Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ode to Peach Pie

A homemade peach pie.  
 Ain't she a beauty? 

I just want to say that it was great to bake you and eat you last week, Peach Pie, but I have to say goodbye to the likes of you for awhile.  However, I want to honor the special place you hold in my heart.  Thanks for being a beautiful, tasty thing!

Yes, I know, I'm being sentimental (and weird) but I'm going back to my wheat free days after a month long wheat eating extravaganza that prepared me for some blood work I'm having done to see if I test for Celiac's.  I didn't feel so hot but I sure enjoyed tasting my wheat laden old favorites!

Monday, April 26, 2010


"When the time is ripe for certain things, these things appear in different places in the manner of violets coming to light in the early spring."                          - Farkas Bolyai

The gardens have taken their place front and center now that spring is here.  To me spring means new life, fresh color, flowers reappearing like old friends, sore muscles, early mornings, back to work and squeezing a lot out of the day (while the days are getting longer).

The week got away from me and I regret I haven't posted anything on my blog.  I'm back home in Massachusetts after installing a garden down in Pennsylvania for my Aunt.  It was a busy weekend but there is nothing like planning and planting new gardens for an appreciative person. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hope and Olive

I'm in food mode so I have a feeling that the next couple of posts will highlight some great eating experiences.

Last night my friend and I had a date...just the two of us.  We decided to do it right and treat ourselves to something really good and so adult.  I picked her up and we headed over to Hope and Olive in Greenfield, MA.

The place was bustling!  We couldn't even sit at the bar while we waited for our table.  Luckily the place is so well designed and thought out that we were able to sit on a bench at a table near the entrance and watch all of the action.  There are many nooks and crannies to settle in with a date or group of friends:  alcoves with couches, bar tables, booths behind the bar, and the bench and table near the entrance where we waited.  

It wasn't long until a server found us and took our drink orders.  Their cocktail menu is AMAZING.  I had a martini that I can't stop thinking about...  Gin, fresh squeezed orange juice, amaretto with an orange peel garnish.  It was perfect.  My friend's Patron margarita was perfect too.  We were off to a great start.

After we got to our table we decided to order right and not skip any courses.  We had Creole Shrimp and Grits as an appetizer, I had the Wild Salmon served over Fresh Cut French Fries with Garlic Aioli and a Beet, Mesculin Salad.  My friend had the Spanish Seafood Stew served over Rice and Saffron-buttered Toast.   We shared.  Our excellent server offered us a little wine tasting so we could pick a good wine to go with our dinners.  For dessert we had the Creamsicle Cheesecake and two Espresso's with a twist of lemon peel.  What a treat!

I have to say the service and atmosphere here are pretty near perfect. Hope and Olive offers an  eclectic drink and food menu and they really pride themselves in choosing local ingredients and goods from area farms and food producers.    There's nothing like local, high quality food, service and atmosphere.  This is something I can really get behind!

I plan on making Hope and Olive a regular destination this summer for cocktails and other goodies.  If you're in Greenfield, check it out!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What you once were isn't what you want to be anymore.

"What you once were isn't what you want to be anymore."
This line has been going through my head for awhile now and rings true.  Sometimes we need to change:  reinvent ourselves and who we are in the world.

"Something's in my veins, bloodier than blood."

Ok, so here's a cool connection.  WILCO is putting on a music festival this August called "Solid Sound Festival" at a very special place I recently posted about...  Yes, you guessed it - MassMOCA in North Adams, MA.  This is happening right in my neck of the woods and I couldn't be more excited!  I hope to go, you want to come?  Here's a link to the event with info.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Silhouette Batik

I love the way the silhouette of trees looks against the sky at dawn and twilight.  

 Lacy patterns, cobweb like forms, straight lines, curved lines and diagonals create a batik like effect. Slivers of light and big glowing areas squeeze through thick and thin branches.  Warm oranges and yellows against deep chocolate browns play and mingle to create random patterns.  This picture makes me think of batik cloth.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I went back to work today and hit the jackpot...

Today was a beautiful April day.  A bit unseasonably warm but I'll take it.

It was my first official day back to work in the gardens.  I work at a beautiful property about 7 miles away from my house here in Cummington.  The woman has a nice sized perennial garden bed which was planted and cared for by her husband before he passed away 3 or 4 years ago.  She and her son love to enjoy the garden but do not like to work in it.  Lucky for me because they are wonderful people and it's nice to have a private client.  I spent the day raking up pine cones, branches and leaves fallen from winter storms and winds.  I got to wear a t-shirt that was rolled up to the shoulders and shorts and got some much needed sun on my skin.

My friend and her children who live up the road from the garden saw me out working and stopped by to invite me up to their place for lunch.  It was baking day at her house and she was making homemade pizza and bread in her outdoor, beehive style, cob, bread oven.  I couldn't turn down their invitation!  Not only did I have tasty homemade pizza for lunch, but I got to hang out with her four young sons who are so much fun to talk to and play with.  My friend unexpectedly sent me home with a fresh loaf of bread as well.  She is very generous.

As I happily drove home from a full day in the sun I saw 3 black, furry masses on the edge of a pasture next to the tree line.  I stopped the car and was so excited to see three bears:  2 youngsters with their mama.  What a cool sighting!  I reached for my camera and managed to get a couple shots.  Unfortunately, I was too far away to get a really close, clear photo.  Here's the evidence.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Art for Easter

We spent part of Easter Sunday at MASS MoCA in North Adams.  My parents were visiting and after trying to drive to the top of Mt. Greylock (the road's closed until May) we landed at this incredible contemporary art museum and spent a couple hours wandering it's enormous galleries.  The piece I feature here is by artist, Alyson Shotz (born 1964, Glendale, Arizona, lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y.).

Out of everything I saw last Sunday, this by far took my breath away.  The light, shadows, material and use of a large space is very special and beautiful.  A lot of contemporary art can leave me feeling profoundly depressed but this mesmerized me and had me taking photos at all different angles.  I couldn't wait to post about it on my blog.  This piece is part of an upcoming show called Material World which opens on April 24th.

Here's a little info about MASS MoCA, taken from their website...a link is available at the end of this post.

Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world's premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. With annual attendance of 120,000, it ranks among the most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.

MASS MoCA seeks to catalyze and support the creation of new art, expose our visitors to bold visual and performing art in all stages of production, and re-invigorate the life of a region in socioeconomic need.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Art Show Tonight!

I've been working consistently the past few months to get my art show, Fertile Ground, together.  It's been such a great process, a great way get more focused and a lot of fun to organize.  I completed a handful of new paintings plus I finally have an outlet to show a collection of work that I've created since 2004.  Doing the show was an impetus to get a web presence and therefore a blog up and running which is also a great way to focus creative thoughts.  You can see the collection of paintings that I'm showing here on my "My Creations To View and Purchase" page.  Below is my statement about the show.

Wish you could all come out to be at the party tonight...there will be wine, food and community!  If you happen to be in western MA come out to Cummington at the Community House Gallery.  Thank you to the Cummington Cultural Council for creating an ever changing space for local artists and art lovers.  Every month a new artist shows their work.

“Fertile -  affording abundant possibilities for growth or development.” 

My show, Fertile Ground, contains work I’ve created since 2004.  I decided to call this show Fertile Ground because something that is fertile is rich and nourishing. It has the potential to produce, whether it is a thought or something physical.  The work that I’m showing explores themes that represent energy and the myriad of ways it shows itself.  Circles are a recurrent theme, from the round head of the African fertility goddess - Akua Mma, to mysterious glowing orbs, to the somewhat representational images of the sun and moon, to a seed and it’s potential.  The circle represents the spirit of energy within everything as well as a symbol of constant change.  The sun sets, the day ends, the seed is planted, the flower blooms then withers away and falls back to the earth, fruit ripens, a snowflake falls onto a muddy road then quickly disappears and the cycle repeats.  Finally, I am interested in expressing the magical time of twilight when light and color heighten against a backdrop of silhouettes and shadows.  A day’s end can give us a last gasp of exquisite beauty and pleasure as we transition to night’s blanket of darkness and stars.  The circle continues to turn.

With my art work I invite the viewer to stop, take a deep breath and look around.  See the magic in everyday events and the raw potential every passing moment holds.

Two New Paintings


"Five O'Clock on January 1st"


"Longest Night"

This past winter was a particularly introspective time for me.  I'm still in that thoughtful space but the energy has shifted, the days are longer and my activity increases as the days lengthen.

These two new paintings were inspired by light.  There is something very special about how light glows on the evenings of the shortest days and longest nights.  I was inspired by the real light that I can see being generated by a flame or an electric light bulb. However, what really excites me is how I relate to light like this as the representation of an inner glow, a new way of being.  It attracts me like a moth to flame.   I'm attracted to the orb surrounding a still candle flame in a dark room.  Light pouring out of doorways and windows onto the crystal white, blue and purple shadows of snow makes me think of the inner vibrancy that makes a home come alive, the life within...whatever the home may be.