Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The inspiration continues....

and/or my fascination, shall I say? with Tim Burton. I recently came across a different website than The Tim Burton Collective. This new found site radiates what I love about his work. Check it out: What do you think?? Perfectly wonderful, isn't it? I'm craving his imagery to all degrees lately, even ordered a 2010 calendar depicting images from his film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Oh, did you know? March 5th is the opening day for his latest film, Alice in Wonderland. Needless to say it's on my calendar and I can hardly wait!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I received this book for Christmas from my husband. A book I have been interested in reading and now that I have begun, I am excited to continue. Only having started, I am motivated to integrate the ideas/suggestions/tips from the author into my own studio/artist lifestyle. She especially caught me with "....your studio time should be your most sacred, nonnegotiable routine. Neglecting your studio is unacceptable. You're an artist and artists make art...." And I have to say I appreciate this kick in the pants approach. Thank you, Alyson Stanfield!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Don't crowd the mushrooms!'

This morning I made an omelet (with eggs from the farm) and remembered to not crowd the mushrooms. Having recently seen the movie 'Julie and Julia' where this approach to cooking mushrooms was referenced, I found myself enjoying the memories of the movie all over again as I sauteed. And I swear the mushrooms tasted differently having followed this advice!

The idea of trying a new recipe every day is somewhat inspiring to me. I love the idea (as there are so many wonderful recipes to be tried!), but I really don't think I could not make the family favorites (homemade pizza, quiches, chocolate chip cookies) either.... Though actually according to my family I'm always trying out a new recipe so maybe I'm already doing Julie's story in my own way  :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread - Yum!

Okay, I'm very much inspired by food lately, the nuances of it all is just so pleasing! Not only to my palette but also to the conversations had around it. The gingerbread man on the farm chalkboard promoted a coworker of mine to go out and buy gingerbread cookies. And I, this last week, found a recipe for them on Just in time for the holidays  :)

P.S. If you were to try this recipe I recommend doubling the cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg.....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Painting companion

My cat Gabe (short for Gabriel) made himself comfortable on my lap yesterday as I was painting (he seems to think I took his chair)..... A big furry bundle of love he is.....

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Intrepid Traveler"

Last weekend I was able to experience the unquestioning imagination of Tim Burton at MOMA. I walked away inspired to follow the confidence in which he approached the creation of his characters and stories.

Last night, at First Thursday, I came across "Intrepid Traveler", created by local artist Susan Feigenbaum. I immediately connected with her latest piece (pulled out of the kiln at 2pm) and brought it home with me.

With both artists, the former in his exhibition of 700+ images, and with the latter, the significance of the title, I am taken with the movement of going forward in the process of life and art - in a focused manner.

Not to mention the visuals of both artists are adeptly summed up by Jean DuBeffet: "Art should make us laugh a little and be frightened a little." Just a bit more to think about.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seed catalog already!?

I just received my first 2010 seed catalog, even though November isn't quite done. I've never heard of Pinetree Garden Seeds before - I wonder how they got my address? No worries, though, as I am delighted with the descriptions I have come across in the first few pages of their catalog. Two examples: Cheddar Cauliflower - "this unique and beautiful cauliflower is the color of cheddar cheese and retains this dramatic shade when cooked...." and Cosmic Purple (carrot) - "With a stunning shade of purple skin, this unique Danvers type carrot is a delight when harvested..... when sliced in coin-sized pieces, the inner yellow core is surrounded by orange flesh and encircled by the purple skin that will remain colorful after cooking...". What fun! Oh, to plant all of these..... what enjoyment it would be.... the inspiration of color and form, from the garden to the table!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My first trip to Madison

We went to Madison, WI. this past weekend to see Max, my husband's son, who is a freshman at the University (what a neat campus!). After the football game (Badgers won) on Saturday we met up with good friends of mine from college. We spent the late afternoon with them and their daughter at the Chazen Museum of Art. In and of itself, we found the collection of work throughout the galleries to be wonderful in its variety of imagery and medium. Even more inspiring (to me) were the frames around some of the paintings. I was completely taken with their details, profiles, etc - each one was designed to extend the painting's motif or chosen to compliment. It was perfect timing for me after my conversation with Roger from Master Framers the day before (see previous day's post). I now have some ideas on how to proceed with paintings of my own.... Stay tuned :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Artful frames

Yesterday I had an inspiring conversation with Roger Nielson, president of Master Framers located in downtown St. Paul. He had approached me during the annual fall studio event a couple of weeks ago, admiring the extension of my painting onto/into the creation of the frame that surrounds it. My painting above, Apothecary's Love Potion, is an example of this (my dad helped me create this frame, including the inner scallop-like detail that mimics the scalloping found within the painting, I then hand-finished the overall surface). Roger also expressed interest in working with me on creating frames for future paintings of mine. Such a curious idea.... as he does offer a phelthra of mouldings to choose from, not to mention the ability to add detail via carving into the surface or adding relief onto the frame's surface, all the while complimenting the painting that resides within.... The possibilities abound! To frame or not to frame is certainly not the question, but it is instead can I afford this frame?

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Time flies like...."

an arrow; fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx

A new-found favorite quote of mine as I am curious about the passing of time and I am intrigued by fruit flies (on a side note, I think a fun title for a painting would be: " the nose of a fruit fly" (as I think they must have a wonderful sense of smell in order to locate the source of their food!)). I also like the play on words and the sense of humor in this quote....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I rearranged....

I have recently become 'smitten' with the ancient medium of painting with wax (encaustic) and have transformed my home studio to accommodate the necessities (hot plates, metal palette, torch, window ventilation etc). Please note image #3, I haven't given up painting, as you can see my chair and palette are still close by :)

Get the flash player here:

Pretty neat, huh? For additional insight on this new direction of mine, please read my latest newsletter (down on the right side, titled "I'm completely smitten...., Art Attack and More!").

Sunday, November 1, 2009

End of the year resolution

Why does it have to be at the beginning of the year when we make resolutions, formal or not? Therefore, I, Heidi, will promise to blog on a very regular basis. There - I did it. Both put my intention out there for all of you to see as well as 'blog' while I'm doing so (kissing two birds with one set of lips, or so to speak, as I would never want to kill two birds......).

(Granted there was a fiber arts grant to complete and a wedding to plan and a garden to plant and a honeymoon to go on these past few months.....)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

as I promised.....

Here is one of ten photographs I was able to take the time it took to take - what do you think? This is one of my favorite piglets - somewhat black (such a great texture and color!), with dingy white stockings and a star on the face. They are so curious in their characteristics! and I can't help but love their back-end, too!

I just finished reading "Hit by a Farm", written by Minnesota author, Catherine Friend. Her style of writing, not too mention the titles for the chapters in the book (i.e. "even my bra was more supportive", "dancing with goats in the moonlight"....), proved to be entertaining and insightful (and at times, bittersweet) as to what it is like to go from city girl to country girl. It all comes down to the balancing act of life. I won't give away the details so you may enjoy the summer read all on your own!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where did the month of April go?

Did it even exist? I know it was around for an instant or two since I have record and memories of meeting my new-found-favorite animal at the farm. Unfortunately, the photograph I speak of doesn't come close to doing justice to this four-legged, squirmy and somewhat bristly mammal. Thus I won't be able to share it with you.... I've been meaning to try capturing them again and again (I've even been carrying my camera with me for the past month in the offhand chance I could take the time to capture what I see in them..... obviously to no avail). But now that they have been moved out to pasture to dine under the apple trees, I might, just might, have a better chance with my camera.....

And what mammal, might you ask, am I referring to that has swept me off my feet? Have you guessed? Piglets (24 of them to be exact! yet each one is so individual there is certainly no chance in having two look exactly alike!)! I had no idea they could be so much fun to watch with their personalities and physical characteristics ever growing.... I really need to try my eye at the camera again. I promise.

Perhaps this is where April went?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

inspired by the world of yellow continues....

I'm pleasantly surprised by the duration of my infatuation with the color yellow and all shades in between. Thus it seemed appropriate to create new patterns that satisfied this need within. The patterns below are derived from my original oil painting, The Very First Hiccup of Life . Click here for a visual of this original (it is #31 of 31).

And because I was on a roll or the day rolled on or ideas needing pursuing, this second collection of patterns came into existence. The patterns below are derived from my original oil painting, The Apothecary's Love Potion. Click here for a visual of this original (it is #7 of 7).

I'm quite taken with both of these new collections and am excited to hear your response! What possibilities await!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh dear, it's been a while since I've written....

I haven't forgotten; I just haven't known what to write about when there's been so much to write about! I'm inspired by so much right now: my new purchases from Wet Paint: a paint brush (Monza #4, Short Round) and colour shaper (soft Cup Chisel #0); a story emerging from the layers in my painting (the work in progress up above); the return of the robins (I believe it was this past Friday); the planting of seeds (dinosaur kale, giant groundcherry, elecampane.....) from Seeds of Change; a slice of leek morphing on my kitchen counter (the rings of green, gold, the miniature detail in such thin delicate sections!); the arrival of the pigs (not to mention the baby chicks and soon to be arriving piglets and lambs!) at Gale Woods Farm; the publication with so many ideas from Surface Design Association; the noodling around in my head on new patterns (stay tuned!) to create for my grant proposal.....

May you be as inspired by your environment as I!

Friday, February 20, 2009

library card

Growing up, my mom frequently took my sisters and I to the library and during the summer months, the book mobile. There's nothing like stepping inside these quiet spaces filled with such knowledge and imagination. And the regularity of going, returning books and coming home with new words to read, was a wonderful rhythm and influence on my young mind.

I finally took the time (the mere minutes it took) yesterday to get a library card - something I've been wanting to do since I moved here, almost four years ago. In addition to the mental stimulation, there's nothing like holding a gently used book in one's hands and wondering about the other people whose hands have held it since it's existence in the library world. The importance of libraries in our lives and the support we give them is, I think, even more important into today's world than when I was a child. Not only does being a library cardholder promote/practice/encourage sustainable living, but it builds community all around, enriching lives.

Yes, it's hard to fathom the thousands and thousands of books, movies, publications and more, that are all available to us as library cardholders - it's even harder to believe that this rich resource is free of charge. But the reality is, it is available to us, if we choose to support and honor this tradition. I encourage you, if you don't have one already, to go to your community library and check out a book (or two or three) with your new card. I guarantee you won't regret it.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

French Silk Chocolate Pie

I love recipe books (see the list down to the right?) and was given one by my parents this past holiday season. This particular book is titled Recipes and Remembrances - a collection of recipes and stories dating 1858-2008 - compiled by the Paynesville Area Historical Society.

Reading it from cover to cover; it transported me to another time. " The new creamery association contracts to build an ice house in 1896. Their 10-horse power engine can separate 2,000 pounds of milk per hour and was processing 5,000 pounds of milk every other day. By April it is called 'the busiest place in town' as farmers waited with their team to unload."

In the dessert section I came across a recipe from my Great Grandma "O" (as we fondly call her to this day). I remember only her love for cats, her favorite colors red and black, and her talents in the kitchen as a baker. I was inspired to follow the memories and create her recipe for French Silk Chocolate Pie. And since I was making it from scratch, it made only perfect since to also make the crust from scratch - something I had not done before, for I usually and easily rely on the pre-made dough found in the frozen food section of the grocery store.

First, the crust. Fairly common in ingredients: flavor was good, the texture not bad - though I never have the patience for the edging. I think I think the dough would preform some miracle and magically appear aesthetically appealing with just a toss and press here or there - it never does and I'm left usually with a very haphazard and lopsided trying to be decorative edge. Oh well, with the filling, who would really care?

The filling: hands down - it was the perfect combination of rich and silky smooth. Accompanied by freshly whipped cream and finely chopped fine dark chocolate sprinkles - it was divine. I thought I'd share the recipe with you so you may enjoy it yourself.

French Silk Chocolate Pie
Cream 1 cup butter and 1.5 cups sugar. Melt and cool 2 squares unsweetened chocolate squares. Blend into the creamed mixture. Add 2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add 4 eggs, beating with mixer at medium speed for 5 minutes after each is added. Put in baked and cooled pie shell, 9". Chill for about 4 hours or overnight. Serve with freshly whipped cream, chocolate shavings and/or pecans.

Friday, February 6, 2009


"Of the color between green and orange in the spectrum, colored like buttercup or primrose or lemon or sulfur or gold...."
---Oxford English Dictionary

I've been inspired by yellow lately. Curious as that is not normally a color I'm drawn to. But over the last few weeks I've purchased roses and daffodils and tulips. With all of them I have enjoyed their transition from soft and full, warm-of-life petals that generate hope and cheer to petals fragile and brittle and serious in their droopy to dropped nature.

My kitchen counter is the catch-all for all organic forms. It's where I can daily watch them (the potatoes, kohlrabi, gourds, a section of leek, garlic scapes, avocado peels, flowers, kale....) morph; shriveling or expanding, fading in color or changing color all together. I love watching the subtle changes in their texture, color and form and find inspiration even in what most would call ugly, perished, and ready for the compost.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

my home studio

I took pictures of my home studio for you to see. Where it is that I work on the paintings I paint, the creations I create, and the words that I write.... A few different views and subjects captured for your knowledge.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

my first day with blogger

I've been inspired by blogs as I have been working on my grant proposal. The ideas and thoughts and character - I feel I can get to know the person through their writing and I like that! So here I am on my first day with blogger and eager to post -- more eager to start taking photographs, capturing the life around me and sharing it with you! Thank you for coming. I look forward to getting to know one another  :)