Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sticky Toffee Pudding!!

This recipe was acquired by my friend, Susan Vaughan, from a hotel in the Lake District of England. I'd give you the name of the hotel but it is supposed to be a secret recipe and I don't want to get Susan in trouble. Email me if you really want it!

I've adjusted the recipe to include US measurements and made a few other minor changes. It is a NO-fail, perfect holiday desert!

Sticky Toffee Pudding for 8 or 10
Line the base and all 4 sides of a largish loaf pan with Pam and then some parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1/4 lb (1 stick of butter) Beat until fluffy.
Add slightly less than one cup of granulated sugar
Then, little by little, beat in:
3 beaten eggs.

Fold in 1 cup and 3 TBS of self rising flour (Don't have self rising flour? Use regular plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt).
Separately, cover 8 oz of stone chopped dates with 1 cup boiling water mixed with 1 tsp each of baking soda and vanilla and 1 TBS of Camel Coffee. If you don't have the Camel Coffee, a coffee extract or 1 TBS instant coffee mixed with equal measure of water, will work just fine.
Fold in the date mixture to the egg, sugar, butter, flour mixture to form a sloppy batter. Pour in to prepared tin and bake for one hour.
TEST IT IS SET and then remove from the oven. This part can be frozen and/or made a day or 2 in advance.

Slice the loaf and put each piece in a deeper type plate or shallow bowl.
Make the toffee sauce by combining in a small saucepan:

1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 4 oz soft butter and 8 TBS of heavy cream. Bring to a boil.

Then pour some of the sauce over each slice. Then, either microwave for 30 seconds or flash under the broiler. Add a small bit more of the heavy cream to the top and serve.

This is a very rich dish. But is so delish!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

7 & 7--Not the drink

Antonito 20" by 20" oil on canvas--first of these new oils to sell!

Friday night, Angel Fire ArtSpace hosted a reception celebrating the 7th anniversary of the gallery's existence and 7 of the original female artists. I was one of them. Katherine McDermott, the owner of the gallery, asked each of us to try something new or different. So I brought some of my oils. It was fun to see the oils on display. Since I tend to jury into shows in the drawing or pastel category, I haven't been able to show any of the oils. But, Katherine had set up extra space for the show (and of course, I forgot my camera) and had my oils on display. And, I was pleased. I think they looked good. And, when I got an email from her yesterday, saying she had sold one and had good interest in several more, I felt really good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Chaos and Oils Update

December is always a busy month, despite the fact that I don't do any shows in December. But, with thousands of Christmas cards to write and stamp and send, Christmas shopping to think about and then do, and then the whole decorating bit--yes, Santa Claus has provided me with a tree to decorate. I've got the twinkle lights hung in the kitchen the farolitos/luminaria out on the deck rail, the 2 smallest pine trees in the yard decorated with red ribbons, and garlands hung with red ribbons around the deck posts. But the tree awaits my efforts outside the kitchen door. Maybe tomorrow.

I did do the Rio Grand Arts & crafts show over Thanksgiving. And I always get a bunch of inquiries for pieces as Christmas gifts --and this year, quite a few of those have turned into sales. Yeah! (Although I never really realized how much time it takes to pack a piece....) And I took 5 days to go to Chicago to visit the family. And I'm hanging a bunch of work in the Angel Fire Visitors Center through the end of this month, and Angel Fire ArtsSpace, the gallery here in town is hosting a special anniversary show called 7 Years, 7 Sensational Ladies and I'm one of those 7. And so, I am bringing some of my new oils to the gallery. Some won't be dry enough but some will and the reception will give me an opportunity to gauge the reaction to my works in a different medium. And so I am excited and anxious about it. So, December has been busy. But, now that it is just about too late to do any online shopping to ship back out, I'm not too worried about that part of the Christmas season. And now it is time to get down to some good studio time.

Yesterday was a big day in frustration. Although I'd painted some pretty big oils I was quite happy with: 30 by 40 & 36 square just before Thanksgiving, I'd forgotten a lot. So it made for a frustrating painting day. And unlike most times, when I tell myself I have to finish a piece, I left the one that I worked on yesterday for another time. Until I'm feeling a bit more comfortable with the oils. So today I got right to work and am super duper pleased with my progress. I think the night time one may be done and I don't have too much more to put into the other but since it was super dark I decided to stop. But I can't wait to get out there tomorrow. Unless I'm shoveling snow! And sometime I'll decorate that tree!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Artist Statement--take 2

A few days ago I posted about writing my artist statement. Well, it is due today and so it is going in as is. But, I know I have more work to do. I get stuck with descriptive phrases that I think are right--only when I dig a little deeper, I realize they are that artist "flower-y" sh--.

This is what will go with my photo and the 4 images that I juried in with. I really like art shows that take the time and effort to create such sophisticated websites. It is good for the exhibitors as well as for the patrons. Only I don't like the extra work.

I like the feel, the smell, and the look of oil pastels. I use these "buttery crayons" to create my whimsical landscapes. Drawing from sketches, snapshots, memory, and imagination, I loosely sketch the overall composition and then apply the oil pastels. Once most of the color is blocked in, I smudge, I rub, I scrape. Then I add more. And, the best part about the process: I get to do it again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

short but sweet artist statement: take one

I need to write a short artist statement for the Main St Ft Worth art show and their website. I also know I need to update and revise my full artist statement for displaying at art shows. I don't like doing either. I love to paint (or color) and I don't write much any more and I really don't like writing too much about why I paint what I paint. I just do. I don't really analyze it. The more I paint or experiment or work in the studio, the more ideas I have. It really isn't an organized thought process. So, maybe this is good. I actually have to think about it a little. And maybe it will organize my work efforts a little more. And, hopefully not take away the fun and excitement and fear and accomplishment I feel as I move my art forward. So, while the full blown artist statement was to be accomplished today, I think I have to let the ideas boil and churn around a little. Then maybe I can come up with something fresh.

For my Fort Worth Main Street artist statement for their website: Take one:

I like the way oil pastels—those buttery creamy crayons--engage my senses: the feel, the smell, the look. I use them to create my whimsical landscapes. These drawings are based on places I have captured in snapshots, sketches, memory, and imagination. Once intrigued with a specific subject, I begin with a very loose sketch to create the overall composition, making sure there is rhythm and flow to the piece. Then, I work with line and color to flesh out this enchanted place, in hopes of inviting the viewer to walk right in. Welcome and enjoy.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Sorry, loyal followers, for my distractions and lack of communication. More is promised and will, hopefully, be delivered. Between preparing for the holiday show in Albuquerque over Thanksgiving, and planning a quick family visit to Chicago, along with the stamping, labeling and writing of my huge number of Christmas postcards, trying to do a little online shopping, I haven't gotten a lot of art done. But, I'm getting closer to getting some new and somewhat different things out. And I promise to post the progress--for good or ill!!