3.15.2017

Red Onion Recipe and Why I Make Lunch For my Students


Happy Daylight Savings Time! Now that we’ve made it through the first few days of the time change, I’m ready to wander and admire the daffodils, camellias, and blooming trees. Spring is right around the corner. :)
 
After a long and super-rainy fall and winter, I know so many of us in the Pacific Northwest are really looking forward to sunnier days. Here is the March story and recipe from my 2017 Vegetable Calendar, in which the surprising and summery combination of red onion and watermelon make a wonderful salad.

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Red Onion
12" x 12" oil on 1" cradled panel
$285
Click here to purchase

Red Onion and Watermelon Salad
As someone who doesn’t eat any animal products, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, so I’m always coming up with new ways to pair flavors together. In this recipe, I wanted to make something really interesting for my monthly potluck that would really tingle everyone’s taste buds. You might not naturally mix watermelon with onions, but this one is always a big hit. I love making this salad when I have watermelon coming out of my garden in summer.  
—Katharine Nilbrink, www.katharinenilbrink.com

Red Onion and Watermelon Salad

Serves four
4 cups seedless watermelon cubes
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss to mix. If possible, chill before serving.


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DIY salad bar

Why I LOVE Making Lunch for My Students


For the past several years, I've taught beginning and intermediate painting classes either at my house or right down the street at the Village Gallery

And on one of the class days, I like to invite my students over for lunch. Below are my painting class members recently gathering around my dining room table.


Now, this might seem out of the ordinary for a painting class...

Painters at lunch

... but why I love it is that it gives us a chance to: 
- sit and talk
- laugh
- bond
- see my studio
- appreciate each other
- learn more about our families and what we do.


My home studio

Our day-to-day, digital world can be so fast-paced and disconnected. The times we actually linger and connect with people we enjoy are rare. I treasure these gatherings and love making these lunches an important element in my painting classes and my life.

I am teaching again in April, Thursdays, 6-9pm. Click here to check it out or register.


Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:  I need a new one....any suggestions???


Podcasts: 
Building a Story Brand, hosted by Donald Miller
Milk Street Radio, hosted by Christopher Kimball
American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Bridget Lancaster
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Beyond the To-Do List, hosted by Erik Fisher
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner
Splendid Table, hosted by Francis Lam
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Pack Your Mics, Top Chef 


Music: 
My iPod
Pandora - Music makes a difference on these dreary days! Spending time alone, I need upbeat, happy songs, like "Thanksgiving Radio", "Bing Crosby Radio", "Maroon 5 Radio", "Stevie Wonder Radio"...

2.27.2017

Gray Skies, Carrots, and Lemons


Gray Skies, Carrots, and Lemons

It’s a dark and stormy day in Portland today. Surprising, huh?  I have to tell you, Oregon in February and March can be pretty grueling for this Southern Californian. While these winter days are cozy in my studio, I'm getting ready for some sunshine.

Here's a little bright spot. February is the month of CARROTS, according to my 2017 Vegetable Calendar, at least. 

Carrot
12"x 12"
oil on 1" cradled panel
$285
Click here to purchase
Thanks so much to everyone who contributed recipes and purchased a 2017 calendar. I’m pleased to announce I sold out—and am starting to plan the 2018 edition. More to come on that soon!

In the meantime, I’d love to share this month’s recipe and story with you. 

The recipe comes from my friend Pamela Dussault’s cookbook. It’s a collection of all the recipes she’s created in her catering business, Almatierra Catering. When a big group of us gathered on the beach for a February retreat year after year, Pamela always made our meals. As we bustled in from cold sunset walks, we’d find the table set with bright tablecloth, glowing candles, fresh cedar boughs. Pamela pulled fresh, golden loaves of bread from the oven and hurried them to the table with potholders on her hands. She’d glance to make sure everything was there—and then play guitar nearby as we ate. Her artful soul showed in everything she made—whether art, music or food. Warm, nourishing stews, curries, soups. But, oh, the nights when she brought out this salad. So simple, so complex. The bite of vinegar; the sweet, crunchy carrot; salty seaweed; woody sesame… Whenever I make it, I can taste love. 

- Madeleine Eno, www.inthewriteplace

Carrot Hijiki Salad

6-8 large carrots, grated
¼ cup hijiki, soaked (Find hijiki, a sea veggie, in health food or Asian food stores)

Dressing
1 T. rice vinegar
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
½ tsp. crushed garlic
1 T hot Thai garlic sauce
1 T toasted sesame seeds

Soak hijiki in hot water until soft or bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let set until cool.
Combine dressing ingredients. Pour over veggies and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

_________________________________________

ANNIE’S MINI-PAINTING LESSON:

Conquering fear of the “blank panel”

Today, I want to use a current commission I’m working on to teach you a fear-conquering trick. This is a big panel, measuring 70 x 40 inches. It’s a commissioned painting – a fun one—of three big lemons that I'm painting for client’s large dining room.

I’m using water-soluble oil paint and a cradled panel. Now, it can be intimidating to start in on such a big project, so here’s what I did to make the process a little easier. 

First, I made a grid on the panel.

Then I projected the lemons onto the panel. That way I could make a decision about where to place them. 

Next, I sprayed water on the panel, then proceeded with a very watered-down version of the color.  I then painted my shapes with a two-inch brush.

I found this Speedy-Carve by Speedball, and use it to spread my paint around. 

This pink eraser-like material is designed for block printing, but I love it for painting. It's pliable and moveable, and I can easily move it around the shapes.

With paper towels, I then removed some of the paint, especially on the lemons. That way I can quickly get a basic value study for the work. 
The Speedy-Carve presents some lovely, interesting shapes that I can work with as I continue. 


Working this way is not so intimidating as just diving in and painting on a blank panel. 

Stay tuned for more lessons as I work on this project!


Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:  

Podcasts: 

Building a Story Brand, hosted by Donald Miller
American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Bridget Lancaster
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Beyond the To-Do List, hosted by Erik Fisher
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner
Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Pack Your Mics, Top Chef 

Music: 

My iPod
Pandora - Music makes a difference on these dreary days! Spending time alone, I need upbeat, happy songs, like "Thanksgiving Radio", "Bing Crosby Radio", "Maroon 5 Radio", "Stevie Wonder Radio"...

Annie

1.28.2017

Brussel sprouts, a recipe for you, and a new commission


January is nearly over—and it’s been a blur! Since all the wild weather we had in Portland at the beginning of the month, a brand-new commission and the start of a new class at the Village Arts Gallery have been keeping me busy.
   
Thanks to each one of who purchased my 2017 Vegetable Calendar. I want to share the January painting and story for those of you who don’t have it. I chose beautiful Brussels sprouts for the featured vegetable and my niece contributed a recipe, along with this fun memory.

Brussel Sprouts
$285.00
12"x12" oil on 1" cradled board
To purchase, click here.

Ah, Thanksgiving! Food as far as my eyes could see. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and, oh, the pies! The only hiccup was that I still had to eat my vegetables. At the Thanksgiving table in 1986, I discovered my dislike of Brussels sprouts. I remember getting caught passing off my sprouts to my uncle. Fast forward 25 years and I find myself invited to a friend's house for dinner. Lo and behold, Brussels sprouts are on the menu. With a glass of wine to soften the blow, I take my helping like a grown-up. Much to my surprise, I actually like them! It was merely the way they were prepared I didn't care for. 

Broil them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and I'm there! You don't even have to promise me pie anymore.

—Heather Hamann

Yummy Brussels Sprouts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat.  
Line a large 1-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking the pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning.

That "uncle" was my husband, Lad. :) And this is a tasty way to prepare yours sprouts so even your picky eaters will like them.

Here are 16 Best Brussel Sprouts Recipes from Pure Wow! 

Here's the picture of my still life of my Brussel sprouts painting.



A brand-new commission....
70 x 40-inch panel...IT'S HUGE!!! I will have to use two easels to support it. I can't wait to get started. :)


Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:  
Men Of Iron, by Howard Pyle, narrated by Robert Whitfield. I read this book when I was about 12. It was a favorite of mine. :)
Podcasts: 
Building a Story Brand, hosted by Donald Miller

American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Christopher Kimball
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Beyond the To-Do List, hosted by Erik Fisher
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner

Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Music: 

My iPod

I found a new station on Pandora that plays Louis Armstrong (Satchmo), Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael BublĂ©, and more - "Thanksgiving Day". 

9.09.2016

My Vegetable Calendar for 2017

You might have seen some of the sneak-peeks of my 
2017 vegetable calendar. I’m so excited that it’s almost complete. 
It will be available at Portland Open Studios 
and Washington County Open Studios in October. 
I chose vegetables this year because I eat them every day, 
they’re beautiful to look at, and there are SO many of them!

I discovered the Vegetables by Month chart by Cook Smarts, in my research. It’s a handy and beautiful way to make sure you’re buying your veggies at their peaks! 
I’ve had fun this summer going to the Portland Farmers Market to buy vegetables... 
(and fruits, and flowers, and listen to music...) 
and create them into still lifes ... 
 and do some color studies.
 I've done studies of the reds in beets, red onions, and tomatoes.... 
and the amazing orange hues in carrots, yellow beets, and pumpkins. 

I had an idea of how to make the calendar even more fun...to add in recipes and stories from my friends.

So, here’s my request: 

If you have a favorite recipe featuring one of the following vegetables, please send it to me—along with a short story about the recipe. It could be why it’s your family's favorite, how your mother/grandma taught you to make it, or that time you served it at a fun dinner party, etc.
  
And, I would like to send you one a cd calendar (small desk size), as a thank you gift!

DEADLINE: midnight PST on Thursday, September 15. 
LENGTH: 250 words or less for recipe + story together. 
CONTRIBUTOR: I can use your name or leave it anonymous—just let me know which you prefer. :)

Here’s the line-up of vegetables for 2017.

Choose your favorite one—and have at it!

My mouth is already watering in anticipation of the FANTASTIC recipes I know you will contribute!
  • beets
  • bok choy
  • pumpkin
  • carrot
  • red pepper
  • red onion
  • tomatoes 
  • garlic, rosemary
  • brussel sprouts 
  • asparagus
  • artichoke
  • eggplant
Gotta share!


Here is this little boy, at the Farmers Market, holding an artichoke!
I couldn't resist sharing one of my favorite Little Rascals scenes of Stymie...
"It might choke arti, but it ain't gonna choke Stymie." :)

Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:  
Watership Down, by Richard Adams, narrated by Ralph Cosham
Podcasts: 
Building a Story Brand, hosted by Donald Miller
American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Christopher Kimball
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Beyond the To-Do List, hosted by Erik Fisher
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner
Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Robcast, hosted by Rob Bell
Music: 
My iPod

Pandora

3.23.2016

Celebration of Creativity - Stained Frames - Art Classes

Tulip
10"x10" framed, oil
$350

I was honored to be a part of the Celebration of Creativity  in early March. It featured original works from 80+ artists from 15+ different media categories.
I took 6 out of 12 pieces I had remaining that I painted for the calendars that I made for the Portland Open Studios. 
They wanted all the pieces framed, so I bought 6 plain, unfinished frames from Canvas Place. I sprayed them with water and I stained them with acrylic paint in the same colors I used in the original artworks. Then I finished them in acrylic gel gloss.
They turned out excellent! I think I will do them again. :)

Art Classes

I have made a bold move! 
I couldn't talk for about two weeks after my stroke, so I was unsure of offering to teach art classes. Well I'm doing it and my first students said that I did great! 
There are still two spaces available in my upcoming art class, March 29 and 31, from 9am-2pm. I'm fixing a tasty lunch for my students on the 29th. Beginners welcome!
Details here: http://www.eventbee.com/v/anniesalness/event?eid=168236983

Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:  
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, narrated by George Guidall
Podcasts: 
Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, hosted by Kelley Dixon
American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Christopher Kimball
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Beyond the To-Do List, hosted by Erik Fisher
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner
Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Truth For Life, hosted by Alistair Begg
Music: 
My iPod

Pandora

What I am reading:
Color and Light, by James Gurney

Really helpful:
I am continually checking a dictionary, thesaurus, spell check, but one thing that has been particularly helpful is the grammar check and Hemingway App. Please excuse any errors that I make and tell me! :)



12.10.2015

What I learned from doing Open Studios

There was so much to learn from doing open studios. 
I participated in two this year, the Portland Open Studios, which is a juried event, and the Washington County Open Studios . 
They both had fees to participate and these are the catalogs.
The PDXOS had two meetings in May and August, and the WCOS had one. This was a chance to meet with other artists, pass out the street signs (used to tell people where we were),
familiarize us with their program and talk to us about marketing.
Along with over a hundred other artists, I had my home studio open the 2nd and 3rd weekends in October.
To begin with, I used Evernote to list off the things I needed: set-up in the basement, what I ordered (envelopes, post cards, calendars, etc.), points from other artists, etc..
There were many mentions from the organizers and fellow artists on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and I ordered post cards to tell about the studio tour.

The main reason for the studios visits is to educate the visitors on what goes on in the artists studio, so I took them on a tour of mine, starting with my still life cupboard and still life set-up.

Since I had to learn with my other hand since my stroke, I showed them how I start my studio time with quick drawings of lines, circles, anything around my studio, and life drawing from YouTube. (Really, I should have been doing this all along...it is important for me to draw!)
Then I would show them my painting process....the picture of the black and white value, setting up the halfway points, value, color, etc.. Because I have a hard time talking (because of my stroke), I typed out signs of each display I wanted to mention and put it beneath my work. Although the visitors thought it was for them, it really was for me. :) I would get stuck trying to say a certain sentence and then I would glance at the typed words and be okay! 
(Does this make sense????)

Finally, I would show them on my computer the image I was painting and how I like to paint upside down.
In my very limited experience, most people don't ask questions or they don't know what to ask. Hopefully, I gave them enough of my process and that will lead to questions.
Although the main reason for the open studios was to teach my process,  I decided to have something that everyone could afford to buy, so I had note cards and calendars. 
The calendars were fun because because I decided to do flowers, which led to a post on Facebook. I asked people for their flower suggestions and I got several submissions and then I could follow up with what I was doing.
A proud moment: the 4'x 8' peg board we got at the 
hardware store to hang the calendar paintings fit PERFECTLY along our wall!

It was tiring, but I loved it. I met a lot of new people, had friends 
come over, and I got many new commission 
requests and class sign ups.
(About 40% were friends and 60% were new people.)

Here is an excellent checklist on open studios from Harriete Estel Berman who goes into much more detail than I. if you are interested.

Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:  
Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell, narrated by Sarah Vowell
Podcasts: 
American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Christopher Kimball
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Beyond the To-Do List, hosted by Erik Fisher
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner
"Wait, Wait.... Don't Tell Me!", hosted by Peter Sagal
Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Truth For Life, hosted by Alistair Begg
Music: 
My iPod

What I am reading:
The Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Really helpful:
I am continually checking a dictionary, thesaurus, spell check, but one thing that has been particularly helpful is the grammar check. Please excuse any errors that I make and tell me! :)












10.15.2015

A Special Story and a Pumpkin...

Pumpkin 2
10"x 10"
oil on board
$175
Click here to purchase
I had a wonderful time this weekend at the Portland Open Studios tour at my house. THANK YOU to all who took time out of their day to come see me!
It is the last weekend this year for the Portland Open Studios and the Washington County Open Studios tours: 
Oct. 17-18, 10am - 5pm. 
This is a "unique educational opportunity for the public to witness art in the making, and learn about media, materials and the business of creative endeavor." from PDXOS
I will have maps to the other artists' studios.
My address is: 12545 NW Coleman Dr., Portland, OR. 97229. 
Come on by!!!

Amy, Me, and John
I REALLY have to share this with you...

Just last week I shared with you the story about my cousin, Amy Melious, and how she developed the photo of our Grandpa Jack with a Photoshop composite and acrylic paint. She did two versions of Jack, one for her brother John, and one for the Cattlemans Restaurant.

She lives in Canada and John lives in Santa Rosa, CA., and I live in Portland, OR and they just *happened* to be passing by my house? Last Saturday? WHAT????? - (it's a long story...)
I couldn't believe it! 
AND, they had John's picture of Grandpa Jack in their car!!!!
John and Amy! :)

Studio Tip
I just got this gooseneck flexible thingy...made for a cell phone or a tablet?
I use it for my handmade viewfinder. (Based on Carol Marine's book
It helps me crop in or frame the still life. 

Listening to while I paint:
Audiobook:   Need a new one.... :)
Podcasts: 
American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Christopher Kimball
Online Marketing Made Easy, hosted by Amy Porterfield
Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta
Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner
"Wait, Wait.... Don't Tell Me!", hosted by Peter Sagal
Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Truth For Life, hosted by Alistair Begg
Music: 
My iPod


What I am reading:
Youtility, by Jay Baer

Really helpful:
I am continually checking a dictionary, thesaurus, spell check, but one thing that has been particularly helpful is the grammar check. Please excuse any errors that I make and tell me! :)


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