Monday, September 22, 2014

Gelli Printing and the Hidden Stencil Technique

 I spent a productive morning making Gelli Printed folders for the class I'm teaching at ArtSwarm in November. I busied myself working on a few new techniques, paints and tools that I want to use in the class... and came up with 25 file folders!
Here's one of my favorite ones. I limited myself to three layers of Gelli printing and just five colors of paint. 
 I came up with a few prints, besides the folders...
 Loved the colors and textures. I just got carried away with the process and didn't realize that hours had passed.
And while I was doing it I stumbled upon a fun result. Unexpected by me, but surely others have figured this out. 
Let's call it the hidden stencil technique. I roll paint onto my Gelli Plate by using a brayer that is inked in paint. I like to clean it off by rolling it onto a separate paper that I keep beside my Gelli. For some reason this time, I set the paper on a stencil and rolled the brayer across to clean it.
And a rubbing appeared. I loved the look of this, so I kept the stencil there and continued to clean my brayer on the paper, leaving the stencil in place. I had a few papers going -- so that I kept paint in the same color family together (reds and oranges on one sheet; blues and purples on a second sheet) and produced even more mono prints... loved it!

Here are two of the stencil behind-the-paper pieces. You can see the different brayer strokes in the different colors with the hidden stencils.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I am grateful for so many things in life. This week, Jon and I walked 18.7 miles together. We tried to walk everyday and had a great time chatting, laughing, and strolling. I loved each step.
I spent mornings doing some artwork as a warm up for some illustrations I've been working on. I find that if I spend some time doing simple painting, I do a better job with my actual work.

 Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale. Such a treat.
 I spent one morning painting folders for an upcoming class that I'm teaching. Loved it. I used new techniques and new tools and learned a lot! It was a rewarding time.
On one of our walks, Jon and I spotted a water snake (on the right) and a jellyfish just a few feet from shore. I had never seen a water snake before. It gave us something to talk about for a good half mile.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NH Corn Mazes Fall 2014

Autumn is the season for corn mazes in New Hampshire! There are a few farms who plant corn, not with the purpose of harvesting it, but with the intention of creating an attraction for people to stumble through with their kids!
We took the girls to corn mazes when they were younger. It was fun to meander around the corn stalks work our way to the center. Jon was always fantastic at navigating the map. It took us an hour or so to get to the goal and then half that time to make our way out. The only thing more convenient would be if they placed a restroom inside the maze, because inevitably, some child has to go when you're halfway in....

For the full article from WMUR, NH's television station, click here.
NH Locations:
DERRY -- J&F Farms, 603-437-0535
MILFORD -- Trombly Gardens, 603-673-0647
LEE -- Coppal House Farm, 603-659-3572
EAST CONWAY -- Sherman Farm, 603-939-2412 (opens Sept. 27)
CANDIA -- Charmingfare Farm, 603-483-5623 (opens Oct. 10)
MEREDITH -- Moulton Farm, 603-279-3915
HOPKINTON -- Beech Hill Farm, 603-223-0828
GREENVILLE -- Washburn's Windy Hill Orchard, 603-878-2101
LONDONDERRY -- Elwood Orchards, 603-434-6017
GILFORD -- Beans and Greens, 603-293-2853

Friday, September 19, 2014

Illustrated Recipe: Roasted Broccoli

Here's a healthy side dish or snack... roast broccoli stalks in the oven with some lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Chop the garlic into large chunks to prevent it from browning or omit it, if you're concerned...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Illustrated Recipe: M's Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie

My sister sent me a recipe to try, a fun take on Chocolate Chip cookies for fall.... spiced with pumpkin spice pudding mix that comes out each September. This recipe will be a little softer than your typical chocolate chip batter, but with brown sugar, honey, and pudding mix, it will definitely be sweet!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Focaccia and then Some!

Focaccia is a flat (baked) bread from Italy that is similar to pizza dough and usually prepared with simple toppings such as rosemary and salt, sautéed onions and peppers, or fresh tomatoes and olives. The bread is spongy and chewy and can stand on it's own or feature the toppings.
We grew up on focaccia, that is, my siblings and me. My father would make it in batches of three for the restaurant as a special and while he frequently baked different breads, there was no doubt when he was preparing focaccia. He'd spend hours making the sponge and then the dough, in between his other chores. We knew we were getting close to nearly ready when we'd see the focaccia filled tins draped with rags on their final rise.
The focaccia would bake with a specific aroma... which I learned was the toppings..
Here's my father slicing the focaccia before a family meal.

And one batch of his classic focaccia just moments before being devoured.
Focaccia has a tender crust and chewy bite, but doesn't keep well. And like breads, there are many ways to eat it, although slicing a wedge and snacking is by far my favorite.
But, if you find yourself with leftover focaccia and can't stand another plain bite, try it some other ways:
  • Take a wedge and use it as a sandwich bread, but slicing it in half and filling it with meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
  • Slice a wedge into tiny squares, toast and make croutons to top your salad.
  • Slice a wedge and top with a slice of cheese and broil
  • Smear a slice with Nutella hazelnut spread for a dessert.
  • Cube a slice and add them to a salad bowl with extra vinegar, chopped onions and raw vegetables to make a quick panzanella salad.
  • Slice focaccia into long pieces and toast to make impromptu breadsticks.
  • Freeze leftover focaccia and then use to make stuffing for Thanksgiving or any poultry dish. The toppings from the focaccia will add additional flavors to your stuffing recipe.
Here's a link to Chef Nancy Silverton's basic focaccia recipe. Warning, it's not a quick recipe and it's not without work. You have to make a sponge starter, then the dough, with times to let it rise. It'll take a few days and be extraordinary, but it is work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Illustrated Drawing: Blackberry Vinaigrette

Here's a beautifully bright vinaigrette that would be delicious on a salad, but equally good as an accompaniment to pork or chicken. Use frozen berries if you don't have fresh. Raspberries would be equally delicious.