Thursday, January 29, 2015

Seedy Little Books Part 2

Two more tiny seed-pod-like books, illustrations for an article.  These things take forever to draw/paint.  Yummy little books!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dry-stacked chimney and a Couple of Seed-like Books

M and I tromped up and down steep and beautiful trails in Black Mountain this morning.  Our MMWalks told us we had gone two miles, but surely the ups and downs counted for at least double that!  Here is the profile of a ruin of a chimney that looks like it was either dry-stacked or stacked with clay.  Today it looks like it could fall down if a squirrel ran across it; covered with little moss gardens and with lacy spaces between the rocks, it has outlasted the cabin that used to be attached to it.
And tonight I started a series of seven drawings of tiny seed-like books that I've collected and will use to illustrate an article I'm working on.  Mary, is the one on the right familiar??

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jesse Defends Us From a Possum

 Last night a small possum sauntered onto our back porch while Jesse was lounging on the table out there.  Jesse seemed unperturbed by this clear invasion of his territory, and we had to pound on the glass door to encourage the possum to leave.  Tonight the possum wasn't on the porch but I think he was nearby.  Jesse kept staring out into the dark, then trotting inside and grabbing a bite to eat, then back out to the porch to glower a bit in the direction of the doorway, then back inside to drink out of my paint water.   Some defender he is!
Earlier this evening: cheeses, olives, apples, a carrot, and roast beef rolled around cheddar wrapped in a lettuce leaf on the table at book club.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Shitake Rice Bowl Recipe for Cold Nights

 I always order the shitake rice bowl when we eat at King Daddy's in West Asheville, and last time we ate there I paid close attention to the ingredients so that I could make it at home.  My version of it is almost there!  The real shitake rice bowl has a poached egg on top of it, and I'm going to include that next time.  That will be the perfect touch I think.
To make my first version, follow the instructions written on the pages above.  If you can't find paella rice, some other somewhat sticky rice will do, maybe short grained rice or possibly sushi rice.  Next time I will use more onions, maybe half a big yellow onion, and instead of three Roma tomatoes (not too flavorful at this time of year anyway) a handful of grape tomatoes.  The avocado garnish was my idea, but it wasn't that exciting.  The instructions get a little sketchy at the end, but just be sure to keep the kale out until after the rice has cooked;  then just toss the kale in at the end and cover the pot for ten minutes. The kale will steam enough yet still be a little crisp.  This recipe makes enough for two plus a generous portion left over for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


P and I walked over to Dobra tea shop while we were downtown this afternoon, after working out at the Y.  We sat there feeling pleased with ourselves for showing up at the wretched weight room on a very pretty Sunday afternoon, and a treat seemed needed.  While we sipped white peony tea (P) and rooibus bubble tea with almond milk (me) I drew a selection of boots that showed up in the tearoom while we were there.  I also drew the pile of shoes at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the back room where you can lounge on the floor on cushions.
Back at home I went out to check on the gardens and saw that the Lenten Rose/ helleborus purpurascens is starting to sprout bloom stalks!  The whole stalk-- stem, buds, nascent leaves-- is a deep caput mortuum, similar to the deep maroon of red maple buds and raspberry canes.  I am wondering if there is some reason for this coloration in so many really early blooms.  Meanwhile, here's a bit of Wiki information about black helleborus:

  In the early days of medicine, two kinds of hellebore were recognized: black hellebore, which    included various species of Helleborus, and white hellebore (now known as Veratrum album or "false hellebore", which belongs to a different plant family, the Melanthiaceae).[7] "Black hellebore" was used by the ancients to treat paralysis, gout and particularly insanity, among other diseases. "Black hellebore" is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest.[8] Research in the 1970s, however, showed that the roots of H. niger do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin, and helleborein that are responsible for the lethal reputation of "black hellebore". It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as Helleborus viridis, green hellebore.[9]

I just checked out a site about colors in plants.  As you would expect, plants that are pollinated by insects and birds and butterflies are brightly colored and have sweet nectar.  Those that are pollinated by air and wind have dull, non-descript flowers and bitter tasting nectar.  The purple colors in hellebores are anthocyanins, which are a kind of flavanoid.  So I suppose those early-bloomers such as maple flowers and hellebores are trying to attract some early-circulating insect, something that moves around in winter and earliest spring.  Stink bugs?  Lady bugs?  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Charlottes Beginning to Coalesce

Is there no end to these charlotte-themed drawings?  Apparently not, at least not yet.  
I wanted to see them interacting a bit, from the distance allowed by the game, an interaction of sensing or seeing the presence of one another.  So on the right above, one charlotte spots another;
and above left three are converging, but  none are aware of how close they are to one another.  Next step is probably going to be a series of monotypes of them in their game.  Jesse, unhappy about tonight's wintery mix.