filling is about 3 cups of pitted, halved apricots mixed with about a half cup of sugar and a tablespoon or so of flour. Set this aside while preparing the crust.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

I adapt an old Betty Crocker oil-based recipe for the crust:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3 Tbsp soy milk (or milk or ice water)

Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour the oil and soy milk into the bowl, stir gently with a fork until incorporated, being careful not to overmix. 

Have a rimmed baking sheet on hand. I like to roll the dough out directly on a lightly floured silicone mat (Silpat or Matfer), but you can lightly flour a 12-inch length of foil or parchment paper. Transfer the dough from the bowl to the surface, pat gently into a loose ball, place a sheet of waxed paper or parchment over the dough, then roll into a rough circle about 12 inches in diameter. Remove the waxed paper. 

Arrange the apricots over the dough, leaving about 1 1/4 inches of margin all around. Dot the apricots with a bit of butter or vegan butter. Gently gather up the edge of the dough to fold over the outer inch or so of the filling. It's easier if you work with one hand under the mat or foil. 

Sprinkle the dough with about a teaspoon of sugar. Carefully slide the galette onto the baking sheet, mat/foil/parchment and all. 

Bake until the crust is golden and apricots are soft. The juice will probably overrun and may burn a bit outside the galette, but don't worry about it. 

Remove the galette from the oven. Where the juices have overrun, slide a spatula under the galette to loosen it before the juices cool and harden too much. Once the galette has cooled, you should be able to slide it off the mat onto a serving plate.

Yum. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tulip Studies

I found a great bunch of tulips at the market last week. I may work them into an acrylic painting, but for now, I've photographed them, then painted some quick watercolor studies in my sketchbook. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Song Sparrow

I think this is a song sparrow. I spotted it at Sea Ranch, California, in May, perched on a yellow lupine. It posed for me while I fiddled with my new telephoto camera lens, and I was happy with the resulting reference photo. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

© Ellen Blonder
First nectarine from yesterday's farmers' market. I bought this one for its leaves. This is a watercolor in my sketchbook.