Bright Autumn Forest Progress Update

I was able to dedicate a few hours to painting last week. I’ve made some progress on the Bright Autumn Forest painting:

I’m hoping I’ll have time to work on it again this coming weekend. Even if all I do is add foliage to the miniature “trial” version I’ll consider it progress…

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Bright Autumn Forest

I helped a good friend move recently, and while doing so we came across a large canvas, still in it’s store wrapping. I offered to make a painting to adorn the walls of her new home and she enthusiastically accepted. She requested something colourful and vibrant so I thought I might try painting an autumn scene I captured years ago at my in-laws cottage.

Not a great copy of the photo–I printed it a long time ago and I think the digital copy is somewhere on an old PC, tucked away in our basement closet.

Progress has been slow since I don’t often have a large block of hours to devote to painting (especially with oils).

The background is done; I opted for a richer, deeper blue than the original photo in an attempt to accommodate my friend’s request for vibrancy. Before moving on to the trees I wanted to do a practice run, so I started a miniature version of the painting.

I plan to do them somewhat in tandem; completing each step first on the mini canvas before committing to the larger one.

Meanwhile, I’ve also made some progress on my large pattern:

Cheesecake with Cranberries, Blueberries or Strawberries

I have been neglecting my blog for the past few months, but now that summer is over and life is slowly moving indoors I will make an effort to post more often.

I haven’t tried any new recipes for a while, but we have done a lot of baking over the summer. My husband and I are BIG fans of cheesecake. For a good month recently we made cheesecake almost every week. We stick to the classic recipe on the Philadelphia cream cheese package, and then I usually wing some sort of a topping. My favourite so far has been cranberry sauce (I had some left over in the freezer). It was absolutely perfect–the tartness of the cranberries complemented the cheese-y goodness of the cake perfectly. I also tried to make a quick blueberry topping–I simply simmered some frozen blueberries in sugar and a little water. Everyone liked it well enough, but I found it a little bland. If I try it again I’ll give it a go with some fresh blueberries instead.

Not the greatest photo, but it was late when we made the cheesecake, and it was half gone by morning so there was no opportunity to get a photo of the full cake in the light of day.

Here is the Philadelphia brand recipe for cheescake:
1 ¼ cups graham crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
3 packages (250 grams each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs

Mix graham crumbs and butter, and press onto the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. (I pre-butter the pan as well to ensure the cake doesn’t stick). Beat the cream cheese and sugar with a mixer until blended. Add the eggs and mix at low speed until just blended. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 F, until the centre is almost set. Once the cake has cooled refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. Add any toppings once the cake has been refrigerated.

The cranberry sauce was made using a slightly modified recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything:
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 ½ cups sugar (I used only 1 cup)
2 cups water

Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool before refrigerating. I like to blend the sauce to make it smooth and remove all chunks.

The blueberry sauce was derived from the cranberry sauce recipe: I simply used four cups of blueberries instead of cranberries. However, I do feel that blueberries require more sugar, especially if you’re using frozen blueberries. In the future I would increase the amount to two cups of sugar…

For the last cheesecake I made a strawberry topping. Once again I just simmered some strawberries (freshly picked from a local farm!!) with some sugar, and then blended the mixture to make it smooth.

And now I’m in the mood for more cheesecake!

 

 

Trees in Winter

This week’s drawing started off more as a quick practice sketch. I had saved a photograph from an old calendar because I liked the trees in the foreground.

Unfortunately I cannot give credit to the photographer as their name was not mentioned in the calendar.

When I first started I was thinking it would be a quick pencil sketch, but after completing one drawing with my new coloured pencils I found I was itching to do it again.

I had some trouble with the tangle of branches and leaves in the top left corner, so I intentionally kept the trees in the background a little messy to create some continuity (of messiness). Overall I like the effect of the lighting and shadows on the snow, and the mix of all the different greens and blues. I also feel quite at home looking at the drawing; it is a typical scene I might encounter on any given day between December and March and I find it quite comforting.

Safranbolu Houses

Despite having the intention to blog regularly I never seem to get around to it. Thankfully I’m a little more dedicated to my art. Here’s a small drawing I recently finished of some heritage houses in Safranbolu, Turkey.

It’s based on a photograph I took while on a family trip almost nine years ago .

I bought myself some Derwent soft drawing pencils recently and I have to say I am loving them. Usually I prefer keeping my pencil drawings black and white, but these coloured pencils are opening me up to a whole new world…

Colourful Fish

Two posts in two days? How can this be?? Because I broke my wrist last Friday and now I can’t drive, so the time I would normally spend commuting I am instead spending drawing and blogging! I was able to finish the fish yesterday afternoon before hubby got home with the kids.

It may be a while before I am actually able to frame and hang it in the kids’ bathroom because my left hand is still mostly indisposed. This is what my left hand was doing while I was drawing:

More Drawings In Progress

I haven’t made the time to update my blog in the past few months, but I have been making some time here and there for my art. So here’s yet another post of some “drawings in progress.”

A few months ago I started a drawing to hang in our stairwell landing. It was inspired by a large mirror with a thick and colourful mosaic tile frame that I fell in love with at Pier 1 Imports. I never bought the mirror and I still regret it, so I thought I would make a drawing that reminds me of it.

I divided the paper into randomly sized sections and drew a different pattern within each section. I’m still not sure how many colours I will use overall, perhaps I will choose 10 to 15 colours and use them in different variations (the mirror had a similar number of colours). Or perhaps I will just go nuts, and add a million different colours. We shall see…

I recently started another drawing that was inspired by the mirror drawing. I enjoyed making the patterns, and I thought it would be fun to also make them within a specific outline. This was around the time I was painting the cabinet in our kids’ bathroom, which is why the outline ended up being a fish to be hung in said bathroom:

It’s almost done, I just need to finish the tail…

This last drawing was mostly unplanned. One day I got a sudden urge to attempt something with watercolours, and I decided I would tackle a photograph of my parents’ house that I had been intending to draw in pencil.

There is still much to be done before it’s complete, but I am happy with the direction it’s heading in…

Maple Tree

Another “drawing in progress” is complete! We have an absolutely lovely maple tree in our backyard and I stare at it and soak it in everyday. It was particularly beautiful one morning after a light snowfall, just as the sun was rising:

maple

When I first sat down to draw all the branches seemed a little daunting, and I wasn’t quite sure how well it was going to turn out. But once I started I didn’t want to stop, and I actually enjoyed making the millions of tiny branches. Perhaps because I had a new pencil that I kept sharpening every five minutes–fewer things are more satisfying than using a new pencil.

I tried to capture the early morning light by adding just a hint of colour to the sky, the trunk and the major branches.

mapletree

The only thing I wish I could re-do is the hedge–I didn’t leave enough lighter coloured spaces so it’s lacking adequate depth. But at least the branches and blue sky draw the eye upward and away from the depth-less hedge.